The Surly Preamble Drop Bar features a minimalist design that focuses on essentials while eliminating the unnecessary. Its double-butted main triangle ensures a ride that is both smooth and durable, making it ideal for road and urban environments. With the capability to handle both lite touring and a healthy dose of gravel, this bike’s flexibility accommodates a wide range of cycling terrain.
The Surly Preamble Drop Bar is anxious to leave its urban confines and hit the road for A light gravelpacking overnighter or longer multi-day touring adventutes. Ready to be outfitted with panniers or bikepacking bags, this bicycle is prepared for fun. As another day of adventure travel wraps up, there’s nothing like gathering around a campfire to regal the triumphs and challenges of the day. You and your Preamble will rise to the challenge and ride through those beautiful stories.
Geometry & Ride Characteristics
The geometry of the Surly Preamble Drop Bar is remarkably versatile, accommodating a broad spectrum of rider heights. Its head tube angle is balanced, providing a middle ground between the aggressive angles of racing bikes and the relaxed angles of cruiser bikes. The bike also features a distinctive bottom bracket drop and wheelbase, which together create a low center of gravity and exceptional stability, particularly during turns and descents.
The Surly Preamble Drop Bar offers a blend of agility and stability, making it ideal for both city commuting and light trail adventures. The bike’s geometry, coupled with its wheelbase and bottom bracket drop, ensures a ride that is both responsive and comfortable. The drop bar configuration allows for multiple hand positions, offering an aerodynamic posture for speed and an upright position for better visibility and comfort. This makes the Preamble Drop Bar a versatile choice for riders who seek a bike that can adapt to various riding conditions.
- Reach and Stack: The reach extends from 352mm to 421mm, and the stack from 517mm to 643mm across the size spectrum. This configuration ensures a relaxed and ergonomic riding stance, contrasting with certain bikes that might lean towards a more aggressive posture.
- Head Tube Angle: The angles are consistent at 72.0° for the majority of sizes, with exceptions being 70.0° for XS and 71.0° for SM. This offers a harmonious blend of stability and nimbleness. In contrast, racing bikes might have steeper angles for rapid maneuverability, but the Preamble strikes a balance.
- BB Drop: The BB drop showcases variation, with 54mm for XS and SM sizes, and 66mm for the MD, LG, and XL sizes. This design choice ensures a lowered center of gravity, enhancing stability, especially during turns and descents.
- Wheelbase: The wheelbase, which spans from 987mm to 1085mm, is more extended than many aggressive road bikes. A lengthier wheelbase provides enhanced stability, especially at elevated speeds, making it apt for a variety of terrains.
- Chainstay Length: With a consistent chainstay length of 420mm for XS and SM, and 435mm for the larger sizes, riders can expect predictable handling. This is marginally longer than some performance-centric road bikes, underscoring stability.
- Top Tube Length: The actual top tube lengths vary from 500mm to 630mm. This ensures riders have a comfortable reach to the handlebars, contrasting with certain bikes that might have elongated top tubes for a more stretched-out posture.
- Seat Tube Angle: The angles oscillate between 72.0° to 74.0°, ensuring an efficient pedaling position. Unlike some aggressive race bikes with steeper angles, the Preamble strikes a balance between comfort and efficiency.
- Standover Height: Standover heights range from 722mm to 901mm, enabling riders of varying heights to comfortably straddle the bike, a crucial feature for urban environments with frequent stops.
vs. the Surly Preamble Flat Bar
The Surly Preamble Flat bar, with its flat handlebar, is a more economical version of the Surly Preamble Drop Bar. Having a very similar frame, the other primary differences are in the componentry as follows:
- Flat Bar: Kalloy, 35mm rise, 9-degree backsweep.
- Drop Bar: Salsa Cowbell.
- Flat Bar: Avid BB5 Mechanical.
- Drop Bar: Avid BB7 Mechanical.
- Brake Levers:
- Flat Bar: Avid FR-5.
- Drop Bar: microSHIFT R400-L and R-490-R.
- Flat Bar: microSHIFT Acolyte Xpress.
- Drop Bar: microSHIFT R400.
- Rear Derailleur:
- Flat Bar: microSHIFT RD-M5185M.
- Drop Bar: microSHIFT RD-M46S.
- Cog or Cogset:
- Flat Bar: microSHIFT 12-42t, 8-speed.
- Drop Bar: microSHIFT 11-36t, 9-speed.
- Flat Bar: KMC Z8.3.
- Drop Bar: KMC Z9.
- Flat Bar: Black Rubber.
- Drop Bar: Black Cork.
vs. the Surly Straggler, 700C
The Surly Straggler, 700C, is designed as a versatile gravel bike, capable of handling both rough terrains and smooth roads with its robust 4130 CroMoly tubing and wider tire clearance. Its geometry leans towards a more aggressive and performance-oriented ride. In contrast, the Surly Preamble Drop Bar, with its unique geometry tailored for urban environments, offers a more balanced and comfortable ride, especially on smoother terrains. While both bikes prioritize stability and adaptability, the Straggler leans more towards off-road adventures, whereas the Preamble is more cost-effective and city-centric.
