Figure 3 is a lie! (How to mount a Front Rack to a Surly Ogre)

The 2020 Surly Ogre is a sweet bike. Evidence: fairly affordable at $1400 ish; decent equipment spec (Cane Creek 40 headset, Deore rear derailleur, and hydraulic discs); big ol’ meaty 29 x 2.5 tires; nice paint; and not too heavy. And then there’s its tremendous versatility thanks to gobs of clearance and more braze-ons than… I dunno, something with fewer braze-ons? The bike is a great bike packing platform because it can mount fenders, racks, lights, accessories and the Moloko bars.*

One of our favorite customers ordered a Surly Orge, loved it, and then declared his love to the world by adorning it with all the options. I sold him the Surly front ($140) and rear racks ($150) which made me want to throw up a little because that seemed like an excessive charge for tubing and hardware. Perhaps that should’ve been a warning to me — as in, perhaps Surly knows something I don’t, and that price was intended to make it worth my while.

Holy shit that was a hard install. (For reference, assembling the 24 Pack Rack, and making it work on a Surly Pack Rat with those canti brakes and fenders, was cake compared to this.) It was made worse by my swagger because we don’t charge for installation of accessories purchased at our shop because that stuff usually isn’t that hard. So yeah, shame on me for overestimating my skill, and underestimating the degree of difficulty. But my culpability ends there, and the rest of the blame lay with Surly for their assurance that the rack works with the bike in question…

Figure 3 Surly Front Rack

The recommended and only illustration for the Surly Front Rack.

… and The Internet for failing to show me another way. I pen this post because I found nothing on making that rack work with a fendered 2020 Surly Ogre.

Forget the back. Easy-peasy. The front gave me the trouble. I damn near gave up. I tried all possible orientations of this hardware:

Surly Front Rack HardwareI tried all the braze-ons. I tried longer bolts. I tried shims. I tried it with the wheel in. I tried it with the wheel out. I probably repeated myself several times. No matter what I tried I could not get it to mount, while clearing the tire, while keeping the load deck parallel to the ground, while making the installation look like Figure 3. Figure 3 does not work for the Surly Ogre. Let me say that again: Figure 3 does not work for the Surly Ogre.

This is what does…

The reward for the work (3 crowlers from Tin Whiskers)

Oops, this came after the job was done.


Profile of Front Rack Mounted to a 2020 Surly Ogre

This is not Figure 3. The rack is forward of the fork leg and the attachment plates are 180 degrees opposite. Also note how the unicrown attachment plate is used for the lower mount, and the fender utilizes the lowest eyelet. Once Figure 3 was abandoned the attachment at the lowest eyelet wasn’t possible due to interference with the QR and the brake caliper.

Surly Front Rack 3/4 View

Note the attachment of the upper plate to the inside of the fork. All hardware had lock washers, lock nuts and locktite applied. All frame eyelets required chasing the threads because… bless that powdercoat! There is plenty of clearance inside the fork to do all this. Once I got the rack successfully installed the only remaining task was making the fenders work. Obstacle: interference by the brake caliper. Rather than doing a custom bend of the left stay — which may not have been possible — I sawed in half one of those 20 mm spacers which accompany Planet Bike fenders. Done! (Except for the test ride shakedown.)

Completely accessorized Surly Ogre

The finished bike. It is a lovely color, right? Somehow both racks came out level, and are pretty close to the same height

So there it is. Hopefully this will help out someone who is trying to mount one of these racks to an Ogre. Maybe Surly will change their hardware or update their instructions to lessen the struggle. (Please steal from this post!) Oh, and in case you were wondering why Figure 3 doesn’t work, this is why: the fork and the rack are very close to being the same width so it was not possible to fit the rack over the fork and mount as directed. 


* Wow those bars are not fun to wrap. If doing so happens to be your punishment then I recommend billing by the hour and avoiding the Cinelli stretchy, rubbery, super-sticky bar tape. It’ll look good when it is done, but it’s going to take you an hour to get there. Hint: you’ll need to cut the tape in two pieces for each side, and cut a few smaller pieces to cover gaps that form at junctions.