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The New 2020 Surly Bridge Club Off-Road Touring Bike

The Bridge Club is one of my favourite adventure bikes because it offers off-road appropriate gear ratios, lots of wheel/tyre options and a sensible specification for a touch over a thousand dollars.

The 2020 Surly Bridge Club is now offered with two different wheel sizes or as a frameset for US $525!

Let’s take a look.

2020 Surly Bridge Club 700C

2020 Surly Bridge Club
The 2020 Surly Bridge Club with 700C wheels.

With all the surplus tyre clearance, the Bridge Club 700C is a pretty weird looking bike. But with some full fenders, it should look a bit less like a cobbled-together build.

It’s the same steel frameset as usual, with endless cargo cage mounts for a bikepacking setup, or for a touring setup there’s the usual front/rear rack and fender mounts.

2020 Surly Bridge Club
The space around the tyre is a lot, but it’ll neaten up considerably with some fenders.

The frameset is designed to accommodate three different maximum wheel/tyre dimensions: 26×3.0″, 27.5×2.8″ and 700x47mm. With 700x41mm wide Surly Extraterrestrial tyres as standard, this bike has a bit more room to grow if you’re seeking a bit more ride comfort. A cool thing about the Bridge Club 700C is that the rims and tyres are tubeless-ready out of the box – just add valves and sealant.

2020 Surly Bridge Club
The wheels and tyres are tubeless compatible, which is pretty sweet on a budget tourer.

This “pavement” bike is running a 1X drivetrain to simplify things. The good news is that the 34t front chainring and 42t rear cassette cog will get you a 22.6″ climbing gear, which will be fine for most paved conditions (maybe not where I am in Costa Rica!). But if you’re planning on getting up some bigger hills with a bunch of bags you’ll probably want to fit a smaller front chainring. Or if you don’t want to give up your top-end speed, you’ll need a shifter, front derailleur and an extra chainring.

2020 Surly Bridge Club
The swept-back bars will be very well suited to some Ergon GC1 grips.

The bike is finished with Tektro hydro disc brakes, a Surly Terminal handlebar (34° sweep) and a WTB saddle.

The 2020 Surly Bridge Club 700C retails for US $1100.

2020 Surly Bridge Club 27.5″

2020 Surly Bridge Club
The 2020 Surly Bridge Club with 27.5” wheels.

There haven’t been any significant changes to the BC 27.5 except a switch to an FSA Alpha Drive square taper crankset and a new colour.

It’s still rolling on 2.4″ WTB Riddler tyres and SRAM GX 2×10 drivetrain. The 2X setup is good for a 16.9″ climbing gear; lower than almost any production bike. The result is a gear ratio that will have you cycling up walls!

The bike is still running Promax cable disc brakes, a Salsa Bend handlebar (23° sweep), a WTB saddle and lock-on grips.

If I were picking a bike for a mix of adventures, it would definitely be the 27.5. With some Schwalbe Super Moto-X slicks, you’ll be able to fly along the pavement, and with some grippier tread, you’ll have a great time off-road. Or better yet, alternate between a 700C on-road and 27.5″ off-road wheelsets depending on where you’re heading!

The Surly BC 27.5 retails for US $1200.

Want To Compare The Surly Bridge Clubs With Dozens of Others?

Check out the Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide which compares the steering speed, sizing, gear ratios, maximum tyre widths, chainstay lengths, pricing and weight of 180+ different bikes. It’s updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost! The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide does the same but with more heavy-duty touring builds (130+ models).

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Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

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