Surly Preamble Flat Bar


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The Surly Preamble Flat Bar is a steel-framed marvel that defies the notion that quality and affordability can’t coexist. Designed for smooth asphalt but also capable when the roads aren’t so smooth, its double-butted main triangle provides a resilient core for enduring life’s rough patches. This bike isn’t just for cruising around town; it’s a catalyst for adventure. Equipped with ample storage capacity for camping gear, it’s an all-around fun bike that invites you to escape the daily grind, load up your bikepacking bags or panniers, and dive into a world of two-wheeled escapades.


The Surly Preamble Flat Bar is a versatile bicycle designed for both smooth asphalt and rougher roads. The flat bar configuration enhances its adaptability, offering improved control and comfort for a variety of riding conditions. This Surly dispels the notion that quality and affordability are mutually exclusive. The Preamble is your gateway to a myriad of two-wheeled adventures.

The Surly Preamble Flat Bar is more than just an around town bicycle; it’s a catalyst for adventure. With its robust steel frame and ample storage capacity for camping essentials, this bike is ready for your escape into bike camping escapades.  Its versatility makes it an all-around fun bike, ideal for those looking to break free from the daily grind.  Load it up with bikepacking bags and/or panniers and join the gang for some good times!

Geometry & Ride Characteristics

CAD of MD Surly Preamble Flat Bar (Use to compare/contrast bicycle geometries)

The Surly Preamble Flat Bar geometry is tailored for urban environments and versatile road conditions. The frame accommodates different wheel sizes based on the bike’s size, with the extra small and small sizes built around a 650b wheel and the medium to extra-large sizes using a 700c wheel. Its elongated top tube ensures a relaxed and comfortable reach, ideal for extended rides. The slack head tube angle contributes to a stable and forgiving handling experience, making it versatile across a range of terrains. The lowered bottom bracket enhances the bike’s grounded feel, providing a sense of stability and control. The extended chainstays further amplify the bike’s poised and balanced nature, particularly on uneven surfaces.

In terms of ride feel, the Surly Preamble Flat Bar offers a harmonious blend of comfort and performance. The bike’s geometry translates into a ride that feels stable yet agile, capable of handling both smooth roads and rugged trails with ease. The lowered bottom bracket and extended chainstays work in tandem to offer a grounded, secure feel, especially when navigating through challenging terrains. The slack head tube angle adds to the bike’s forgiving nature, making it less twitchy and more predictable in its handling.

  • Reach and Stack: The reach ranges from 352mm to 421mm and the stack from 517mm to 643mm across sizes. This design ensures a comfortable and ergonomic riding position, differing from some bikes that might prioritize an aggressive posture.
  • Head Tube Angle: With angles consistently at 72.0° for most sizes (except 70.0° for XS and 71.0° for SM), the Preamble offers a balance between stability and agility. Unlike racing bikes with steeper angles for quick turns, the Preamble leans towards a more balanced ride.
  • BB Drop: The BB drop varies, with 54mm for XS and SM, and 66mm for MD, LG, and XL. This design ensures a low center of gravity, providing stability, especially during turns and descents.
  • Wheelbase: The wheelbase, ranging from 987mm to 1085mm, is longer than many aggressive road bikes. A longer wheelbase offers more stability, especially at high speeds, making it suitable for diverse terrains.
  • Chainstay Length: A consistent chainstay length of 420mm for XS and SM, and 435mm for MD, LG, and XL ensures predictable handling. This is slightly longer than some performance-oriented road bikes, emphasizing stability.
  • Top Tube Length: The actual top tube lengths range from 500mm to 630mm. This ensures riders have a comfortable reach, differing from some bikes that might have elongated top tubes for a stretched-out posture.
  • Seat Tube Angle: The angles range from 72.0° to 74.0°, ensuring an optimal pedaling position. Unlike some aggressive race bikes with steeper angles, the Preamble offers a balance of comfort and efficiency.
  • Standover Height: The standover heights range from 722mm to 901mm, allowing riders of different heights to comfortably straddle the bike. This is essential for urban settings and frequent stops.

vs. the Surly Preamble Drop Bar

The Surly Preamble Drop bar, with its drop handlebar, is a more premium version of the Surly Preamble Flat Bar. Having a very similar frame, the other primary differences are in the componentry as follows:

  • Handlebar:
    • Flat Bar: Kalloy, 35mm rise, 9-degree backsweep.
    • Drop Bar: Salsa Cowbell.
  • Brakes:
    • 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.
  • Shifters:
    • Flat Bar: microSHIFT Acolyte Xpress.
    • Drop Bar: microSHIFT R400.
  • Rear Derailleur:
    • Flat Bar: microSHIFT RD-M5185M.
    • Drop Bar: microSHIFT RD-M46S.
  • Crankset:
    • Flat Bar: microSHIFT 12-42t, 8-speed.
    • Drop Bar: microSHIFT 11-36t, 9-speed.

vs. the Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore 700c

The Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore 700c is tailored for adventure, featuring a geometry that emphasizes stability and comfort for long-distance rides and varied terrains. Its components, such as the Shimano Deore drivetrain, suggest a focus on reliable performance. In contrast, the Surly Preamble Flat Bar, while also designed for versatility, leans more towards urban commuting and casual rides. Its geometry offers a balance between agility and comfort.

