We’re always interested in seeing where the journey takes us, and have a special fondness for bicycles that open up new vistas and back-roads. The Surly Midnight Special is one of those. The official blurb is “Plus Tire All Day Road Bike” which implies quite a few things that are worth expanding on.
Tire size and naming conventions are an endless source of confusion in the bike world, but the short version of the story is that the Midnight Special runs a classic size called 650B x 47mm. This is an old name for what’s currently known in the mountain bike world as 27.5″. What makes it useful here is that while the outside diameter of the tire is in the same ball-park as a modern 28″ race bike, the rim is a smaller diameter. That allows more space for a large volume balloon tyre, and adds up to a really pleasant combination of performance, comfort and versatility. With a little more volume in your tyres, you’re more able to bounce over potholes and follow that fire-road off into the bush, without being worried that your teeth will be shaken out of your jaw or you’ll be stranded with a pinch-flat miles from nowhere.
The rest of the build spec is more evidence of why we like Surly and their bikes so much. The SRAM Rival drivetrain is 2 x 11 with the kind of ‘Goldilocks’ set of gear ratios that suit a bicycle with this much versatility baked in – not so high you’ll be walking up the hills, but not so low that you can’t get out the saddle and give it some giddy-up when required.
- Higher volume tires allow better fine tuning of tire pressure on varying surfaces and create a wider contact patch for increased traction
- Modern road standards like flat-mount disc brakes, 12mm front and rear thru-axles, and a 44mm head tube
- Clearance for 650b x 60mm or 700c x 42mm tires without fenders (650b x 50mm or 700c x 38mm with fenders)
For any and all of the detailed build-kit and geometry information you might require, please head to the Midnight Special page on the Surly website.
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