Is Surly Krampus A Perfect Selection? – [Surly Krampus Review]

Share with friends
We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

Surly Krampus Review]

  • Price: $2,599  
  • Frame: Steel
  • Tires: 29″Aluminum
  • Gear: 1×12

What we like about it: The rugged and durable steel frame, equipped with reliable components, makes it a versatile and dependable bike.

What we didn’t like about it: The steel frame adds weight, making it relatively heavy and potentially less appealing to some riders.

Rating: (4.8/5)

Surly Krampus
Surly Krampus

The Surly Krampus features a steel frame and carefully selected performance components. It is a well-rounded and robust bicycle.

Below, we will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the Surly Krampus. In the second half of this article, we will also compare it to several other top bicycle models. If you’re interested in more bike reviews, feel free to follow us.

Riding Experience

Surly Krampus

The Surly Krampus is a bike with well-balanced riding capabilities. For me, it is a reliable bike that meets all of my needs without fail.

To test its performance, I decided to take the Surly Krampus on a ride along the Appalachian Trail. I booked a destination hotel through IHG, packed my bike, and set off. The trail had relatively flat inclines, with some sections covered in loose rocks, grassy dirt paths, and rocky descents.


When climbing, the hardtail design of the Surly Krampus provides a cohesive feel while pedaling uphill. The rear of the bike doesn’t feel sluggish, but instead actively responds to every pedal stroke, offering strong uphill traction.

On steeper slopes, the Surly Krampus equipped with the Shimano Deore XT RD-M8100 drivetrain (1×12) comes into play. Shifting to a larger freewheel makes pedaling easier, allowing me to conserve more energy.

The excellent geometry and wide, aggressive off-road tires ensure a firm grip on the ground, enhancing pedaling efficiency and making uphill riding more effortless.

Overall, I believe the Surly Krampus possesses climbing capabilities that are on par with any bike in its class.


I thoroughly enjoy the descending capabilities of the Surly Krampus. Firstly, the steel frame has a degree of flexibility. It absorbs vibrations on sections covered in rocks and tangled tree roots, providing a comfortable riding experience.

The Surly Dirt Wizard 29 x 2.6-inch wide off-road tires offer excellent stability and traction, allowing me to confidently navigate complex terrain without worrying about punctures. Even small bumps can be easily and confidently rolled over.

On narrow trails, the bike performs admirably. The Tektro Gemini HD-M520 brakes (front 180mm/rear 160mm) enable quick speed reduction. The reliable and stable braking system aids in maneuverability and provides a smooth riding experience on narrow trails.

In conclusion, I find the descending abilities of the Surly Krampus to be reliable and worthy of trust.


The Surly Krampus is available in four sizes (S-XL) with external cable routing on a steel frame. The steel frame absorbs some of the road vibrations, providing a more comfortable ride.

With four frame sizes available, it caters to riders with heights ranging from 5’2″ to 6’7″, offering a wider range of applicability. The external cable routing design adds a rugged appearance and makes component maintenance more convenient and simple.

The relaxed geometry angles, combined with the 29-inch wheelset, enhance stability and offer greater traction for downhill riding. The dropper post design ensures rider stability during both ascents and descents, maintaining a consistent riding experience.

Lastly, the multiple mounting points on the frame provide greater carrying capacity, making it well-suited for long-distance rides.


What do we like about it?

  • Multiple mounting points on the frame increase the carrying capacity, supporting longer rides.
  • External cable routing design makes maintenance of the cables more convenient.
  • 29-inch wheelset and relaxed geometry provide stability during downhill riding.
  • Reliable Tektro hydraulic disc brakes offer smooth and stable braking.
  • Dropper post design ensures stability between ascents and descents.
  • Shimano XT 1×12-speed drivetrain delivers a smooth and seamless shifting experience.

What don’t we like about it?

  • Steel frame adds weight, making it relatively heavy and potentially less appealing to some riders.


  • What wheelset does this bike use?

The front wheelset is Novatec 15×110, 32h, 6-bolt and the rear wheelset is Novatec 12×148, 32h, 6-bolt.

  • How much does this bike weigh?

It weighs about 35 pounds.

  • How do I choose the right size?

We provide a size chart for your reference. However, it’s not necessary to strictly adhere to this standard. The best way to find the right size is to try it out yourself.

Rider heightSIZE
5’2″ – 5’8″S
5’6″ – 5’11”M
5’10” – 6’3″L
6’1″ – 6’7″XL

Surly Krampus Specs


Frame 100% Surly Chromoly Steel, natch tubing, double-butted main triangle, trumpet flared tubes, TIG welded, E.D. coatedColors: Nose Drip Curry; British Racing Green
ForkRockShox 35 Gold RL, 15 x 110mm, 120mm Travel
Bottom BracketShimano
HeadsetCane Creek
StemKalloy 31.8
HandlebarSalsa Rustler 31.8
SaddleSelle Italia
SeatpostClampSurly Stainless, 33.1mm
GripsVelo Black


