19 November 2013

Surly Troll Touring Bike with S&S Couplers, Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14,Gates Belt Drive

S&S couplers, a belt drive splitter, and a forest green paint job make this Surly Troll one of a kind.

This modified Surly Troll frame was put together for a customer who lives in Southern California, but spends a fair amount of time in the rural East Coast every year. He wanted a versatile full-sized bike that he could easily pack up to take on an airplane and was sturdy and reliable enough to know he could jump on at any time for a ride. Based on his requirements, we set to work creating the ultimate go-anywhere travel bike.

Gates Carbon Drive belt and Rohloff SPEEDHUB.

We chose the Surly Troll frame, which is made of sturdy, comfortable CroMoly steel and uses 26” wheels, making it easier to pack up than a 29er. We sent the frame off to Bilenky Cycle Works to get S&S couplers installed on the toptube and downtube, allowing the bike to be separated in two and fit into an airline-legal travel case. We also asked to have a tube splitter installed on the right seat stay to be able to run a belt drive. The final step was to send the modified frame to a local powder coater for a forest green paint job.

The wheel build was next, and we started with Velocity’s thick-walled Cliff Hangers - strong rims that ensure there will be few wheel maintenance concerns. Using Sapim Race spokes, we laced them the rims to a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and a Schmidt SON generator hub in front, which powered the Busch & Muller Luxos front light.

One of our customer’s priorities for this bike was to be able to break it down and build it up often without having to worry about protecting delicate parts during shipping. The sturdy frame and rims hit these points on his checklist as did the SPEEDHUB, which doesn't have any delicate exposed parts.

Derailleurs, and especially derailleur hangers, can be easily damaged during shipping when they are packaged against other parts of the bike or when the box is mishandled by the airline. But with the SPEEDHUB, the whole shift system is housed internally in the hubshell, protecting it from being damaged or broken. Combined with a belt drive, which lasts many times longer than a chain, the SPEEDHUB provides the ultimate in low-maintenance durability.

Jones bars, Ergon grips, and Brooks saddle make for a comfortable ride.

Our customer intended to use this bike on road and off and wanted it to feel sturdy while still being comfortable to ride. We outfitted him with Jones H-Bars, which have a relaxed backsweep and multiple hand positions, as well as Ergon’s GP1 palm-rest grips. A Brooks B-17 saddle provided him with agreeable seating for an upright position. Finally, Schwalbe’s flat resistant Marathon Extreme tires provided him with plenty of grip and cushioning.

Our customer was very excited to come pick up the bike, and after he took it for a test ride he said it was just what he had been imagining. If you’re looking for a similar bike to pack up and travel with, call us to discuss your needs.

Build Details:

• Frame: Surly Troll, customized with S&S couplers, belt drive splitter, and forest green paint job
• Fork: Surly Troll
• Headset: Cane Creek 40
• Stem: Thomson Elite X4
• Handlebar: Jones H-Bars
• Shifter: Rohloff
• Grips: Ergon GP1
• Seatpost: Thomson Elite Layback
• Saddle: Brooks B17 Aged
• Seat Clamp: Surly
• Front Hub:  Schmidt SON 28
• Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
• Spokes: Sapim
• Nipples: Sapim
• Rims: Velocity Cliff Hanger 26”
• Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Extreme
• Cranks: Shimano Deore XT
• Pedals: Shimano XT SPD
• Bottom Bracket: Shimano XT
• Chainring: Gates Carbon Belt
• Rear Sprocket: Gates Carbon Drive
• Chain: Gates Carbon Drive
• Brakes & Levers: Avid BB7 MTN
• Rotors: Avid
• Extra: Busch & Muller Luxos light


  1. What's the reason you guys chose a rim with a braking surface, when the bike was setup with disc brakes?

  2. The customer requested this in case he ended up in a situation where he needed/wanted to install rim brakes.

  3. Hey guys, on the Gates site it says that the frame needs a split in the rear drop out does the Surly Troll have that?

    1. Not in stock form. If you look at the seat stay near the tire in this photo: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oRKEdrl4W-w/UoKRxeiyBZI/AAAAAAAAB1I/uH8xEtkkp10/s1600/Green+Troll_cogside+whole+wheel.jpg you will see the tube splitter that was installed to get the belt into the rear triangle.

  4. Could you please tell me the final cost of this project (bike)???

    1. Necro thread, but if you want a rough estimate.

      The rohloff hub sets you back at least $1400 the frameset $600-900 modifications for S&S couplers at least $500 (probably closer to 750-900 including shipping and paint) smallparts cranks, bars, stem, rims, spokes, tyres etc. Easily $500-1000
      Oh, and the SON dynamo is pricy too, probably $150-200 if memory serves me.

      Add to that a lot of work, planing the build, ordering stuff, back and forths with the customer.
      Add in a good amount for that.
      You are probably looking at a project for at least $4-5k probably more.
      If you can skimp on the S&S couplers, beltdrive and Rohloff speedhub a complete Surly runs you around $1300-2000ish , swap out bar, stem & saddle for what suits your preferences and you are good to go.