Surly Big Easy Review

Surly Big Easy Electric Bike Review
Surly Big Easy
Surly Big Easy Long Tail Chain Bosch Integrated Crank
Surly Big Easy Bosch Battery Downtube Bosses
Surly Big Easy Cockpit View
Surly Big Easy Bsoch Purion Display
Surly Big Easy Extraterrestrial Tires Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Surly Big Easy Aluminum Rack Bags
Surly Big Easy Included Long Sling Pannier Bags
Surly Big Easy Tapered Platform Rack
Surly Big Easy Sram Gx Cassette
Surly Big Easy Sram Gx 11 42 Tooth
Surly Big Easy Extraterrestrial Knobby Tires
Surly Big Easy Bosch Powerpack 500
Surly Big Easy Rigid Front Fork With Bosses Angle View
Surly Big Easy Bosch Compact 4amp Charger
Surly Big Easy Stock Cargo White
Surly Big Easy Electric Bike Review
Surly Big Easy
Surly Big Easy Long Tail Chain Bosch Integrated Crank
Surly Big Easy Bosch Battery Downtube Bosses
Surly Big Easy Cockpit View
Surly Big Easy Bsoch Purion Display
Surly Big Easy Extraterrestrial Tires Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Surly Big Easy Aluminum Rack Bags
Surly Big Easy Included Long Sling Pannier Bags
Surly Big Easy Tapered Platform Rack
Surly Big Easy Sram Gx Cassette
Surly Big Easy Sram Gx 11 42 Tooth
Surly Big Easy Extraterrestrial Knobby Tires
Surly Big Easy Bosch Powerpack 500
Surly Big Easy Rigid Front Fork With Bosses Angle View
Surly Big Easy Bosch Compact 4amp Charger
Surly Big Easy Stock Cargo White

Summary

  • The Big Easy is a Bosch powered electric cargo bike from Surly with a long tailed design, a steel frame, steel fork, and am aluminum alloy platform rack in the rear
  • Powered by a Bosch Performance Line CX mid-drive, a PowerPack 500, 11 speed SRAM GX derailleur, and rounded off with Tektro Orion hydraulic brakes
  • Purpose built for action and loaded with possibilities, it really speaks to the adventurer ready to start a rugged tour or have some fun camping, can also be used around town and in many other situations
  • Since the bike appeals to a certain consumer, it may put off those looking for a typical cargo bike that serves more like a family van, it is also missing some features like integrated lights, a deflopilator, a slap guard, and doesn’t come with pedals

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Surly

Model:

Big Easy

Price:

$5,000

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Cargo, Touring

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, Lifetime Frame

Availability:

Canada, United States

Model Year:

2019

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

68.5 lbs (31.07 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.7 lbs (2.58 kg) (11.4lbs Total with Optional Second PowerPack 500)

Motor Weight:

8.8 lbs (3.99 kg)

Frame Material:

Chromoly Steel

Frame Sizes:

16 in (40.64 cm)17 in (43.18 cm)20 in (50.8 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

17" Seat Tube, 23.25" Reach, 28.25" Stand Over Height, 31.5" Minimum Saddle Height, 29.5" Width, 88" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Tan Cargo Shorts

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Chromoly Steel, 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

135mm Hub Spacing, Vertical Dropout, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Front Rack Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

11 Speed 1x11 SRAM GX Derailleur, SunRace CSMS7 Cassette 11-42 Tooth

Shifter Details:

SRAM NX Triggers on Right (One-Way High, Three-Shift Low)

Cranks:

Miranda Alloy, 175mm Length Crank Arms, 18 Tooth Chainring with Miranda Alloy Guard

Pedals:

None

Headset:

Cane Creek ViscoSet (Tuned for Surly Big Easy), External Cups, Straight 1-1/8"

Stem:

Promax, 70mm Length, 7° Rise, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter, Six 10mm Spacer

Handlebar:

Aluminum Alloy, Low-Rise, Light Backsweep, 740mm Length

Brake Details:

Tektro Orion 4P Hydraulic Disc Brakes with 180mm Rotors, Quad-Piston Calipers, Two-Finger Levers

Grips:

Flat, Rubber, Locking

Saddle:

WTB Volt 135

Seat Post:

