Zito on the Krampus

Regular contributor, Chris Zito, penned up the following review of his time spent with a borrowed Krampus. Check it!


I knew it would come to me. If I bided my time, and waited patiently, it would appear. And when the good lads at Black Ribbon Test Labs sent one my way, I fell ass over teakettle in love with the unruly fractious beast that is the Krampus.

The Krampus that invaded my world was set up 1 x 9 with some big old 780 handlebars. With this particular combination I found that it rode like a single speed, with gears, and well, horns. Spinny and quick out of the gates but it always had a little more gear to give. In the past I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent on 29ers. The way they roll with momentum to carry you over, through, and around obstacles that might cause a moment of hesitation on a 26 inch wheel, inspires security, sureness, and even a dash of bravado. With the Krampus, you rule the fucking world. There is nothing that can stand in your way. Now don’t get me wrong, I really really love my Moonlander, but the critter that the dirtbags at Surly unloaded on the world this time, is a monster of another type.


My first good long ride on the Krampus took me to some single track where the bike performed exactly as expected. Tight and nimble, grippy in the turns, tracking right along wherever you point it. Forgiving. The second half of the ride was a ride across town. I took it WedNiteRide Style (although it was Tuesday) ripping through alleys and parks, over hill and fucking dale, literally. The equation of the niner rolling power and the three inch tire assured me that all was good in the world and instilled that confidence that makes you whoop and holler as you tear along anywhere you want. Concrete embankments with a tight transition were nothing to the tall tires. Endo Calrissian, stay at home! Stairs? Shit, what stairs? Like butter on hot toast. When I came upon an outdoor pavilion with concrete benches and deep pea gravel, the Krampus powered through allowing me to swerve and veer effortlessly around, the obstacles. I was amazed at how well it tracked even in the deep stuff. One of the last turns came up and I put a little more lean into it, began to slide out, but just straightened the bars toward center and the bike stood right back up.
Again, forgiving.


During the time that I spent with my newfound joy, there was something I just couldn’t nail down, that something lurking in the back of my brain just itching to escape. Then, as I was drafting a bus it came to me. The Krampusis could very well be the ultimate commuting machine. There is no pothole, train track, or crack in the road that is going to take you down. Once again the rolling momentum keeps you moving along and looking for more gears on the road. I would love to put a front rack and some narrower bars on one and use it to messenger. Unstoppable. I wholeheartedly recommend that anyone that likes riding bicycles, and even those that don’t, take a spin on a Krampus you won’t be sorry. It will inject security and inspire even the meekest of riders with that utopian feeling you get when you know you are one with the bike. I look forward to the day I can add one to my stable.


Wickapedia definition of the Krampus describes a beast like creature that snatches naughty children in his sack and carries them away to his lair. It doesn’t go on to explain what happens in said lair, but I’m pretty sure there are some deep fried meat cups, whiskey, and pungent aromaticity involved. And I’ve been a bad kid.


4 Responses to Zito on the Krampus

  1. Chris D December 10, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    This article has me seriously considering lacing up some 29+ rims for my fatty.

  2. andyo December 10, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    If you’ve got a Fat frame that will handle 29+ (which most do) I say go for it, I’ve run my Mukluk with 29+ and its a freaking blast! I put that same wheel set (Hope hubs with Rabbit hole rims) on my wife’s 907, shod with Schwabe Big Apple tires for the street, and that thing is the ultimate urban assault bike.

  3. Eric H December 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    I’m interested in the build kit that was on your test bike. Are those Thomson ti handlebars with a ti stem and seatpost? Also, what stem length was on there? I just got a Krampus myself and am still trying to figure out the right fit and feel. I will say though, out of the gate, I already like it better than the Mukluk I had last year. It’s weight, geometry and footprint make it a more fun all-in-one ground-devouring machine in my opinion.

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