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Surly Straggler or Midnight Special

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Surly Straggler or Midnight Special

Old 01-28-20, 05:44 PM
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Mattdj
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Surly Straggler or Midnight Special

Which one for a first gravel bike? Something I can beat up and also use as a commuter. I love steel. If I actually start to love riding steel on gravel, I'll upgrade. But I'm looking to ease into it. I just started lurking here, but haven't seen Surly mentioned that much. Thoughts?
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Old 01-28-20, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattdj View Post
Which one for a first gravel bike? Something I can beat up and also use as a commuter. I love steel. If I actually start to love riding steel on gravel, I'll upgrade. But I'm looking to ease into it. I just started lurking here, but haven't seen Surly mentioned that much. Thoughts?
They look very similar. Midnight Special comes with 650b x 47 tires. Straggler comes with 700cx41 tires. Midnight Special has a hair lower gearing and slightly better components. Midnight Special looks a tiny bit more off road capable.
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Old 01-28-20, 09:33 PM
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Maybe this will be helpful - I have two bikes that I use for gravel: a Kona Rove ST, and a Surly Cross Check(the "OG gravel bike" according to Surly. The Kona is 650B x 47(WTB Ventures) and the Surly is 700c x 41 (the stock Knards). The Cross Check is very similar to the Straggler except for the brakes, while the Rove is a little bit closer to the Midnight Special (if only because of the tire size). Both steel.
I think it comes down to the tire size. I love them both and have a blast on both (on the dirt and pavement) but they are decidedly different feeling due to the tire size. The 650B x 47 is definitely more cushy. But, the 700c is super fun too, and fast. When thinking about which to ride, I tend to grab the 650B bike if I think it's going to get a little more technical. But either one of those Surlys would be great IMO, and you wouldn't need to upgrade any time soon (or ever...).
EDIT: Ahhh--I forgot, the Straggler is also now available as 650B. Duh. Well, then if you're going for 650B, it'll be a tough choice between the two. But the Midnight Special has more tire clearance--that may be the deal breaker there...

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Old 01-28-20, 10:03 PM
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Also Midnight Special has thru axles. Surly frames have reputation of being overbuilt but very durable. Nothing wrong with it.
There are many other ones which are less overbuilt. You can also build starting from a frame: Soma, Black Mountain, maybe Gunnar -- the latter is more expensive.
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Old 01-29-20, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Mattdj View Post
Which one for a first gravel bike? Something I can beat up and also use as a commuter. I love steel. If I actually start to love riding steel on gravel, I'll upgrade. But I'm looking to ease into it. I just started lurking here, but haven't seen Surly mentioned that much. Thoughts?
You haven't seen Surly mentioned very much?? Where are you looking? Lol.

Straggler over Midnight Special.
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Old 01-29-20, 12:38 PM
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Helpful info. Thanks. Question: Can't I swap between 700c and 650b wheelsets on same bike?

Originally Posted by pbass View Post
Maybe this will be helpful - I have two bikes that I use for gravel: a Kona Rove ST, and a Surly Cross Check(the "OG gravel bike" according to Surly. The Kona is 650B x 47(WTB Ventures) and the Surly is 700c x 41 (the stock Knards). The Cross Check is very similar to the Straggler except for the brakes, while the Rove is a little bit closer to the Midnight Special (if only because of the tire size). Both steel.
I think it comes down to the tire size. I love them both and have a blast on both (on the dirt and pavement) but they are decidedly different feeling due to the tire size. The 650B x 47 is definitely more cushy. But, the 700c is super fun too, and fast. When thinking about which to ride, I tend to grab the 650B bike if I think it's going to get a little more technical. But either one of those Surlys would be great IMO, and you wouldn't need to upgrade any time soon (or ever...).
EDIT: Ahhh--I forgot, the Straggler is also now available as 650B. Duh. Well, then if you're going for 650B, it'll be a tough choice between the two. But the Midnight Special has more tire clearance--that may be the deal breaker there...
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Old 01-29-20, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattdj View Post
Helpful info. Thanks. Question: Can't I swap between 700c and 650b wheelsets on same bike?
You can swap between both wheel standards, on both bikes.

You want the Straggler, trust me. Its geo is designed for offroad, the Midnight Special is designed for on road. I'm not saying you can't ride the Midnight Special on gravel but the steering will be slightly twitchier. Straggler geo is made for gravel.

And all that being said there are even better gravel bikes out there. Just depends on what material you want, and what your budget is. For steel and reasonably priced I'd put the All-City Space Horse before both Surly offerings you mentioned. For more money I'd go with the All-City Cosmic Stallion, Macho Man, or Gorilla Monsoon.
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Old 01-29-20, 04:28 PM
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Thanks. Noted.
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Old 01-29-20, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
You can swap between both wheel standards, on both bikes.

You want the Straggler, trust me. Its geo is designed for offroad, the Midnight Special is designed for on road. I'm not saying you can't ride the Midnight Special on gravel but the steering will be slightly twitchier. Straggler geo is made for gravel.

And all that being said there are even better gravel bikes out there. Just depends on what material you want, and what your budget is. For steel and reasonably priced I'd put the All-City Space Horse before both Surly offerings you mentioned. For more money I'd go with the All-City Cosmic Stallion, Macho Man, or Gorilla Monsoon.
And check out the Kona Rove ST, in this price range. I ride mine like a mountain bike half the time, but it's no slouch on the road. But for more tire clearance I'd look at the Gorilla Monsoon too.
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