Sometimes less is more – This is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, maybe too much. It can definitely ring true when it comes to backpacking and other outdoor pursuits though. When gear is selected for any outing, it’s important to consider which pieces are necessary to carry along, or maybe there is something else that can serve more than one purpose. I suppose a better word might be streamlined.
Welcome the newest member of our touring family, the Bridge Club. The name of the game with the Bridge Club is streamlined simplicity, designed for those tours that traverse both on-road or off-road surfaces.
When it comes to our touring line, the Pugsley is the ride you need when float and traction are critical. The Troll and Ogre are great for off-road touring and carrying BIG loads, but your route may be more pavement heavy or you may never want to run rim brakes. The ECR is the ultimate off-road touring rig, but not everyone is looking to tour across Mongolia. Our trucker line is the go-to for long distance road touring. But what if you want to throw caution to the wind and let your route, plans and terrain be chosen on a whim? On-road? Off-road? Who gives a shit. The Bridge Club will help you bridge the gap…See what I did there?
Bridge Club Geometry
We’ve been making off-road touring bikes for a while now, and over the years we have arrived at a pretty good geometry recipe when it comes to touring on dirt. The Bridge Club uses all of this experience and doesn’t stray far from the Troll/Ogre in ride geometry or fit geometry.
The first big difference is that the Bridge Club is designed around 27.5 x 2.4” (584 BSD) wheels/tires. We designed the Bridge Club to be a good off-road touring rig but kept in mind that someone may want to throw 700c wheels/tires and panniers on and knock out a classic road tour, this is totally possible with the Bridge Club.
The bottom bracket height reflects this at around 295mm/11.6” with the stock tire. This is about 13mm lower than the Ogre and 10mm lower than the Troll. This BB height will be adequate for most off-road situations you find yourself in but won’t be too high if you decide to do some on-road touring. The headtube angles, seat tube angles and ETT closely resemble that of the Troll with a few exceptions. The XS Bridge Club has a 1 degree slacker headtube angle than the Troll to account for toe clearance with a larger OD tire and ETT dimensions vary slightly across sizes.
I know what’s coming – “Fuck the bike industry and all of its ever-evolving standards, blah blah blah.” I hear your pain, I really do. The Bridge Club isn’t using a new standard but it is a little more obscure. The bike is designed around 141mm Boost QR hubs to allow for chain clearance and larger volume rubber. The rear spacing is Gnot Boost QR, in that the frame is designed at 138mm. This allows the use of 141mm Boost QR hubs or standard 135mm QR hubs. The frame will flex in or out 1.5mm per side to accommodate either hub width. It’s the same Gnot Boost idea but based around QR axles rather than thru axles.
Bridge Club Features
Many years of designing and testing touring bikes have led us to include feature sets that account for just about anything you may want to attach to your bike. For an ultimate off-road touring rig, like our ECR, numerous three pack mounts, dedicated Rohloff slots, horizontal dropouts, trailer mounts and cast yokes allow for nearly infinite options when it comes to customization. For someone who is just getting into touring or bikepacking that can be a lot to wrap your head around. Or maybe you have been bikepacking and touring for years and you know exactly what you want in a bike. After all, the Swiss Army Knife approach to features may be more than you want. The Bridge Club simplifies those features to the necessities that will get your there and back.
We designed a simpler plate style dropout that still has the Surly aesthetic, but without all of the complexity of our Troll dropout. The dropout features a vertical slot for QR wheels, standard IS brake adapter capability, and mounts for racks and fenders. The ability to run a Rohloff Speedhub wasn’t forgotten, but isn’t as prominent in the Bridge Club as it is in the Troll dropout. The upper rack/fender boss can be used with an OEM2 axle plate and the Rohloff M5 adapter. A chain tensioner is also necessary for this application. The frame will need to be compressed 1.5mm per side to run a 135mm Rohloff hub (similar to our Gnot Boost frames) and is not compatible with the Rohloff A12 hubs.
The frame has triple bottle mounts on the top and bottom of the downtube, and a seat tube water bottle mount on the SM-XL frames. Triple guides on the top tube and single guides elsewhere take care of your cable wrangling needs. There are seatstay mounted barrel bosses for your rack mounting needs and a fender mount on the seatstay bridge.
The fork features upper and lower barrel bosses, one three pack mount on each leg, midblade eyelets, and rack mounts on the fork ends.
The Bridge Club was designed around a 27.5 x 2.4” tire, but in the spirit of Fatties Fit Fine we didn’t stop there. The frame and fork have clearance for up to 27.5 x 2.8” and 700 x 47c tires.
Individual tire and rim combos may affect tire clearance and will change bottom bracket height.
Check out the Bridge Club bike page for full spec details, however, highlights include:
SRAM X5 front derailleur, GX 10 speed rear derailleur, Tubeless ready WTB i29 rims and 2.4” Riddler tires, 30.0 mm Surly stainless seat collar, and a comfortable 17 degree swept back bar.
Choices are a wonderful burden sometimes, just ask me where we should go for brunch. I know a million places but I’ll waffle for hours trying to figure out the perfect spot. See what I did there again? Dad jokes aside, sometimes simplicity is just what a person needs. The Bridge Club does just that. Where other models in our line provide that wonderful burden, the Bridge Club provides enough options to outfit your bike for that next on-road or off-road tour without the extra decisions or stress. When it’s all said and done you may even have a little extra cash to grab that frame bag, rack or seat bag and start the long ride to touring glory.
If you’re pumped up by the ramble you just read and want to check out a Bridge Club in person, the following shops have pre-ordered bikes, which are in stores now, or arriving in the coming weeks. As always, international and intergalactic availability and pricing will vary depending on your current whereabouts.
Bicycle Habitat, New York, NY
The Hub Bicycle Co-op, Minneapolis MN
Bike Touring News, Boise ID
The Bike Rack, Washington DC
Thick Bikes, Pittsburgh PA
Halcyon Bike Shop, Nashville TN
Metropolis Cycle Repair, Portland OR
Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop, Minneapolis MN
Michael’s Cycles, Prior Lake, MN
Loose Nuts Cycles, Atlanta GA
Pedal LLC, Littleton CO
City Bike Tampa, Tampa FL
Gladys Bikes, Portland OR
Lee’s Cyclery & Fitness, Fort Collins CO
Bicycle Business, Sacramento CA
YAWP! Cyclery, Edgewater CO
Ponderosa Cyclery, Omaha NE
Blue Dog Bicycles, Tucson AZ