In life, to move forward often requires breaking things down to their core essence and then building them back up. The Ice Cream Truck had been around for a bit. Introduced at Frostbike in 2014, the core frame has not changed in several years — which is to be expected from Surly. We don’t often change things, but the ICT needed some details addressed. Today, I am excited to walk you through those changes and the motivation behind them.
When revisiting the ICT, Surly moved on from just thinking about fat bikes as, well, fat bikes. For a while, we classified all of our offerings as “Omniterra” — which is fitting. Loosely translated to “many earths,” it was intended to speak to the fact that our bikes are designed for many types of terrain but also for transcending the multiverse and shredding up trails across multiple iterations of what Earth might be…
Ok. The ICT at its core is a modern trail bike, designed for modern trails. Technical terrain, rocks, roots, jumps, berms… you get it. Its fit and handling are suitable for riding off road trails at speed and over obstacles.
OK, but what’s new?
The Ice Cream Truck Now Comes in Four Sizes
We’ve updated the size offerings from 6 [XS-XXL] to 4 [S-XL]. XS didn’t really see a lot of sales. For someone at the 5’ height range, the wide Q-factor needed for a bike w/ 5” tire clearance [yes, full 5”, but more on that later] can be a hinderance. The ergonomics just don’t work. On the large side, yes, we dropped the XXL. But the XL is now bigger and fits a bigger range. We found that after we added XXL to our size line up, both consumers, as well as shops, had a hard time identifying which size would be needed for a given rider. So, going forward: XL gets a longer toptube, taller headtube and generally covers most of the size range of XL and XXL. Also, size Large gets a little longer toptube and slightly taller headtube, while still fitting “L” size riders well. If you were on the cusp of L or XL – now the L is the clear choice. Our goal is better fitting bikes and a clear choice of which size should be for you.
This is a big change for some. For others it may be an obvious “of course they changed that”. The MDS system is gone in favor of the simpler, more cost-effective Wednesday style universal dropout. It covers pretty much all your needs and is much more straightforward. With the use of 10/12 Adaptor Washers – a ton of hub and drivetrain options await.
Chain Stay Length
ICT is a trail-forward fat bike. Or rather, ICT is a trail-forward bike that fits the biggest tires on the market. Either way you would like to classify it, it has modern mountain bike geometry and handling. Think longer toptube, shorter stem, wide bars, and slack headtube. It’s lively and playful at full speed, but still suitable for churning through the slow stuff. It can session your local trail loop before or after work, but also go exploring those jeep roads and creek crossings you encounter. Just because we’ve tuned the ride to be lively on technical trail, doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about still being balanced enough for slugging and crawling in the soft stuff. And if you like a longer RC, the dropouts allow you to pull that wheel back and tune it for your riding. We also shortened the chainstays to 440mm. For reference, the old chainstay length was 450mm.
We’ve updated the seattube on the ICT to a bent 30.9 inner diameter tube. The bent seattube helped us increase the tire clearance [more later, promise] and shorten the chainstays as mentioned above. We’ve used this style seattube on the updated Karate Monkey and Krampus and is part of the recipe for our trail bike geometry. In addition, we’ve added provisions for stealth dropper post cable routing.
New Bottom Bracket Shell
ICT now has a threaded bottom bracket. Ok, if you’ve ever wanted to personally tell me “I told you so” this is not the place. Yes, we are moving away from a press-fit style BB, but it is not because the PF-style BB failed to live up to our expectations. Seriously. The number of legitimate complaints of BB issues is tiny. We are switching because a normal 100mm BB shell [I never thought I would type normal and 100mm BB shell in the same sentence] just gives you, the customer, more crank options. Speaking of crank options, we’re spec’ing a Race Face crank this year, with a direct mount 1x ring.
We’ve increased the tire clearance on the new generation of ICT. It fits 26” x 5.1” tires no problem, but also 27.5” x4.5” and 29” x 3.5” as well. Every bike we’ve ever produced has had FFF™ on the chainstay [except the Big Dummy and BFD because well, they don’t have “normal” chainstays.] We love big tires at Surly and for every bike in its given application, we’ve strived to offer the most tire clearance reasonably allowable. Steel bikes themselves are quite compliant and comfortable and high-volume tires only add to that, reducing low frequency vibration and taking the edge off of bumps. What it comes down to is big tires contribute to a more enjoyable ride. We don’t want our frames or forks to reduce your options to go all the way. Plus, big tires have more traction and generally just look cool.
Aftermarket Fork Compatibility
The new ICT is compatible with up to the 140mm travel Manitou Mastodon suspension fork. While we were making all these other updates, it seemed reasonable to tune the frame tubes [top tube, down tube and the head tube] and geometry to keep up with suspension fork compatibility as well. “Suspension on a snow bike, what the f#CK! are you thinking Surly” might be your response. But remember, the Ice Cream Truck is so much more than just a “snow bike, they are also suitable for proper trail riding.
Complete Bike Spec
Complete bikes are now spec’d stock with a 1x Drivetrain. With less parts to wear out or need adjustment, wide range 1x drivetrains are way more suitable and reliable than a 2x system. We kept the SRAM hydraulic brakes because the DOT fluid SRAM uses has a wider operational temperature range than mineral fluid. So, if you are using this bike in the cold, snowy, winterly bliss, your brakes won’t feel gummy and should provide you all the stopping power you need.
The Other Stuff
For more images and the all the steely details, head on over to the Ice Cream Truck bike page.
The Ice Cream Truck retails for $2,000 USD and will be available to order from your local bike shop in mid-August, 2018. International prices and availability may vary, so check with your local bike shop or distributor to get the low-down.