Surly Pugsley on Tour

15 04 2009
My fat tire friend...

My fat tire friend...

I posted some thoughts about using a Pugsley for touring on my Bow Cycle blog as well as a review of my Pugsley.  I started a thread over at Crazyguyonabike to discuss this idea and got the response below from Matt that I thought you might find interesting.

“Just saw this thread and thought I’d add a couple of comments, since I’ve logged 5000+ miles touring on a Pugsley. About 4300 of those were from Seattle to Mexico via the Trans Canada Trail and the Great Divide Route, mostly off the pavement. Prior to touring on the Puglsey, I toured several thousand miles around North America, Central America, and Eastern Europe on various other types of bikes, including a Greenspeed recumbent trike.

First, for off-pavement touring, the Endomorphs make for an extremely comfortable ride. I think on most unpaved surfaces, I can actually sustain a faster pace with less effort than any other bike I’ve ridden, since the tires just tend to float over loose gravel, potholes, washboard and the like without slowing down as much as skinnier tires would. And definitely more comfortable than any other bike I’ve ridden for day after day off the pavement. I’ve also found with the Endomorphs at 20-30 PSI the Pugsley isn’t really noticeably slower on the pavement than a normal bike with wide Marathon XRs or similar tires.

Also, you can use other tires besides the Endomorphs on the Large Marge rims. I’ve personally used Schwalbe Big Apples(26×2.35), Schwalbe SuperMotos (similar to the Big Apples, 26×2.35), and Schwalbe Marathon XRs (26×2.25). The bike looks a bit funny with those “skinny” tires mounted, but still rides well. Those tires do lower the bike a couple of inches, so you have to worry more about pedal strike on corners or in rough terrain, but that is the only real issue I’ve found other than the weird looks. So really, you don’t even need a separate set of 29er wheels, just a spare set of wide 26″ tires. I’d suspect in a pinch, you could probably use a standard 26×2.1″ mountain bike tire, though I’ve never actually tried it.

On the TCT+GDR trip, I carried a spare set of folding tires, and ended up using them for maybe about 500 miles or so total. If you’ll be on the pavement for a while and want to save some wear on the Endomorphs, just throw on the other set of tires. Oh, BTW, my Endomorphs were new at the beginning of the TCT+GDR trip, and pretty much bald and ready to be replaced by the time I hit Mexico.

Having the option of riding across sand, snow, loose gravel, and other surfaces that might be impossible to ride on a normal bike is also really nice and gives you more options when touring.