Promax, Aluminum Alloy, 2-Bolt

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm

Rims:

WTB STs i29, Alloy, Double Wall, 559x29, 32 Hole, Tubeless Compatible, Eyelets

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14 Gauge, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Surly ExtraTerrestrial, 26" x 2.5"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

60 PSI, 4.1 BAR, Tubeless Ready, Anti-Puncture Cap and Cut Resistant Sidewalls

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Rear-Mounted Single Side Kickstand, Tapered Aluminum Alloy Rear Deck (Paint-Matched, 12 Square Holes, 29 Mounting Holes), Two Extra-Long Rack Bags, Optional Kid Corral Seat, Bars, Handlebar (325), Optional Deck Pad ($30), Optional Deck Bar ($90)

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube Mounted Battery Pack, 1.7lb 4 Amp Charger, 300lb Max Rider Weight, 200lb Max Load Weight, 400lb Combined Max Weight, Compatible with Surly Bill or Surly Ted Trailer, Routing for Dropper Post, Includes Mounting and Wiring Hardware for Second Bosch PowerPack 400 or 500 Ebike Battery

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bosch Performance Line CX

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

600 watts

Motor Torque:

75 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Bosch PowerPack 500

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13.4 ah (Hardware to Mount Second 26.8ah Battery Pack)

Battery Watt Hours:

482.4 wh (Hardware to Mount Second Pack for 964.8wh Total)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Estimated Max Range:

160 miles (257 km)

Display Type:

Bosch Purion, Fixed, 1.75" Backlit Grayscale Display, Buttons: Power, +, -, Walk, (Hold - to Cycle Through Readouts, Hold - and Press Power to Change Units, Hold + and - to Reset Trip, Hold + to Activate Lights)

Readouts:

Speed, Assist Level (Eco, Tour, eMTB, Turbo), Battery Level (1-5), Odometer, Trip Distance, Total Distance, Estimated Range, Lights

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad on Left, Buttons: Up, Down, M, (Hold Up for Backlight, Hold Down for Walk Mode, Press M to Cycle Readouts, Hold Up and Down for Settings Menu)

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Over 1,000 Readings Per Second, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 50% 40 Nm, Tour 120% 50 Nm, eMTB 120% to 300% 75Nm, Turbo 300% 75Nm)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Surly. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Surly products.

