Friday, May 06, 2011

Custom Bicycle Build: Jim's Surly Troll

This is the second Surly Troll we've built this spring for a guy named Jim.  Both of them are some of our favorite people here at Milltown, and the bikes are built right in line with parts and ideals we really like.


Jim wanted us to build him a bike very similar to his Big Dummy.  As with many of our frame up builds, this one starts with a great frame, the Troll, and great wheels.  Jim wanted an balanced seating position, durable yet light drive train parts, and an orange Brooks saddle.  All things easily done, and a heck of a package deal.  The bike will serve a few duties, from Jim's intro into mtb riding, to gravel and commuting.  It will round out his stable of his beloved, (formerly mine,) Surly Big Dummy, and a knobbie tired Steamroller very well!


The wheels in this case are build around DT's mid-level 370 hubs.  These are the same hubs that we built Matt's race wheels with a few weeks ago, and I am just as happy with them on this set.  They roll really well, they come with a normal steel cassette friendly freehub body, and the pawls work and sound great when riding.  We built these a little stouter than those wheels, starting with DT's medium weight XR 480 rims.  These are nice and wide at 28mm, and support tires very well.  They weigh right around 480gms, (clever name,) and they built up great.  The spokes we used are those Sapim Force butted spokes I like so much.  This combo should roll forever, and require very little maintenence.  They are show with Bontrager XDX 2.1" tires, some of my all time favorites for mixed condition mtb riding locally. 

Lots of sensible parts round out the cockpit and controls.  Ergon grips and a Surly Open bar provide a lot of stable comfort.  Brakes from Avid and Paul Thumbie shifters make for a great looking, wonderful performing set up.  This is the same set up as Jim's Dummy so transitioning from bike to bike will be quite easy.

The drivetrain is a mix of Shimano Hone and SLX parts.  These blend weight, price and performance really well.  They will be serviceable for years, and look great against the orange color of the bike.  The red and white decals on the hubs and rims really make the bike pop.   

This is a great bike.  We are excited to get Jim out mountain biking with us, and we're happy to have been able to get him a bike that should suit his needs really well. Stop by next Tuesday night if you'd like to see this bike in action!


Doug Idaho said...

Looks great. I enjoy these bike build posts....keep em coming.

Ben said...

Thanks Doug! I love building the bikes for these posts, need one?

Jesse S said...

Why start with a Troll frame instead of a Fargo for this use case?

Ben said...

Jim wanted a bike that would allow him to swap wheels and part if need be with his Big Dummy. 26" wheels and like parts steered the direction towards the Troll. Also, he likes orange, a lot.

The Troll is a great bike for this purpose.

James Fisher said...

Troll vs Fargo. I went with the Troll for a couple reasons. Drop-outs, braze-ons and ability to swap parts on my Dummy. Additionally I am into my utility vehicles (see my April 2 posting on I Love My Big Dummy FaceBook site ) and see the Troll as a Subaru and my Dummy as the Suburban. Also, I have developed a bit of brand loyalty (this is my 3rd Surly). Then of course there is the colour issue... Just love it. Rides great, it was even fun dumping it on my first ride. Thanks Ben, although it is getting tough to decide which one to ride now I am delighted with how it came together.

FTMN said...

That's a really cool bike James! Nice work Ben!

I just installed a Surly Open Bar w/ Ergon grips on my 1x1, and it took a little experimentation to get the set-up right. In the end the angle of the bars and the angle of the grips was much flatter than I had expected. How are your bars/grips set up?

James Fisher said...

On my BD the bars are at about seat level, pretty much flat. On the Troll Ben recommended a set up slightly below the seat for better weight distribution on trails. Ergo grips do end up at a flatter position than one would think, I don't quite understand why but believe it has to do with bar end angle. Had to play with it for awhile. I will see if Ben can put up some close ups for you.

grandy said...

Hi- I am building up a new Troll with standard 3x9 derailer gearing (the Rohloff hub will have to wait until I win the lottery). I have seen lots of images, but no discussion as where to locate your QR hub in the Troll dropouts. Most pics have the hubs slid all the way forward, but I thought Monkey Nuts might put the hub in a better position in relation to the rear derailer. Your thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Ben said...

Grandy, thanks for the reply. I would put it all the way forward myself. There will be no shifting function affected by the wheel placement. You could use Monkey Nuts to tune the chainstay length if you would like. Their use would slow the handling down a bit due to the slightly longer chianstay length. Personally I don't feel they are needed.