Comparing the Surly Ice Cream Truck Fat Bike to the Surly Pugsley Fat Bike

I recently mentioned that we had received a couple Surly fat bikes, one being a Pugsley, and the other the Surly Ice Cream Truck. I wrote briefly about the Surly Pugsley, and now I wanted to make a few notes about the technically more advanced Surly Ice Cream Truck in comparison. Surly Ice Cream Truck Fat Bike

So what is the difference between the two? Well, the main difference between the two bikes is the frame. At first blush they look the same, but they are actually quite different. The Surly Pugsley is asymmetrical, or offset, while the Ice Cream Trust is symmetrical. What do I mean by this? The bottom bracket shell of the Pugsley is 100mm wide and uses traditional threaded external bearing cups. In order to accommodate the wide tires, the whole bottom bracket is offset to the right (drive) side, which brings the bike out of alignment between the axles. Because of this, the rear wheel is laced offset to the left to help keep it in alignment with the front wheel. Meanwhile, the bottom bracket for the Surly Ice Cream Truck, at 132 mm, is much wider than the Surly Pugsley and it uses a symmetrical design, meaning that the same amount of bottom bracket shell extends out on each side of the frame. The bottom bracket of the Surly Ice Cream Truck is an over-sized PressFit 30 and it uses a crankset of Surly’s own design that has a much longer spindle than the Pugsley. Because of the longer bottom bracket spindle, use of the PressFit 30 bottom bracket with a 30mm crank axle, is a good design choice in order to keep that long crank axle from flexing.

Second, the frame of the Surly Ice Cream Truck is 3140 CroMoly steel, the same as the Pugsley. However, while the Surly Pugsley uses double-butted tubing, the Truck steel tubing is triple butted. This allows for the frame to be somewhat lighter in weight, while strengthening the tube joints and even enhancing comfort a little. The design of the Surly Ice Cream Truck frame and fork allows the use of tires up to 5”, while the Surly Pugsley has a maximum tire width of just a little over 4”. The trend lately has been towards the wider tires…

The third difference in the frames is in the head tube. The Surly Pugsley has a head tube designed to accommodate a fork with a standard 1 1/8″ steerer tube. The head tube of the Surly Ice Cream Truck will allow the use of a tapered steerer tube. The top bearing is 1 1/8″ in diameter, while the bottom is 1.5″. The result is that the Surly Ice Cream Truck should be stiffer laterally in the front end of the bike which enhances tracking and handling. The fork of the Surly Ice Cream Truck is 4130 CroMoly steel, with tapered, straight fork blades.
Fourth, the fork and rear triangle of the Surly Ice Cream Truck are both designed for thru-axles while the rear of the Surly Pugsley is set-up for use with a smaller 9-10mm axle. Thru axles have been the predominant design for mountain bikes for some time now, and for good reason, as it stiffens the wheels considerably while resist the braking rotation force generated by disk brakes better. The Surly Ice Cream Truck’s front fork width is 150 mm, with a 15 mm thru axle and the rear axle spacing is 197 mm wide, with a 12 mm thru axle.

As for components, the Surly Ice Cream Truck has a mix of Shimano and Avid components. The rear derailleur is a Shimano SLX, one up the Shimano food chain from the Deore on the Pugsley. The front derailleur on both the Surly Pugsley and Ice Cream Truck are Deore and the shifters are both Microshift 10 speed thumb shifters. The cassette is a Shimano HG50 11-36 and the brakes are Avid BB7 calipers with Avid BB5 levers, with 180 mm front rotors and 160 mm in the rear. The headset on the Surly Ice Cream Truck is from Cane Creek and the wheels and tires are made by Surly. The Surly Pugsley has tires with 27 threads per inch, while the Surly Ice Cream Truck has higher end 120 tpi (threads per inch) casing, a number that is more familiar to road bike riders.

All in all, as with the Pugsley, the Ice Cream Truck is equipped with economical, yet durable and reliable components, front to back. These components should give years of reliable service. Finally, the Ice Cream Truck MSRP is $2,450 while the less technically advanced and progressive Surly Pugsley comes in about $700 less. Money vs. technology…

Over 200 people showed up for a fat bike race in Stowe on Saturday, January 3, 2015. A bike race, in January, in Stowe, Vermont! That seems to me to be a strong showing, and indicates the nascent popularity of this type of bike. Whereas fat bikes used to pretty much the exclusive province of small manufacturers such as Fatback, Borealis, or Pivot, recently the major bike manufacturers have jumped into the fray, releasing, and quickly selling out of, fat bike. It seems we are seeing the blooming of a new genre and sport.


Fit Werx is an authorized Fat Bike dealer of Surly, Felt, Trek, Moots and many others and has locations in Waitsfield, VT, Peabody & Lexington, MA and outside NYC in Ridgefield Park, NJ.

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