Review: Surly Pack Rat
In this video, I review the enigmatic Surly Pack Rat, a 650b bike with front loading geometry and canti brakes in 2018! How does this high trail bike design ride with and without a load. Is this the budget front loading rando bike you are waiting for?
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Russ July 17, 2018 at 6:19 am
Didn’t try it with fenders on, but it is designed to take them so I would assume they would work fine.
Jan Townley July 20, 2018 at 5:42 pm
Thanks for a real review on the Pack Rat. I looked at that bike when they first announced it and just felt like it was an interesting bike. After watching your review I realized that my Velo Orange Camargue felt alot like the Pack Rat might feel except for the shorter wheelbase rear end. The geometry is quite similar in the size 47. It is also designed around 26″ wheels. I am currently running a 650B wheelset with the Soma cazaderos in the 650B x 42 size. I run a porter rack for the front load. I get some wheel flop in the front when I run a large chrome bag porter bag. I switch back and forth between the 26″ & 650B wheelset. My only complaint would be the lack of bottom bracket drop. I think I would feel perched on the bike. I kind of feel that way on the Camargue. Thanks for your review. Love the Soma supple tires. #Supple Life
Jim March 12, 2019 at 10:55 am
In regard to low trail bikes (e.g. Soma Grand Randonneur), a frequent concern / complaint is front end shimmy at certain speeds. Did you notice any such with the Pack Rat? The steep head tube angle seems to result in pretty short “front center” dimensions. Did you have any toe overlap concerns? How would you compare joy-of-ride between Pack Rat and Midnight Special? Thanks
Dennis Platt May 13, 2019 at 8:40 pm
Jim, I have built up a new Soma Grand Randonneur frameset over the winter and have yet to experience and front end shimmy issues. I run a size 55 frame, loaded 5 or 6 lb bag up front and 42mm 650b tires. Even fast descents feel smooth and stable. I have a surly mid-trail steel cross bike that does shimmy on fast descents tho. I don’t get it either!
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That steep head angle on the packrat? Get in the way of fenders?