Review of Surly's Pack Rat

by michelle bontrager in


We sell and build fun to ride, all-around steel bikes at Queen City Cycle. Often these type of bicycles are labeled as; touring, adventure, gravel grinder, cyclocross, or randonneur bicycles. We like to keep it simple we describe our line-up as all-around bikes that will reliably take you there.

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Pack Rat by Surly Bikes

Surly’s new 650b bicycle, the Pack Rat, falls into our favorite all-around bike description. The Pack Rat is a chromoly frame set with “not too skinny” tires, and a dependable component package. We brought in the Pack Rat in as soon as possible and have been duly impressed.

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You may have noticed that a lot of cyclists have been attaching front racks to their bicycles with mixed results. Many road bikes and other 700c bikes are encumbered by a 30lb load attached to the front of the frame.  Surly set out to design a bike frame that will carry a front load without compromising the handling of the bike. They succeeded! Surly’s new Pack Rat is totally stable with a front load, it’s downright nimble.

Although it is classified as a touring bike you won’t want to enlist the Pack Rat just for tours, it’s just too much fun to ride. The Pack Rat rides so well with a full front load this is the bike I choose for shopping and commuting in and around town.  The frame features a lowish trail geometry combine the frame geometry with the 650b wheel set, the Pack Rat is indeed an ideal choice for hill climbing and gravel rides. This is the type of frame set that any cyclist craves for their all day rides.

I agree with the Surly folks in choosing Cantilever rim brakes, they are lightweight, affordable, and easy to work on while out on the trail. Lastly the rear drop outs will accommodate multiple drive train configurations including an internally geared hub.

The factory build at $1345 is a great price for such a handsome bike. Other features to expect are:

  • 650b rims are tubeless compatible

  • Panaracer ‘s Panceti Tires

  • Eyelets everywhere for water bottles, stash bags, and rear rack

  • 2x10 drive train

  • Front porteur rack

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We are thrilled to have Surly’s new model in the shop, their Pack Rat model hits the mark on what every Denver cyclist is looking for.