Surly Lowside: Your First Bike, All Grown Up

Surly dusted off an old favorite, the Rat Ride, with modern fit and geometry. The result is a stripped-down bike for ‘the scenic route’ around town.

Surly Lowside 1x1

“May your alleys be warned.” The Surly bike blog’s matter-of-fact summation of its latest release – the Lowside – is appropriate. Announced this week, the Lowside gives riders one gear, a couple brakes, and not much else.

A tribute to Surly’s cult-beloved Rat Ride – a single-speed that put Surly on the map before it was called Surly – the Lowside ditches the brand’s characteristic smattering of braze-ons and goodie mounts.

Surly Lowside 1x1

“All the little bits add up and contribute to the cost of our bikes and frame,” reads Surly’s announcement. “We left them off to help manage costs as well as to not distract from what this bike is focused on: knocking around and having a good time.”

Surly Lowside wheelie

The result is a steel (round-tube, not flared) single speed with minimum cable guides, Surly’s BMX-style Sunrise bars, and a “low-and-tight” geometry designed to inspire a little improv on your commutes. Still, the whole shebang runs $1,200 – definitely a grown-up’s budget.

Surly Lowside

Surly Lowside test jump

Though Surly says the bike is a nod to “when you were a kid … and riding a bike was pure freedom,” it did give the Lowside a few 21st-century touches.

Surly Sunrise handlebars

The Lowside sports disc brakes, thru-axles, a hole for dropper-post routing, and a beefed up head tube you can plug a suspension fork into. Surly tested 100-mm travel forks with 27.5 tires. But off the floor, the Lowside comes spec’d with 3-inch-wide 26s.

Surly Lowside 1x1

For an idea what Surly had in mind building this, here’s a sizzle reel of the brand’s test rides:


Also, Surly fitted dropouts with a derailleur hanger for those who decide to tinker (or maybe blow out a knee riding down stairs).

Surly Lowside derailleur hanger

Beyond that, though, there’s a single bottle mount. As Surly advertises, it’s meant to be “the big-kid version of your childhood bike.”

Surly Lowside riding down stairs

Surly said a “small amount” of Lowsides will hit the U.S. market, with a complete build running $1,200 and a frameset costing $600. There are a few dealers that have models on the floor:

Rage Bicycles – Scottsdale, Ariz.
Pedal – Littleton, Colo.
City Bike Tampa – Tampa, Fla.
Loose Nuts Cycles – Atlanta, Ga.
Angry Catfish – Minneapolis, Minn.
Metropolis Cycle Repair – Portland, Ore.
Universal Cycles – Portland, Ore.
Thick Bikes – Pittsburgh, Penn.

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.
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