Surly has a new e-bike, and it’s actually pretty cool. Granted, those are words that I never expected to type, but it’s true. When you consider the purpose of the newest Surly, the addition of pedal-assist not only makes sense, but it seems like a perfect fit. That’s because the Big Easy is, you guessed it, an e-cargo bike. Essentially a Big Dummy (Big Dumm-E?) with a motor, the Big Easy does add a few important changes  to make for an even more capable and comfortable mega cargo carrier.

You might have read in the news yesterday that QBP is now the Official Service Partner for Bosch e-Bike Systems. Naturally, that announcement comes just before the launch of the Big Easy which is equipped to use the Bosch Performance CX mid-drive system. The chromoly steel frame has been updated with a lower standover height but a substantially taller head tube with the goal of making it easier to get the handlebars higher. The frames also add the ability to run an internal dropper post which makes getting on and off a loaded cargo bike easier, but also allows for riders of different heights to easily share a bike – handy if you plan to use a bike like this to replace a car with other members of your family.

Want to carry two full size fat bikes, plus a lot of gear? Sure, why not?

The bikes will ship with a single Bosch Powerpack 500 wh battery mounted to the downtube, but they’ll also include the mount and the wiring harness to add a second battery to the bottom of the frame. The addition of the second battery will drastically increase the range, which will vary substantially based on the amount of cargo you’re carrying, terrain, assist level, and pedaling style. Due to the extreme variables involved, giving a realistic range number is nearly impossible without a lot of information – which is why Bosch has put together this handy range calculator. The calculator will base the range off of factors like total bike weight, cadence, average speed, and more to give you an idea of potential range.

If you want to add the second battery, you’ll have to buy it yourself – with an expected retail price of $800-1,000 depending on the size. The good news though is that the Bosch downtube batteries are the same across many bikes, so they should be easy to find.

Surly wanted this to be classified as a bicycle rather than an S-Pedalec, so it is limited to 20 mph which puts it in the Class 1 category of e-bikes. Control of the modes is offered through the Bosch Purion display which shows whether you’re in Eco, Tour, Turbo, or E-MTB mode. The top button turns the system on, and the plus or minus buttons cycle through the modes. The bottom button allows you to access Walk Mode, which then by holding down the plus button will advance the bike without pedaling at a slow speed. However, in our test rides, Walk Mode didn’t really want to work – which could have been related to how heavy the bikes were, or the mix of cold and snow.

Speaking of weight, it wouldn’t really be a test of a cargo bike without appropriately heavy cargo. So at the start of the ride we made a detour to the liquor store to pick up some Frostbike supplies. Before I knew it, my bike was loaded down with two 24 packs of Coors, a few ciders for myself, water, a bunch of camera equipment, and a few other bits for good measure.

Between the pedal assist and the bike’s geometry, the substantial amount of weight was really only noticeable during quick changes in direction – and over speed bumps, potholes, etc. But even then, it was hard to appreciate just how heavy the entire bike was until you had to pick it up to maneuver it around deep snow banks in tight u-turns. Surly states that the bike itself checks in at about 80lbs unloaded (but with bags and rack). Add in a few hundred pounds of cargo, and you’ll probably be happy to have that motor when it comes to stop and go traffic. In terms of the rack itself, it has a maximum weight capacity of 200lbs of cargo. The weight limit for the bike, rider, and all racks is 400lbs total.

Who is this bike for?

Obviously, the Big Easy is for anyone looking to carry bulky or heavy cargo, and does so in a way that’s a bit easier/faster/more convenient than a traditional cargo bike. For Adam Scholtes and his family, that means dropping the kids off at school, riding to work across town, and then dropping it off at home where his wife may hook up one of their Surly Bill and Ted trailers to ferry furniture, deer heads, and other oddly shaped items across town (or vice versa).

Or… you can just as easily hook up a tow rope and give your friends a tow into jumps on skis, while carrying an adult human on the back to capture it on a GoPro (video coming soon). Like most e-bikes that I’ve ridden, the Big Easy is an absurd amount of fun. This one just happens to be able to carry 300 beers (apparently a true story).