- Surly Straggler, 700C: Features SRAM Apex components, known for their reliability and performance in varied conditions.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Equipped with a mix of microSHIFT and Avid components, offering a balance of performance and value.
- Tire Clearance:
- Surly Straggler, 700C: Accommodates wider tires, enhancing its versatility for various terrains.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Designed for narrower tires, optimized for smoother terrains and urban environments.
- Surly Straggler, 700C: Designed for all-road versatility, accommodating both paved roads and rough terrains. Its geometry leans more towards adventure and gravel riding.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Tailored for urban environments and smoother terrains, emphasizing comfort and an upright riding position.
- Ride Feel:
- Surly Straggler, 700C: Offers a blend of stability and agility, suitable for both city commuting and off-road adventures.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Provides a smooth and stable ride, especially tailored for city streets and park paths.
vs. the Salsa Journeyer Sora 700C
The Salsa Journeyer Sora 700C is designed as a touring bike, emphasizing comfort and load-carrying capacity for long-distance rides. Its geometry and components, including the Shimano Sora groupset, are tailored for endurance and reliability on extended journeys. In contrast, the Surly Preamble Drop Bar is more urban-centric, optimized for city streets and smoother terrains. While the Journeyer is built for exploration and might come at a relatively higher cost, the Preamble focuses on providing a balanced and comfortable ride in urban settings.
- Salsa Journeyer Sora 700C: Equipped with Shimano Sora R3000 components, known for their reliability in touring conditions.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Features a mix of microSHIFT and Avid components, offering a balance of performance and value for urban cycling.
- Frame and Fork:
- Salsa Journeyer Sora 700C: Features the Journeyer Drop-Bar Thru-Axle frame and a Waxwing fork, designed for durability and load-bearing.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Constructed with 100% Chromoly steel tubing for both frame and fork, ensuring resilience and a smooth ride quality.
- Tire Size and Type:
- Salsa Journeyer Sora 700C: Comes with Teravail Washburn tires, 700c x 38 mm, designed for durability and grip on varied surfaces.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Features narrower tires optimized for smoother terrains and urban environments.
- Salsa Journeyer Sora 700C: Tailored for touring, its geometry emphasizes comfort and stability for long-distance rides and varied terrains.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Designed for urban environments, its geometry promotes an upright riding position suitable for city streets and park paths.
- Ride Feel:
- Salsa Journeyer Sora 700C: Provides a stable and comfortable ride, especially tailored for long journeys and carrying loads.
- Surly Preamble Drop Bar: Delivers a smooth and balanced ride, optimized for city commuting and casual rides.
Mechanical Disc Brakes: The Surly Preamble Drop Bar is equipped with Avid BB7 Mechanical brakes, providing riders with consistent and powerful stopping capabilities, especially crucial in unpredictable urban traffic.
Reliable Drivetrain: With a drivetrain that includes a Samox crankset and a microSHIFT rear derailleur, the Surly Preamble Drop Bar ensures smooth gear transitions and reliable performance for both daily commutes and leisurely rides.
Bag, Rack and Fender Mounting Points
The Surly Preamble Drop Bar is equipped with the following mounting points to cater to all your gear-hauling needs:
Front Fork Mounts: There are multiple mounts on both sides of the front fork for water bottles, cargo cages, or front racks.
Rear Rack Mounts: The rear of the bike has mounts for attaching a standard rear rack for panniers or other gear.
Seat Tube Mounts: The seat tube also has mounts for a water bottle cage.
Fender Mounts: The bike has mounts for full coverage fenders, which are essential for wet weather riding.
Down Tube Mounts: The down tube has mounts for a water bottle cage or for attaching additional gear.
Surly Preamble Drop Bar Featured in the Wild
The Surly Preamble, as reviewed by Jessie-May Morgan on Bikerumor, showcases a deliberate approach to steel road bike design. The bike, part of Surly’s Pavement line, is described as a more affordable option, emphasizing comfort, durability, and adaptability for primarily paved terrains. However, its tire clearance suggests capability on uneven surfaces as well. Surly’s philosophy shines through with their statement: “We design our steel road bikes for versatility rather than race results, and the only wind tunnels we use are the ones attached to us”. The Preamble’s design caters to a wide range of riders, from 5ft to 6ft 7″, and its geometry is tailored to accommodate both 650b and 700c tire sizes, depending on the frame size.
