SURLY Krampus – On Test- by c_g

As you know Guitar Ted has already had his brief ride time on board the SURLY Krampus (with ride impressions here) – now it is our turn. We here at TNI Europe do have one of the few riding samples of the SURLY Krampus on test already – fresh off the EUROBIKE trade show floors. This new platform, dubbed by SURLY as „29+“ has only been revealed in July this year and had lots of biker hearts skip a beat then … oh, how we had wished for such a bike for some time and now we get to ride it and write about .

The Krampus is based on three primary items – a specifically designed 4130 steel frame, the 50 mm wide Rabbit Hole rims and the Knard 29×3“ tires. Bold move we say.

Other than a typical fat bike (which SURLY is keen to point out – that the Krampus is NOT!) you find all common mountain bike standards present here: 100 & 135mm quick release hubs, 73 mm BSA bottom bracket and International Standard brake mounts. In typical SURLY style, the Krampus features horizontal track style dropouts with a derailleur hanger – choose your riding style single speed or shifted, the Krampus can do both.

For maximum tire and chain ring clearance there is a special yoke design (made from flat material), connecting the bottom bracket and chain stay and a set of strongly manipulated seat stays to make room for those huge Knard tires (73.5 mm casing width on the Rabbit Hole rims at 1.5 bar/22psi). … don´t even think about retrofitting such rear wheel to your existing 29″er bike. It won´t work.

Our testing sample came from the German SURLY distributor COSMIC SPORTS in a close to production component spec with 1×10 gearing. SURLY recommends to stick with 1 x 10 if you are going to run the Rabbit Hole / Knard combination – even a 2 x 10 may cause some chain/tire conflict then. When going with smaller tires it will easily accommodate 3 x 10 gearing.

Shifting is done by „half a“ SLX group (right hand shifter, rear derailleur and SRAM cassette), braking via the cable activated AVID BB7 MTN Disc (our sample had 160mm front and rear), the front hub is SURLY´s Ultra New Hubs (which comes with two wide diameter M5 bolts, take them off and you can slide in a regular QR) and SRAMs X.9 rear hub (quick release version). The saddle, alloy stem and post (350 mm length) are entry level generic parts by VELO and KALLOY. The bar is a super wide (780 mm!) SALSA Whammy with a 11° sweep. Deviating from the production spec we have some high end E-THIRTEEN cranks (with a green anodized 38t chain ring) and chain guide that our testing sample came with. The specific Krampus rigid steel fork has a 483 mm A-C length and a 47mm offset.

Euro pricing for the frameset (Krampus frame and fork) is € 869.-. The Knard 27TPI is selling for € 109,-, the 120 TPI version for € 149,-.

Sure, our test bike was not going to win any weight weenie prices – but it was never meant to do. Our scale stopped at 13,88 kg (w/o pedals). There is a good portion of the weight coming from the overbuilt steel frame, but we are pretty sure there also is a considerable percentage coming from those gigantic wheels. SURLY states a very respectable 699 g for the Rabbit Hole rim and a spectacular 850 g for the 120 TPI Knard. Since we have the 27TPI version it should be a bit heavier. How much? If we have time we will measure some key component separately later on.

Having the Krampus right before you it is the monstrous wheels drawing much attention to themselves but also the sparkling green paint, that SURLY calls „Moonlit Swamp“ Sure reminds me of some late 80´s paint jobs!!

In terms of geometry the Krampus is more 29″er than Fat-Bike. The 69,5° steering and 72,5° seat angle plus 60 mm BB-drop sound almost standard for a progressive 29″er bike. Only the long 446mm chain stays (in the shortest position) point towards the Krampus´ being different. We shall see how those numbers translate in real world trail handling.

By SURLYs own description the Krampus should not feature the common „slow and stable“ Adventure Bike sort of character of many Fat-Bikes, but be more on the sportive 29″er side … only with lots more float to it. We shall see what these words actually mean.

One thing is obvious already after the very first meters out on the trail – the SURLY Krampus is like no other rigid 29″er we have ever ridden … and we are looking forward to our time with it on the trails.


Since riding has already started – we should be able to provide you with some first impressions pretty soon. Stay tuned and …

RIDE ON,
c_g