2021.03 – Bike Feature

2019 Surly Steamroller

When the fall of 2019 was fast approaching, and bringing with it the end of the track racing season, I started contemplating acquiring a fixed gear, single speed, road bicycle. My initial reasoning was that over the winter I wanted to keep my legs familiar with the nature of riding such bikes. Once Old Man Winter shows up, my days at the velodrome drops significantly. Refusing to ride my track bike on the public roads necessitates the need for a dedicated bicycle.

Furthermore, for some time, I was interested in owning a steel framed bicycle, so to get things rolling, I engaged in discussions with my teammate, and city messenger, Brean Shea, and we decided that a Surly Steamroller was the answer. While researching the purchase, Surly indicated that the closest distributor was R&A Cycle in the City. However, while visiting my Local Bike Shop, Kreb Cycle, I happened to mention my plan and they quickly informed me that they also happened to be a Surly dealer. This news made the whole process even easier and allowed me to give my business to my local bike shop.

I sat down with Chris, Kreb’s owner, and we started to draw up the build for the bike. Surly only offers it as a frame and fork, but that was not a problem, because as of late, this is starting to become my preferred process to purchase a bicycle. In order to put together a complete bicycle, we had to come up with the required list of parts. I already had a few components on hand but I needed to source out the rest. Kreb would handle the build and fitting of the bicycle.

At the start of November the bike was finally completed. Following my forced rest due to a collision with a motor vehicle during a training session, I was finally able to take the Surly out for its maiden voyage. I was very pleased with the ride quality, and I was genuinely surprised how nice the bike feels. Admittedly, getting used to riding a fixed gear single speed on the roads took me a bunch of rides. The first thing I noticed is that you can not just coast out of the saddle to soak up the large quantity of holes or the bumpy road surface which dots the whole island. If you do, you will have a bad time. In the end, you just have to take the lumps.

Also when stopping at lights, or for other reasons, you can not just pull your pedal back into position, you sometimes need to lift the rear and spin the foot still clipped into the pedal to get it into position. I am able to track stand on my Roubaix but I still do not trust myself enough to try it on a fixed gear bicycle. For safety, I did add front and rear brakes to the build.

When December rolled in, my Kissena teammate and I decided to do a Metric Central Park Single Speed Ride and therefore I had to prepare the bike since I did not want to do the ride on a fixed gear. Kreb helped me source out a freewheel cog (I think that is what they are called) for me to put on the other side of my rear hub, making the park hills and descents more palatable.

I do not ride this bicycle as much as my Roubaix, but when I am in the mood, I do very much enjoy the ride.

  • Frame/Fork: Surly Steamroller size 53cm – Black.
  • Handlebars: Easton EA50 Road Bar, 31.8mm 380mm wide – Black.
  • Stem: Dimension 31.8 110 1-1/8″ Black 8 degrees – Black.
  • Headset: Cane Creek S-2 1-1/8″.
  • Headset Spacers: Wheels Manufacturing Headset Spacers 1-1/8″ x 5 mm – Black.
  • Seat Post: Zoom 27.2 – Black.
  • Saddle: ISM Performance Narrow (PN) 3.0 – Black.
  • Wheels: Velocity DeepV; 19mm wide, Clincher alloy 32 Spoke [F/R] – Black.
  • Hubs: Velocity Track Hub; sealed cartridge bearings, 32h, [F] 32h [R] – Black.
  • Tyres: Specialized Roubaix Pro Reflect – 700 x 23/25c.
  • Tubes: Standard Presta butyl – usually 48mm valve stems.
  • Bottom Bracket: SRAM GXP threaded.
  • Crank: SRAM Omnium 165mm.
  • Chain Rings: All-City 48t & 46t, Origin8 44t, Engagement Ring 42t – 144BCD, 1/8″ – Silver.
  • Pedals: Shimano SPD or Speedplay Zero.
  • Cog: Surly Track Cog 17t – Silver.
  • Cog: Shimano Single Bicycle Freewheel Sprocket – SF-1200 – 20t.
  • Lockring: Dimension Track Cog Lockring.
  • Chain: KMC S1 – Single Speed 1/2″ x 1/8″- Silver.
  • Chain Tensioners: Surly Tuggnut Tensioner – Silver
  • Brake Levers: SRAM S500 Aluminum Road Brake lever – Black.
  • Brake Calipers: Tektro R538 – Black.
  • Brake Pads: Tektro P420.
  • Brake Cable: Jagwire Sport Brake Cable.
  • Brake Housing: Jagwire – Black.
  • Brake Accessories: Problem Solvers Clamp on Cable Guides – Silver.
  • Bar Tape: Supacaz Super Sticky Kush – Galaxy Gold.
  • Bottle cage: Specialized.
  • Computer Mount: Garmin Extended Out-front Bike Mount.
  • Computer: Garmin Edge 810.

In the near future I plan a few updates to the bike. I am going to swap out the crank with an other SRAM omnium but in 170mm length. This will free up the 165mm omnium so my Lady can use it on her soon to be new track bike.

I want to replace the Garmin mount with a K-Edge mount for the computer. I really dislike the Garmin out front mount.

I need to move my brake levers up a bit. In their current position I find that my wrists are stretched too far downward. I think I have to level the saddle since it feels like it has a slight downward tilt which I do not like. And finally, I might change the bar tape out with one with white accents because I think it will better match the frame.

Other than that, the Surly Steamroller is a great bike and a pleasure to ride.

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