People keep asking me to do a review of my Surly Moonlander - from a beach riders point of view..
Well if you want me to say it is better than a Surly Pugsley because it is fatter then sorry it is not...
The Internet if full of people venting there views of the Moonlander, saying it is better everywhere being bigger - some of them have not even ridden one!, but bigger is not always better...
bigger is for mission specific...
If the ride is mission specific for the Moonlander then it is an amazing bicycle in the right environment...
Let me explain,
everywhere i have ridden with my Moonlander i have done so on my pugsley, but it has in places been a lot more work in places on the pugsley.
However go anywhere it is softer sand, loose pebbles and shingle, or requires more grip as on slime covered rocks exposed at low tide then you enter a whole new world of riding a bicycle easily where it really should not be possible...but is...
Just pump up the tyres then?, well yeah you can do that but you defeat the purpose of the bike and create a crazy rebound from those tyres if you mix tarmac pressures with roots and rocks....
Again it is Mission specific, run it under 7 psi, stay off tarmac and fast trails and this bike off road is quite amazing and its grip is mind blowing, your bike skills will run out before it`s grip does...
I have not spent much money on altering my Moonlander to set it up how i want. The Hope Pro 2 rear hub is a 7 year old item off a spare 29er wheel set...
Along with the Hope external BB, same with the Hope headset...
In my own opinion a loose bearing hub like the shimano XT and the flimsy Shimano Deore rear mech have no place on a bike like this built to ride in extreme places. I am not going to repeat my own views on open bearing hubs on off road bikes but you can read it here..., if you want to go beach riding and expose a bike to salt water then sealed bearing hubs is a no brainer...
The original BB bearings lasted around 100 miles, and many owners have had similar fails. I think it is something to do with the amount of preload on the bearings, there is a BB spacer in a bag, with out it fitted the crank nut tensioner tightens fully, like this there is no play, but you can tension bearings when it is installed, as i have done with the Hope bearings.
While on a rant why fit a 36t big ring on a bike meant for snow, or for myself sand?, it is far too high geared and the jump to the 22t granny ring is far too much, the bike would be a lot better with the optional 20/33t Surly MWOD ring combo,
I have been experimenting with different inner tubes, first i tried lighter tubes but now use stronger and Schrader valve (car type) tubes for quick inflation with compressor/ air line at a garage.
Again more rubbish has been written on line about using lighter tubes in 100mm rims and 4.7" Big Fat Larry (BFL) tyres. Fit a 2.5/2.7" tube as can be used in a pugsley sized rim and 3.7" tyre to the Moonlander and the increase in volume means the tube is so stretched so much it takes little impact on rocks to explode the tube as it is so thin - i have done this twice, try and patch a 2.5/2.7" tube then inflate it in a 4.7" BFL tyre/100mm combo and the patch will peel off as it inflates.
Surlys own tubes are ideal if your happy with Presta valves, they have removable valves if you want to add Stans Juice to prevent thorn punctures, a must do here in East Lothian due to the Hawthorn hedges on country roads. I prefer Schrader valves and am now using Michelin Airstop 3.00 x21" motorcycle tubes...
Interestingly these are only 50g lighter than Surly tubes yet way thicker and a lot higher quality...
These are the No1 tube used for Motorcycle enduros and Rally Raid events, and £14 each so a worthwhile investment.
Despite adding Stans juice to prevent thorn punctures the complete wheels are still quite light due to the rims being single wall. and despite the worries of fragile rims being single walled and machined for lightness they have been fine despite rock riding. I think you will pinch flat (as i have done 2 times) before you bend a rim.
So use if for `Mission Specific` and this bike rewards...
My Moonlander specs;
Frameset; 18" frameset
Rims; Clown shoe 100m, tartan 70mm ribbon, Surly rim tape behind
Rr Hub; Hope Pro 2
Fr Hub; stock Surly hub
headset; Hope headset
stem; Hope 90mm
Bars; Funn 750mm, 50mm rise, 25,4mm diameter
Cranks; Surly Mr Whirly
Chain; Shimano Dura Ace XTR
Cassette; 11/36t Shimano LX
rear mech; Shimano XT
Ft Mech; Shimano XT
Shifters; Microshift thumbies
Seat; Gusset Tartan
Seat Clamp: Hope
Also; Cycra gaurd down tube crud catcher
Rear Crud Catcher
Surly Hip flask & cage
Blackburn stainless bottle cage
Bike was built with stainless allen bolts, all connecting surfaces, threads, bearings packed with WURTH graphite grease,
Future items to add; Carbon seatpost, Hope 135mm front hub, custom Hope disc rotors.Swap out 36/22 MWOD to 33/20tooth front MWOD rings.