With the creation of the Krampus and the ECR Surly Bikes introduced a new wheel/tire standard; 29+.
In 2017 they revamped both bikes in order to take advantage of some new technologies and hub standards.
In regards to handling, the Krampus has always been the more playful sibling to the ECR due to a slightly different, more trail oriented geometry. In fact it is listed on the Surly Bikes website in the trail category while the ECR is listed in the touring category..
Here’s a quick rundown of changes to the complete Krampus bikes for 2017:
- The frame (still 4130 chrome-moly steel) is internally butted and externally shaped for added strength. The head tube diameter is 44mm to accommodate forks with tapered steer tubes. The seat tube now takes a seat post with 30.9mm diameter so most dropper posts will fit. And there is a port for an internally routed dropper post cable. Rear dropouts are another Surly innovation, one they call “Gnot Boost”. The short description for Gnot Boost is that it will accept 3 of the most common current rear hub standards. The long description can be found in this earlier post on the 2017 Surly Karate Monkey bikes. The fork only accepts a 15x110mm thru axle hub.
- Surly supplies complete bikes with a Salsa 12×148 mm thru axle rear hub and Salsa 15×110 mm through axle front hub laced to Alex MD40 rims. The Surly Dirt Wizard tires and the rims are tubeless ready but the bikes are delivered with tubes installed. Rim tape, valve stems and sealant are all that’s needed to make them tubeless.
- The gearing is now 1×11 with a SRAM NX drive train. 30 tooth chain ring and 11-42 tooth cassette.
- SRAM Level hydraulic brakes provide most excellent stopping.
ECR -(No, I don’t know what ECR stands for) – Sky King would say Extremely Cool & Rad
The changes to the ECR for 2017 are not as dramatic:
- Probably the biggest change in 2017 is that the x-small and small ECR bikes are designed to use 27.5″ wheels. The medium bikes can be had with either 27.5″ or 29″ wheels. The large and x-large bikes are only available for 29″ wheels.
- The updated Troll dropouts get the Gnot Boost treatment but still have Rohloff hub torque arm slot and they still have holes to mount one of the Surly trailers- Ted and/or Bill. That’s pretty neat! The fork takes a standard 100 mm quick release hub and is not suspension corrected. The seat post is still 27.2 and the head tube still takes a standard 1 1/8″ non-tapered headset.
- Gearing is still 2×10 but the rear cassette has a 40 tooth large cog vs. 36 on the legacy ECR.
- Surly’s own Moloko handlebars handle steering and controls.
- Rear hubs on complete bikes are Salsa 12×148 through axle and the front hubs are Surly Ultra New 100mm quick release. Alex MD40 rims.
For bikepacking either bike will work, especially since the Krampus fork now sports more braze-ons for racks and cages. A couple of things make the ECR better for a dedicated camping machine though. For one, the BB7 mechanical disc brakes on the ECR are more easily serviced in the field. The ECR has a wider gear range with the 2×10 drive train. The lowest (easiest) gear for climbing is only nominally lower but the top end for fast cruising on smoother roads is significantly higher with the ECR. For the person who wants one bike suitable as a bikepacking machine and a fun, nimble all mountain trail bike the Krampus would be a great solution.