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Surly Bridge Club frameset

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Surly Bridge Club frameset

Old 03-25-24, 10:49 AM
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Surly Bridge Club frameset

Perhaps a side effect of longer/sunny/warmer -- warmer meaning above freezing -- I am considering assembling a touring bike around the Surly Bridge Club frameset. Largely paved, certainly some gravel, rarely if ever technical single tracks. Fork packs + lightly loaded rear rack, for months long tours. Bombproof rather than bleeding edge tech.

I am still very satisfied with my LHT, but a Bridge Club would have a couple of advantages: (1) the LHT doesn't support disc brakes; (2) which makes removing the front wheel a little more of an hassle because rim brakes do not provide enough clearance for a 2"+ tire to slide in/out. And the LHT frame could become a hand-me-down. And assembling components on a frame is a nice way to spend an otherwise boring weekend. So....

The frame is designed for flat bars (fine with me) and 1x or 2x (not so fine as I'd like to stick to 3x in order to minimize steps). I read somewhere that 3x is perfectly possible as long as tires are under 2.5" in order to prevent the chain from rubbing on the tire walls.

I'll read comments with interest on the (de)merits of the Bridge Club. I see it as a low-end-yet-competent frame. Very similar to the Trolls that wife and daughter ride. I don't feel like spending a small fortune on titanium, nor testing the durability of carbon.
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Old 03-25-24, 01:05 PM
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I had one, until it got stolen off the street in DC when a hostel owner made me lock it outside overnight after finishing the C & O. Fortunately i have decent insurance, so not as disastrous as it might have been.

What i really did not like about it was that i had merely to think about anything off to the left or right, let alone glance off to the side, to find my self veering sharply in that direction. The handling was so excessively responsive that it made riding it loaded and off-road very very demanding. It would be a great messenger bike, because those handling characteristics would be great unloaded in dense traffic. And probably pretty good for riding singletrack unloaded.

But for touring use, i thought it was one of the worst bikes i ever rode a long distance- just too squirrel-y. The thieves did me a favor; i am much happier with the replacement (a Bassi Hog's Back set up with a triple; the Bridge Club BTW had a double, so i'm sure a triple would be possible, but you are better off keeping the LHT)
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Old 03-26-24, 12:26 AM
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I too am building a Bridge Club, but with no end in sight. If I were starting anew and didn't already have the QR wheelset for the Bridge Club, I'd build a Grappler or a VO Piolet with 26" wheels.



As one who's toured on a 16" (ETRTO305) wheel, 93cm wheelbase folding bike, I can't imagine a Bridge Club, a loaded Bridge Club with huge 700c wheels and a 1 meter plus wheelbase being too nimble or responsive. One gets used to this quickly, and before you know it, it's built into your muscle memory and reaction instincts.

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Old 03-26-24, 02:11 AM
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I had the same idea, per my measurements fitting a dropbar on the BC was still a possibility. Since the BC frame was next to unavailable here in Europe 2 years ago (and prices kept going up) I went for an Ogre. I have been pleasantly surprised by the (mechanical) disk brakes (hassle free on a long tour, decent pad replacement intervals) so no regrets at all. The Ogre combines QR dropouts in front with a rear thru-axle, which is rather stupid, might as well have QR dropouts front and rear. Overall geometry is more or less the same. Surly says max chainring size 3x is 22/36/44 allowing at least 2.4" wide tires on 27,5" wheels.
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Old 03-26-24, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
I am still very satisfied with my LHT, but a Bridge Club would have a couple of advantages: (1) the LHT doesn't support disc brakes; (2) which makes removing the front wheel a little more of an hassle because rim brakes do not provide enough clearance for a 2"+ tire to slide in/out.
Grant Petersen at Rivendell recommends Odyssey Ghost brake pads or similar for use in conjunction with wider tyres, as their shorter pad length enables vee brake arms to open fully and release a wheel without deflating it. I havenít yet tested them myself but itís on the list when my current vee brake pads wear out.
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Old 03-26-24, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Perhaps a side effect of longer/sunny/warmer -- warmer meaning above freezing -- I am considering assembling a touring bike around the Surly Bridge Club frameset. Largely paved, certainly some gravel, rarely if ever technical single tracks. Fork packs + lightly loaded rear rack, for months long tours. Bombproof rather than bleeding edge tech.

