ECR Fettling

Mk1 Surly ECR. Original thoughts and fettling from 2015, now with a 5-year update following many months on the trail together in the Andes, Himalayas, and other places.

2020 Update

The text of the original post is below but I think it’s fun, a few years on, to reflect a little. I still have my ECR – since this post  was originally written there has been a ride through the Himalayas, and a couple of months-long journeys through the Andes, not to mention smaller adventures such as Crete and a bunch of stuff closer to home. I still have no plans to swap it for anything else. The 29+ platform seems less popular than it once was but I still like it, and the big wheel diameter, I feel, helps to offset some of the rolling resistance from the fat knobby tyres; there were a couple of days approaching 200km in the Andes in 2019 that helped me re-evaluate the sort of daily mileage that was reasonable on a fully-loaded plus-bike. The only thing I’d change if I could would be to have the frame non-suspension corrected to allow for a larger frame bag. The current generation of ECR frame is not suspension corrected so I suppose I could swap, but I’m reluctant… mine has a most excellent patina now from many, many cumulative months on the trail. The only things that really changed from those first days is that I dropped the front rack entirely in favour of making myself a custom handlebar harness for a dry bag and roll-top camera bag. The rear rack is still the Vega, cold set now for better tyre clearance, with a custom (home-made) roll-entry saddlebag and behind-seatpost bag. Having lived it like this for many months, I’ve decided that this is my ideal for a long, remote adventure.

Parked up at Cerro Aspero, Cordoba Province, Argentina. Close to the end of another spell, 7 months, of wandering.


Original Post

Given that I’m heading off to the mountains of Crete in 10 days time I figured I should probably spend a bit of time fettling the configuration of my ECR for what will be its shake-down cruise prior to a bigger journey at the end of the summer. Travelling light with a tarp instead of a tent but still geared for some potentially cold and wet days up in the mountains. I do enjoy fiddling with stuff such as this.. bits and pieces of customisation to existing kit and working out the most efficient configuration for happy days on back country trails. My only concession to new stuff was a new custom framebag from Alpkit, the ECR frame triangle is quite a bit smaller, and a very different shape to that on my Nomad.. but the Alpkit stuff is great value and really well made so no issues with forking out for it. The rest of the stuff was already here.

good to go…
Carradice Camper Longflap on the back. Loads of room, satisfyingly retro.
The Camper sits on a standard Bagman support which felt a bit flexible/flimsy for rough trails with a full load.. so I made up a couple of additional struts from 6mm stainless tubing which run from the support down to bosses on the seatstays. They have the happy benefit of providing extra luggage space – the tyre clearance is tight so to stop a drybag pushing down and rubbing on the tyre I made a cross-piece to support a dry bag here. It’s just a piece cut from the broken lid of an old plastic storage bin I had kicking around in the shed, with stiffening ribs moulded in it is just perfect. A few zip-ties hold it in place.
lovely Nitto M18 rack on the front. Has only seen very light duty up… until now… :-)

It’s only a short trip but very much looking forward to sunny days on empty trails… and the occasional secluded beach or two :-)

8 thoughts on “ECR Fettling

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