Thursday, 26 July 2012

Another new bike coming from Surly Pt2 - The Krampus 29+

From The Surly Blog...

More info and fun... -:)

So Surly have cleverly managed to build a regular 73mm BB 100mm front/135mm rear hub hardtail that takes a lightwieght `Rabbit Hole` 50mm rim and their new lightweight `Knard `3" tyre to make a 29+ trail bike, with a slacker head angle than their Karate Monkey it sounds like a fun bike to zoom along trails on, should provide loads of grip and comfort...

Another film posted this week...

This new bike has been flying around the fatbike web for a couple of weeks and blogged  already by a few folk, thought i would wait for some more pics and film to pop up before posting on a bike that has a thread on MTBR Fatbike Forum running into 17 pages to date!...

On line pics...

Fat Trail?
`Fat Trail` is a concept i have never really got and one which a forth coming UK fat bike seemingly is marketing - a faster steering 4" tyre fatbike for regular trails here in the UK.
Just my opinion but taking away the slacker head angle - designed for more control on snow is losing the best feature of all these bikes if riding them ridged on trails as you can get away with murder on roots and slippy trails with slacker steering as there is a lot less chance of the front end tucking in and sending you down. slippery roots are deft easier to ride, and while the fat 4" tyres here will give more grip, the semi fat 2.5" 29er is quicker and easier to maintain faster speeds nearly everywhere else.
Owning the Surly Pugsley and a 47mm wide rim 29er Surly Karate Monkey on 2.5" tyres i know it is horses for courses and the Monkey is a lot more fun  riding regular trails than the Pugsley if the speed is raised to out of the saddle riding, pumping corners and riding along with friends on regular bikes, though i wish the KM had the slacker head angle of the Pugsley.
The Krampus has this. With its lighter rims and tyres it is going to be faster and more fun ripping trails than a 4" tyre fatbike.

Note; Head angles can be slackened a degree with one of these British made headsets for £75 by Works Componants . I need one of these!.

Krampus for UK riding?...
So the Krampus looks a fun bike, build it up out a regular bike with a frame set, rim and tyre kit, or splash out on a complete build next year when they are available...
This bike is really what you want to buy here in the UK if you want a fat bike but do want/wish to ride on the beach, think of the soft peaty grassy trails that cross Edinburgh's Pentland Hills or The Border Cheviot hills and this bike at 30 lbs in weight should be ideal for less impact on soft trails and also fun on the descents with that slacker than regular 29er head angle.
But, there seems to be two issues that come to light for riding here in the UK, tyre clearance for mud, and low gearing for climbing.

Little tyre clearance for mud...

Not a problem on dry dusty trails or even trail centres maybe, but also another question which i asked on line and no one seems to have answered is can it take a 22t `granny ring` and front mech?, or is there not enough clearance?.
A bike with minimum tyre clearance and no front mech/22t capability is not much use for riding here in the UK, esp Scotland.  29ers need a lower 1st gear ratio than a regular 26" bike.
The gearing question may be answered by a comment on line that the bike can be run with the new Sram XX1
A 1 x 11 speed set up which in theory sounds a good idea, though i still do not think you can have a wide enough gear range for UK riding.
On a 29er you need a 36t rear 22t front 1st gear to winch up hills, and a 32 t front 11 rear to not spin out on descents and tail wind assisted road riding.
And have you seen the price of the Sram XX1? rules out a cheap bike build from a donor bike...

I hope i am wrong and low gearing can be fitted, As this looks a fun bike to ride and that slacker head angel is something i am always raving on about and wish the Karate Monkey had.
Until then i do not see any advantage in the outlay to this from my present Karate Monkey 29er which can take all gear options; 3 X 9, Singlespeed, Alfine IGH etc...

Rabbit Hole 50mm drilled rims
The 29er drilled lightweight (single wall) 50mm wide Rabbit Hole rims with there dual spoke lacing and weight would be a good rim on a Karate Monkey for sure, also with their offset possibility a 29er wheel set can be built for a Pugsley, that is another option for someone only wanting one bike with both wheel concepts...
They are way lighter than the 47mm twin wall Kris Holm rims presently fitted on my own 29er, but probably not as robust, hence i will keep what i have for now due to having 36 spoke hubs, and i am not getting any lighter and also the occasional hard riding in rock gardens and will probably just try a Knard tyre up front when they are available.
Put a pair of Rabbit Hole rims on your own Karate Monkey and enjoy the semi fat float with some 2.4 or 2.5 tyres, way better grip and comfort on trails.

I am content with my 3 Surly bikes at present and have no wish to sell at a loss what i have to upgrade. these bikes can do more than i ask of them and do whats written on the tin...

I am sure Surly will sell loads of these because now there seems to be so many folk who just have to get the latest bike to satisfy a craving...thats not a dig, i have bought enough bikes due to lust for now, the Moonlander was pure lust/want but i love it! -:)

I am selling most of my other old bikes i do not use much soon as just ordered a new frame set for a new bike build for doing daily riding to work/weekend Sustrans routes/easy trails and gravel roads, and East Coast Touring,  and have to admit to being more excited by what this bike when built will be capable of and rewarding to ride...


  1. Coastkid,

    I've really appreciated reading your thoughts on the new generation of fat / semi fat / super fat bikes put out by surly and others in recent months. You're definately an authority on the subject!

    It looks like its an exciting time in the history of mountain biking as manufacturers are starting to pay serious attention to what a modern full rigid mtb might be like. After years (decades?) of manufacturers insisting that over complicated, over priced and maintenance hungry suspension technology is the only way to go, at last a sensible alternative seems to be developing.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what mainstream manufacturers might now do with a combination of fat bike tyres, 29er wheels and maybe a 'Jones' type semi rigid suspension frame. I see this as the next phase in mtb development, but we'll find out if this is true over the next few years ...

  2. Hey Coastkid, great post.

    I never realised Pugsleys had a slack(ish?) head angle (although I don't know much about such things). I always thought mine felt so fast and predictable descending because of the enormous grip and built-in suspension from the tyres.

    I've been mountainbiking since 1992 but the Pug is only my 2nd off-road bike so I don't have much to compare it too! I really love the handling out on the trails and the steering is fast enough for me until you come to tight u-turns around trees etc when it can feel a little ponderous.

    My Pug is a singlespeed and I can hold my own for a couple of hours riding with friends (on lighter geared bikes with suspension) but then the energy levels drop away because of all the (standing) climbs involved.

    For that reason I've been dreaming about either a 29er with a fat front end (Karate-Monkey or Ogre) or a 2nd lighter fatbike with Marge-Lites.

    I'm really excited about the Krampus, I think it would be the perfect MTB for me.

  3. There is a picture or two now of the Krampus in Japan, and it has a double ring up front and front mech!, so looking good!,
    I will no doubt end up with one too next year as a trail bike once they have been out a while and fully reviewed and tested etc... -:)