Turn and face the strange…
Oh boy, the Enginerds at Surly have been busy this year. They’ve introduced new models such as the Midnight Special, Pack Rat, Bridge Club and Lowside, and already updated old favourites like the Pugsley, Ice Cream Truck and Ogre. Not content to rest on their laurels, the ECR has also had a once over.
ECR? What’s that?
For those unfamiliar with the ECR, it is a ‘plus-tyre, dedicated tourer’. Originally sporting 29+ tyres (like the trail focussed Krampus), the ECR later spawned 27.5+ for extra-small to medium sized frames. 29+ was reserved for medium and above. Note: you can get a medium in both sizes and they aren’t the same frameset!.
Surly have never given a definitive definition of the ECR acronym, no doubt alluding to the “go anywhere, do anything” nature of the bike. Here at ADVNTR we like Enduro Camping Rig but Easy Country Roads and Exploring Contour Ridges also fit the bill.
The ECR is built tough. If feather-weight disaster-style bikepacking isn’t your thing, you can load it up to the gunnels with a 130+kg rider and 25kg of kit (officially sanctioned by Surly!).
What’s new for 2019?
The most obvious change is a move from Beige-pantsuit paint, to fabulous sounding Norwegian Cheese Brown. This will no doubt split opinions. We’re certain that the team at Surly will have anticipated this! The international website lists both framesets and complete bikes in Blacktacular if Norwegian Cheese isn’t to your taste!
Look closely and you’ll see big changes in the drivetrain. Earlier incarnations of the ECR have used 2 x10 Shimano Deore systems. Like the recently updated Ogre the ECR not only goes a 1x, but it jumps a level straight to an NX Eagle 12-speed set-up.
With the plus tyres requiring the proprietary Surly OD chainset to prevent tyre rub using a double chainset, 1x makes a lot of sense. Replacement chainrings will be easier to source and chain and mud clearances can be maintained. There are also the obvious benefits of losing the front mech and shifter too! The wheelset shifts from ALEX MD-40 to WTB Scraper 40 rims.
How does it ride?
We’ve only had the quickest of car-park test rides before we were sworn to secrecy. Suffice to say the ECR clearly has a lot going for it if you are planning for long days in the saddle (offroad). Plus tyres iron out the stutter bumps that suspension (particularly on a loaded bike) struggle with, and the riding position and geometry gives a real feeling of security and stability.
How much, and when can I have one?
Despite the significant drivetrain updates the UK RRP remains at £2100 for a complete build (Framesets are also available for £900). Most sizes are expected towards the end of December. As yet there is no word on whether the Blacktacular option will be available in the UK.
Oh, this Norwegian Cheese Brown business….
Yes, it’s really a thing.
Last modified: 31st October 2018