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The Surly Preamble Steel Road Bike is an Exercise in Restraint

surly preamble gravel bike core 2023
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The Surly Preamble proves that not every bike has to do everything, or at least, that’s the official line from the Minnesotan bike brand. The steel frame, fabricated from Surly’s ‘Natch tubing, joins their Pavement line as one of the more affordable options. They say it is designed for comfort, durability and general buffoonery on mostly paved surfaces, but with clearance for 700c x 41mm tires, it appears to be sufficiently equipped to venture onto more uneven, less predictable surfaces.

Ison, the UK Distributor for Surly, gave us a preamble to the Preamble at CORE Bike. Here’s a quick look.

Surly Preamble Steel Road Bike

surly preamble drop bar pavement steel bike

“We design our steel road bikes for versatility rather than race results, and the only wind tunnels we use are the ones attached to us”, says Surly. The new Preamble is one such steel road bike, fabricated in Taiwan from the brand’s ‘Natch tubeset with custom tube sizes and butting profiles seen across the XS-XL frame size range. Riders from 5ft to 6ft 7″ are accommodated.

The XS and S frames get a short chainstay length of 420mm, allowing clearance for 650b x 41mm tires, with sloping top tubes helping to keep standover height sensible. The M, L and XL frames see a chainstay length of 435mm for fitting in 700c x 41mm tires; that is with or without fenders.

Indeed, the Surly Preamble boasts multiple accoutrements for the addition of a variety of practical items such as fenders, racks and Anything Cages on the fork. The seat tube and downtube are both graced with a set of bottle bosses. The fork is of Surly’s own design, also fabricated from chromoly steel with a 1-1/8″ steerer tube rotatably coupled to a 34mm headtube.

surly preamble dropouts

At the rear, we see a custom-cast single-position vertical dropout, as seen on the Surly Bridge Club. Surly opt for quick release thru-axles front and rear for the tool-free ease of use.

The Preamble frame geometry is said to play nicely with both drop bar and flat bar setups, and complete builds of both variations are offered in addition to a basic frameset.

surly preamble geometry steel road bike

Pricing & Availability

The Surly Preamble frameset goes for £650 and is available in Thorfrost White and Skyrim Blue colorways. The Drop Bar complete bike offering (pictured above) comes in Thorfrost White only and is priced at £1,399. Spec highlights include a microSHIFT 1 x 9 group with 11-36t cog and a Salsa Cowbell Bar. The XS & S bikes get 650b x 1.35″ Kenda Standard tires, while the M, L & XL bikes get 700c x 35mm Kenda Kwest tires.

The Surly Preamble Flat Bar offering comes in that Skyrim Blue color and is more affordable at £1099. Highlights on this build include the microSHIFT Acolyte 1 x 8 group with a 12-42t range and a Kalloy handlebar with a 35mm rise and a 9° backsweep. The XS & S bikes get 650b x 1.35″ Kenda Standard tires, while the M, L & XL bikes get 700c x 35mm Kenda Kwest tires. For more comprehensive info on build spec options, head to the Surly Bikes website.

surlybikes.com

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24 Comments
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tonebone
tonebone
1 year ago

QR disc in 2023 is big yuck

Tim
Tim
1 year ago
Reply to  tonebone

Not great, but I think the benefits of thru axles for this type of riding are not massive.

Ugo Slowa
Ugo Slowa
1 year ago
Reply to  tonebone

QR rights for all and I like it

Merlin the Bike Wizard
Merlin the Bike Wizard
1 year ago
Reply to  tonebone

You don’t get it. Just like the Troll was a replacement frame for when people cracked/retires an old 90s MTB, this is a replacement frame for more modern disc frames. Also this is a less expensive option for people to have a quality bike with modern-ish standards. People who think QR and disc is bad idea are people who think the newest thing is always the best things if you are scared of disc and QR: 1. Don’t be an idiot. 2. Get leverless bolt on skewers and you don’t have to worry about anything.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
8 months ago

QR and discs aren’t a bad idea. They’re an old, less effective idea

Jared
Jared
1 year ago

How bad of a neighborhood are you taking pictures? Who photographs a new bike with a lock on it? I know it is a Surly. A dead critter holding in place would have been more on target.

Alan
Alan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jared

The photos were taken at a UK trade show, where the UK distributor also does Squire locks

Alan
Alan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jared

The same distributor also does Passport bags

allison
allison
1 year ago

Quick releases and disc brakes are a really bad combination.

HipToday
HipToday
1 year ago
Reply to  allison

Why? They work fine on my Straggler.

Merlin the Bike Wizard
Merlin the Bike Wizard
1 year ago
Reply to  HipToday

People scared of levers getting caught in rotors. The solution is bolt on skewers if they don’t know how to position the lever so it isn’t “dangerous” and realistically if you close the lever properly it isn’t dangerous at all.

Bill
Bill
1 year ago
Reply to  allison

They’re really not. They’ve worked for YEARS and are still in use for many brands. What is your objection?

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
8 months ago
Reply to  Bill

Drum brakes on cars were the norm and are still used on the rear of some new vehicles. That doesn’t mean they’re good though

allison
allison
1 year ago

Is this going to replace the Cross Check? Kinda like the Midnight Special replaced the Pacer? I sure hope not but if I was a bettin girl………….

yard dog
1 year ago
Reply to  allison

Cross Check is the best bike Surly ever made. I have 3 of them (cross, road, fixed). Simple, reliable, and infinitely configurable. Would really be a shame if they discontinue it!!!

Merlin the Bike Wizard
Merlin the Bike Wizard
1 year ago
Reply to  allison

Doubtful. The CC is the bread and butter of Surly and is too high selling of a frame for that. But they also got rid of the original LHT, Troll, and Pacer. I own a Pack Rat and was sad to see it go because it was a really unique frame. Surly has recently decided that instead of being an innovator as they once had, they are just going to follow trends. The Preamble here is as the author pointed out a simpler bike. Not everything needs to have adventure nipples all over the entire frame. But you could slap a set of 650b wheels with some fatty tires on this and go adventuring. This is a good bike for sure but as Surly stated, it isn’t for everyone.

HipToday
HipToday
1 year ago

The Preamble fork does NOT have mounts for Anything Cages as mentioned. It does have mid-blade rack mounts however.

Merlin the Bike Wizard
Merlin the Bike Wizard
1 year ago
Reply to  HipToday

And shoulder mounts for using Surly’s 8 and 24 pack racks.

Merlin the Bike Wizard
Merlin the Bike Wizard
1 year ago

This has basically the same geo as a Straggler. It is a Straggler without MC Escher dropouts.

Nick
Nick
1 year ago

I feel like one of their interns designed this bike, and not in a good way; a total “phone-in” from Surly. Pass.

Clara
Clara
7 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Its a great bike – I own one. Try it – you will like it. Good price point on a drop bar commuter / gravel bike. Simple and effective. Nice ride and nice fit

bmwt
bmwt
9 months ago

Take what you will from the marketing and press. Times have changed Surly. Luckily there’s good steel frame competitors . Give Fairdale a look.

Clara
Clara
7 months ago
Reply to  bmwt

Fairdale bikes are ok – but for the price point the Preamble is a better buy. Fairdale has a similar frame design and slightly better components for more $$

Fred Mcshit
7 months ago

Burp

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