Dave pulls into the Kawartha Dairy parking lot and we now wait for our order to arrive. Unsure of what make of vehicle we`re waiting for I examine every truck and van that passes by to make sure they don`t miss their turn, thus making the next 20 minutes pass by at a snail`s pace. Then a white van turns off the highway and pulls up beside us. Our bikes have arrived.
Having not set eyes on a Surly Pugsly for quite some time made the fat bike look more impressive than pictures of them posted on the Internet. With its bright yellow frame and enormous black tires the bike suddenly resembled the warning tape one would find at an industrial site. This bike means to ride like no other. This was the impression I got at first glance. Other than the rims and tires, the kit is pretty standard with a Huffy crank, Shimano SL-X and Deore drivetrain, MicroShift indexed shifters and Avid BB7`s, making it a decent bike to ride in all conditions.
As for handling, even without having studded tires on a snow and ice covered road, I felt safe to negotiate switchback descends at speeds where you would be guaranteed to slide out in a narrower tire. The bike also handled ascending quite well, although, the rear does spinout when trying to get up a steep incline on a glossy patch. Breaking worked surprisingly unexpected in a good way as the cable brakes responded efficiently in -15 degree weather.
The only downfall I found was the positioning of the shifters. Even though I prefer to ride a single speed, this bike works best with some options, however; having to shift while wearing bulky gloves made it difficult to know whether the chain is in its intended position requiring me to constantly look at the chainrings, diverting my attention from the road.
After a few rides on the Pugsly I am confident this bike will perform better than most bikes in winter conditions and will only need occasional upgrading to keep it trail worthy for years to come.