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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

Ahh the Pack Rat. Often overlooked in our lineup, this front-loading, light touring bike is truthfully one of our favorite models around the Surly office. So when Daniel Gurwin of Pittsburgh, PA (@danielgurwin if you're on the Instagram) sent us some photos of his newly built bike, we knew we needed to share them with you (I'm mean, we don't NEED to but we felt it'd be selfish if we didn't.) We also asked him a few quick questions about the bike to dig a little deeper into his mind and explore how he made it his own. 

Why did you choose Pack Rat?

I chose the Pack Rat for a couple of reasons. I prefer a front-load for city riding, and having a purpose-built front loader that would handle well with a heavy basket makes for a super convenient daily commuter. The second reason I chose it was for the 26” wheels in my smaller frame size (50cm). Fun, nimble, and proportionate. Love the sparkle grey, too.

Right side view of Surly Pack Rat bike in the grass with a tree covered hill to the left

Right side view of Surly Pack Rat bike handle bars with storage bag with barbed wiring wrapped around them

Right side angle view of Surly Pack Rat bike loaded with gear, leaning on a tree in the woods

Right side view of the back half of a Surly Pack Rat bike with gear, in the woods

Rear end of Surly Pack Rat bike, showing seat stay with brake and tire, and a cup clipped to a seat bag

Right side view of Surly Pack Rat bike loaded with gear, leaning against a red brick wall on a sidewalk

What’s your favorite piece of customization you’ve done to your bike so far?

The crank is a '90s White Industries, the only vintage piece we started with. It gives it a lot of its spirit. I also think the basket is essential. Cheap and common, but it changes the entire bike. Having a basket is what my Pack Rat is all about. 

Right side view of a Surly Pack Rat bike loaded with gear, on a gravel trail in the woods

What’s your favorite local bike shop?

Golden Triangle Bike, Pittsburgh! I also got my Nittany Mountain Works bags from Kindred Cycles, another super sick shop in Pittsburgh. 

Zoom in of a bike, showing the pedal and seat tube with a Golden Triangle Bike sticker

Here’s the rundown on the rest:

Bike was built by Bryan Heller ( @brysgarage ) at Golden Triangle Bike ( @gtbikepgh )

- Wheels are hand built from VO rims and hubs.

- Bars, headset: Velo Orange

- Stem and tires: SimWorks

- Levers, brakes, seat post, thumbie: Paul Components

- Racks: Nitto and Tubus

- Bags by Rivendell, Acorn Bags, Nittany Mountain Works

- Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur and dura-ace thumbie.

That’s it for now. Hopefully this build will inspire a few of you out there customize your bike to work for you and the type of riding you want to do. After all, we’re all unique individuals, why should we ride identical bikes? Thanks again for sharing this beaut, Daniel! 

About Daniel Steel

Dan Rasmussen a.k.a. Daniel Steel

Dan is Surly’s Marketing Manager, which is our fancy title for propagandist. He knows how to use Google really well — and not just to find out if bees feel fear or where all the cowboys went! He spends his days looking at numbers and data and other stuff we don’t fully understand. He can probably even figure out where each of you live, so be nice to Dan. His hobbies include cross-country skiing, hair growing, and eating gjetost. If you don’t know what gjetost is, ask Dan to Google it for you.