I am still very satisfied with my LHT, but a Bridge Club would have a couple of advantages: (1) the LHT doesn't support disc brakes; (2) which makes removing the front wheel a little more of an hassle because rim brakes do not provide enough clearance for a 2"+ tire to slide in/out. And the LHT frame could become a hand-me-down. And assembling components on a frame is a nice way to spend an otherwise boring weekend. So....

The frame is designed for flat bars (fine with me) and 1x or 2x (not so fine as I'd like to stick to 3x in order to minimize steps). I read somewhere that 3x is perfectly possible as long as tires are under 2.5" in order to prevent the chain from rubbing on the tire walls.

I'll read comments with interest on the (de)merits of the Bridge Club. I see it as a low-end-yet-competent frame. Very similar to the Trolls that wife and daughter ride. I don't feel like spending a small fortune on titanium, nor testing the durability of carbon.
I think this is a fine idea. Its quite similar to the Troll as you know, and would seem to be a good choice. Ive thought the same thing, mostly because I like the 27.5 option or 700.
I'm sure you can find out about the chainline and max 2.5 tires thing.
You could even have fun with some alt bars, so many options.
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Old 03-26-24, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ignant666
I had one, until it got stolen off the street in DC when a hostel owner made me lock it outside overnight after finishing the C & O. Fortunately i have decent insurance, so not as disastrous as it might have been.

What i really did not like about it was that i had merely to think about anything off to the left or right, let alone glance off to the side, to find my self veering sharply in that direction. The handling was so excessively responsive that it made riding it loaded and off-road very very demanding. It would be a great messenger bike, because those handling characteristics would be great unloaded in dense traffic. And probably pretty good for riding singletrack unloaded.

But for touring use, i thought it was one of the worst bikes i ever rode a long distance- just too squirrel-y. The thieves did me a favor; i am much happier with the replacement (a Bassi Hog's Back set up with a triple; the Bridge Club BTW had a double, so i'm sure a triple would be possible, but you are better off keeping the LHT)
its very interesting how diff riders have diff takes on something like steering and what they are comfortable or not comfortable with.
You obviously prefer a slower steering bike, I have a friend who once rode one of my bikes, we switched for a while on a day ride and he had the same view as you here--whereas I enjoy a quick steering bike, even for touring. (his bike steered like a truck, just like some touring bikes)

but what is too much?
its certainly not a quantifiable thing, and one of my bikes was even for me a bit too nervous, but when I put some Jones bars on it, it just took the edge off the steering quickness making it a more enjoyable commuter.
My Troll has had dropbars on it for years, super short stem, 50mm, steers quickly yet I love the steering fully loaded with front panniers, hbag bag and big rear panniers--or light bikepacking setup--whether on paved roads or singletrack--at 8kph or 80kph. (5mph or 50)

so my view is that a fun steering unloaded bike makes a great tourer because any sort of touring load slows down the steering, and I love how my troll loaded is still fun to quickly steer around potholes or whatever on downhills, even on double or single track.
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Old 03-29-24, 03:42 AM
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I have a Bridge Club that I bought in 2021 as a complete bike and use for heavily loaded touring and for day-rides.

The big advantages are the ability to run wide tires with racks and fenders and the beefy frame that can handle the load.

It is very hard to find a good touring bike you can run 2 inch or higher tires with racks and fenders. Surly Ogre is a similar option you should consider. The two disadvantages are the over-responsive steering as well described by another respondent and no place to mount a kickstand. The only situation the steering has been a problem for me is when I am climbing a steep hill. It is nearly impossible to run a straight course, which is a very significant issue when cars are passing you. Trust me, you'll climb like a drunken goat. On the plus side is the wide tire capacity which is great for gravel and for a more comfortable ride. Major changes I made to stock bike: 1. Replaced hydraulic brakes with mechanical. 2. Replaced 32 spoke wheels with 40 spoke wheels (ka-ching$). 32 spoke wheels make no sense when touring, and Surly ought to know better (pet peeve of mine). 3. Replaced stock handlebars with Velo Orange Crazy Bars.
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Old 03-29-24, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by ignant666
I had one, until it got stolen off the street in DC when a hostel owner made me lock it outside overnight after finishing the C & O. Fortunately i have decent insurance, so not as disastrous as it might have been.
Was it the HI Hostel? I stayed there in 2007, and and they insisted on me locking a Brompton outside. What made it even worse was there was no bike rack, just basically lock it to the railing. I snuck it in, as it was a friend's bike and there was no way I was going to leave it locked on the street overnight.
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Old 03-29-24, 11:59 AM
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No, it wasn't. Cannot recall or find any record of name of hostel.
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