Surly Troll Gravel Touring

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#1
I recently sold my Bike Friday folder and bought a Surly Troll. I realized that I enjoy being on the back roads way more than fighting with automobile traffic/exhaust/noise, and the Troll is built for “gravel touring”. With fatter tires (2.5” on mine, but you can go fatter), it plows through the gravel with ease, handles single-track, and will speed you along on pavement.

It’s so damn versatile with mounts and braze-ons everywhere. I can put on thinner/faster road tires, switch from disc to rim brakes, put on racks for road touring, or set it up for ultra-light bike-packing.

I’m currently experimenting with a mixture of rear panniers and bike packing gear. The picture is of my previous set up with front and rear panniers, but I’m currently going with rear rack/panniers and either a frame or handle bar bag.

Anyone else have thoughts or insights? Let’s see your gravel touring or bikepacking set up.
9B917C78-2467-4FE7-A2EA-C04DB501DF1A.jpeg
 

Tude

Sometimes traveler is traveling.
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#2
LOVE YOUR AVATAR!! And love your bike set up!! Check out the pinned post on this bike subforum and I have a couple of links to other places that have some long distance bicycle enthusiasts involved - especially Kuba Jennes on his DIY bicycle facebook group that has a lot of following as well.
 
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#3
Not the greatest pic, but here's my Jamis Aurora. It's got pretty standard road touring geometry but my handlebars are quite wide and set up as high as I can get them (I also have long gorilla arms). That plus the 700x40 tires I squeezed in there make it surprisingly stable for gravel, but singletrack is too sketchy, especially with panniers banging around.

I've been lusting after a Troll or Ogre for a while now. I've had a Cross Check and 1x1 in the past and loved them both dearly.

Your setup looks super sweet! I've thought about changing from panniers to frame bags and such but all of the bikepacking gear is way too expensive for me at this point. Maybe someday...


aurora.jpg


EDIT: I too love how Surly adds eyelets and brazeons and mounts for just about anything. Their bikes are super versatile.

As for bags, I'm still using a similar setup as you with a combo of rack/panniers and that top tube bag. I added a Banjo Brothers handlebar bag since this pic, which has been a nice addition. Their stuff is quite functional and a lot less expensive than the fancy new bikepackey brands. That said, a friend let me borrow their Revelate Designs seatpost bag and it was super nice. I wouldn't mind being tricked out with a full set of that stuff but as I said above, it's pretty spendy.
 
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Dunedrifter
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#4
Not the greatest pic, but here's my Jamis Aurora. It's got pretty standard road touring geometry but my handlebars are quite wide and set up as high as I can get them (I also have long gorilla arms). That plus the 700x40 tires I squeezed in there make it surprisingly stable for gravel, but singletrack is too sketchy, especially with panniers banging around.

I've been lusting after a Troll or Ogre for a while now. I've had a Cross Check and 1x1 in the past and loved them both dearly.

Your setup looks super sweet! I've thought about changing from panniers to frame bags and such but all of the bikepacking gear is way too expensive for me at this point. Maybe someday...


View attachment 43201

EDIT: I too love how Surly adds eyelets and brazeons and mounts for just about anything. Their bikes are super versatile.

As for bags, I'm still using a similar setup as you with a combo of rack/panniers and that top tube bag. I added a Banjo Brothers handlebar bag since this pic, which has been a nice addition. Their stuff is quite functional and a lot less expensive than the fancy new bikepackey brands. That said, a friend let me borrow their Revelate Designs seatpost bag and it was super nice. I wouldn't mind being tricked out with a full set of that stuff but as I said above, it's pretty spendy.
I agree about the expense of all this gear! I’m lucky in having worked for an outdoor gear manufacturer that had employee discount agreements with other gear manufacturers that allowed me to get most of this stuff around half price.

There’s currently someone on ebay making and selling custom frame bags for about half the price of new.
 

Matt Derrick

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#5
@Dunedrifter i love your avatar too! bad ass, i'd love to get that as a shirt or patch or something. the troll looks awesome! what does 'single track' mean though? also, how many chain rings are on your crank? it's hard to tell in the pic.
 
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@Dunedrifter Hell yeah, that's a sweet benefit. I worked in the bike industry for a while and had access to QBP, so got to stock up on some stuff for a pretty good price. That's cool about the ebay makers, I'll have to check that out. I've thought about attempting some simple bags myself if I can get my hands on the right sewing machine.

@Matt Derrick Singletrack is basically like a hiking trail specifically for mountain bikes. It's pretty narrow (basically a single track, compared to a wider double track) and can just be flat or rolling or mountainous or incorporate natural features like rocks and logs or have gnarly technical manmade stuff built into it. There's singletrack all over the world so what you see near Moab will obviously be totally different from what's in the UP of Michigan. There are often local chapters of mountain bike/off road cyclist associations that maintain the trails and build them to highlight cool parts of the terrain.
 
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Dunedrifter
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#7
@Dunedrifter i love your avatar too! bad ass, i'd love to get that as a shirt or patch or something. the troll looks awesome! what does 'single track' mean though? also, how many chain rings are on your crank? it's hard to tell in the pic.
I found the avatar somewhere on the internet; I believe it’s from a t-shirt or a sticker. I have three chain rings.
 
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#9
27751716_1966739246876578_8956741869252280325_n.jpg

This is my Surly LHT from my 1300 mile tour in the southeast this spring. I'd like to try to compress my gear down more so I can try the bikepacking setups. I need thicker tires (once these marathons wear out, I'll upgrade) but this setup worked really great for me both on and off road.
 

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