Surly has its fingerprints all over the crime scene, like many niche trends that come into cycling or back into cycling if you check the history of tracklocross article. The Steamroller, for many people, is the archetypical wide tyred fixed gear machine. Just ask the Kilo WT. As you can imagine, a model that has been around for 20 years and barely changed, the Steamroller has a cult following, but is it worthy of that following?
I’ve had the Steamroller out on a few rides now, and I’m starting to form an opinion. My main one at the moment concerns myself, and that is that I could do with a longer stem.
I built the Surly to fit in as a gravel grinder. A gravel grinder can also nip to the shops or get lost down dirt singletrack. The reason is that I already have an All-City Big Block is already in the stable for fast blasts around town and a Squid SO-EZ for more technical stuff offroad.
Riding the Steamroller, I can feel that this choice already makes sense. Well, to me, at least. Yeah, it’s heavier than my All-City, but that doesn’t hold it back when you sprint from traffic lights or to Greggs. It is comfortable. It is helped here by the ability to run wider tyres than other fixed gears. I’m doing this on the front, but not by as much in the rear.
I’m sure you’re asking how I built the Surly up?
- Frame: 49cm Surly Steamroller
- Fork: Surly Steamroller
- Headset: Dia-Compe CB-2
- Stem: Fairdale Archer
- Handlebars: Fairdale Archer
- Grips: Gusset S2
- Bottom Bracket: Genetic Cromozone JIS
- Chrankset: Genetic Tibia 165mm
- Chainring: Genetic Tibia 44t
- Chain: Izumi Jet Black Track
- Pedals: Demolition Trooper
- Toe Straps: Gusset Girdles
- Brakes: None
- Seatpost: Genetic Heritige II
- Saddle: Gusset R-Series Tartan
- Front Wheel: Halo White Line Dyno
- Front Tyre: Kenda Slant Six Pro 700x35c
- Rear Wheel: Halo Aerotrack
- Rear Tyre: Schwalbe CX Pro 700x30c
- Cog: BLB Track 17t
- Lockring: BLB Beefy
- Front Light: Supernova E3 Pure 3
- Rear Light: Supernova E3 Rear Light 2
Did I Need a Steamroller?
Do we ever really need an extra bike? No, I’m not heading towards the cliche consumerist N+1 formula. The honest answer is that I did not, but I did want a Steamroller, and now I have one. I am happy with this, and I am glad that I own one.
I will update as I ride the bike more.