The Monkey Lab’s Surly Troll Is A Touring Bike That Could Survive The Apocalypse

Cycle Monkey are the USA distributor for high-end touring components like Rohloff hubs, Gates Carbon Drive and SP-Dynamo hubs, as well as touring bikes by Tout Terrain and Shand. Their bike build blog (The Monkey Lab) features some nice custom builds using some of my favourite touring parts.

For this Surly Troll build, or “Trohloff” due to the fact that it employs the 14 speed Rohloff rear hub – it wasn’t just a case of ordering all the bits and throwing it together. This customer wanted to be able to split the frame in two so they could reduce the cost of flying, and also wanted to pair a Gates Carbon drivetrain to their bike to reduce any maintenance.

So The Monkey Lab sliced open the frame, added some S&S couplers, added a frame splitter for the belt, and powdercoated it all white again. The results are great!

Surly Troll Trohloff Touring Bike 02

The Surly Troll is designed with Rohloff use in mind with its horizontal dropouts and torque arm slot. The key benefit of a Rohloff hub is that your gears are all enclosed in a sealed unit, impervious to mud, grit and grime. They’re almost completely maintenance free when compared to a derailleur drivetrain.

Surly Troll Trohloff Touring Bike 05

With a frame splitter installed into the seatstay, this Trohloff can use a Gates Carbon belt. Given that I managed to get 30,000km out of a single belt while I was travelling around the world, this drivetrain is the real-deal for touring. The only maintenance I ever performed was a quick belt clean with some water and a toothbrush every month or so.

Surly Troll Trohloff Touring Bike 07

This bike uses another of my favourite bits of off-road touring gear, the Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost. On roads with lots of holes and corrugations, this seatpost dampens most of the vibrations and big hits coming up through the bike to keep you as comfortable as possible.

Surly Troll Trohloff Touring Bike 03

This Trohloff makes use of a Tubus Logo steel rear rack (another of my favourites), Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tyres (yet another of my favourites – what other tyre can survive 25,000km of use?) and Planet Bike Cascadia fenders.

Surly Troll Trohloff Touring Bike 06

A dynamo system has been set up with a switch on the handlebars to power either USB devices or the dynamo light set. The Busch und Muller Luxos U is a fantastic integrated system that takes care of everything. Given how many devices people carry these days, it’s always nice to be able to top up your electronics while going about your day.

Surly Troll Trohloff Touring Bike 04

SP Dynamo PD-8 hubs are proving quite reliable over time, and given they offer a significant cost-advantage over a Schmidt – they’re becoming more and more popular.

Surly Troll Trohloff Touring Bike 01

The Surly Troll is a pretty ideal bike for off-road, world-conquering adventures. The 26″ wheels will fit large volume 2.7″ wide tyres. The frame can be run with a Rohloff or derailleur drivetrain depending on your budget. It will run v-brakes, cantilevers or disc brakes. There’s a trailer mount on the dropout and braze-ons all over the bike for porteur racks, Anything cages, OS bidons, fenders and racks. And with the couplers and belt drivetrain – it’s even more sweet.

Thanks to Cycle Monkey for providing the images and putting together such a tough bike!

Build Spec

Frame: Surly Troll
Fork: Surly Troll
Headset: Hope Threadless
Stem: Thomson X4
Handlebar: Salsa Salt Flatbar
Shifter: Rohloff twist
Grips: Ergon GP-4
Seat post: Crane Creek Thudbuster
Saddle: Brooks
Seat Clamp: Surly
Front Hub: Shutter Precision PD-8
Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
Spokes: Sapim Race
Nipples: Sapim Brass
Rims: Velocity Cliffhanger 26″
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Mondial
Cranks: Shimano Deore XT
Pedals: Shimano XT Touring
Bottom Bracket: Hope, mountain
Chain ring: Race Face
Rear Sprocket: Rohloff
Chain: Gates Carbon Drive Belt
Brakes & Levers: Avid BB7
Rotors: Magura
Front Light: Busch und Muller Luxos U
Rear Light: Busch and Muller Toplight Line Plus
Fenders: Planet Bike Cascadia
Rear Rack: Tubus Logo Evo

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