Thursday, February 16, 2017

one way or another

I've been test-riding a lot of bikes. A lot. One of my favorites has been the Surly Straggler. A mechanic at my LBS says the Straggler just "feels like it wants to go." I understand what he means. I've ridden the Straggler six times now, and I like it more every time.

There's something that mystifies me, though; the rear wheel dropouts on the Straggler.  It's not just that the dropout on one side has a screw pointing backwards and the one on the other side has a screw pointing forwards. No, my quandary is more fundamental: why are there horizontal dropouts at all?

I understand that horizontal dropouts are what you need on a single-speed or a fixie. But the default build on a Straggler is geared. Hey, if Surly can make a 650B Straggler, why can't they make one with vertical dropouts like me and all my old friends ride?

Errgh. I like the Straggler, but I'm not crazy about the rear dropouts. Knowing my general level of mechanical aptitude, I can picture myself missing several meals while I try to figure out the rear dropouts the first time I get a flat.

Well, if I decide I can't deal with the Straggler, there's always the Cross Check with its "semi-horizontal" dropouts. But as much as I like Surly bikes, I am just not crazy about horizontal dropouts. I couldn't tell you why, but they seem like a remnant of a bygone age. It seems to me horizontal dropouts would make it difficult to get the rear wheel straight. Am I missing something?

Picture by Surly.

What do you think? What do you know?

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