It’s always exciting to cover new bikes, but it is especially cool when I get to cover something that is also new for the company. Surly has been around for a long time now. As an arm of QBP, they started in 1998 with rugged steel frames, making bikes you could really throw anything at and in addition was a major pioneering brand that paved the way for the fat tire bikes we see everywhere today. In recent years, people have loved the gruff Surly bikes and since an electric option was missing, it made for a popular conversion bike. It looks like Surly has been paying attention, because this bike, the Big Easy, is their first foray into the electric bike world. And it is definitely on a mission to fill a segment you may have been missing out on. If I could classify the Big Easy, I would call it a Bosch powered electric cargo bike for the trails and hills rather than the typical grocery getter. Although you could certainly use it as one, similar to most long tail cargo bikes, this bike is designed for many possibilities. However the design of the bike will likely encourage you to go off the beaten path. The bike comes in 1 color, this kind of tan color, and 3 frame sizes, S (16”), M (17”), and L (20”). As I mentioned it is a long tailed cargo design with a steel frame, steel fork, and am aluminum alloy platform rack in the rear. The steel frame and fork have some vibration dampening qualities, and they are complimented well with 6 spacers and the unique headset. The headset is called “viscus” as in viscosity, meaning it is actually filled with fluid that is specifically tuned for the Big Easy, and reduces speed wobble, provides more vibration dampening, and keeps the wheel steady since there is no deflopilator. The bike also features these high volume tires direct from Surly. They are the Extraterrestrial 26” x 2.5” thick tire with some nice nobs and do well for both comfort and stability. It also provides a good amount of traction and even has puncture protection, although there is no reflective sidewalls. They have 135mm hub spacing in the rear with a 9mm axle, and a quick release skewer. There is also a quick release in the front as well and I love the WTB brand 32 hole 14 gage spoke rims…. black with black nipples and these nice little reinforcement eyelets. This not generic stuff here with some very high quality parts that spared no expense. Overall it is a very comfortable setup, although there is an intent of adventure and aggression to it as well. For example, usually with these cargo bikes, you have a smaller back wheel to lower the center of weight around town, or these big swept back handlebars for almost a cruising geometry. In the Big Easy, you are encouraged to ride a little more aggressively due to the 740mm handlebar with flat grips rather than ergonomic grips. It does sweep back a bit, but it’s not quite the same as it brings you a bit more forward. This is definitely a nod to Surly’s reputation since the handle bar seems to hint at a sporty feel rather than a family van feel. So as I said before, the concept is more for rugged touring, not as much for hauling kids, because of features like its single leg kickstand and inability to fit 2 Yepp seats (although it can indeed fit 1 Yepp seat comfortably). The benefit to this bike lies in its ability to customize. For example, there are bosses all over the frame, from the below the seat stay, below the downtube, and even on the fork, you can load it with specialized accessories like sleeping bags, tire pumps, different sized racks, and really all sorts of stuff. The aluminum alloy platform rack in the rear is quite the standout as well. It is tapered toward the back and has 12 boxes for straps and 29 separate non-threaded holes for cords and clips or even a Yepp seat interface like I mentioned. The rack alone is rated at an impressive 200lbs. It even comes with these extra long bags that I almost hesitate to call panniers since they offer so much more. They are almost like having a bag within a bag and are really utilitarian with a divider panel and this huge sling that rolls out that really could hold something the size of a keg! All jokes aside, this bike would be great for hauling up with gear and taking up to the mountains for a weekend of camping or adventure. I mentioned the rack weight and I should also say the entire bike setup is rated for 400lbs overall. When you think about that much weight and the length of the bike, it really is great for hauling a lot of gear. For off-roading, they have this nub point attached to the rear part of frame which is to protect the derailleur if the bike tips to the side, also it can protect the frame from getting crushed. Some might scoff at the single leg kickstand, as most cargo bikes come with a more sturdy double leg kickstand, but it seems to be here actually on purpose as a double leg could drag and get in the way more when off roading. Similarly, I love the stronger plastic plating that covers the Bosch motor, really a great setup. I notice the Big Easy has 175mm crank arms, which is a step up, but I should mention it does not come with any pedals, so make sure to pick some out when considering this bike. There is a really long chain here from the long tail frame, and it really has a lot of bounce. This is a little troublesome since there is not slap guard. You may want to get an aftermarket one on Amazon or at least put some clear box-tape down to protect that frame from getting knicked by that chain. There are some optional accessories like an adapter if you want to run a trailer from Surly. The have 2 different trailers, named Bill and Ted, with Ted being a high quality super long heavy duty steel trailer. There is also an optional Kid Corral, which includes pads, a surround bar setup, and a handlebar in the rear. As I said before, a lot of customization options like the 30.9mm seat post that you could swap out, or you could fit some 3” tires in the front too, or even get an extra Bosch battery since there is a mount for that as well. With the Surly name, Bosch name, and all the possibilities, you do pay a bit more, as the bike is priced at $5,000.

Driving this electric bicycle is a trail optimized mid-motor from Bosch called the Performance Line CX. It’s rated up to 75 newton meters, considerably more than the standard Performance Line and Performance Line Speed, which peak at 63nm. Given the slightly heavier footprint of this bike and possibility of carrying extra cargo, it’s a great choice. It probably inflates the price a bit, but you do benefit from a special eMTB drive mode that only the Bosch CX offers. In this mode, which is the third step up just before Turbo, the motor performance can operate from 120% to 300% based on how hard you push. The other modes (Eco, Tour, and Turbo) have more limited power bands. This drive mode was introduced as a way to make motor performance more automatic and intuitive for mountain bikers who might be focusing on trail obstacles and gear shifting. For the Big Easy, which has super smooth SRAM shifting and is designed for trail riding, eMTB mode is just one more way that the bike can be ridden without distraction or thought. Just hop on, arrow up to eMTB, start pedaling, and the bike will respond naturally based on how hard you pedal. All current generation Bosch Performance Line motors weigh roughly 8.8lbs, which is more than Shimano, Yamaha, or Brose drive units. The CX produces more noise, especially in high power and a higher pedal speeds, and it also uses more energy… but it’s known for being reliable and having a good network of certified repair shops. This motor responds based on three signals: rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque. It uses some of the most advanced sensors and can even sense when gears are being shifted. Mechanically, the bike the bike is operated by an 11 speed, 11-42 tooth cassette SRAM GX derailleur. In the front is this Bosch specific 18 tooth chain ring with a nice guide on both the inside and outside. It has SRAM NX trigger shifters going 1 high and 3 low. For brakes you get these Tektro Orion quad piston 180mm rotor hydraulic brakes, really a top notch choice for stopping this beast. All in all, there is a lot of aggression in the way it rides, similar to a mountain bike, it is very clean, fast, and agile.

