The last decade or so in cycling has led to an onslaught of choices in bike styles. There’s no longer just mountain bikes for trail and road bikes for the road, there is every conceivable style in between for any kind of riding a person can imagine. One of the most recent genres to emerge is the fat bike, thanks primarily to Minneapolis based Surly and their desire for year round riding in the frozen wasteland they call home. Four to five inch tires can float over snow and ice and make it possible to keep pedaling long after basic logic would drive most sane cyclists indoors.
As cool as the fat bike is for riders in ice bound regions, they serve little purpose other than novelty for the rest of the nation. Enter the Surly Krampus, a fat bike that bridges the gap between the company’s more conventional 29’ers and the freakshow snow bikes in their line up. The Krampus features 29 x 3” tires that allow for a certain amount of floatation over snow, but also provide dramatically increased compliance and grip in standard riding conditions. Technically speaking, the “29+” category, as Surly is calling it, is a new beast in and of itself, but its really a variation on a theme.
What’s more, the Krampus embodies more universal characteristics than most fat bikes. The build does not necessarily have to consist of a bunch of hard to find proprietary parts that are unique to the frame. There’s a good chance of your local LBS or basement bin having most of the starting parts to get this thing off the ground. What’s more, the frame geometry is not solely designed for low speed crawling over all manner of sludge and debris. The extra large tires enable a certain amount of this, but the general layout of the frame lends itself to high speed, technical riding regardless of the weather.
Currently, the Krampus is due to become available as a frameset at the beginning of February with bikes to follow. The frame is made from the same 4130 Chromolly tubing that graces all Surly frames and utilizes company wide versatility with accommodations for single or geared use and ample braze ons. Its been described by nearly all of the somewhat biased Surly employees as their favorite mountain bike of all time and looks to an appealing amalgamation of different styles to create a whole new mountain bike to span the entire calendar year, wherever you live.