Tuesday, July 10, 2018

News Season:Surly Redesigned The Ice Cream Truck

The sparkly green redesigned Ice Cream Truck- Image courtesy of Surly Bikes
Well, it is that time again. Eurobike is going on and all the hoopla surrounding the Tour de France is as well, so news about new bikes is coming out all over.

I don't think we will be seeing anything radically different coming out. But this bike from Surly......well, I was kind of surprised by a few things here. 

Obviously I'm talking about a fat bike here, and the Ice Cream Truck in particular. But let's take a trip back three model years ago, (so.....Summer 2014, really), and take a quick look at the Blackborow from Salsa Cycles. That bike introduced the world to an aluminum bike that could swallow 5.1" X 26" fat bike tires on 100mm rims, had a 440mm chain stay length, a bent seat tube, a slackish head angle, and lowered bottom bracket. It also featured the lowest stand over clearance of any fat bike from QBP brands ever, so far.

I bring that old, (four year old, as a matter of fact), info up because this Surly bike is now basically a steel equivalent of the Blackborow. The old ICT was not quite as nimble and, well, shreddy, as the Blackborow and that was maybe okay. It also couldn't handle the Vee Tire 2XL tires which were slightly over 5" wide when mounted on 100mm rims. The Blackborow could do that. But now the new ICT's numbers mirror those of the old Blackborow, which doesn't exist anymore, and I think this is a good thing.

My Blackborow DS overlooking the Cedar River
 The missing Blackborow left a big hole in QBP's fat bike arsenal. (That new long tailed thing doesn't count) The short chain stays married to big honking tires is an eye opener for the snow conditions we get here and for the muddy trails that sometimes happen along the rivers around here. My Blackborow DS kills it in looser snow, powdery crap, and busts trail better than anything I've tried, plus I can easily pop the front end up and over things anytime. 

Being able to hover over the rear tire for ultimate driving traction while unweighting the front wheel is about the only way I can traverse my commute in Winter sometimes. A long tailed doohickey wasn't going to cut it. Plus, I already have a longer wheel based fat bike for times when punching through crust is an issue. The Blackborow also had the best tire clearances, better than the Carbon Mukluk, and better than the old ICT. But now the new ICT is here and I would hazard a guess that it would be one of the better Winter fat bikes around here that you can get soon. (August, they are saying.)

So, the other interesting thing is that Surly is saying this bike can handle 26 X 5.1" tires on 100mm rims. The thing is, they don't make a tire that big. Will they? Are they coming out soon? I've asked this before, and I still believe that Surly has something up their sleeve when it comes to the monster truck sized rubber. And then there is the 26" part of that equation. I was, frankly, kind of shocked Surly didn't use this new design as a way to introduce a 27.5 X 4.5" fat bike tire. They do mention that the new ICT can handle that though........ Hmm.........

Terrene Tires "Johnny 5", which is....five inches wide!
Which leads me to the news about the Terrene "Johnny 5" fat bike tire. Terrene claims this is really five full inches wide, and a claim I saw said 1700 grams, which would be right in the pocket for a tubeless ready, big lugged tire like this.

Stud pockets are there which makes this tire a bit more attractive for some, but to be honest, unless the roadway is entirely glare ice, (rare),I wouldn't need studs for 5" tires. Maybe others will find that they need the extra traction, so there ya go. Stud pockets for you.

The long, laterally placed side/edge knobs are appealing to me. That's the one area where a front tire needs stability in the powder and even in slimy mud. It could be the difference between washing out or forward progress.

Now, if they roll well, which is asking a lot here, I would totally move up to these tires. Mostly because of the width and tubelessness. Then I would need tubeless, 100mm wide rims, and that means new hubs, and......money, money, money. I may just live with what I have for now. It works and I don't need a bike like that very often. 

The bike I could use wouldn't take tires this big, but the story about that can wait. This is about "news" on 2019 stuff. I'll have more about why we won't see much innovation in bicycles for next year in my next post on new stuff for 2019. 


jkruse said...

Surly also mentions the new ICT will fit 29 x 3.5 tires. Maybe I'm missing something but the biggest 29er tire I currently know of are the Duro offerings at 3.25. Maybe another hint?

Unknown said...

I might be alone in preferring long chainstays for commuting in Minnesota, which is like 90% of my winter riding. My open mold carbon frame has 468 mm stays. Having your weight centered and evenly distributed over both wheels stops the front from catastrophically sliding out on ice.

Actually trail riding is another story, so it's probably best to get multiple fat bikes.