RIDE ON: A New Kind Of Road Bike | AspenTimes.com

RIDE ON: A New Kind Of Road Bike

by Stephen regenold

Minnesota-based Surly is a brand not known for staying close to the center line. Keeping that pattern, the company this month released a new model dubbed "road-plus."

It comes stock with wide tires to absorb bumps but also roll fast on the road. The company notes the build "shines on pot-holed, deteriorating pavement and the occasional long stretch of gravel."

Called the Midnight Special, the bike signals a further adoption of wider tires across all bike types. Indeed, you may have noticed that beyond the realm of pro racers skinny, high-pressure 23c tires are becoming a thing of the past.

In their place is a preference for more cushion and better roll over varying terrain. Surly uses the WTB Horizon 650b x 47 tires on this model, complete with tan sidewalls for full effect.

Thru-axles hold both front and rear wheels firmly in place. Flat-mount disc brakes give stopping power.

Any caveats? The 650b tires take slightly longer to accelerate up to speed. But once rolling they can hold velocity and feel extremely planted.

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This lends a sense of stability and confidence in sandy corners and on fast descents. They also provide an astounding level of grip given the wider contact patch.

Its frame is fabricated from 4130 chromoly steel, like all of Surly's steeds. While this imparts durability and comfort, a lightweight the bike is not.

The Midnight Special is a new take on the road bike. Ride one if you're looking for more stability on the open road, and possibly some gravel or easy trail thrown in as you explore.

It's available now for $1,799 complete or as a frameset for $625.

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at http://www.gearjunkie.com.