Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

Pal Paul in S. Africa has just purchased a Karate Monkey. He had some questions about Dingle drivetrains (2 rings, 2 cogs, no shifting). I mentioned that his 8 tooth differential was probably overkill, and that in my experience running a 4 tooth total differential (34/32t rings and 16/18t cogs, for example) should be more than enough. Of course, I've never been to his part of the world. Paul writes: "I know I'm always telling you how extreme stuff is here (and I have a few stories at the moment) but listen here. This time of year our strong southeasters start up. Occasionally we have a Black Southeaster which brings inclement weather too. Today was one of those. Winds up to 75km/h, right into my face on the way to work. I had to dismount and use the sidewalk at one point ‘cos there was so much shit blowing in my face. I thought the ride home would be like stepping out into the road and being blown most of the way home. It was not to be. I had to take a slip road between two parallel main routes, and the wind was channeled right at me between tall buildings. I saw a guy approach me on foot battling to hold his line, and I thought he was hamming it up. Then I was blown to a stop against the sidewalk. I dismounted and tried to walk across the road to cross the intersection on foot. The wind blew the bike right off the ground and I had to hang onto it with my bad hand on the stem as it flapped around like a bin liner. I managed to talk her down though, pointed the nose downwind on the other road and sailed home. True story." O.K., I stand corrected. We here at Surly Intergalactic HQ Central Towers and Dog Grooming have been getting a lot more spams lately, most centered around services and products designed (as one spam promised) to "turn your stick into a skyscraper". That's pretty normal, but the last year or two has also shown a big increase in unsolicited sales feelers from people who are not familiar with our company and simply want a piece of the action. Do we need inflatable logo-covered pillars that light up? Do we need attention getting flags that look exactly like everybody else's attention getting flags? You'd think I'd be more open to this stuff because business is all about opportunity, right? Well, right? Ug, I just can't stomach it. So to all those leeches who smell the blood in water, who want to buy us dinner if we'll listen to them convince themselves we need their services, all I can say is everybody wants some, but be careful what you wish for. On the flip side, however, we also hear from people like Rob, people who DO ride, and who paid good money to find out that we make stuff they like using and did not require logo-covered crap to convince them: "Hi, My name is Rob Barton and I recently returned home to Australia after riding my Surly Long Haul Trucker 3000kms through Alaska with two friends. We all had Long Hauls and firstly I would just like to thank you for creating what is probably the most dependable bike in the world. Apart from the expected occasional flat tyre, we didn't encounter even one mechanical problem with our Surlys , even along 666kms (devil number?) of the dreaded Dalton Highway. They are simply awesome. I am currently putting together a photo exhibition of our trip, to be held as part of the Bicycle Film Festival in Sydney next week. Just thought it could be a way to say thank you for the amazing bike. Cheers again guys, Rob" Thanks Rob! Sounds like a kick ass trip. Beats the crap out of sitting at a desk telling sales people NO. That's it for today people. Carry on. -----