Rear DerailleurShimano Deore XT RD-M8100
Front DerailleurN/A
CrankShimano Deore M6100
ShiftersShimano Deore XT SL-M8100
CassetteOE 12-spd, 11-51t
ChainKMC X12, Anti-Rust
BrakesTektro Gemini HD-M520
Brake LeversTektro Gemini HD-M520


RimsWTB ST i30 TCS 2.0
Front HubNovatec 15×110, 32h, 6-bolt
Rear HubNovatec 12×148, 32h, 6-bolt
TiresSurly Dirt Wizard 29 x 2.6″, 60tpi, Tubeless Ready
Disk Rotors180F/160R

Comparison Table

BicyclesClick viewTravelFrame MaterialBrake TypeDrivetrain
Canyon Stoic 3Click View140mm frontAluminumSRAM Guide T1 × 12
Kona Big Honzo DLClick View130mm frontAluminumShimano MT4101 × 12
Cannondale Habit HT 2Click View130mm frontAluminumSRAM Level1 × 10
Vitus Sentier 27 VRW WomensClick View140mm frontAluminumShimano Deore MT4101 × 11

Surly Krampus vs Canyon Stoic 3

Canyon Stoic 3
Canyon Stoic 3

These two bikes have bicycle frames made of different materials. the former has a steel frame that can absorb some of the road vibrations, making the ride more comfortable. The second one has an aluminum alloy frame, which is lighter in weight.

In terms of drivetrain components, the former’s Shimano XT M8100 components offer a smoother shifting experience compared to the lower-level SRAM SX components used in the latter.

As for the braking components, the former uses Tektro Gemini HD-M520 brakes, while the second one uses SRAM Guide T brakes. Both provide powerful and reliable braking performance.

Overall, when comparing these two bikes, I consider the former to be superior. The higher efficiency drivetrain and durable frame are particularly appealing to me.

Learn More: Is Canyon Stoic 4 Worth Buying? [Canyon Stoic 4 Review]

Surly Krampus vs Kona Big Honzo DL

Kona Big Honzo DL
Kona Big Honzo DL

They both feature excellent frame geometry and carefully selected components.

Firstly, they both use RockShox suspension forks. However, the former has a longer travel, providing better support during landings and handling more intense descents.

In terms of drivetrain components, the Surly Krampus utilizes a higher-level Shimano XT M8100 drivetrain compared to the Shimano Deore 6100 drivetrain equipped on the Kona Big Honzo DL. As a result, it offers more efficient power transfer, smoother shifting, and lighter weight.

Regarding the braking components, the former is equipped with Tektro Gemini HD-M520 brakes, while the second one features Shimano MT410 brakes. Both options deliver reliable performance and can be trusted.

Ultimately, between these two bikes, the former has a greater advantage in terms of components, making it preferable to me.

Learn More: Is Kona Mahuna Worth Buying? – [Kona Mahuna Review]

Surly Krampus vs Cannondale Habit HT 2

Cannondale Habit HT 2
Cannondale Habit HT 2

These two bikes are both excellent off-road bicycles. Firstly, they both feature RockShox suspension forks, which provide excellent sensitivity. They are capable of absorbing more vibrations during continuous rough descents.

In terms of drivetrain components, the former utilizes the Shimano XT 1×12-speed drivetrain, offering more gear options compared to the microSHIFT Advent X Pro 1×10-speed components equipped on the latter. It provides a more reliable and efficient power transfer.

As for the braking components, the former’s Tektro Gemini HD-M520 brakes offer a lighter feel, while the SRAM Level brakes on the second one provide a more aggressive and direct feel.

Ultimately, between these two mountain bikes, I would prefer the Surly Krampus. It offers more reliable performance and a better riding experience.

Learn More: Is Cannondale Habit 4 A Good Bike? [Cannondale Habit 4 Review]

Surly Krampus vs Vitus Sentier 27 VRW Womens

Vitus Sentier 27 VRW Womens
Vitus Sentier 27 VRW Womens

These two bikes have the same suspension travel on the front forks. However, the former’s RockShox suspension fork offers better sensitivity, making it more adept at handling continuous bumps. On the other hand, the fork on the latter, Marzocchi, provides better support and is more suitable for landing after large drops.

In terms of drivetrain components, both bikes use Shimano drivetrain systems. However, the former has a higher-level component, resulting in better drivetrain efficiency and higher tension in the rear derailleur. For braking components, both bikes utilize hydraulic disc brakes, which deliver reliable performance even in harsh riding conditions.

Overall, the Surly Krampus exhibits better overall performance with its higher-level components and more aggressive riding capabilities. Therefore, I would highly recommend the Surly Krampus.


Above is my review of the Surly Krampus. In our opinion, it is a sturdy and durable steel-framed off-road bike, which is why we gave it a rating of 4.8.

Of course, if you are interested in other steel-framed off-road bikes, we also review a wide range of bikes at various price points, and they are all quite interesting. Feel free to check out our other reviews as well.

Lastly, if you enjoy our content, please share it with your friends. If our content has been helpful to you, you can subscribe by clicking the email subscription button below. Thank you for your support!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top