Building an apocalypse-proof, off-road touring bike: The Surly Troll

It’s been about a year since I started planning a burly bike build for a big trip. After looking at a lot of bikes on various blogs and forums, I found the one that would perfectly suit my style of riding. Enter the Surly Troll, the ideal bike for off-the-beaten-path touring…

The Surly Troll—the perfect frame for off the beaten path touring for five reasons: 1) 4130 CroMoly has a little flex and may be easily brazed for modifications or repairs; 2) 26″ tires and tubes are fairly easy to come by, in most countries; 3) it has the swiss-army knife of slot-dropouts (for a Rohloff, trailer or whatever); 4) all of the braze-ons and rack-bosses you can swing a dead cat at; 5) if you are like me and prefer dirt to pavement, the Trolls geometry is perfect. I was initially looking at the Long-haul Trucker (I even owned one for a short stint), but being a mountain-biker I feel like I am slightly more comfortable positioned upright with a slacker geometry.

Surly Troll Rohloff, Touring Bike

I am still fine-tuning the cockpit, but here is a pretty close build-list:

  • Frame: 20″ Surly Troll (custom paint RAL 6020)
  • Rear Hub: Rohloff Speedhub 500/14
  • Front Hub: Phil Wood Disc
  • Wheels: Velocity Cliff Hangers laced by CycleMonkey
  • Cranks: Shimano Deore LX (oldschool and bulletproof)
  • Ring: Surly Stainless 38t
  • Chain: Wippermann 808
  • Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 2.15″
  • Bottom Bracket: SKF
  • Brakes: Avid BB7 / Avid Ultimate levers
  • Headset: Chris King Nothreadset
  • Handlebar: Kona bar or Easton EA70
  • Stem: Easton EA70
  • Saddle: Selle Anatomica Titanico
  • Seatpost: Easton Havoc
  • Pedals: Shimano PD-M324
  • Front Rack: Old Man Mountain Pioneer
  • Rear Rack: Tubus Locc
Touring Bike Headbadge
An nice vintage ‘Roamer’ head badge!

Edited to add more pics:

Surly Troll Bike Touring Set Up - Carradice Panniers, Old Man Mountain
Loaded with Carradice panniers on a Tubus rear rack and on Old Man Mountain front rack.

Surly Longhaul Trucker and Surly Troll
My Troll on Ometepe parked next to Lee’s Troll.

Surly Troll - bike touring
Virginia’s Troll in Mexico.

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