Tuna Casserole Surprise. What an odd name for a bike? I got the idea from a good friend who reminded me of the Tuna Casserole phenomena from years gone by. A good tuna casserole was made up of anything found in the fridge + a can of tuna and a bit of time in the oven. That perfectly describes this bike.
Frame: Surly Troll, 20” with the rear canti studs sawed off for tire clearance. “S”, “U”, “R” and “L” stickers have been removed. They’ve been replaced with really cute Hello Kitty stickers. This bike will need all the help it can get in the cuteness department.
Fork: Surly Puglsey – 135mm, non-offset hub spacing
Stem: Zipp Service Course 90mm (will likely be swapped for a 100mm)
Bars: Zipp Service Course 44mm Ergo road drop.
Shifters: Ancient Ultegra 2x9-speed STI
Brakes: Avid BB7 MTB disc brakes with 160mm rotors and Problem Solvers Travel Agents to make them work with the road levers.
Front wheel: WTB rear disc hub laced to a Surly Rolling Darryl 32-hole rim. Surly Endomorph 26x3.7” tire with a Surly tube and 13psi in it.
Rear Wheel: Chris King single speed hub laced to a Mavic 823 DH rim. 4-speed cogs (17-23t). Maxxis Minion DHR 26x2.7” tire with 23psi in it. I can’t go much bigger with the tire, but I can go wider with the rim.
Front Derailleur: Shimano STx Top Pull
Rear Derailleur: Ancient Shimano Ultegra (similar vintage to the shifters).
Cranks: Race Face Turbine with 32/20t rings and a Spot bash guard
Bottom Bracket: FSA Platinum Isis.
Seatpost: Thomson 330mm setback post.
Saddle: Ancient WTB SST. This saddle has spent more time with my ass on it than virtually any other in existence. If I had to estimate a vintage, I’d guess that it is from the mid 1990s. It has been in use for virtually all that time.
The end result of this set-up is extremely odd. Riding it is a dream. It weighs a little over 37 pounds and rides the way you’d imagine a 37-pound monster bike would ride. Nothing about the bike is dull or boring.
One of the more interesting things is people’s reactions. I’ve sworn that the bike has caused a few “Exorcist Moments” where peoples’ heads spin all the way around in order to watch the bike ride by. What adds to the odd visual is that I ride the thing in the drops almost all the time. It is the best way to get good brake performance out of the setup. Climbs better that way too. It loves rocks and seems to really enjoy steep sections. Creek crossings and soft river banks are easy.
Road riding is kind of odd with such large tires. I pump up the tires a bit more to reduce rolling resistance a little. It really doesn’t change much, but it makes me feel better. 32x17 is not a tall enough gear to really go anywhere with it. The longest ride I’ve done with it is a 38 mile hill workout.
The bike is already got changes in the works. I need to buy a front hub that will work with the Puglsey fork. I might try to modify a 6-cog cluster so that it will fit on the King SS hub. That would allow me to run 30/42 rings with a 6speed cluster with some taller gears so that it rolls better on the road. I might go to a triple up front. Who knows.
Eventually the bike will go back to its original fork and switch up between 26” touring wheels and perhaps some 700c fixie wheels. It will get racks to haul stuff and I’d love to get one of Surly’s trailers.
Surly’s description for the Troll ends with this line: “Build it up, ride it for a while, then reinvent it.” That pretty much describes what will happen with this bike on a regular basis.