Surly Instigator frame review£299.99

Freeride brute

BikeRadar score3/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

While it's no lightweight, weighing in at 3,280g (7.2lb), the Surly has the strength to finish whatever freeride madness you start.

The double-butted chromoly steel frame gets two big plate gussets behind the reinforced head tube, which can take a 100 to 130mm-travel fork.

The curved top tube gives ‘crown jewels’ clearance while ISCG, disc and removable cantilever brake mounts mean it’s ready for any braking setup. There are even two bottle mounts.

The massive right-angled CNC’d logo dropouts have secure, vertical slots and there’s an offside brake strut too, as well as space for up to 2.7in tyres.

The 23.6in top tube gives plenty of breathing space but there’s no missing the weight when you’re trying to get the bike moving, and you do need plenty of speed to translate into tricks once you’re off the ground.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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