Surly ECR Plus bikes


  • Frame: Surly ECR, 100% Surly 4130 CroMoly steel. ED coated. Double-butted main triangle. TIG-welded
  • Seatpost clamp: Surly Stainless, 30.0mm (Surly stainless included)
  • Crankset: Surly O.D., 36/22t
  • Bottom Bracket: Surly Enduro
  • Brake Levers: Avid FR-5


Showing 1-1 of 1  
[Jan 20, 2016]
Jimmy (
Cross Country Rider


durable, stable, comfortable, good climber


heavy, no spoke holder, anything cage mounts on fork could be more towards the front of the fork to prevent toe overlap on dry bags

I’ve been riding the Surly ECR now for about 3 months as a daily commuter, bikepacking rig, and flow trail shredder, and absolutely love it. It's not the lightest bike I’ve owned, nor is it the fastest in anything but sand or snow, but it is just plain fun to ride. I find myself looking for things to run over with the big, tubeless setup tires rather than avoiding them, and am constantly impressed by how much they eat up. Besides being a fun all-around bike, it’s also the most comfortable bike I’ve ridden in a while, making six plus hour days much easier than previous setups have. If I were only allowed one bike to own, the Surly ECR would be right near, if not at the top of my list.
It’s tons of fun shredding flow trail, and a very capable technical uphill climber. Being a fully rigid bike, it’s not as much fun on downhills that have drops, but it’s not made for that anyway. I fully expected this bike to feel slow on the climbs, being over 10 pounds heavier than my Trek Superfly hardtail, but while I’m sure it is a bit slower, it doesn’t feel heavy or slow. It’s not nimble by any means on the climb, but feels sure footed and willing to stay upright at much lower speeds, largely thanks to the 3.0" Chupacabras. I liken it to an old mountain goat.
The 29x3.0 Bontrager Chupacabra TLR tires make varied terrain feel much less varied, and make going ‘no-handed’ while fully loaded much easier. I've run them as low as 8 psi in the snow to good results, and upwards of 19 on the pavement and felt really fast and smooth. The whole platform really lends to a stable ride, with the combination of longish chainstays, relatively low BB height, fork offset, and the aforementioned wide tires, I notice myself enjoying a lot more of the scenery to the sides, with far fewer scary moments while getting lost in the view. The extra height these tires give over standard 29” tires makes going downhill a bit faster as well, not to mention these tires sound like a tank when rolling fast on hard surfaces, drawing stares. Plus, the extra width and length of contact area this tire size makes with the ground is especially noticeable, particularly while climbing out of the saddle in loose terrain. Times where I would’ve begrudgingly sat down to keep good traction don’t happen nearly as often, especially at the lower end of the pressure spectrum.
The Shimano XT drivetrain minus the Surly OD crankset was pulled off my last touring bike, and has seen several thousand miles of worry free service. I've installed a new XT chain, and will replace the cassette before too long. I also run the XT brakes, though I gave strong consideration to BB7's or other mechanical brakes.
Being that I had recently parted out a nice Trek Superfly I had a carbon stem of a good length, a carbon seatpost that fits, and a nice Bontrager saddle that is still as comfortable as new (5000+ miles). I just moved all of that stuff over to the new build, and have been happy with all of it so far.
For the wheels I went with Stan's Hugo 52mm 32 hole rims, laced with DT Comps to a Shimano Alfine dynamo front hub (Sinewave Cycles Reactor to be added), and a Shimano XT rear hub, mostly because it was cheap. Plus, adjusting and maintaining hubs is something I enjoy. I let friends who are much better wheel builders than I do the hard work of lacing and tensioning. When I was given two well-built wheels I next set up the Stans tubeless on them. With the box design of this rim, the 52mm rim still only needs a strip down the center of the boxed section (shown below) with 27 mm yellow, or comparable width gorilla, a tubeless valve, and a few shots of sealant. Once the Chupacabra tires were seated into the two bead sockets of the Hugo rims, seating the tubeless was as easy a set of tires I can recall. Riding, the wheels feel good, relatively lightweight combined with very light 29+ tires (850 grams) means they spin up decent, and maintain speed well in most terrain. After 1000 miles of mixed use, the rims are still true and tensions feel even, with no loose spokes.
The Fourier's Trailhead handlebars have proven to be an unexpectedly appreciated part of the build. With what the company calls Control Curve, the bars have a slight bend at the last couple of inches that relieves pressure on the nerves in the palm. Coming from a flat bar to this swept back bar with the aforementioned Control Curve, along with getting a pack off my back, has made my neck and back much happier at the end of really long days.
This bike is still relatively new to me, having only 1000 or so miles on it, but am very confident it will serve me well on my Great Divide ride, and likely much further beyond that. I will continue to post periodic updates to the evolution of this bike and how I feel about it a few more miles down the road.

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