Surly’s Number 7 and tubeless Extra Terrestrials

AUSTIN - The Surly branded Revelate Ranger frame bag finally arrived, and it’s nicer than I thought it would be. 

Surly worked with Revelate to make frame bags for all (or most?) of their current frames – I think just the off-road models. The bags are all made in Alaska like everything else from Revelate, and have a stellar, custom-like fit, as this number 7 bag has. 

It’s really quite brilliant, and to make things even more better, the frame bag comes packed in a Surly-branded bag akin to a tent bag; a ripstop, polyurethane-coated bag with a drawstring and a cord lock (the common spring button thing). 

So, yes, I’m using it as a tent bag as you can see on the front rack in the photo.

[UPDATE: I redid my packing and came up with a much better method; and, I wore a hole through the “tent bag” and replaced it with a Outdoor Research drybag which I bought on crazy-sale in Whitefish, MT.]

The bag is a little different from my original ill-fitting Ranger. The front of the bag has a plastic strap (like on the stirrup strap on the bottom of my gaiters) with a locking buckle, instead of the daisy chain loop meant for a Velcro strip. 

Otherwise, the X-pac fabric is the same, the zippers are the same (although the zipper garages are bigger), the pocket arrangement is the same, the inner divider is the same — the overall burly construction and brilliant quality are all wonderfully the same. I added a patch from Everything Will be Noble, a really phenomenal bike touring website. 

What’s missing is inside: the mesh pocket on the downtube side and the daisy chain on the top tube side. I found the mesh pocket good for a Crank Brothers multi tool, tire levers and other small things; and, the daisy chain loops good for attaching a pump. Neither omissions are deal-breakers, especially given the custom fit of the bag for the price and availability of an off-the-shelf Ranger.

OK, more about the Surly Extra Terrestrial tires I’ve been running recently — and plan to run for Burning Man and my Great Divide tour after. 

A few weeks ago I bought a tubeless kit from Orange Seal, meant for two mountain bike wheels. The other day I finally got to the tubeless setup and it was easy. I removed the hilariously cheap hot pink duct tape I had as my original rim tape and cleaned the rims and tire beads with warm soapy water (I should probably clean up the rest of the bike like this). 

Orange Seal includes O-rings for inside and outside of the valve stems, but I needed neither. The DT Swiss FR 570 rims I’m using have a nice rubber grommet of sorts, so I didn’t need the smaller O-rings intended for the outside of the rim. I also didn’t need the larger ones for the inside. Given the robust shape of the inside of the valve stem, I don’t see how anyone would need it. I don’t know, maybe on some rims (or older stem design?). 

After I installed the valve stems, I mounted the tires without sealant to see what would happen. It worked curiously well. I inflated with a floor pump (valve core still in place) and the tires inflated with the reassuring percussive pop as the tire beads slam into the grooves in the sides of the rim. I inflated the front to 2 bars, and the rear to 2.5 bars. The front seemed to not leak at all while the rear showed some bubbling in a couple of places on the rim. 

Although I was curious to see how long the tires would remain inflated, I wanted to get on with the conversion. I deflated the tires and, using the included valve core tool, I removed the valve cores. After mumbling “what the fuck is an ounce?” I realized each wheel gets half the included bottle of sealant. Oh, right. OK. Why didn’t they just say that in the beginning? So far, none of this is out of line with other reporting on tubeless tire conversions or installations. Roll the wheel a bit, lay it horizontal on one side, then the other, roll it around more … you get the idea.   

Fast forward to earlier today. The tires still have air, although I haven’t checked exactly how much yet. Here are some extra things you may want to know: The Extra Terrestrials roll nicely through small amounts of sticky mud and seem to handle the small amount of actual singletrack I found near my house. It happened to be raining for days so everything was wet outside, which gave me a chance to ride through puddles and some mud in my first outing on my touring-loaded Troll, and the first ride on tubeless Extra Terrestrials. While my initial packing job isn’t great, I’m pretty stoked with the tires. 

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