  • Drivetrain:
    • Salsa Journeyer: Shimano Deore M5120 SGS, 10/11-speed, known for reliable performance.
    • Surly Preamble: Features a Samox, 3-piece, 40t crankset and microSHIFT RD-M5185M rear derailleur, durable but positioned at a slightly lower price point.
  • Frame:
    • Salsa Journeyer: Journeyer Flat-Bar Quick-Release frame, tailored for adventure and long-distance comfort.
    • Surly Preamble: 100% Chromoly steel tubing, E.D. coated, designed for urban commuting and casual rides.
  • Fork:
    • Salsa Journeyer: Fantail Deluxe fork, emphasizing stability on varied terrains.
    • Surly Preamble: 100% Chromoly steel fork, Disc Only, suitable for city roads and light trails.
  • Brakes:
    • Salsa Journeyer: Tektro HD-R280 hydraulic brakes, offering strong stopping power.
    • Surly Preamble: Avid BB5 Mechanical brakes, reliable for urban settings.
  • Tires:
    • Salsa Journeyer: Teravail Washburn 700c x 38 mm, designed for grip and comfort on varied surfaces.
    • Surly Preamble: Kenda Kwik Tendril 700c x 35mm (for MD/LG/XL) & Kenda Standard 650b x 1.35 (for XS/SM), suitable for city roads and light trails.
  • Ride Feel:
    • Salsa Journeyer: Geared towards adventure, the bike offers stability and comfort for long rides on diverse terrains.
    • Surly Preamble: Leans more towards urban commuting with a geometry that balances agility and comfort.
  • Geometry:
    • Salsa Journeyer: Longer wheelbase and chainstay length for stability, especially on rough terrains and during descents.
    • Surly Preamble: A geometry that offers a mix of stability and agility, suitable for city roads and casual rides.

vs. the All-City Space Horse 650b, Micro Shift

The All-City Space Horse 650b, Micro Shift is designed with a focus on versatility, blending the characteristics of touring and city bikes. Its 612 Select Chromoly Steel frame and fork provide a resilient yet comfortable ride, suitable for both long journeys and daily commutes. On the other hand, the Surly Preamble Flat Bar is primarily tailored for urban commuting and casual rides, with its geometry striking a balance between agility and comfort. While both bikes offer durability, the All-City Space Horse leans towards a higher-end spectrum in terms of components and ride feel compared to the Surly Preamble.

  • Drivetrain:
    • All-City Space Horse: Features a FSA Vero Pro, 40t crankset and microSHIFT Advent X, 10-speed rear derailleur.
    • Surly Preamble: Comes with a Samox, 3-piece, 40t crankset and microSHIFT RD-M5185M rear derailleur.
  • Frame:
    • All-City Space Horse: 612 Select Chromoly Steel, TIG Welded and Brazed, E.D. Coated, designed for versatility across touring and city rides.
    • Surly Preamble: 100% Chromoly steel tubing, E.D. coated, tailored primarily for urban commuting and casual outings.
  • Fork:
    • All-City Space Horse: 612 Select Chromoly Steel with All-City Signature Fork ends and Crown.
    • Surly Preamble: 100% Chromoly steel fork, Disc Only.
  • Brakes:
    • All-City Space Horse: Tektro HD-R280, Hydro brakes, offering hydraulic stopping power.
    • Surly Preamble: Avid BB5 Mechanical brakes, suitable for urban settings.
  • Tires:
    • All-City Space Horse: Teravail Washburn, 650bx47mm, designed for a mix of terrains.
    • Surly Preamble: Kenda Kwik Tendril 700c x 35mm (for MD/LG/XL) & Kenda Standard 650b x 1.35 (for XS/SM), suitable for city roads and casual rides.
  • Ride Feel:
    • All-City Space Horse: A blend of touring and city bike characteristics, offering resilience and comfort for diverse riding conditions.
    • Surly Preamble: Geared towards urban commuting, balancing agility and comfort for city roads and light trails.
  • Geometry:
    • All-City Space Horse: A versatile geometry that caters to both long-distance journeys and daily commutes, ensuring rider comfort.
    • Surly Preamble: A design that offers a mix of stability and agility, tailored for urban environments.


Mechanical Disc Brakes: The Surly Preamble Flat Bar comes equipped with Avid BB5 Mechanical disc brakes, a feature that sets it apart from competitors still using rim brakes. These provide superior stopping power and control in various weather conditions.

Versatile Drivetrain: The bike features a microSHIFT Acolyte Xpress shifters and microSHIFT RD-M5185M rear derailleur, offering a reliable and smooth shifting experience. The 12-42t, 8-speed cogset provides a wide range of gearing options, making it versatile for both climbing and speed, a combination often found in higher-end models.

Bag, Rack and Fender Mounting Points

The Surly Preamble Flat 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.

