The world’s worst kept secret….
Vying for the title of “Cycling’s worst kept secret” is the release of the new Surly Pack Rat. It first showed up, ahead of it’s embargo, on a German retailers webpage, before rapidly disappearing. But not before causing an online furore! In a divisive move, the Pack Rat takes it inspiration from French Randonneur bicycles from the 30s, 40s and 50s.
The advent of the 650b
It was for this style of bike that the 650b wheel (and its larger tyres) was originally conceived. Designed to be a fast, light , but still comfortable, sports tourer, the Randonneur was made for uneven rural French roads. As modern riders too seek to avoid busy roads , the resurgence of this style of bike is logical.
The two most obvious features that have split opinion are the use of cantilever brakes and the Porteur style front-loading rack. While the brakes are more in keeping with their early 20th century forebears, Surly claims their inclusion isn’t just for retro styling. By not having to accommodate disc brakes they can use lighter spec tubing in the frame and forks. This, along with the 40mm+ tyres, makes for a sporty, yet supple ride. Important for comfort when putting in long hours in the saddle.
The geometry has been designed to make the Pack Rat handle well with the front loaded Porteur style rack. While Aero-aficionados will wince, if you’re carrying enough for one or two days in the saddle, having gear easily to hand can be no bad thing, right? There’s a full complement of rack and bottle bosses if you wish to load up with panniers, and you can of course always supplement with bikepacking style soft-luggage!
Ison Distribution tell us that the UK RRP will be £1,500 with the frameset coming in at £500. Most sizes will be available at the end of January. For now though, head on over to Surly Bikes for more details.
Last modified: 5th December 2017