Complete Bikes

While the bikes we rode during pre-Frostbike activities had a bit different spec with tires for the conditions and various accessories, the complete bikes will be built as shown above and will sell for $5,000 – in the USA only. That includes a cargo worthy build kit with things like four piston Tektro Orion brakes, a Cane Creek Viscoset upper damping headset tuned for the Big Easy, a SRAM GX/NX 1x drivetrain, and WTB i29 TCS rims built to Shimano 525 hubs with 32 spokes and Surly ExtraTerrestrial 26 x 2.5″ tubeless ready tires. It also includes the bag, rack, and kickstand.

The Big Easy will be sold in three sizes, each with 26″ wheels. As usual, I was on a medium bike which ended up with a substantial amount of exposed seat post for a 690mm saddle to BB measurement. That should make these frames pretty flexible as far as the fit – and easier to straddle at a stop light.

Available now.

surlybikes.com

 

 

24 COMMENTS

  1. Surly and an E-bike? Never thought I would see it either. However, this looks great and is a perfect application for using a motor. Another small step towards getting people out of their cars. The possibilities are endless

    • Sadly, I don’t think it’s lack of power assist that keeps a lot of people off bikes. It’s lack of infrastructure.

      I proposed an e-bike to my wife (an avid rider as well) and her reply was, until we get well-protected bike lanes/paths, no way am I placing my kids lives in the hands of the distracted drivers I see daily. Most non or even ex-bikers think riding on the roads is basically an insane thing to do.

      Now, the more people start biking the more push there will be for infrastructure, but for the majority, infrastructure needs to come first.

      • Chicken or the egg scenario. Most city’s will likely see no need to build the infrastructure if the current statistics don’t support it. However, there are other’s that are more progressive.

        However, get more riders out there and demand the infrastructure…then wait until someone gets killed. That should get the ball rolling.

        • Many people are killed every year riding their bikes in urban environments. Often you’ll see drivers victim blaming and insinuating the person was a fool to be riding in the first place.

  2. Why do designers of e-cargo bikes insist on putting the battery where one would want water bottles? This one has a perfect location on the diagonal rear frame brace.

    Ironically, one of the oem’s that get’s it is Tern with their GSD, and its ironic because its smaller

    This thing, and a bike like the Yuba Spicy Curry have vaaaast amount of room behind the seat tube to attach all manners of battery packs. It speaks of cheap, thoughtless design.

    • I see 4 other spots to mount water bottles. Maybe it’s a matter of fact that there is somewhat limited room in those areas to actually install or remove the battery for charging?

    • There’s not all that much room behind the seat tube to add another battery. The last picture in the article shows the extra battery location below the bottom tube since there isn’t a length of tubing anywhere else long enough to mount the battery. And that’s not an optimal location to put the battery since it’s less protected than inside the main triangle.

      Putting the battery on top of the seat stays could work, but then routing the wiring would be convoluted, especially if they want them routed internally like they do with the rest of the wiring.

      But if you really want, you could put the battery in the secondary mount. It even looks like there is a set of bottle mounts on the top of the down tube under the primary battery, directly opposite the underside bosses.

    • Putting the battery on the DT puts a bit more weight forward on the bike and helps to balance it out a bit better. I would imagine the majority of trips on an urban E-bike are not terribly long and the riding probably isn’t “smashing it” therefore tons of water isn’t really necessary.Also,yYou can mount a water bottle to the fork leg as an alternative.

      • There isn’t much room because they didn’t design for it.

        Again, check out the Tern GSD. How they can fit it on a significantly smaller bike?Because they spent the time designing it from the ground up as an e-bike with way better packaging.

        As for weight distribution…on a cargo bike, the long back end automatically puts more weight on the front. The battery mass is insignificant compared to the overall design weight and design load distribution (rear rack type).

        I know can get away with water bottles strapped to anything, but there is no excuse for it. Design it as an ebike from the start. This looks like a took a normal bike, welded in a Bosch motor cage and strapped a battery to it. An OEM should be able to package it better than I would in my garage. Its cheap design and people are making excuses for it.

