05 November 2013

Surly Moonlander Fat Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Gates BeltDrive

At nearly 5 inches wide, the Surly Moonlander's tires are designed
 to have maximum float and traction to ride through snow, sand, or deep mud.
Just in time for winter, we built this Surly Moonlander for a customer who recently moved to the snowy state of Minnesota. He wanted a bike that could tackle the frosty bike paths and snowbanks of the Midwest in winter but that he could also take on some singletrack and dirt expeditions when the weather warmed up. After discussing a few options for an all-seasons bike, we settled on the Moonlander as the most versatile bike to handle all the conditions he planned to ride through.

The Moonlander uses 4.8” tires on 100mm rims, offering the largest tire footprint currently available on any bike. The tires can be run at pressures as low as 1 P.S.I., which enables the bike to float over snow, sand, rocks, roots, or deep mud. Essentially, this bike is meant to power over any surface imaginable and has earned a reputation as a true all-terrain bike.


Rohloff SPEEDUB 500/14 and Gates Carbon drivetrain.



When riding in sand, snow, mud and other messy conditions, the bike’s drivetrain must be able to withstand all the different kinds of grime that come up off the trail onto the bike. Derailleurs and chains on fatbikes can sometimes live up to these conditions but are often found lacking. Because of the wear that these conditions put on components, the lifespan of a fatbike drivetrain is notoriously short. However, the Gates Carbon Belt Drive and Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 combination solves these problems and has developed a reputation as the drivetrain that every fatbike rider covets.

To start, the SPEEDHUB features a shift system that is completely housed inside the hubshell, protecting it from the elements. Derailleurs can shift unreliably when sand or dirt work their way into the pivot points or when they get clogged with snow and then freeze. They can also easily be damaged when the rear wheel is chugging through deep snow, mud, or gravel that reaches up to the derailleur, which often hangs only a few inches from the ground. The SPEEDHUB has no derailleur, and can be ridden through conditions deeper than the hub itself.

The Gates belt drive is also ideal for these messy conditions because it has no moving parts to break or become stuck – it is one strong, continuous loop. A conventional bike chain can get clogged with sand, creating stiff links that make shifting unreliable. No stiff links can form in a belt drive since it has no links at all. To install the belt drive on the Moonlander, we sent the frame off to a local frame builder to get a tube splitter installed on the seatstay just above the dropout.


The belt drive frame splitter was installed just above the dropout.

Our customer wanted a fairly relaxed, upright seating position on his fatbike, so we opted for the Jones H-Bars. These popular handlebars have plenty of backsweep and offer a few different hand positions, which can make long hauls more comfortable. Adding to the comfort factor, we used Selle Anatomica Titanico leather saddle and Ergon’s GP1 ergonomic palm-rest grips.

Surly offers new colors of their frames each year, and they call this year’s Moonlander color “metallic sand.” Fortunately, this color worked well with the red component color scheme that our customer wanted to use on the SPEEDHUB, Chris King headset and bottom bracket, Hope Fatsno front hub, seat clamp, and rim strips.

When our customer got the bike under him, he was very pleased with the build, and agreed that the belt drive Rohloff drivetrain is the optimal fatbike setup. If you want to build up a new fatbike or do a drivetrain conversion on your existing ride, contact us to put an estimate together for you!


Build Details:


  • Frame: Surly Moonlander
  • Fork: Surly Moonlander
  • Headset: Chris King
  • Stem: Thomson Elite X4
  • Handlebar: Jones H-Bars
  • Shifter: Rohloff
  • Grips: Ergon GP1
  • Seatpost: Thomson
  • Saddle: Selle Anatomica Titanico
  • Seat Clamp: Salsa Lip-Lock
  • Front Hub: Hope Fatsno
  • Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
  • Spokes: Sapim
  • Nipples: Sapim
  • Rims: Surly Clown Shoe
  • Tires: Surly Lou rear, Surly Bud front
  • Cranks: Surly Mr. Whirly
  • Pedals: ACROS A-flat
  • Bottom Bracket: Chris King
  • Chainring: Gates
  • Rear Sprocket: Gates
  • Chain: Gates
  • Brakes & Levers: Magura MT4
  • Rotors: Magura Storm Brake

10 comments:

  1. Could you tell me the references of the chainring, rear sprocket and chain?

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    1. The belt sprockets are 42/19 with whatever belt length works out to fit the Moonlander.

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    2. Thank you!!
      I like so much your bike.

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  3. Awesome bike! Which Mr. Whirly & adapters are you using to make that work?

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    Replies
    1. Standard Moonlander setup with 4x 104mm spider.

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  4. Beautiful bike, congrats! Any idea about its weight? Thnx

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  5. Bad news for my belt. It failed while pushing a pair of ground control tires up a slope. Less than 10 rides on it. No salt water involved. No mud. A bit of silt and multiple river crossings. Big tires and strong sporty acceleration was too much

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    Replies
    1. Belt broke? Slipped? I can't imagine it wore out in 10 rides. Most early belt failures are related to mis-handling/damage leading up to install. If it broke, get in touch and we'll see what we can do to get you a warranty replacement.

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