Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Surly Ogre 29"

Surly Ogre 29"

I wanted this build to be a fully rigid 29" heavy duty touring bike.  As a mountain biker I couldn't even consider a classic tourer, I need something a bit tougher, I don't want to be worrying about a whether a rough trail will bust the tyres or break the spokes.  But also I didn't want it be so heavy that it couldn't be pedalled uphill.

My mountain bike has 30 gears and I seem to use them all, so I want the same for the tourer.  I definitely didn't want suspension, with load carrying it would be all over the place and in any event it would be really difficult to fit a pannier rack to accommodate the suspension.  So I went for SLX, triple front crank and 30 gears.

I had seen a review of the Surly Ogre in one of the magazines and in Camouflage Green it looked like a tank!

The colour scheme was changed for the 2013 bikes so mine came in shiny black.  I considered going with a totally stealth colour scheme, very easy to buy lots of black bits to hang on the frame.  However after looking what other colours were on offer for the components I went with black with electric blue.

Detail of drop outs
Hope Hoops and XKing Tyres

The frame and fork, which was a Surley suspension corrected one by the way, I ordered from Keep Pedalling in Manchester, after a few minutes discussion with Shona and Richard there I decided on a small frame, 16”

The delivery period was about 6 or 8 weeks so it gave me plenty time to look round and assemble all the other parts I would need to complete the build.

I have fitted a Shimano SLG crank set to my mountain bike, and after thousands of miles it still looks brand new, so I went all Shimano SLX for the drivetrain, brakes and shifters, plus I got good deal by buying the complete set.  For the bars, stem, pedals, QR's and seat post I went  for Superstar Components mid-range parts, all in electric blue.  the pedals were Superstar Nano's which I have on my mountain bike and they have been faultless.  For the wheels I ordered some Fulcrum 29 ", but after having just one front wheel delivered Wiggle said they had been discontinued so I returned the one I had and with advice from my expert bike builder and all round bike knowledge guy, Dean Carmen I went for Flow /Stans rims, with Hope Hubs.   For the tyres I looked at lots of reviews, I wanted something that would be able to cope with anything on the tail but be reasonably fast rolling.   In the end I went for Continental X Kings 29". 
Superstar Nano Pedals

The frame and fork, which was a Surley suspension corrected one by the way, I ordered from Keep Pedalling in Manchester, after a few minutes discussion with Shona and Richard there I decided on a small frame, 16”

The delivery period was about 6 or 8 weeks so it gave me plenty time to look round and assemble all the other parts I would need to complete the build.

I already had a saddle, a Selle Italia model that I had also on my mountain bike, so I was confident it would be comfortable.

All the parts were ordered slowly over a few weeks, no rush as I was looking to best value.   At this point I hadn't decided on which rear rack I wanted, I would build the bike first and then look at was available.

Lots of tyre clearance

So over the weeks lots of boxes arrived and all stored in the shed, I collected the frame form keep Pedalling, Richard had fitted the crown race and supplied a Cane Creek headset.  The fork was overlong and I bought some headset spaces from Hope to be able to have a slightly higher front end to try and make it a little more comfortable for long distance riding.

I was very impressed with the frame, extremely light, well finished, it build from Chromaloy 1835 steel and powder coated.  The frame and fork comes with lots of braze ons for racks and cantilever brakes and anything else you want. I had decided I don't want a front rack, the intention is to have a light weight build as possible and in the case of equipment, camping and the like I want to have as minimum weight as possible.

The day came to do the build; all the boxes were unpacked, which left an enormous amount of waste packaging!  If you were a professional bike builder one of the biggest problems would be how to get rid of the waste!

The tyres were quite difficult to get over the rims, not a good thing for future punctures on the trail.  Finally got them on and actually took the overall diameter to exactly 29".   The fork was fitted with no problems, cut to length and fitted with the headset.  Slowly but surely worked through the pile of bits, all went completely straight forward until we got to install the front Shimano SLX disc brake, we had the wrong adaptor, so a quick trip to Green Machine in Horwich solved that.  By the time I got back Dean had fitted the cables and shifters and it was all looking very good.  After the brake adaptor issue no problems at all, it was finished, just adjusted the rear and front derallearurs to get smooth changing and that was that, all good, nothing rubbing, all in place
and working well.

The ride position seemed to fine, although the size of bike when compared to a standard 26" bike was amazing, much bigger in every way.  In terms of weight I had a bash at measuring it, I think it's around 13.5 kilograms so I am quite happy with that.

After the build was complete I has a week of commuting to work and back to make sure everything was fine and to make some adjustments if needed.  All I needed to do was to cut down the seat post a little and tighten up the headset.  The next weekend I rode it to Manchester to have the rear rack fitted at Keep Pedalling,  I tools Shona' advice and went for a Tubus Logo rear rack, it fitted OK, just slanting forward a little, but not too much, maybe the manufacturers haven't quite kept up with the rise of the 29ers.  For the panniers I decided on Ortlieb Classic Back Rollers.  The main reason was their waterproof qualities.

The finished bike
During the next week I packed up all the stuff I needed for the London to Paris ride, which was to be the first of what I hope will be many long distance trips with the bike.

First impressions riding the bike fully loaded with camping gear and the rest of the kit is that bike remains perfectly balanced, the weight plus the massive 2.5 inch tyres and the steel frame made it very comfortable indeed, I never missed suspension at all.  I don't feel that the knobbly large tyres slow the bike down, on solid riding surfaces I keep the tyres at a higher pressure.  Anyway the point was to have a bike that do anything and cope with any trail conditions and I think it does this very successfully.

Detailed Specification

Frame                           Surly Ogre 29” Blacktacular 4130 CroMoly steel

Fork                             Surly 4130 CroMoly, 80mm suspension-corrected, tapered straight blade.
Head set                       Cane Creek 40                          
Bars                             780 mm Superstar Highline
Grips                            Superstar Excel
Stem                            Superstar Zenith AM
Seat post                      Superstar Simple Post
Saddle                          Selle Italia (model unknown)
Cranks                          Shimano SLX M670 10 speed triple
Cassette                       Shimano SLX 10 speed 11-36
Pedals                          Superstar CNC Nano thru pin
Chain                            Shimano HG74 SLX 10 speed
Rear derallearur Shimano M670 SLX 10 speed SGS Long Cage
Front derallearur            Shimano SLX M671 10 SPEED TRIPLE             
Shifters                         SLX M670 SLX 10 speed
Brakes                          Shimano M675
Rotors                          Shimano SM-RT66 160 mm 6 bolt
Wheels                         Hope Hoops PRO2 EVO ZTR Flow EX 29
Tubes                           Continental 29” MTB
Tyres                            Continental XKing 29er Folding MTB
Rear rack                      Tubus Logo
Panniers                       Ortlieb Classic Back Roller
QR’s                             Superstar Superfly Carbon Ultralight

Most of all: BIG Thanks to Dean Carmen for all his help and to Keep Pedalling – Hilton Street Manchester  

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