        • I agree with JBikes. We have a Tern GSD and a converted Xtracycle Edgerunner. The GSD is just amazing, has basically zero frame flex even when carrying an adult. The battery placement actually makes sense.
          I also ride the Edgerunner in winter. That Big Easy second battery placement is stupid: it will get full of water, dirt, chain oil and salt, and could be damaged when ”hopping” small snow banks. Also check out Riese & Müller for good dual battery design.

    • My experience is designers do not need to be too worried about locating mounts for water bottles in the old fashioned places on the frame when it comes to a cargo bike and/or an e-bike. No one on a cargo bike is in racing mode and I find we throw our multiple insulated hydroflasks in the bags to carry along for use all day. Riding a cargo bike is a lifestyle and not the Tour de France. I do want the mounts on the bike, but for locks and pumps and such, not externally mounted water bottles. I’d rather keep the water cool tucked in a bag.

  3. Never thought Surly would be the ‘me too’ type…hopping on the ebike bandwagon because that’s where the money is. The Kona Electric Ute and the Yuba Spicy Curry can be had for less. I’m glad they finally got with the times and added pricing to their website, something they should have done a decade ago. Now all they need are thru-axle dropouts and to leverage their Q power to get competitive pricing.

  4. If you’re going cargo bike you need to look at longjohn cargo bikes.

    The king of the eLongjohns is the Riese and Müller Load.

    27mph top speed and amazing handeling.
    Add 4 piston XT brakes, goat link, and 2kid trailer and you have the ULTIMATE eCargo bike.

    • The load is fantastic!

      No go on the XT brakes thought – Shimano doesn’t offer hoses long enough (nor does Magura) hence the totally decent Tektros on the RM Load.

      Definitely a place for both LongJohns and LongTails – Longjohns usually superior for little kids and urban cargo; but LongTails like this are much better for older kids or date night or trailwork or hunting or fishing or certain types of cargo.

    • I dream of needing cargo carrying like that my touring bike or hybrid or various other bikes couldn’t handle! We had a Load and sold it and it was a dream to ride even with a full size adult in the front, compared to their packster and some of the other e-cargo bikes I have ridden! If I could make it a 3-4 battery with the rolhoff E-14, it would be such an epic camping/party bike. Load it up with all your crap maybe have a grill or cooktop on top of it and live the dream

      What I would do for brakes is probably go with TRP Zurich or Magura MT5e or XT 4 pistons and if I needed more hose buy a jagwire kit! It might be a bit of faff but I bet if more companies asked for it they could put it out for OEM spec.

      As far as the Surly I like it! Good for Surly for making a steel e-bike that isn’t crap or custom built! Again don’t need a cargo bike but I know I will sell some this year! Sold a bunch of Yubas and Big Dummy’s so an e-dummy wouldn’t be hard.

  5. Why is the BB so high? I have a few thousand miles on my big dummy and always wished I could get the center of gravity lower (which is why xtracycles have tiny rear wheels now)

    And why is Surly the only company in the world sticking with QR? 400 lbs on a bike and a 9mm axle? What could go wrong.

    I hope they at least redesigned the dropouts to allow clutch derailleurs.

  6. You’d be nuts to choose this bike over a Tern GSD or similar. Less money, dual battery standard, actually rides like a bike you’ll enjoy to ride.

    Our store stocks both (got one of these in this week), this will be a hard sell over the Tern GSD, no doubt.

  7. I see the picture of the kids on the back and I just dont’ get it.

    Shouldn’t the kids be riding their bikes?

    I get the idea of moving goods from the market and what not.

    Carry to proper body’s just seems ludicrous.

    • Agree. My 3yr old can ride really well and she already wants to ride with us instead of in seat doing nothing. The ages of the kids in the adverts…yeah, they can ride their own bikes, and waaaay farther than people think. But everybody is different. It’s nice to know kid carrying seats are available/mountable

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