The Krampus, right? First off, a hearty thank you to those of you who have expressed excitement for the newest member of our not-so-mainstream bicycle model family. We have been having a crap-ton of fun on the prototypes and we think you'll enjoy the production stuff when it's available. The Krampus is a slight departure from things we've done before, but retains all of the salty-sweet Surly goodness that you've come to expect from us. It floats like a butterfly and stings like a very large and hostile bee.
So, what's the scoop on it generally? Is it a fatbike? Is it a Karate Monkey with bigger sausages? It's not either of those, but it is also too, and MORE. When pressed (and I mean I sat on his chest), Thor had this to say:
"The Krampus is a mountain bike….. with more traction, a smoother ride, and better geometry for high speed. The benefit over a fat bike is that this bike uses normal stuff and it doesn’t HAVE to be built like anything special. The bike is nimble like a regular 29er, but confidence inspiring like a fatbike.
The Pugsley makes me want to shift down in to the granny ring and see how much shit I can run over/go through. The Krampus makes me want to up shift, hit the first chunk of shit, and try to jump the rest of the crap. Lean back, hang on, and ride that wild horse."
Thor has a way with the words. He is also fast. He's also never owned a set of clipless pedals in his life.
So, that's what it's about in a 29+ nutshell. Oh, so that... the 29+ thing. This is a 29er. The wheels are 700c - 622 ISO - and will take tires that fit that standard. This is not some new standard for which you'll have to go on a compatible parts vision quest.
What follows is a collection of questions we've either heard, read, had read to us, or heard people read near us. We think your questions are important, so we'll answer them. That's our job, right? Or is it getting liquored up? I can never remember.
1. When will it be available?
We're looking at December or so on Krampus framesets, Rabbit Hole rims, and Knard (pronounced "nard") tires. We don't have MSRP amounts on those individually just yet, but we will in a month or so. The complete bikes will be available in early Spring of 2013. Those will probably go for about $1950.
2. What color will it be?
The sparkly bass-boat green that you see here is the stock color. It is dazzling and might help you catch more fish.
3. How much does it weigh?
The complete bike will weigh about 30lbs give or take. We are thinking of pouring molten lead into the frame tubes just to assure everyone that Surly frames are, indeed, way too heavy to ride.
4. What kinda parts does it work with?
The Krampus will use a 73mm bottom bracket, 100mm front wheel spacing, and 135mm rear wheel spacing - neither wheel is offset like the Pugsley. 27.2mm seatpost, regular 51mm IS disc brake mounts (front on the front and rear on the rear), and it would prefer that you listen to either Red Fang or Leo Sayer while you build it up - don't ask, just play that shit. It will also use a 44mm headtube, so EC44 lower cups and a zero stack top. Yes, I said that. The front derailleur will have to be a direct mount and the clamp adapter will be included with the frame. The rear dropouts are our reg'ler fork-end-with-der-mount, so yinz single speeders are still in luck.
5. Can I run a front derailleur and a multiple ring crankset?
Yes and no. Here's where the "normal parts" and the "bigass tires" want to fight a little bit. We are going to spec the complete bike with a single ring up front and ten cogs in back. The single ring is the easy, cost-effective, and very neat way to run this. With a single ring you can run any mountain crankset you like that will work with the 73mm bb shell. Done and done.
You can also run a mountain double or triple crank if you like, but you'll be getting into some tire rub in the smaller gears. You can do a couple of things to counter that (same as you would on a Pug with Rolling Darryls, or on a Moonlander). You could live with the marginal amount of suckiness that would bring to your existence, or you could rid yourself of the smaller cogs of your cassette and run some spacers behind the remaining larger cogs. That will give you access to the climbey gears at the expense of the speedy ones. I cannot remember the last time I was in a 44-11, but that's just me.
Thirdly (or C) you can run an offset double crank not at all unlike our Mr. Whirly offset double (again, like the Neck Romancer or Moonlander) or the new O.D. crank that Bob so deftly explained on Tuesday of this week.
6. What sizes does it come in?
Stop ending your sentences with prepositions. The Krampus will be sized a bit differently than our other mountain bicycles. Traditionally, we've gone the 16", 18", 20", and 22" size route with these (with the addition of a few 14" sizes and a 24"). That measurement is taken from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the top tube where it meets the seat tube (or, in the last few years, where the gusset tube meets the seat tube.)
The Krampus is sized differently because it has a real tall fork. If we did our regular sizing, the standover would be too tall for the size and confusion would set in, follwed by pitchforks and torches. As such, we've taken to calling the Krampus small, medium, large, and extra-large. We're going to add that bit of creative wordlieness to our other models too, so generally if you ride a 22" extra large Karate Monkey (like myself), you'll also be wanting to get an extra large Krampus (only, the Krampus seat tube will be a scosh shorter than 22") - get it? Of course you do.
7. When do we get to look at the geometry?
Pretty soon. For now, this is what you want to know. The Krampus is long in the top tube and optimized for short stems and wide bars - and we mean it people! We're going to be specing (there's no good way to spell that word by the way) a 780mm wide handlebar on the complete, so hang on tight. The whole idea is to get the ass end nice and short, the front end long, and to have the whole thing respond nimbly. It should read your thoughts as you open up the throttle and will aid you in your quest to corner and flow. Trust us. We have degrees in getting stupid.
8. What works with what and where?
As we've alluded to in various other spots, you can do lots of things with your tinker gene and the Krampus bits. If you run a Karate Monkey or Ogre now, you can run a full on Krampus front wheel all up in there. You can run a Rabbit Hole (more on her tomorrow by the way) rim on the rear end of your Karate Monkey with a 2.4" tire. You can get a Krampus frameset and swap your 29er parts over onto it and go nuts. Tomorrow's blog will go into more details on tire and rim combo measurements, then you can get out your slide rule and figure out if something will work on your rig.
Check this out too - you can run Rabbit Hole rims with Knard 3.0 tires on your Puglsey. The Rabbit hole will build up offset very nicely for the Pug. We don't recommend building them up with the flamtastic (just made that up right here) 28mm offset that the Moonlander sports, but you really can't have everything. This allows the "summer wheels" that some people want for the Pug, but as more and more people are discovering - the Pug and the Moonlander do just fine in the dirt with the wheels they gots, so does it even matter? That's up to you.
9. Can I run a suspension fork on the Krampus?
No. Well, mostly no. You could certainly carry one under your arm if you like. There isn't clearance for the Knard on most forks in the bridge regions - she's a tall tire friends. And even if you do get one that just barely clears, that ain't enough in our book to say it works. We don't recommend it. Hopefully, we can talk Trevor into sleeping around with the fork folks in Vegas at Interbike. Maybe that will lead to something other than a bad rash. This would be a good place to mention that the rigid fork is 120mm suspension corrected.
10. Will a Lefty fork work with the Krampus?
I have no freaking idea.
That's sort of the deal for now. Like I said, we'll give you some more info on the rims and tires tomorrow.
Look, I know that the world of bicycles is rife with hyperbole and straight up bullshit. "This thing will make you faster" and "If you don't buy this, you're an idiot." I've been doing this for a pretty long time and I've got a thick layer of cynicism that blankets my very being like an aura. That said, the Krampus is a really really fun bike to ride. That was the bulk of the design criteria. As with all things, it's probably not for everyone, but I do think lots of you are going to be glad this happened. I am.