We've all been contemplating the Surly Krampus demo that has been sitting in our showroom for a while - is it a fatbike, an adventure machine, a big trail bike, or what? This weekend Lewis finally took it out for a couple of hours at Bethunes & Forrester, and here's what he has to say:
"Within minutes it was clear that the Krampus is a proper trail-ready mountain bike. I've ridden fatbikes before - they're ponderous and super-stable, but the Krampus has a long, low toptube, a slack(ish) headangle, and a short wheelbase considering the size of the tyres. Consequently the handling is pretty snappy considering the size of the tyres; with the modern geo it actually handles better than my rigid On-One Inbred. It's not a light bike and it'll never climb quickly, but there's so much grip it'll go up anything you can pedal.
The descents are just plain fun - it's still a rigid bike so you still have to pick your lines carefully, which I think makes it more rewarding than a point-and-shoot FS bike, but the painfully harsh ride and skittishness of my other rigid bike is completely gone. Roots and rocks on a rigid bike make my teeth rattle out, but this just barrels over them. It's like all the negatives of riding rigid are gone, but all the positives are still there.
It's certainly not the quickest bike out there, and it'll never be a big seller, but I think it's a seriously fun boutique bike for someone who wants something a little different. Since it's so comfortable and burly it would be sweet for overnight trips and bikepacking too."
Our size-medium demo is on the shop floor for a few more weeks if you're interested in taking it for a ride, even if it's just to see what a semi-fat trail bike rides like.
The matte-black Krampus Ops is available at RRP of $2,999, with green framesets available at $1,100.