Surly is known for its irreverent take on mountain biking, and the new Lowside hardtail continues in that fine tradition. At first glance this bike represents retro-tech at its most basic, but look a little closer and it’s obvious the Lowside blends the best of the old with the new.
First, the retro: the Lowside is a steel bike with a rigid fork and a singlespeed drivetrain. Add in BMX-style handlebars, 26″ wheels, and a decidedly not slack, 70° head tube angle and the Lowside appears to be stuck in the past. Depending on who you are, and when you started riding, this might not be a bad thing. Even the price is retro, with the complete bike priced at $1,200 and a frame going for $600.
But most of us would admit that disc brakes, dropper posts, and wide tires are pretty nice to have these days. The designers of the Surly Lowside would seem to agree, opting to include disc brakes, dropper post routing, and 3-inch-wide 26er tires on the Lowside. Not only that, Surly uses something they call “Gnot Boost” rear spacing that is compatible with a number of wheel and axle sizes, including 142x12mm and 148x12mm thru-axles and 135x10mm QR. Surly says offering all those wheel options “makes the Lowside a perfect parts-bin bike. If you have parts lying around, chances are they’ll work.”
Speaking of parts that will work with the Lowside, the bike is designed to accommodate 27.5+ tires (up to 2.8″ wide) and a 27.5 suspension fork with 100mm of travel, if fully rigid isn’t your thing.
Make no mistake, the Lowside is not the bike to take on an epic backcountry ride. This is the bike to ride the neighborhood trails in town, screw around on in the driveway like when you were a kid, and take to the brewery to meet up with friends.