Powering the motor, integrated lights, and backlit display panel, is one (or two with the optional battery mount) 482.4watt hour battery pack from Bosch. The battery, a PowerPack 500, clicks neatly into the downtube. If you want two batteries, it will cost a bit extra, so do be aware of that. Extra Bosch batteries are not cheap, but it could be worth it for heavier riders, those hauling cargo or passengers, and those who might be commuting longer distances. You can charge either pack off of the bike frame or plug into one location to fill both packs in series while mounted to the bike. Lithium-ion cells, including the 18650 cells used in both of these packs, tend to be very reliable if you maintain them at 20% to 80% capacity when not in use and store in a cool dry environment vs. extreme heat or cold. I frequently store my electric bike indoors because it isn’t as heavy or smelly as a moped or motorcycle, and this keeps it clean and safe while also protecting the battery from extreme temperatures. Charging happens quickly here, thanks to the included 4amp Bosch charger, yet it’s relatively compact and lightweight compared to others on the market. Bosch does sell an even smaller, lighter charger, that delivers 2 amps. They call this the travel charger and I read many comments from people who use it at a work site or carry it along in a backpack or pannier. In closing, the PowerPack weighs less than the PowerTube at 5.7lbs vs. 6.3lbs, but you’ll want to make extra sure to hear it click into place on the frame when mounting before rides. If you have an older PowerPack 400, it will work with the same interface as the PowerPack 500, so you can swap packs or rent and borrow if you travel frequently.

Once you’ve charged and secured the battery pack, operating the bike is pretty straight forward. The control panel consists of a grayscale LCD with four surrounding buttons. The power button is built into the top edge, a + and – button is reachable along the left front portion, and a walk mode button is built into the lower edge. Pressing the power button brings the LCD to life quickly, and a faint white glow is active at all times making it readable in low lighting conditions. I’ve created an in-depth guide to the Bosch Purion display panel, with video overview, in the EBR forums. It’s not removable however, and the Micro-USB port on the right edge is not active for charging as is the case with the larger Bosch Intuvia. I much prefer the Intuvia for its size and additional menus (shift recommendation, clock, max speed, average speed, and trip time), and some shops can upgrade you to this display for ~$200. With Purion, you’ve got a streamlined and simple interface with the necessities including trip distance, total distance, and range estimate. You can cycle through these menus by holding the – key, and you can reset trip distance by holding – and + simultaneously for a couple of seconds. The main portion of the display is used to show your current speed and assist level. If you’d like to change units from miles to kilometers, you simply hold – and tap the power button. Anytime you change from one assist level to the next, the menu briefly changes. In my experience, the buttons don’t click in as consistent as Intuvia, and there’s no dedicated light button (hold + to activate the lights if you’ve got the CX motor), but it gets the job done. If this was the only display that Bosch produced, I might be a little more enthusiastic about it here, it is a great display, I think I’ve just grown to appreciate the charging, removability, color, and Bluetooth features on some of their nicer displays. Most of the mountain models I review here do spec Purion, to hide and protect the display. For me, it would have been worth an additional $50 or $100 in the price tag given how expensive the bike already is, but it’s not a deal killer by any means.

