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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
SurlyGhostGrappler.jpg

Some supposed pro photographer got pics of the unreleased Ghost Grappler on his local trail system. Viral marketing? Actual lucky find of a Surly prototype in the wild?

Some cat in the comments over at reddit r/xbiking:

"Advent X, BB7's, a "middle of the road" number of fork pimples (at least compared to other surly forks), no top tube mount bolts, but 3 bottle cages. 36t single ring (I think, but could be 38. looks to be close to the max whatever it is) Probably a 73mm bb shell given how wide the chainstays are."

PDKL45: 29er rear and 27.5+ front? Reverse mullet?

https://twitter.com/LowAle218/status/1314720799455154183

From that Tweet:

"I went to a local mountain bike trail today to practice my mountain bike photography. As luck would have it, I stumbled across some folks from Surly/QBP doing their own photoshoot. Not wanting to interfere, I walked past and found a corner I liked a few bends down the trail and waited for bikes to start rolling by. As I was shooting in that location, the Surly crew rolled past a few times and I snapped some shots just like I did for anyone else and eventually they set up for another shoot a ways down the trail from where I was. Again, I ignored what they were doing and focused on what I had come there to do.

After 25 minutes of being in that spot, which I chose when they were completely out of my line of sight, one of their riders approached and asked me not to shoot a particular bike because they hadn't released it yet. I knew I was well within my rights, but I didn't want to start ****, so I started making my way out. When I got to my car, I was confronted by another Surly employee who attempted to intimidate me out of sharing any of the photos I took by saying he had my license plate number and that they "knew where to find" me. I told them that I hadn't done anything wrong and that I wasn't concerned about the threat and attempted to leave. When I attempted to leave, that Surly employee laid his bike down behind my car and said that he "had to move his van," I assume the intent was to block me with the van, but he relented when I suggested that if I couldn't get out, I'd have to continue taking pictures.

I told him I would happily enter into an NDA or an exclusive licensing deal for the photos if they really wanted to keep it secret, but he wasn't interested.

Shame on Surly for coming to a town over 2 hours away from their HQ and attempting to push around a local enthusiast in a public park. It also seems incredibly off-brand to take such an approach. I own two Surlys and have sold many more, but I'm done after this ****. It's too bad, too, because this looks like the sort of thing that would be right up my alley.

I didn't get too good a look at it up close, but it appears to have plus tires, and they may be different rim diameters. I originally thought it was lens distortion, but zooming in on the rims, it's clear that they are at least different widths and profiles front and rear.

Maybe I got reverse psychologied into giving them free advertising, but **** Surly."
 

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That's a wild story. I can't imagine a reason for a reverse mullet outside of cargo applications, which this clearly isn't...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
GG2.jpg

The story's kinda strange, but people make dumb decisions all the time--like making clumsy threats to people legally taking photographs in a public place--and people say some silly things from behind a keyboard.

Still, I'm really not all that interested in the story, it's the geometry of the Ghost Grappler frame that's got my interest. Interesting to see a move away from the "long head tubes are the work of the devil and thou shalt use all the spacers--no, really, all the spacers, like every one of them--below thy stem to get enough effective stack, my child" Surly philosophy, to one of sufficient stack to allow a rider to ride in the (dirt) drops, Fargo style.
 

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View attachment 1369979

The story's kinda strange, but people make dumb decisions all the time--like making clumsy threats to people legally taking photographs in a public place--and people say some silly things from behind a keyboard.

Still, I'm really not all that interested in the story, it's the geometry of the Ghost Grappler frame that's got my interest. Interesting to see a move away from the "long head tubes are the work of the devil" "thou shalt use all the spacers--no, really, all the spacers, like every one of them--below your stem to get enough effective stack, my child" Surly philosophy, to one of sufficient stack to allow a rider to ride in the (dirt) drops, Fargo style.
Agree across the board. This looks like a MS and a KM had a baby, and the baby inherited both their headtubes put together.

Also looks like a lot of zits on that fork.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Agree across the board. This looks like a MS and a KM had a baby, and the baby inherited both their headtubes put together.

