Last week in Minnesota for Bunyan Velo’s Evening of Adventure, event partner Surly loaned me an ECR for getting around town and for some bikepacking. Tyler flashed a broad grin as he rolled up with it, he knew I was going to have fun and I did. The ECR has everything you could want for pedaling into rough conditions: stout confidence, braze-ons, unflappable stability, the impossibly versatile and comfortable Jones loop bars (might have to put those on my personal rig), and, of course the 29+ format.
I’d brought my own compliment of bags and they mounted on the ECR with nary a hitch. In fact, the Jones bars made things especially easy, as I could hang the sling on the closer bar and then wrap the pocket over the far bar. This lifted up the bedroll so that it easily cleared the front tire; this is often a problem for me, as I ride small bicycles and there isn’t always a lot of space between the bar and the top of the tire. The hand position was comfortable and easy to get used to. It would take more adaptation for me to pull very technical maneuvers due to the changed upper body dynamics, but I don’t doubt that I could quickly get up to speed.
Overall, the feel of the ECR was familiar from riding a full fat—or is a Pugsley now a skinny fat?—though marginally more spry. It couldn’t be knocked off its line, there was abundant traction, it felt like it could go for a day or a month. I didn’t get a chance to test the limits of low pressure, but I suspect that the 26″ fat tires maintain an advantage, even if it’s close.
I felt completely at home on it imagining long days far away.* Thanks, Tyler.
* Sourcing replacement tires overseas would be difficult. And there’d be no easy way to limp along as you could on a 26″ fat. For now, the ECR is best for North American use.