Disappointment – or Trolls live in garages, not just caves.

Well, with the advent of the new furnace that got installed at our house the week after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, my bike plans to adopt a fat bike have changed. I just really couldn’t see dropping the extra hundreds to own the machine. The dollar signs just weren’t there.

So, I had to consider options. What could I do with that nice store credit I had? Use it for parts? Practical, but no romance, none at all. Buy something else? While the store credit is significant, I’d have to do some serious research to see if I could get something in the ballpark of what I want.

Which brought me to the question of – What did I want? I had to think about that one.

I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want another roadie. I have my carbon Madone, my funky purple Specialized Allez, the Schwinn Fastback, my rando bike, and my heavy tourer, the Giant OCR Touring. I think I have my on-road options covered.

So what do I want/need? I looked over my off-road options, only to find some gaping holes in that work force. Technically the only “real” offroader I have is the Fargo. I do have my beloved, vintage, late 80’s Bianchi Axis cyclocross bike that I have reconfigured I don’t-know-how-many times and it does do some off-road duty when I need it to – but it isn’t strictly in the off-road category.

Okay – well that narrowed down the search a bit. I definitely want something that is off-road capable. I also like versatility in a bike – like the aforementioned Axis and Fargo. I want something that can be a grocery getter, a campeur, a tourer, and a trail bike as well as being a mountain bike.

Hmmmmm – a bike with all those capabilities. Enter the ….

black troll

I looked around for something like that, and lo and behold, I found it. I ended up purchasing a 16″, black, Surly Troll as a frameset. It can do everything I want and then some. Steel frame? Check. Rack and water braze-ons? Check. Extra braze-ons on the fork? Check. Three water bottle braze-ons? Check. Suspension corrected, just in case? Disk Brakes? Canti bosses? Fenders? Big, wide rubber – both mountain and road? And a slew of ways to configure the rear wheel and use Rohloff hubs? Reconfigure from mountain bike to tourer – yup, in spades!!!

I’m now assembling parts to put with the frame – more on the build when I get it together. It will be a budget build, for certain. I am trying to stay on my budget and the specter of the furnace looms large over the financial things right now. I can’t afford to get truly insane with new parts – I have a feeling that most of the parts will be good used ones from friends and C-list. No shame in that – as time passes, I can always upgrade if I want.

Here are some reviews that helped me to make up my mind about this – check out the links. These people mostly had pretty good things to say about the frame – some were seriously impressed, others were more objective, but all were favorable. The 2013 Troll made some improvements over the initial frame, by offering more braze-ons in more/better places. They also offered it in new colors – purple and black. Last year’s frame was produced in orange.

If you’re considering an all-arounder type build, the Troll may be your friend. Have a look at the reviews and then decide.








5 thoughts on “Disappointment – or Trolls live in garages, not just caves.

  1. Hi, Thanks for the link. After a year or so living with the Troll I’m still pretty happy. It’s my default shopping/popping to the pub bike as well as a burly tool for riding the byways here in the rainy UK. The jury is out as to how well it carries load though. I don’t find it as stable as my dedicated tourer and folk may need to bear this in mind if they are deciding between the Troll and, say, a Trucker. I guess the real acid test will be when take it to Iceland in June for a fortnight.

  2. Apologies for not getting back sooner. I have changed my load lugging opinion of the Troll… It carried very well indeed in Iceland. 30kg of kit, food and water at one point on gravel roads. I was very impressed. So much so, I have now fitted a Rohloff and sold my old school touring bike.

    • That is Awesome, Northern Walker!! I’ve been beating my Troll around the local trails and especially the C & O canal here on the East Coast. It excels at this type of riding and is tons of fun, nimble and quick. I have a full rack on it, and it handles my small loads with not even a twitch. I’m hoping to take it touring this summer!

      • Enjoy your trip… My only additional observation would be that the Rohloff has deadened the rear end of the bike a wee bit due to the weight out back (perhaps). This is not an issue for touring – you may say it’s a benefit – but not so good unladen off-road.

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