First Impression: Surly Wednesday

Editor’s Note: This bike is part of our annual, sub-$3,000 bike test where the Dirt Rag staff spends significant time aboard less-expensive but fully capable offerings that we’d seriously consider buying ourselves. The final review will be out early 2016 in issue #189. Subscribe today so you don’t miss it!

Price: $1,500

The new Wednesday brings Surly’s fat bike offerings to a total of four distinct models. Before you shrug and look away, consider this: Surly created the Wednesday after breeding several of its bikes, not overlooking modern touches, finding a more economical way to build this frame and managing to offer a complete build and lots of fun that is well under $2,000.

Surly Wednesday 1st imp-1

I have owned a second-generation Pugsley for a few years and believe that if you’re going to have just one bike—or, if you’re going to have a lot of bikes—you should have an unpretentious Surly in your possession.

To offer up a comparison, I have been riding my Pugsley and the Wednesday together and the differences were evident immediately. The Pugsley is predictable and sure-footed; mine gladly does double-duty as a snow bike, camping rig and an around-town commuter. The Wednesday is still a stable beast covered in braze-ons and rack mounts and built to survive the apocalypse, but its geometry tweaks are obvious even hopping off curbs in an urban environment—the bike wants to get on a trail and shred.

Surly Wednesday 1st imp-3

The Wednesday frame features a head tube with a 69-degree angle with the stock tapered fork (68 degrees when running a 100 mm RockShox Bluto), a 43.3-inch wheelbase on my size small and adjustable rear stays ranging from 435 to 455 mm that accommodate a wide range of wheel/tire combos. It’s slacker and has more standover clearance than the Pugsley. Frame weight, wheelbase length, tire clearance and mannerisms fall in between the Pugsley and Surly Ice Cream Truck. You can take the Wednesday home to mom, but it will raise some eyebrows.

Stock stem length on my size small bike is 70 mm (stem length jumps to 80 mm on the medium frame, 90 mm on the large frame and a whopping 100 mm on the extra-large frame). Handlebar width is 700 mm (stock bar width jumps to 750 mm for frame sizes M-XL). Both bars and stem are unbranded as is the saddle which, so far, has been more comfortable than most in-house stock seats.

Surly Wednesday 1st imp-7

The Wednesday’s frame is cleanly TIG-welded out of Surly’s own 4130 CroMoly steel, painted in a lovely 1950s kitchen appliance blue and features a 100 mm threaded (yay!) bottom bracket. The wheels are built with Surly’s 80 mm tubeless-compatible (yay!) My Other Brother Daryl rims and wrapped in Surly Nate 26 x 3.8-inch tires. The drivetrain is all SRAM X5 paired with Hayes MX Comp mechanical disc brakes with 160 mm rotors front and rear.

Surly Wednesday 1st imp-4

In line with all Surlys, the Wednesday is rife with options and options for the options. It is a dream for restless tinkerers who aren’t satisfied with a bike that has a single, unchanging personality. Not only can you run a suspension fork, but the Wednesday takes a 30.9 mm seatpost and offers internal cable routing for a dropper. The rear-facing slotted dropout (unique to this frame) can accept either a 177 x 12 mm thru-axle or a 170 x 10 mm quick release. You can run up to a 26 x 4.6-inch tire on the stock rims, or you can jump to 29plus wheels with 3-inch tires. A move away from offset rear spacing means more wheel possibilities and simpler rack mounting.

Surly Wednesday 1st imp-5

All of the above options are not only nice, but they mean the Wednesday can grow with you and your budget and your level of adventurousness. It’s still a super-fun bike without a suspension fork or a dropper or a spare set of wheels with different tires or a full bikepacking rack setup, but adding those components over time is kind of a no-brainer.

So far, the Wednesday and I have explored beach sand and dry, rocky trails. Now that winter has arrived in Colorado’s high country, the next few weeks will involve exploring snow-covered singletrack. I might be wishing for wider tires if I hit powder, but I know I won’t be wishing for a different bike. The Wednesday may be wide and kind of heavy and require more thoughtful, forceful inputs than a supermodel carbon machine, but it still puts a huge smile on my face.

Subscribe today so you don’t miss the full review in our next issue, plus long-term ride tests of all eight bikes in our annual, sub-$3,000 bike test.



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