Surly is an odd bicycle company that makes versatile frames and bicycles “to make it your own”. Their motto is in line with the creative nature of some bike hackers who never tire of fiddling with their rides. This single speed specific frame has the geometry of an overgrown BMX mashed with a mountain bike. When Surly decided to retire the 1×1 Rat ride, the Lowside took its place as the single speed freak which can fit 26 or 27.5 inch tires.
If you love riding bikes, this bike when built up to YOUR standards is the perfect alt bike. This is the one parked outside for those quick store runs or take out rides. When you want to hang out with biker friends by the park, this is the go-to-bike for you. The slack and geometry of the Lowside (paired with the Surly Sunrise bar) gives you that relaxed yet aggressive stance which is ready for anything.
Klunker Not Klunker
Call it old school, but old school will always be cool. It might be nostalgia or whatever, but single speed, rigid chromoly is here to stay. The whole “soul” of the bike is the fact that it is capturing an era when riding was fun and raw. When your bike acts up, you fix it up yourself. The tools are simple and the skills are basic. You just have to remember, lefty: loosey, righty: tighty. Then you are good to go. The parts are simple, no derailleurs, no complicated wires and shifters.
The Lowside offers the best of both worlds by adjusting the size of the frame parts to modern standards. Thus, you may use old mountain bike parts you have lying around, and the hunt for parts is not that difficult.
So the Lowside can be dubbed as a “Klunker-Mod” build for we use a mix of Retro geometry dashed with Klunker inspired pieces mixed with modern hydraulic brakes.
The Surly Sunrise handle bar is the obvious choice for the Lowside due to the correct stance the bar offers for the Lowside. The Sunrise bar offers 22.2 clamping but when you buy the handle bar, it comes with a shim to make it adaptable for 31.8 modern MTB stems. We wanted to use a bling stem which would contrast the all black build, but opted for a touch of detail instead. We used the bottle cap stem cover so we can customize with a hardcore bottle cap.
Nothing more hardcore than the GSM Inc cap for the Ginebra San Miguel GIN. This is the true Filipino liquor. Shat!!!
The saddle is not your typical seat. It is a sofa! Bigger seat for various comfortable positions call for a big shout out to this Azonic saddle. Dirt jumpers usually drop the saddle flat to the frame so that the saddle won’t hit their bums when doing tricks. But for pedal position’s sake, we set the saddle height as such.
We got a kick out of Uno’s seat post.
Single speed bikes are the ones usually used for jumps and tricks. Thus, the pedals should be extra tough. What tough pedals to use than Shimano’s Flat Saint pedals? If these pedals can survive the abuse and spills of a “thrown around” bike, then these can definitely survive the Lowside.
Plus Two Thick Tires
These Vittorias are 26 x 2.3. They are just laced on super thick Surly Rabbit hole rims, thus their plus size appearance. We just love the Tattoo Light pattern that is why we chose these tires for the Lowside build. It complimented the overgrown BMX look of the bike.
We used the Surly rim tape for the wheelset and Shimano (142 x 10) for the rear hub while SRAM for the front hub. 26 x 2.5 Maxxis Downhill inner tubes were purchased for both wheels.
Pizz bottom bracket, paired with alloy Fireeye cranks (34 teeth), topped with Shimano Saint pedals make up the crank department. We got the Izumi Jet black chain (from Japan) and the rear sprocket runs 17 teeth with spacers.
We love the Izumi chain with the gold missing link. It matches with the gold accent of the Saint pedals.
How Does It Ride?
The Surly Lowside rides like a fine, comfortable, single speed cruiser. The high rise handlebar gives the biker a relaxed stance, plus the stable wheelset offers a smooth hassle free cruise. If you huck it, it will obey. The super wide Sunrise handlebar makes controlling the bicycle easy and fun. When you mash the pedal for speed, it immediately accelerates and gives you velocity for that jump or whatever you need speed for. The cromoly Surly frame and fork quietly bends so the bike is weirdly flexible.
However fun the Surly Lowside is, this bike is not for everyone. It is for the elite and misfit. It’s single speed heritage changes the ride and how you mount this steed. It is the perfect bike for the chosen few, I just don’t know WHO. ======>