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Big Easy Introduction Spewage

Today is the Big Day. The “BIG” day. Get it. The Big Easy electric cargo bike is ready for its public debut.

Here at Surly Bikes, we think cargo bikes are great. They allow you to haul more stuff than a traditional bike. Including passengers. In some cases, though, you can overload the bike. It is entirely possible to load up a standard cargo bike where the weight of the whole rig exceeds the fitness or abilities of the operator. Today, we’re going to go over the newest Surly cargo bike, the Big Easy, which intends to address this.

Big Easy shares a lot of design with the Big Dummy. The primary difference is that the Big Easy is a Bosch equipped electric bike. Though, we did revisit handling and fit geometry. The fork has been updated, as well as tubing thickness were reviewed and updated.

Our goals when working on the Big Easy were to maintain the great handling of the Big Dummy. We like longtail cargo bikes as they are easy to load with the large bags mounted to an extended deck and rack. In addition, they tend to ride well. The Big Dummy is known to “Ride Like A Bike”, which is a good thing. Some cargo bikes can have unique handling to them, unlike a traditional bike. For us, the ride is important. If the bike rides great, you’ll ride it more often. And with more confidence.

Here at Surly HQ we’ve experimented with e-assist in the past. We’ve experimented by modifying our Big Dummies with Stoke monkeys and BionX hub motors. These solutions are convenient because we can just add them on to our existing rigs. The issue is that they have limitations in terms of power and range. As well as maintenance. Speaking from personal experience, the Stokemonkey was amazing on my Freeradicaled 1x1 cargo rig, but the whole thing was an exquisite corpse of shoe-horned arm-chair engineering. A real hot mess. It needed to have all its hardware checked frequently. And because it was one bolt-on upgrade on top of another, it lacked a rolled-up cohesiveness and refinement of a purpose-built rig.

Bosch Drive Unit

For the Big Easy, we’ve partnered with Bosch. We’ve designed Big Easy around the Bosch Performance CX drive unit and a PowerPack 500 battery. This drive unit is the most powerful [75NM of torque] of their drive units. The Bosch system is intuitive. Once it’s turned on, when you pedal, it provides support. When you stop pedaling, the additional support the drive unit provides stops. The Bosch system really shines here. The support [especially in TURBO mode] is noticeable and impactful. But when you stop pedaling, it reacts incredibly fast. There is also a cut off limit of 20mph. such that as you get closer to 20mph, the system reduces its support. At 20mph the system no longer provides support. Sure, but why? The 20mph support cut-off means that the Surly Big Easy is a Class 1 vehicle. Which, in legal terms, defines it as a bike. Class 1 electric bikes generally have all the same access, rules and regulations as standard bikes. That being said, make sure to check with your local government to ensure you’re operating your Big Easy legally.

In addition to the stock PowerPack 500 battery, you can add a second battery should you be interested in expanding the range of the Big Easy. All the hardware, wiring, and an extra lock core [keyed the same as the primary battery for your security convenience]. One note – when charging your Big Easy, if you’ve upgraded to the Dual Battery set up – only plug one battery in at a time. The Bosch system will charge both concurrently.  

Sizing and Fit

We've built Big Easy in three sizes. Small, medium, and large. Very similar to our Big Fat Dummy size scheme.  Like our trail bikes, Big Easy also features stealth dropper post routing, should you want to go that route as you dial in and make your Big Easy your own. When there are a variety of users sharing one Big Easy, being able to quickly adjust the saddle height is a nice option. It's also nice to get that saddle out of the way when getting on and off a heavily loaded bike, should you want to make that an upgrade. As well, when navigating traffic, being able to get flat footed and seated may be something you want. Dropper post can help with all these situations.

Big Easy is available as a complete bike only. The frame only works with the Bosch electric assist bike system. Bosch restricts how their drive units can be sold, as such, offering only framesets would be of no value, you would not be able to purchase the Bosch Drive Unit aftermarket. In addition to our own inhouse testing and evaluation process, we use a 3rd party test lab to run a host of domestic and international qualification testing on the whole bike, as well as the components. This ensures not only does the bike work well and is safe, but it’s also in accordance with any existing governing bodies expectations.

Parts Kit

The Big Easy has a different part spec in many cases than our standard Big Dummy. We include Tektro 4 Piston hydraulic brakes. Tektro does a great job designing, testing, and manufacturing their brakes. Specifically, they have evaluated these brakes in an electric assist cargo bike use case. Which is great. they work well and Tektro has tested and evaluated these brakes specifically how we want you to use them with the Big Easy. The headset included is a damping headset from Cane Creek. This small part helps balance the ride and deliver smooth and predictable handling, especially as you load your Big Easy up with cargo or wiggly passengers. We’ve included Tubeless ready 26x2.5” Extraterrestrial tires on a WTB TCS rim. The tire features anti-puncture cap and cut resistant sidewalls. The high volume adds to the overall ride experience as well.

True to form, the Big Easy like all Surly bikes is ready for fenders, and front racks; should you wish to upgrade. The Bosch Performance CX Drive unit also has two powered mounting ports, should you want to upgrade and add front and/or rear running lights to it. They sell wiring kits that work with a host of AM light options. It also works with our Bill and Ted Trailers for really pushing what is possible to haul by bike.

Big Easy. For some, this is exactly what you have been looking for. A highly capable rig, that expands how you will ride your bike, increase the frequency in which you’ll try and do more on your ride, and potentially add passengers to your route. We’re excited to see just how you will use your Big Easy and all the crazy stuff you’ll haul with it. Our goal is that it helps you expand what is possible by bike. Get out of the car and ride more often, with more stuff.

Where and When Can I Get One?

At the time of writing this, these Dealers believe in Big Easy too. They've pre-ordered Big Easy and have bikes en route to their locations, and in some cases may have already assembled them. Some may have not received them when you’re reading this; but these bike shops should be where you check first if you want to check out the Big Easy in person. That said, by the end of February any Surly dealer that is in the U.S. can order you one, so check out our handy dealer locator tool.  
Please note that at this time the Big Easy is only available in the U.S.





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About Atom

Adam Scholtes a.k.a. Atom

Adam’s job is to spec components on our complete bikes, determine product standards and direction, and to oversee Surly’s vast array of enginerds, not to mention all the other things that come with being a manager, such as budgets, planning, planning budgets, endless meetings, and constant defense of his reasoning. He drinks coffee all the time, brews his own beer, and is singlehandedly constructing entire portions of his house.

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