The Surly Preamble, as highlighted by Oscar Huckle on BikeRadar, is the latest entry-level addition to Surly’s range, designed with both flat and drop handlebars in mind. Surly, renowned for its straightforward steel bikes, describes the Preamble as built “for comfort, durability and general buffoonery on mostly paved surfaces”. The bike intriguingly straddles categories: while the flat-bar version resembles a hybrid suitable for commuting, the drop-bar variant draws parallels with some top-tier gravel bikes. As the author aptly puts it, the Preamble is a “hard-boiled and straightforward steel bike”, reflecting its robust materials and design features.
The Surly Preamble Drop Bar features Avid BB7 Mechanical disc brakes for reliable stopping power and microSHIFT R400 levers for smooth shifting. The bike is equipped with a Selle Italia X-Base saddle and Kalloy seatpost for comfort, while the Salsa Cowbell handlebars and black cork grip offer ergonomic control. The drivetrain includes a Samox 3-piece, 40t crankset and a microSHIFT RD-M46S rear derailleur, paired with a 9-speed, 11-36t cogset. The wheels are Novatec hubs with 32h rims, fitted with Kenda tires suitable for various sizes.
- Frame: Surly Preamble, 100% Chromoly steel tubing, E.D. coated
- Fork: Surly Preamble, 100% Chromoly steel fork, Disc Only
- Color: Thorfrost White
- Front Derailleur: N/A
- Rear Derailleur: microSHIFT RD-M46S
- Cassette: microSHIFT 11-36t, 9-speed
- Chain: KMC Z9
- Crankset: Samox, 3-piece, 40t
- Shifter: microSHIFT R400
- Brakes: Avid BB7 Mechanical
- Rotors: SRAM 160mm, front and rear
- Headset: VP 1-1/8″ Threadless
- Stem: Kalloy 31.8
- Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell
- Grips / Bar Tape: Black Cork
- Seatpost: Kalloy 27.2 x 300mm
- Saddle: Selle Italia X Base
- Seatclamp: Surly Stainless 30.0
- Front Wheel: Novatec, 6-bolt disc, 32h, QR
- Rear Wheel: Novatec, 6-bolt disc, 32h, QR
- Tires: Kenda Kwik Tendril 700c x 35mm (MD/LG/XL sizes) & Kenda Standard 650b x 1.35 (XS/SM sizes)
The frame of the Surly Preamble Drop Bar is constructed from 100% Surly Chromoly steel, featuring Natch tubing and a double-butted main triangle. This robust construction is TIG welded for precision for added durability. The bike employs a vertical rear dropout system, paired with Surly’s unique Gnot Boost QR system for rear hub spacing, which measures at 10 x 138mm. The front hub spacing is 10 x 100mm. Both the front and rear brakes are 51mm IS, compatible with 140-180mm rotors. The headtube has a diameter of 34mm, and the steerer tube is 28.6mm. The seat collar and seatpost diameters are 30.0mm and 27.2mm, respectively. The bike accommodates a bottom pull front derailleur with a 28.6mm clamp and has a threaded 68mm BSA bottom bracket. Tire clearance varies by frame size but can accommodate up to 700c x 41mm or 650b x 41mm tires.
|Head Tube Angle||70.0°||71.0°||72.0°||72.0°||72.0°|
|Head Tube Length||120||135||130||170||210|
|Seat Tube Length||410||505||565||605||645|
|Top Tube Length, Actual||500||545||570||600||630|
|Seat Tube Angle||74.0°||73.0°||72.5°||72.0°||72.0°|
Register your purchase at Surly’s Warranty Registration.
LIMITED WARRANTY FOR THE SURLY PREAMBLE DROP BAR
This Surly product is warranted against defects in materials and workmanship for three years from the date of retail purchase of the product, subject to the limitations detailed below. Save your dated receipt for proof of purchase.
This warranty does NOT cover the following:
- Damage due to improper assembly or follow-up maintenance or lack of skill, competence or experience of the user or assembler
- Products that have been modified, neglected, used in competition or for commercial purposes, misused or abused, involved in accidents or anything other than normal use
- Installation of components, parts or accessories not originally intended for or compatible with bicycle as sold
- Damage or deterioration to the paint, surface finish, aesthetics or appearance of the product
- Normal wear and tear
- Labor required to remove and/or refit and re-adjust the product within the bicycle assembly
This limited warranty is expressly limited to the repair or replacement of a defective product, at the option of Surly, and is the sole remedy of the warranty. This limited warranty applies only to the original purchaser of the Surly product and is not transferrable. This warranty applies only to products purchased through an authorized dealer or distributor. In no event shall Surly be liable for any loss, inconvenience or damage, whether direct, incidental, consequential, or otherwise resulting from breach of any express or implied warranty or condition, of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or otherwise with respect to our products except as set forth herein.
This limited warranty gives the consumer specific legal rights, and those rights and other rights may vary from place to place. This limited warranty does not affect your statutory rights.
TO THE EXTENT NOT PROHIBITED BY LAW, THESE WARRANTIES ARE EXCLUSIVE AND THERE ARE NO OTHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS INCLUDING WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.