Surly Krampus Single Speed…

Simple and clean…

Since I bought my Surly Krampus back in 2013 it’s been through a few different builds:

  • Shimano Alfine 11 w/ Stan’s Flow rims
  • Rohloff w/ Surly Rabbit Hole rims
  • Stock rigid Surly fork initially
  • Rock Shock Reba 100mm fork
  • Fox Float 34 130mm fork
  • Stock rigid Surly fork again
  • SS drivetrainm – 30T x 18T

Surly bikes are nothing if not versatile! 🙂

My tastes in geo have changed a bit since 2013. I’d like a 2″ longer reach, a 3 degree slacker headtube angle and shorter chainstays. However, the shorter/steeper frame does make for a pretty fun playful adult BMX bike. Plus the tubeset they used on the original Krampus frames is nice and lively under my ~200lbs of riding weight.  After I sold my Rohloff + Rabbit Hole wheel I wondered what to do with the Krampus. I thought about selling it, but it’s not really worth much and holds a lot of great memories for me. I didn’t really want to invest too much money into it so I decided I’d try it as a single speed bike.

I used a Hope Pro 4 hub + single speed cog spacer kit. I know that lacks commitment and I can convert that wheel to 1×11 or 1×12 drivetrain later if I want. That hub can also convert to Boost 148mm spacing if a new frame were to come along that it would work on. What can I say I like options!

Krampus PNWet winter camo…

I used the existing 30T chainring and an 18T SS cog. So far that’s a fine gear for urban assault and probably would be okay for gravel grinding, but too high for real singletrack mountain biking. Of course that’s easily changed by swapping in a bigger cog. The crank is actually an old triple so a dingle speed manually swapped wouldn’t be super hard to install. Again I like options!

If you look closely you can see that I used the bolt on version of the Hope hub. That’s not essential, but it does make for a very secure axle position in the Krampus’ horizontal rear dropouts without any need for chain tugs.

So what am I actually going to do with the Krampus setup SS? Honestly I am not sure. I have two bikepacking trips I would like to do next. One is a 2nd run down Vancouver Island to check out some new routing options and get to know the island a bit better. There was so much magnificent terrain to ride through…especially up north…that it deserves another tour. I think the Krampus would do great on this trip with a good rolling terrain gear ratio, an ultralight camping setup and a positive attitude about the hike-a-bike on the steeper climbs. The other trip I want to do is on a trail mainly used by hikers that is very steep and very techy. I don’t think a steep HTA rigid bike with a SS drivetrain is the ticket for that sort of trip. I’d probably grab my Knolly Endorphin with a really minimal bikepacking setup.

Beyond bikepacking I’ve been having a lot of fun just riding the Krampus around town on commuter urban assault missions. It loves to jump off curbs, speed bumbs and stairs. The 29+ tires are a bit overkill for streets, sidewalks and bikepaths, but they roll quite well for a mountain bike tire and they do make for a comfortable ride on a rigid bike. Since it’s paid for and decidedly unfancy looking without any suspension or drivetrain bling to catch a thief’s eye I feel pretty safe locking it outside a store or a pub.

My trusty friend…

I’m hoping to re-start my annual Baja pilgimages in the next couple years and I think the Krampus would make a fine desert trail, town cruiser and beach rig. Decent floatation and not much that can go wrong with it. Plus like I mentioned above it’s not likely to be a thief magnet.

Having gotten rid of my Santa Cruz Nomad and my Pivot Mach 6 I’m down to only two mountain bikes. My garage is pretty darn empty so there is no real pressure to downsize any further and the Krampus doesn’t have to see a lot of action to keep its place in the fleet. Besides having a steel is real rigid SS bike means there is no need to trash the wunder uber bike[s] for missions where suspension and wide range gearing aren’t needed.

Update July 2020: I am now running a 32T x 20T gear ratio. That’s just what fell to hand when I needed new parts.

4 thoughts on “Surly Krampus Single Speed…

  1. I’m curious how you liked the Rohloff on the Krampus. I am going to build a new rig and I am debating with 3 frames, one being the Krampus, and the others being an ECR and Tumbleweed Prospector. I think the Krampus would be the most fun but I read that it is a pain to take the wheel off with the rohloff on. What’s your experience?


    1. I really enjoyed the Rohloff on the Krampus. It delivered everything it was supposed to. Namely a strong wheel with a very low maintenance drivetrain. With tubeless tires getting a flat was so rare I hardly ever needed to remove the rear wheel and when I did an extra minute or so was not going to matter. I wouldn’t hesitate to put another Rohloff on my Krampus if I was going on an extended tour.

      What’s way more important is how the bike itself rides and the Krampus is an amazing bikepacking rig that can do it all. So I’d rather have that aspect which I would appreciate every minute I am on the bike vs. a bike I enjoyed less and the rear wheel came out 60 seconds faster those 2 times a year I needed to pull it.


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