How I Got Fat with Surly’s Pugsley

Before I begin this whole review, let me just say that this bike has been an absolute blast. If you have no interest in riding a fatbike, you should really try one out, they’re a lot of fun. In fact, it’s hard to convince me to ride my other bikes. No lie…

Ever since riding the Krampus back in Minneapolis, I wanted to get my hands on a full fat. Then, when Surly announced that sick limited edition Pugsley, I pulled a few fingers (backwards), sold my soul and got on the list for one.

So how’s it ride? Is it heavy? What are my thoughts? Surely, I have some critiques. Check out more below!

Product Review: Surly Pugsley Fatbike

So, are those tires heavy? Yes, they are actually. But this isn’t a fast bike, it’s a fatbike.

Product Review: Surly Pugsley Fatbike

And they aren’t slow. Especially with low pressure. I’m riding around 10psi in them. The Surly Nate is available in gumwall now too, BTW.

Product Review: Surly Pugsley Fatbike

The silver Rolling Darryl rims are something else! I’ve never owned a rim this wide, so everything from my local trails to a grocery run is a new experience. Hopping over everything, bulldozing onto berms. Every line is fun and new.

Product Review: Surly Pugsley Fatbike

The drivetrain is solid. 2×10 Shimano, LX rear derailleur with SLX hydraulic brakes and Surly’s OD cranks. Which brings me to my next point and it’s a small qualm, at this point, I’m not feeling those ss track ends!

Product Review: Surly Pugsley Fatbike

Like I said, it’s a small qualm. I understand how it makes the bike early to convert to SS. I get it. But to a total n00b like me, who doesn’t know that you have to have the wheel all the way forward to ride the bike, it took some getting used to. What happens is the rear derailleur will actually slap the chainstay if the wheel is in any location but all the way forward. Once we figured that out, the bike was good to go.

Another beef I have with the track ends is getting the wheel on and off. It’s a pain. Again, small qualm.

Product Review: Surly Pugsley Fatbike

On to other notes: I love the warty looking bosses!

Product Review: Surly Pugsley Fatbike

… and the fender, rack mounts. This bike is ready for any kind of accessory. That’s what I’m most stoked on: fitting it with bike packing bags and just disappearing.

Product Review: Surly Pugsley Fatbike

Obviously, this isn’t the stock build. I swapped out the saddle, which is a must for anyone who rides a lot and the stem, to give me an ideal position. Other than that, this bike is good to go!

Next up: converting the wheels to tubeless and swapping for a 1×10 up front with a Wolf Tooth ring. From there, maybe some silver cranks.

Walking away from this review, I have a recommendation: if you want an entry-level MTB, buy one of these. Just go for it. There’s enough squish to absorb any trail nasties, you’ll learn to corner easier and with the weight of the bike, you’ll get fit faster. Seriously, if I could only have one MTB for Austin, it’d be a fatbike.

Also, Surly’s products are very available. Super available in fact. Your shop has a QBP account, holler at them!

I really want to thank Surly for kicking ass and pushing fatbikes. I think I’m sold… But I’ll never wear fucking clam diggers when riding one.

  • Adam Carter

    ha ha, loves the warty bosses, still hates the horiz. dropouts!

    great review. i wish you did videos!

  • http://www.facebook.com/edITmusic edIT

    Amazing bike

  • Doug M.

    love the pugs. haven’t had the opportunity to ride one with a Nate up front yet, but I suspect it will only enhance the awzmz.

  • Danny Pagano

    I’ve been curious for a while if you personally buy all the products you review. No doubt if you didn’t already buy this beast, you’re interested.

    I think the reviews you do are generally pretty unbiased, but in the interest of transparency would you, or do you, spend your own money on most of this stuff? In any case, its always rad to hear from someone who has actually done the using and the riding.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Most products I review, I buy. Like the Brooks C17. Paid full retail. I spend a lot of money at my local shop. Usually $500 a month. All of my saddles, parts, etc. I just bought a new Garmin. My point is, I’m very conscious about supporting local bike shops with the money I make from advertising.

      I get sent a lot of stuff, but maybe review like 10% of it. Mostly I just use it as I would and if I really really like it, it’ll make its way into a post on the site, or Instagram.

      This bike in particular was the first bike I’ve *ever* been sent to review with the intent on *keeping*. But I would have bought one anyway, for sure. I just wouldn’t have been able to scoop up a limited Pugs.

      You’d be surprised how non-transparent most websites are. It’s crooked, illegal and most importantly, dishonest. A lot of sites ONLY review products that are from advertisers, or charge companies money to review a product. I don’t do that…

      I will never, ever review something I’m not legitimately stoked on.

      • Danny Pagano

        Good on ya! Local shops deserve your business, and advertising revenue is a great way to support them.

        I only asked because the work you’ve put into building your blog and audience make it the perfect forum for companies to advertise. It just so happens that those brands also make great products, so it makes sense there would be overlap between advertisers and the reviews that appear on the site.

        Thanks for the honest answer and the honest reviews! Still doesn’t mean I’m not a little jealous of all the cool stuff you get to ride!

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          Thanks man – I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this very subject and It’s not easy to figure all of this stuff out by yourself…

      • Jason

        Freaking love this response…Transparency is key. Whether you purchased the product or not, this type of honesty is what makes the reviews worth checking out!

