Big, fat, and under control

Here is a thing that happened on the weekend which I did not expect.

Back-story: I have a beloved bike called a Surly Krampus. It is a steel-framed thing with no suspension, and big tyres on 29” rims.

It will roll over most things in its way, it is hysterical to ride, and goes much faster than it should. I got it for long slow off-road touring adventures, and in the six or seven years I have owned it I have only managed that once. But I still have fun planning them, and in the meantime I get the Krampus out pretty regularly just because.

The way it came is the way I have kept it: fairly short stem, and flat bars. I have wangled drop bars on to it a couple of times, and that works well. That might be the set-up when I finally hive of into the wild beyond on it. 

We had a singlespeed event on the weekend, and while I am all about singlepseeding as a concept, in my current condition I can’t imagine being very effective on one. 

So I decided to take the Krampus, because even though it has gears, its lack of suspension makes it awkward in some situations. Like a single speed, but different.

A few weeks back I spotted an item on the Surly website: a new pair of "Sunrise" bars guaranteed to make any bike look cooler: hi-rise, extra wide, made of steel, and sporting a cross brace like old school motocross bars. I ordered a pair and they arrived in time for the RSSS event.

They are incredibly heavy, but who cares. They look awesome.

I fitted them, and headed out the door. 

The revelation came when we hit the trails. The extra width (820mm) and the higher hand position changed the bike completely. Suddenly there was no need to slow down and be careful over drops and roots, my general habit on this bike before the Sunrise bars arrived. Big tyres are all very well, but they are not suspension. The bike had a way of bouncing that was beyond my slow-processing reptile brain to keep up with.

With the new bars I was in command, and could even do fairly convincing manuals and wheelies. Well, enough for my simple requirements anyway. And definitely better than with the low flat bars.

The Sunrise bars have turned a very cool bike into a gigantic cuddly plaything I cant wait to get back on, maybe right now.


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