Attention vandals! The Lowside is here!
Last modified: Wednesday, May 30th, 2018
Today, I get to introduce the newest miscreant in our selection of nefarious products.
And because studio shots are boring, here is a video of our engineer, Thor, putting the Lowside to work.
Rat Ride, meet the Lowside
While Lowside is our newest bike, it is inspired from our very first frame, the 1x1 Rat Ride. This model pre-dates our little commercial exercise adopting the name “Surly”.
As our 1998 “catalog” — and I use that term very generously because it was just a couple pieces of paper folded and stapled together — states:
“Nobody wants to spend a bunch of cash on a single-speed… and why should they? To do so is contrary to the whole spirit of the single-speed experience.”
“The geometry is, well, regular. Take this “Rat Ride” for a spin and you’ll find that it “rides like a bike.” Isn’t that what really matters?”
We tried to focus on these concepts when revisiting the legacy 1x1 frame. Our goal was to do something that would be fun to ride, stripped down and simple, compatible with a lot of parts you already own, and a bit of a throwback — but not too far back. Many of us still have 1x1s and enjoy them, but that bike is a bit dated. Bike handling geometry has changed a lot but the simple execution of it remains a defining feature. Bike fit has evolved. Trails we ride on are different. We love our old 1x1s because the bike just works. We wanted to address all of this with the Lowside. Produce a bike that was decidedly simple and fun to ride, but matched our expectations around bike fit and riding style, and was a bit less costly to produce.
Where Have All the Barnacles Gone?!
With simplicity front of mind, we intentionally left off many of the rack and accessory fitments found on our other bikes. Most cable guides are intentionally omitted. All the little bits add-up and contribute to the cost of our bikes and frame. We left them off to help manage costs as well as to not distract from what this bike is focused on: knocking around and having a good time. The geometry is intentionally low and tight to keep the Lowside nimble and fun to whip around. If you want to put a rack or fenders on your Surly, we make lots of other models that do that.
While it does have some modern touches like an oversized headtube, thru-axles and a hole for stealth dropper post routing; it does have a decidedly simple aesthetic, and when paired with our Sunrise handlebar — included on the complete bike – has a bit of a klunker look to it.
It’s kind of an odd duck — The Lowside is not for everyone, and that’s ok.
Matt, one of our test riders put it well:
“A low-slung retro-modern mountain bike with enough versatility to get you into trouble, then thrash your way out.”
You Might Be Asking Yourself…
Why does it have the derailleur hanger? We’ve found that when a bike lasts a long time, you’ll find yourself tinkering with it and cooking up other uses for it than you intended. It didn’t cost us — or you — anything more to just have the dropout with the hanger included on it. So, it’s there if you find the need/want/desire to add a derailleur and some more gears.
The tubeset is a classic round constant outer diameter tubeset vs. the flared tubes we use on bikes like the Karate Monkey. But why? The tubes on the Lowside are lighter and keep a simpler aesthetic.
That oversized headtube… can I run a suspension fork on it? Yes. We’ve tested it for use with 100mm travel suspension forks intended for 27.5 wheels. Front axle spacing on the stock wheel is boost (15x110mm) if you are considering an upgrade. Make sure the fork fits 26+ full 3” tires. The stock Dirt Wizards, our recently updated full 3” version, demands appropriate tire clearance.
The Big-Kid Version of Your Childhood Bike
I remember my first bike: a simple little BMX bike that I used for transportation around the neighborhood, to the corner store to get some candy, and to jump off and up curbs. The Lowside channels this as well. It’s certainly not intended to be a full on enduro mountain bike rig, but it is a blast to rip off-road. It’s not an ideal commuting rig if you’re tracking your time and trying to PB across town, but it would brighten it up. I know my rides home from the office include more alley short cuts and diversions on the Lowside then when I ride other bikes.
Carry on and may your alleys be warned.
Get On One Now!
If you’re into the idea of a bruiser single speed with wide bars, big tires, and a bit of a different look, we’ve got a small amount of these hitting stock in the US now. If you want to see one today, the dealers listed below have them on their floors. As always, international and intergalactic availability and pricing will vary depending on your current whereabouts.
United States price - $1,200 for the complete bike. $600 for the frame. (international prices and availability may vary)
Rage Bicycles – Scottsdale, AZ
Pedal – Littleton, CO
City Bike Tampa – Tampa, FL
Loose Nuts Cycles – Atlanta, GA
Angry Catfish – Minneapolis, MN
Metropolis Cycle Repair – Portland, OR
Universal Cycles – Portland, OR
Thick Bikes – Pittsburgh, PA