        • Spencer Olinek

          Love this. Out of curiosity, what about reviewing things you aren’t stoked on. And, not from a standpoint of bashing something for the hell of it but more from the constructive criticism standpoint or a “hey, before you spend your hard-earned money…”

          I can see why this would open up a whole other world of “DON’T READ THE COMMENTS” though…

          • Noel Smith

            I was thinking the same thing. As much as I love the endless glowing reviews, it’d be nice to read about something that wasn’t perfect. (Constructive) Critisism makes the world a better place (and makes for better product!).

          • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

            I agree, but it takes a lot of time to review something. I have done it before in the past. I.e. the Chrome camera bag. Truth is, I very rarely review products on the site. Even when I’ve been constructive, critical and positive, I’ve had companies cry too much.

      • Kerry Nordstrom

        This.

      • GeraldBowles

        This is all good stuff. Here’s to hoping you review those ee cycleworks brakes. I’ve been interested in them for a long time and it would be interesting to hear an honest review of them.

      • Adam Miller

        “You’d be surprised how non-transparent most websites are. It’s crooked, illegal and most importantly, dishonest.”

        Well that sounds familiar … (http://theradavist.com/2013/02/recent-roll-dope/)

        Changing the subject, I love the “buy American” angle of the site, and, while it sometimes seems like buying American will limit you to only one option (or none at all …), it’s nice, when there is a choice, to hear about the ones that will really hold up to abuse. On that note, I was in Chicago for a weekend recently, and I saw a whole pile of people sporting Timbuk2 messenger bags that were immaculate–not even a speck of dust on them. I feel the same way about that as I do about driving a Jeep Wrangler or a Ford Raptor and never taking it off the pavement.

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          What does the DOPE armstrong piece have to do with my quote?

          • Adam Miller

            I was comparing shady reviewing/advertising practices to the culture of dishonesty at the top level of pro cycling. One might be a bigger, more destructive lie, but they’re lies all the same.

          • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

            Ahhhh I get it. It was such a left-field comment, I had no idea what to think. :-)

  • Matt Good

    Yay! No more offset fork.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      YES indeed!

  • Nathan

    Looks great fun. I’m surprised you need the stick to hold it upright!

  • Jamie McKeon

    had to google clam diggers, lolled.

  • Western Rapid

    Tried a Salsa Mukluk when I was in Austin for the F1 – an indecent amount of fun. Its vices are quickly eradicated by the fun you can have on these things…

  • btdubs

    Ahhh, this thing is so rad. I’m not even a fatbike fan but I would ride the snot out of this thing if I had one.

  • elknotty

    I love the aestetic of the fat bikes, i mean is like having a monster truck/tank.
    Have you ride it in the city or just trails? i know is a “mountain bike”, but been wondering if its good to ride it in the city, maybe jumping on and off on sidewalks, or evenpeople XD I guess is a really stable riding, and awesome exercise to ride it in a small long hill

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I ride it all over Austin, which is pretty hilly.

  • stateofnonreturn

    Great photos on this set btw! You did a review on Krampus a while ago, would love to hear how you compare these two. As a short lightweight rider (5’4″ ~120 lbs), I am leaning towards Krampus but hell this thing looks fun.

  • Lance

    What frame bag are you going to go with? I have a Necro Pug and have a revelate designs bag on it and love it!!

    • http://www.culturecycles.com/ Brian Kleiber

      Agreed, Lance! The Revelate bags are mint. Seeing all your IG’s really makes me miss my Necromancer :-(

  • Joni

    beautiful!

  • Shawn Doubleday

    great review, and awesome bike! I recently just noticed this bike at my local shop while getting a pizza next door. I’m really looking forward to getting one of these beasts, so I can tear up some of the kick ass trails here in western Ma. Whooo!! Do you think there’s enough ‘give’ in the larger tires to not require a set of front shocks? I prefer shocks on my bikes, and it just seems like this bike has everything going for it besides the front suspension. What are your thoughts?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      The trails here in Austin are extremely rocky, rooty and technical. I have no problem smashing through them on this bike!
      Riding with suspension is the only option for some people though.

      You’ve just gotta stay loose and let your legs and arms absorb any aftershocks… ;-)

      • Shawn Doubleday

        nice. sounds good man.. have fun riding that beast!! thanks for the reply man, shawn

  • http://www.fyxomatosis.com fyxomatosis_one

    All I see is Ty pulling your lock out of your shorts and wheelie’s down the sidewalk! Awesome

  • kog

    are these 26″ wheels or 29″?

  • Steven Keyes

    What size is the Pugs?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      26″ wheels, size Large frame

  • dclifford

    Great post. I have wanted a Pug for years (they are getting more press than ever). It’s always hard to add a 5th bike but I think it’s about time. My LBS has a 2012 Moonlander and I’m going for it. The last 3 winters, my CX bikes gets all the action – time to change things up and look for new routes and discover more during the winter months.

    Also, PINP is a wonderful concoction of wondrous cycling stew.

  • St-Jean Mathieu

    The style of this bike is totally awesome! Did you already switch to WT ring? 30T or 32T? How it is? What about your rear gearing?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I’m keeping the double. It needs it for sand and steep climbs.