That’s right. You read it correctly.
I’ll just say it: I love Surly.
What’s that? I’m a custom bike snob who should be turning up his nose at welded-overseas heavy cheap steel bikes?
1: Surly keeps inventing (or reinventing, or popularizing) awesome new stuff. Freeride hardtails? 29ers? Fat bikes? Offroad touring bikes? Bikepacking setups? Plus bikes? Cargo bikes? Yup, Surly was there. They weren’t always the first, they weren’t always the best, but they had a HUGE role in making all of those types of bike something that normal people could find out about and actually go buy and ride. And that, in turn, sparked tons of innovation (and further copycatting) from other companies. So now we have loads and loads of choice in a wild variety of bike types we didn’t have 15 or 20 years ago.
2: Surly refuses to play the weight weenie game. Yes, a Surly frame is a pound or two heavier than a high end steel frame. It’s at least 2-3 pounds heavier than an aluminum or carbon frame, usually. So what? The weight weenie game is stupid. You weigh 180 pounds, if you’re a typical customer of mine. Your bike is at least another 20. So at most, that extra 2 pounds (900 grams! Gasp!) might slow you down by a little under 1% on a very steep hillclimb. On flat stuff or downhills, which is what most of us care about more, it doesn’t matter at all. Your Surly almost certainly won’t break, and you can probably attach all kinds of stuff to it and use it for all sorts of neat purposes outside of just mountain biking.
3: FFF. What can I say? Surly was building bikes for 2.5″ tires when we were all on 2.0s. I look at the tire clearance on some of the bikes I built 10-12 years ago and can only hang my head in shame.
4: Most important for all the high end bike companies (including yours truly) – Surly is a gateway drug. Love your Krampus but want super short chainstays, more standover, and a slacker head angle? Call me up. Like riding your Cross Check but wish you could fit 2″ tires? Want a 1×1 with easier to deal with dropouts and a tapered steerer fork? I get a ton of business from people who got hooked on bikes by, you guessed it – Surly. In many cases one frame will bounce between half a dozen people and inspire all of them to get really into riding.
No big company out there has a better innovation record (mind you, I mean the good “this is fun!” kind, not the “new bb and axle standard every 18 months so your cranks will flex .02mm less under 500W of power” type). Nobody has been willing to stick their neck out and take risks more than Surly. They rock and deserve your respect, not snobbery-based scorn. Because that lust-worthy non-Surly high end frame (especially if it’s a fatbike/plus bike) you have probably owes at least some aspects of it’s design to Surly. Without Krampus/Knard… no BRAAP!
PS, Surly, are you familiar with the term “payola”? I like small unmarked bills and bitcoin.