Considering the entire package, it is refreshing for me to test something out that is really purpose built. A bike with a focus is going to go far for the right person, but it is not for everyone, consider the following tradeoffs. As I mentioned before, the bike is $5,000 and that doesn’t include the many optional accessories or even pedals. Also, someone looking for an urban cargo bike may have a lot of the cool factor, but would be missing out on what the bike was really designed for and may be better suited with another bike. The single leg kickstand, sporty grips and handle bar geometry, and the lack of fitment for 2 Yepp seats may say something as to what the bike is more happier doing. Some other tradeoffs are no deflopilator, no integrated lights, and no slap guard. If the bike speaks to you though, it will likely be screaming your name as well as inspiring a lot of capabilities and adventure, as well as being a cargo bike you can depend on. I was really happy to get a chance to try this out and I want to thank Surly for the opportunity to do so.

As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own a previous version of the bike, have taken a test ride, or are brand new to the space, my goal is to provide an objective and honest resource. You can also join the Other Brands forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)

Pros:

  • The first electric bike from Surly but they enter the arena with experience, really a rugged and unique take on the cargo bike in only a way they could do
  • Feels sporty and aggressive, yet smooth and responsive, a stark contrast from the family van image that cargo bikes normally share
  • The Bosch Performance Line CX shines here with its EMTB mode and the 11 speed SRAM derailleur
  • Both tires are the same size as opposed to other cargo bikes that use a staggered setup, this is great because if you are going on on an adventure, you only need 1 size of tire tube in case you get a flat rather than carrying varying sizes
  • The 2nd battery setup is ready to go anytime you want to grab another battery, this is great because with some other cargo bikes with dual batteries, dealers need to know at the time of purchase if you plan to ever use a twin setup and they have to add that on before you receive the bike
  • The steel frame and fork have some vibration dampening qualities, and they are complimented well with 6 spacers and the unique headset
  • The headset is called “viscus” as in viscosity, meaning it is actually filled with fluid that is specifically tuned for the Big Easy, this reduces speed wobble, provides more vibration dampening, and keeps the wheel steady since there is no deflopilator
  • Features Surly Extraterrestrial 26” x 2.5” thick tires with some nice nobs and do well for both comfort and stability, it also provides a good amount of traction and even has puncture protection, although there is no reflective sidewalls
  • I love the WTB brand 32 hole 14 gage spoke rims, black with black nipples and these nice little reinforcement eyelets, high end stuff
  • There are bosses all over the frame, from the below the seat stay, below the downtube, and even on the fork, you can load it with specialized accessories like sleeping bags, tire pumps, different sized racks, and really all sorts of stuff!
  • The aluminum alloy platform rack has 12 boxes for straps and 29 separate non-threaded holes for cords and clips or even a Yepp seat interface, the rack alone is rated at an impressive 200lbs
  • Comes with these extra long bags that I almost hesitate to call panniers since they offer so much more, they are almost like having a bag within a bag and are really utilitarian with a divider panel and this huge sling that rolls out that really could hold a lot
  • For off roading, they have this nub thing attached to the rear part of frame which is to protect the derailleur if the bike tips to the side, also it can protect the frame from getting crushed
  • The optional accessories are really neat, they have 2 different trailers, named Bill and Ted, with Ted being a high quality super long heavy duty steel trailer, there is also an optional Kid Corral, which includes pads, a surround bar setup, and a handlebar in the rear

Cons:

  • $5,000 is a lot to spend on a bike and it will likely speak to the right person, but some may be put off that it doesn’t come with pedals
  • Some may be used to seeing a deflopilator on a cargo bike like this but you won’t find one here, however that fluid filled headset does help a lot
  • A lot of cargo bikes are geared around families and children especially, you can get a Kid Corral accessory as a seat, and it can fit a Yepp seat, however it cannot fit 2 Yepp seats like much of its competition
  • A single kickstand is here, rather than a more sturdy double legged kickstand, however this does have advantages for off roading as it won’t get in the way as much when going over bumps
  • There is no slap guard and that is a shame since the chain is long and bounces quite a bit, I would highly recommend getting an aftermarket slap guard or at least put some box tape down to protect the frame from getting knicked
  • It’s a shame that this bike has an option for two batteries, yet there are no integrated lights in the front or rear, kinda of a missed opportunity given all the electricity in the setup
  • A wealth of possibilities through various accessories, both aftermarket and from Surly themselves, but for others it may be a drain on their wallet since the bike starts out at $5,000
  • There is no dropper seat post here and it really is prime for one, both myself and Chris thought it would really benefit from having one, something you might want to think about when considering this bike

Resources:

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