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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

Designed to feast on the potholes and bumps found along neglected pavement, gravel, and aimless all-day rides, Midnight Special is a road-plus bike fine-tuned to pair up with 650bs and 700cs alike. It’s also lovingly furnished with an array of mounts so you can customize it with fenders, racks, and whatever accessories you have at your disposal. Versatile through and through, it’s basically a blank canvas for whatever demented dream you can cook up. QBP Sales Manager Adam Spears shows us how he made this Midnight Special his own.


Why Did You Choose Midnight Special?

I needed to add a Surly bike to the quiver. I have a Salsa Beargrease, a Pony Rustler, a Pinarello Dogma FS with a custom paint job — that’s a lifetime keeper. But when I saw the Midnight Special in its blue colorway [editor’s note: Perry Winkle’s Sparkle], I loved it immediately.

Right side view of a Surly Midnight Special Bike - Perry Winkle’s Sparkle - on a sidewalk alongside a pink stucco wall

I picked up cycling in my late 20s at the tail end of the Lance boom and became a leg-shaving wannabe road racer. I did road and crit racing in Texas for 7 or 8 years, then I did a few years of cross. Now I ride for fun and fitness, and this bike is perfect for that. I still shave my legs, though. I kinda like it. So does my wife.


What Kind of Riding Are You Doing With It?

My wife and I rode the Cannon River Trail to Red Wing, MN, this summer, where we visited a winery on the outskirts of town. Falconer Vineyards. We had a wine tasting and rode back to the car for a picnic.

Surly Midnight Special bike lying in grass with bottle of wine and cyclist rides down grass hill of vineyard

Mainly, though, it sees gravel and the river bottoms [editor’s note: Adam is talking about the Minnesota River Bottoms trails, located in the Twin Cities near Surly HQ]. It’s a blast, man. It’s definitely the heaviest bike I’ve ever run, but the trade-off is comfort and fun. Even when it got muddy as the floodwaters were receding this past spring, it handled everything like a champ.

I was planning to do a gravel race on it but that got postponed. Lately I’ve been thinking about doing a weekend trip, credit-card style. Ride along the Mississippi River down to Iowa, spend the night, and then ride back. Not bikepacking, because I want a bed to sleep in. So that ride seems like a good place to start.

This was also going to be a great bike for commuting. That all changed, but I’m still looking forward to adding racks and panniers so I can carry a change of clothes on that trip down the river.

Zoom in of Surly Midnight Special bike head tube area and top of Whisky CX forks with Teravail tire on Zapp 303 rim

What’s Your Favorite Piece of Customization So Far?

The Whisky CX Fork took some weight off the build — a good pound. It’s made the ride a bit more nimble. I love the SRAM AXS kit, too. No shifting cables, all-electric. I added those Problem Solvers things over the stops [editor’s note: Downtube Shifter Boss Covers]. I spray-painted them black because they’re only made in silver and black looked better with the cockpit, rims, and everything else.

Three-quarter view of Surly Midnight Special bike down tube - Whisky CX forks sporting Teravail tire on Zapp 303 rim

The TyreWiz air pressure sensor is pretty cool, too. You get a real-time air-pressure readout on a smartphone or Garmin head unit. You can be rolling down the road and think you have a flat. Then you see the pressure is holding steady and you don’t actually have a flat, you just have dead legs.


Here’s the Rundown on the Rest

This was the first time I did a frame-up build start to finish all by myself. Usually I get about 75 percent done and then I have to take it in for help, but not this time. Everything was pretty straightforward — I had it in the basement last January and knocked it out in a few weeks.

  • Teravail Washburn tires (650b x 47mm) paired with the stock Zipp 303 650b Firecrest wheelset
  • Zipp Service Course XPLR bars, stem, and seatpost
  • Cane Creek 40 Series
  • Mullet Build Force Levers, Eagle rear derailleur and cassette
  • Whisky carbon bottle cages
  • Garmin mount
  • Topo Designs handlebar bag
  • Salsa Tool Wrap

Two-Thirds view of  Surly Midnight Special bike with SRAM Force crankset - rear cassette and rear wheel set

Surly Midnight Special colored in Perry Winkle's Sparkle lying on left side on gravel road between corn fields

The great thing about Adam’s Midnight Special is that it’s set up to work for him and the kind of riding he likes to do.  If you’re jonesing to customize your own Surly in an entirely different way, hell yeah, that sounds like fun. Use hashtag #SurlyMakeItYourOwn on Instagram to show us how it turns out, and you may end up on this blog, internet-famous like the grumpy cat meme.

Thanks for sharing this build, Adam!


Interview conducted by: Brendan Kennealy