Also looks like a lot of zits on that fork.
Looks like a zit or two, alright. Still, while every Surly model is bikepacking friendly, I can see this one being positioned as a drop bar MTB/offroad tourer unsupported endurance event bike, cheaper than the Fargo or Cutthroat.

Topeak has a new anything cage-type cage available now for about half the price of the Salsa original and I'm sure others will catch on soon enough; accessories for those triple fork zits are diversifying.

Also means the Kiwis won't have to run drop bar KMs and Ogres in the Tour Aotearoa; I can see a future event being run as a Ghost Grappler rich environment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I can't wait to hear the rationale for this. It's even weirder than the packrat. I'm sure they've sold nearly dozens of those
Same as the Salsa Fargo, no? Give the frame a whole lot of stack and reduced reach so that when you put on dirt drop bars heavily flared downwardly and outwardly, like Salsa Woodchippers or the Soma Gator, your hands sit on the bars in roughly the same position as they would on an MTB with more conventional stack and reach numbers.

You ride exclusively in the drops, as the hoods position doesn't really work, and the flare gives your wrists an ergonomic position for all day gravel and light trail riding, a la Great Divide. It's not an MTB with wacky drop bars, it's a long distance offroad tourer/bikepacker, and unlike the Troll, Ogre or ECR, it has geometry optimized for widely flared dirt drop bars.
 

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Same as the Salsa Fargo, no?
I'm not really focused on the geometry. It looks pretty much within the realm of normal bikes.

The dual wheel sizes are very odd. The only other road bikes like this were made by Georgina Terry many years ago (and imitators) and it was because she had definite ideas about much shorter people deserving a normal fit, so she used a 24" wheel in the front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm not really focused on the geometry. It looks pretty much within the realm of normal bikes.

The dual wheel sizes are very odd. The only other road bikes like this were made by Georgina Terry many years ago (and imitators) and it was because she had definite ideas about much shorter people deserving a normal fit, so she used a 24" wheel in the front.
The wheel thing is strange to say the least and I would be floored if they went ahead and offered a complete with reverse mullet wheels; my take was that it was an idea being tried out with a prototype during pre-launch testing.

The reverse mullet idea has been tried before, though, by bike radar.
 

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I'm pretty sure the person behind that Twitter account—which appeared out of nowhere with this as his first tweet—is a QBP / Surly employee having fun with creative marketing.

Then again, maybe QBP has been Q-Anon-BP all along, and those who cross them will face consequences!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I'm pretty sure the person behind that Twitter account—which appeared out of nowhere with this as his first tweet—is a QBP / Surly employee having fun with creative marketing.

Then again, maybe QBP has been Q-Anon-BP all along, and those who cross them will face consequences!
It looks like it.

There's a Surly employee at r/Surlybikefans on Reddit who's a mod. A year or two ago, when someone (who may or may not have been me) posted the leaked pic of the Pack Rat in that subreddit after it surfaced here in the MTBR Surly subforum, that mod was snarky to say the least.

After the leaker messaged that someone asking for the photo to be taken down, it was removed in the 3-4 places it had been posted, on the grounds that a man has to eat and that someone didn't want to get anyone fired. At the end of the day, it's just a bicycle.

Soon thereafter that Surly subreddit had a rule implemented about leaked photos. That someone was actually kinda proud about that one.

Now?

The silence from Surly and QBP has been deafening. When the Pack Rat photo leaked, they did damage control with a post on their website acknowledging the leak. This time, aside from a few bike nerds, no one--like really no one at all--has so much as noticed.

There hasn't been a peep out of that Surly employee on Reddit, and he's still actively posting as of a day ago. Not even a mildly grumpy comment, and the rule about leaked pics seems to have been changed for some reason. Surly was really uptight about the embargo and leaks a few years ago, especially after the Pack Rat fiasco, so the present silence is a little out of (recent) corporate character; the pole in their ass about leaks used to have a pole in its ass.

If it wasn't a viral marketing stunt, they don't have much to worry about, because only about 12 people have shown any interest at all, and then it's sort of a vague, "wtf is with those wheels?"

If it was a viral marketing stunt, it's not very viral, is it? You'd expect sites like bikepacking.com to at least mention the possibility of a new drop bar offroad bikepacker from Surly, but no one's taken the bait. Even on reddit, the posts have moved down the subreddit pages they're posted to after gaining little to no traction at all.

