This past winter I built two Surly Bridge Club bikes from the wheels up - one for my wife and one for me. We considered a number of bikes and frames before ultimately deciding on the Bridge Club frames for a few reasons. One, because I've had great experience with Surly bikes in the past. But mainly because the Bridge Club frame was a near perfect fit for what we wanted in a bike - an all-rounder bike we can use for on and off-road touring. It's not quite as burly as some of Surly's other touring frames, but burly enough for short bikepacking and bothy trips around Scotland.
Needless to say, we're absolutely loving the bikes. Our trips so far have been day trips, with some overnights coming soon. To make this possible we've added some carrying capacity with some frame bags:
- Ortlieb 11 Liter Seat Pack
- Ortlieb 9 Liter Handlebar Pack (Sylvie's bike)
- Surly Moloko Bar Bag
- Straight Cut Design Stem Bag
- Straight Cut Design Custom Frame Bag
For some added cargo capacity I plan to use a front rack with panniers. For this I picked up a Surly Nice Front Rack a few weeks ago, and a pair of Ortlieb Sport Roller Plus panniers. This weekend I finally got around to mounting the rack, here's the setup.
The Nice Front Rack comes with several brackets for mounting. I used the:
- Lower Offset Sliding Plate, connected to the eyelet on the dropouts
- Uni-Crown Sliding Plate, connected to the mid-fork eyelets
Getting the frame mounted required a bit of muscle to get it in place, and the front-wheel definitely needs to come off. With the front wheel off wiggle the frame into place and loosely mount the brackets to allow for some adjustment. For me, I have the bottom bracket nearly all the way at the bottom, and the top bracket nearly all the way at the top. Both are just shy of the bottom and top, seen below.
On the brake side it's a bit tight, but there's clearance for the brake to work, and the QR to be released. Seen below.
One of the reasons I went with the Surly Nice Rack is tire clearance. Currently running 27.5 x 2.8" tires, and there's still plenty of clearance, even with some mud.
Super pleased with the result and it feels like it will be able to endure years of abuse.
It was pointed out on Instagram that I mounted the rack to the fender mounts at the bottom of the front fork. The correct place to mount is about 2 inches up the fork on the chunkier rack braze-ons. I have since move the bottom mounting bracket up so it's attached to the correct mounts. This moved the rack slightly higher, and slightly more forward, but not by a huge amount.