Surly's new Preamble is designed for gravel and urban riding

Surly Preamble drop bar bike leaning against a wall
(Image credit: Surly)

Surly has released a new bike called the Preamble, offering a new entry-level option to its pavement range of bikes. The Preamble is designed as both a budget gravel bike and urban transport, coming in either flat bar or drop bar options.

Surly has been making somewhat left-field steel bikes for a long time and cultivated somewhat of a cult following. Surly's goal with the Preamble was to "build a serious steel bike and give it only the attributes that matter most". 

Surly Preamble flat bar bike on a dirt track

Rack mounts give options to carry luggage whether riding in the city or going bikepacking (Image credit: Surly)

The result is the Preamble which has enough features for most riders whilst still keeping the bike as simple and affordable as possible. The frame is made from Surly's durable Natch tubing and E.D. coated to protect the inside of the tubes from corrosion. The fork is made from steel as well.

Surly has specced the bike with quick-release wheels which might seem a bit dated but adds simplicity. The rear features Surly's Gnot Boost concept, essentially the bike has 138mm spacing but the chainstays have enough flex to accommodate either 135mm or 141mm hub spacing.

Surly Preamble drop bar bike riding in a city environment

The Preamble is designed to work with flat or drop bars (Image credit: Surly)

Tire clearance is on the comfy side and the frame and fork are designed to be run with 30-45mm tires, or 41mm if you want to run fenders. The XS-SM frame sizes use 650b wheels for more toe clearance although tire clearance remains the same.

The Preamble has two bottle cage mounts as well as fittings to attach front and rear mudguards and racks should you need to carry any luggage.

Surly Preamble pricing and availability

Surly will have a drop bar and flat bar version of the Preamble available, with slightly different specifications between the two. The bikes are available in sizes between XS and XL, or rider heights of 1.52m to 2m.

The Flat Bar will retail for $899 / £1,099 and the Drop Bar for $1,199 / £1,399. There will also be a frame-only option priced at $549 / £650.

Surly Preamble Drop Bar

Surly Preamble Drop Bar

(Image credit: Surly)
  • Frame: 100% Chromoly steel tubing, E.D. coated
  • Fork: Surly Preamble, 100% Chromoly steel fork
  • Seatpost / Saddle: Kalloy / Selle Italia X-Base
  • Handlebars / Stem: Salsa Cowbell / Kalloy
  • Drivetrain: microSHIFT RD-M46S, microSHIFT R400, 9-speed 11-36t cassette
  • Brakes: Avid BB7 Mechanical
  • Wheels: Novatec
  • Tires: Kenda Kwik Tendril 700c x 35mm (MD/LG/XL) & Kenda Standard 650b x 1.35 (XS/SM)
  • Price: $1,199 / £1,399

Surly Preamble Flat Bar

Surly Preamble Flat Bar

(Image credit: Surly)
  • Frame: 100% Chromoly steel tubing, E.D. coated
  • Fork: Surly Preamble, 100% Chromoly steel fork
  • Seatpost / Saddle: Kalloy / Selle Italia X-Base
  • Handlebars / Stem: Kalloy / Kalloy
  • Drivetrain: microSHIFT RD-M5185M, microSHIFT Acolyte Xpress, 8-speed 12-42t cassette
  • Brakes: Avid BB5 Mechanical
  • Wheels: Novatec
  • Tires: Kenda Kwik Tendril 700c x 35mm (MD/LG/XL) & Kenda Standard 650b x 1.35 (XS/SM)
  • Price: $899 / £1,099
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.


Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg