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.




5 responses

15 04 2009

Vik, I just started bike camping/touring two years ago. My first ever overnight trip on a bicycle was done on my Pugsley. It was 120 miles mostly off-road. I found the Pugsley to be very comfortable for all day riding with panniers.

16 04 2009

The argument that the Pugsley is too slow on pavement is a bit of a red herring.
For me, I ride about 150 km per day on the Pugsley loaded for touring. I do about 200 on a touring bike. As soon as I have to push the touring bike, I slow down to about 30km per day. With the Pugsley, I could more than likely still make 100km.
So, if I went on a tour of 500 km and 100 km of it was unrideable on the touring bike, I would take 5 days on the touring bike (3 pushing) and 3.5 days (riding) on a Pugsley.
This is why guys who can climb win races. You are only as fast as your slowest days.
Also, even at highway pressure, the Pugs tires take a lot of the jarring out of the ride and help prevent tour-ending damage to racks and body parts.

16 04 2009

it’s really nice to hear that Pugsley is doing well as an expedition tourer.
Currently I’m preparing myself for a solo bike expedition in Africa that will start in Autumn ’09 and will last 2-3 years.
For a while now I have been positive that the Pugsley would be good choice for that kind of expedition, but since there is no Surly dealer in my country and I’ll need to ship it from abroad, there is no chance for a test ride or whatsoever.
So thanks again for sharing all your thoughts about the Pugsley, they are really helpful.

3 12 2010

I think the expedition touring problem with the pugs will be the tire wear and flats. I don’t know how well the tires will do with bad roads containing sharp objects and how well they will do in terms of holding up. Replacing a gashed 26″ tire isn’t hard. Replacing a pug tire and/or tube will be a real pain outside the U.S. For U.S. touring it’s not such a problem. This is just conjecture on my part but something I’d consider before I did a serious tour outside the U.S. I just bought my pug and look forward to doing some local off-hwy touring.

3 12 2010

As Matt notes you can use 26″ tires on the Large Marge rims. I wouldn’t embark on a long paved road tour with Endomorph’s

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