Down Tube Mounts: The down tube has mounts for a water bottle cage or for attaching additional 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.

Surly Preamble Flat Bar Featured in the Wild

The new Surly Preamble Costs Just $899!

The Surly Preamble, available in both flat-bar and drop-bar builds, is introduced as a light-duty commuter and touring bike, emphasizing comfort and fit. As described by the author, Miles Arbour, the Preamble is “an introduction to their pavement line—a distilled Straggler.” It boasts a Surly Chromoly Natch steel frame and fork, versatile frame geometry, and compatibility with both 1x and 2x drivetrains. The bike’s design accommodates a range of tire sizes, and its pricing makes it an attractive option for newcomers to cycling. As Arbour notes, it’s “an excellent option for anyone who is just getting into riding.”

Flat or drop bar? Take your pick with the Surly Preamble

The Surly Preamble emerges as a fresh entry-level addition to Surly’s renowned steel bike lineup. Oscar Huckle, in his review on BikeRadar, highlights the Preamble’s versatility, noting its design around both flat and drop handlebars. Surly’s reputation for crafting no-nonsense steel bikes shines through with the Preamble, which is built “for comfort, durability and general buffoonery on mostly paved surfaces.” The bike intriguingly straddles categories: while the flat-bar version mirrors a hybrid bike ideal for commuting, the drop-bar variant aligns more with top-tier gravel bikes. Huckle aptly describes the Preamble as a “hard-boiled and straightforward steel bike.”


Build Kit

The Surly Preamble Flat Bar is equipped with a microSHIFT Acolyte Xpress drivetrain, featuring a 40t Samox crankset and an 8-speed, 12-42t cogset, ensuring versatility across different terrains. For dependable braking, it incorporates Avid BB5 Mechanical brakes complemented by 160mm SRAM rotors. The bike rolls on 21mm rims with Novatec hubs, matched with Kenda Kwik Tendril 700c x 35mm or Kenda Standard 650b x 1.35 tires, guaranteeing stability and grip. Additionally, riders can enjoy the comfort of a Selle Italia X-Base saddle and a Kalloy handlebar with a 9-degree backsweep.


  • Frame: Surly Preamble, 100% Chromoly steel tubing, E.D. coated
  • Fork: Surly Preamble, 100% Chromoly steel fork, Disc Only


  • Rear Derailleur: microSHIFT RD-M5185M
  • Cassette: microSHIFT 12-42t, 8-speed
  • Chain: KMC Z8.3
  • Crankset: Samox, 3-piece, 40t
  • Shifter: microSHIFT Acolyte Xpress
  • Brakes: Avid FR-5
  • Rotors: SRAM 160mm, front and rear


  • Headset: VP 1-1/8″ Threadless
  • Stem: Kalloy 31.8
  • Handlebar: Kalloy, 35mm rise, 9-degree backsweep
  • Grips / Bar Tape: Black Rubber
  • 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)

Frame Construction

The frame of the Surly Preamble Flat Bar is constructed from 100% Surly Chromoly steel with Natch tubing, featuring a double-butted main triangle that is TIG welded for added strength and durability. The fork is also made of 100% Chromoly steel and is designed exclusively for disc brakes. The rear dropout configuration is vertical, with a Surly Gnot Boost QR hub spacing of 10 x 138mm at the rear and 10 x 100mm at the front. The bike features 51mm IS disc brakes both at the front and rear. The headtube has a diameter of 34mm, and the steerer tube is 28.6mm in diameter. The crown race is 30mm, and the stock headset is EC34 for both upper and lower. The seat collar and seatpost diameters are 30.0mm and 27.2mm, respectively. The front derailleur clamp is bottom pull with a diameter of 28.6mm. The bike can accommodate a maximum chainring of 42t for a 1x setup and 46/36t for a 2x setup. The bottom bracket is a 68mm BSA, threaded type. The frame offers tire clearance of 650b x 41mm for XS-SM frames and 700c x 41mm for MD-XL frames, while the fork can accommodate 650b x 47mm or 700c x 44mm tires.


MY23 Preamble Drop Bar Geo

Rider Height 1524–1651 1625.6–1727.2 1701.8–1828.8 1803.4–1905 1879.6–2006.6
Reach 352 381 391 404 421
Stack 517 535 567 605 643
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
BB Drop 54 54 66 66 66
Wheelbase 987 1013 1030 1055 1085
Chainstay Length 420 420 435 435 435
Top Tube Length, Actual 500 545 570 600 630
Seat Tube Angle 74.0° 73.0° 72.5° 72.0° 72.0°
Standover Height 722 776 826 863 901
Stem Length 80 90 90 100 100
Stem Angle
Handlebar Width 700 700 720 720 720
Crank Length 165 170 170 175 175
Fork Length 380 380 400 400 400
Fork Rake 47 47 44 44 44
Standover height measured at the center of the TT; and based on a wheel diameter of 677mm on X-Small–Small, and 717mm on Medium–X-Large


Register your purchase at Surly’s Warranty Registration.


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.