An Affordable Bike for All Kinds of Road Riding

The market for capable entry-level bikes is heating up. Today, Surly threw more gas on the fire with the release of Preamble, an affordable bike that’s designed for commuting and road riding. Surly is known for bucking trends (the brand is proudly committed to steel frames, eschewing newer materials like carbon fiber) and producing versatile bikes designed for everyday riding. The Preamble definitely fits that mold with a durable steel frame and accommodations for racks and wider tires.

Surly calls the Preamble “a regular bike at a great price.” It’s designed for road rides, commuting, and jaunts through the park. Although it can handle some mixed surfaces, it’s not built for long hauls on trails. Even so, it should be a versatile and dependable option, especially for newer cyclists. The 100 percent chromoly steel frame features eyelets for racks and fenders, as well as bosses for two water bottle cages. The fork also has accessory mounts for attaching a rack and turning this bike into an everyday grocery-getter.

A person wearing black clothing riding a white Surly Preamble bike.
Courtesy Image

The bike is available in sizes from XS to XL, and you can spec yours with either flat or drop bars (it’s also available as a frameset only). The XS and S sizes come with a 650B wheelset while the rest of the lineup gets 700C wheels; all the frames have enough clearance to run 45mm rubber. The drivetrain has a 1x setup and utilizes a microSHIFT RD-M5185M rear derailleur with an eight-speed 12-42t cassette. Combined with the 40t crank, that should provide plenty of gear range for hauling up hills around town.

Eagle-eyed Surly fans might notice some similarities between this bike and other models in the company’s lineup. According to Surly, the bike shares some design philosophy with the Bridge Club, one of its touring models. The Preamble features vertical dropouts like the Bridge Club, but the Preamble’s are cast rather than stamped. In addition to having different frame geometry, the Preamble also uses thinner tubing than the Bridge Club, which is designed more for off-pavement riding.

Trail riders and tourers will likely need something a little more robust, but the Preamble should serve up a lively ride on the pavement—perfect for beginner cyclists and an attractive option for more experienced riders, too. As Surly describes it, the bike has “everything you need, and nothing you don’t.” At this price point, that’s a very good deal.

[Starting at $899;]

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