I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas, because if it does have the geometry it looks like it might have, it's probably my next bike and I'll be consuming any snippet of info about it I can find about it, but I'm definitely in the minority.
 

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If it's a plant it's planted a little too deeply in the manure. Who'd smear themselves like that?

I'm sure it's not a mule, with a unique color and all the decals
 

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The silence from Surly and QBP has been deafening. When the Pack Rat photo leaked, they did damage control with a post on their website acknowledging the leak. This time, aside from a few bike nerds, no one--like really no one at all--has so much as noticed.
My theory is that they're hyper-focused on social justice bullshit rather than designing & selling bikes. It's not the same company that drew me in with their 1x1 20 years ago, several bikes later (most recently last spring, when I built up my ECR).

I'll continue riding the few Surlys I currently own, but won't be buying any more...especially some ridiculous model like the one in the original post here. BTW, their jackass behavior at the trail, providing it played out like the story mentioned, is B.S., too. It's a public trail.

Craig
 

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So what's a theoretical advantage of the larger rear wheel? That is, if this is actually the intent, what will be the spiel to justify it? I can think of:

- smaller front wheel for quicker/lighter steering feel
- smaller front wheel for reduced toe overlap
- larger rear wheel for a longer contact patch for more climbing traction
- larger rear wheel for higher gearing (yes, this is the weakest of the four reasons I could come up with)

edit: though of course you can get the first two benefits and keep a smaller rear wheel as well
 

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I'm sure it's not a mule, with a unique color and all the decals
Just a wild guess, but maybe the bike is going to come in both wheel sizes and they were messing around with this setup on the trail?

The fork looks like its way too short for the size frame that's being ridden whereas the rear wheel looks right in the frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So what's a theoretical advantage of the larger rear wheel? That is, if this is actually the intent, what will be the spiel to justify it? I can think of:

- smaller front wheel for quicker/lighter steering feel
- smaller front wheel for reduced toe overlap
- larger rear wheel for a longer contact patch for more climbing traction
- larger rear wheel for higher gearing (yes, this is the weakest of the four reasons I could come up with)

edit: though of course you can get the first two benefits and keep a smaller rear wheel as well
Maybe:

-27.5x2.8-3.0 tire up front for grip in cornering offroad and the ability to run lower pressure? I don't know why you'd put a 29er tire out the back, though, instead of another 650B plus tire.

There was a small trend for half fat bikes about five years ago, where someone would take something like a Troll, throw some fat bike forks on it and run a 26x4.0 tire up front, but I don't know if they were studiously trying to match diameters with differing rim-tire combos.

There was a lot made of wheel substitution a few years back. 700x23C, 650x47B and 26x2.3 are all roughly the same diameter, as are 29x2.0, 27.5x3.0 and 26x4.0 (emphasis on the "roughly"). Wheel mulleting wasn't huge, though, it was always emphasized that you could change both wheels, like with the introduction of the WTB trailblazer 27.5x2.8/Scraper rim combo to be used in existing 29er frames. The 650x47B Horizon was the same idea, but for endurance road bikes, often replacing a 700x28C tire.

Quite a few MTB guys in recent times have done 27.5 rear-29er front experiments (the Path Podcast guys were talking about it a bit), but the reverse, offered on a complete bike, would be novel, to say the least.

Imagine the restrained and calm (/s) reaction across the cycling-focused Internet? It would make the Niner MCR and the Canyon hover bar reactions look tame.
 

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Bit lame of the crowd to crowd you, but that’s not out of the question. Not like any company is thrilled with every employees actions every time. There’s often that one guy in a crowd.

But- at least Surly is doing something new. Something besides a gravel bike w/ tan sidewalls. Something new. Oh... hang on. Never mind.
 

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It looks like a Bridge Club rear end, which is not promising... I'm hoping its a full 29+ drop bar Krampus, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

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This thing totally disappeared. Anyone know anything? I'm assuming it's a COVID causality - this is a hard time to introduce a new model, and Surly has historically always struggled with stock, even in normal times.
 
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