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First look at Surly’s New Plutonium Sparkle Green Machine AKA the 2019 Ice Cream Truck By Tony Grande

So, there I was, in the middle of a serious negotiation for a new camper. The wife and I were working the salesman over, trying to better our trade-in when I happened to look at my phone and see a message from everyone’s favorite uncle, Tio Gomez!

“Any interest in testing out the new ICT?”

“Yes, Yes, YES!”

So here we are and away we go!

I got MY OG Ice Cream Truck in December of 2015 and it’s everything I hoped it would be, FUN, FUN and more Fun!  Though there are a few other fun bikes in my garage, the Truck is my year-round go to.  #fourseasonfatbikes

How did Surly expect to improve an already super awesome bike?!?  Let’s find out.

My Truck is an extra small because I am short (5’5” with a 29” inseam), so I wanted low stand over height and a more upright riding position.  It’s been awesome for my neck (2 herniated disks).  When I heard that Surly got rid of the XS I was bum’d BUT was interested in how the new small would fit me.

The highlights of what Surly has changed on the new Ice Cream Truck –

  • 4 sizes now instead of 6 (was xs to xxl – now s to xl)
  • Gone are the MDS dropouts in favor of the same ones used on the Wednesday, more of a horizontal style which lets you play with, among other things, tire sizes, the wheelbase length, and the possibility of going Single Speed.
  • Chain stay length is 10mm shorter with the axel all the way forward in the dropout.
  • Bent seat tube a-la the Krampus and updated Karate Monkey, which allows a larger tire to be slammed forward in the dropouts.
  • Clearance, Clarence, for 26 x 5.1” tires.
  • Gone is the Press Fit BB for a threaded one. I’ve never had a problem with mine, but I know how Press Fit BB’s get some of y’all riled up.
  • AND the frame is now tuned to be able to handle the likes of a 140mm Mastodon. Get yo BRAPPPP on!
  • Let’s not forget the MSRP of $2000 clams.

They have also changed up the spec on the complete ICT.  It now includes such things as a 1x drivetrain (previously a 2X) and My Other Brother Darryl rims (with Bud and Lou along for the ride) instead of Clown Shoes or the Rolling Darryl’s that my ICT-OPS came with.

Now let us get a bit Scientific

I like to see numbers side by side when trying to compare gnomes to gnomes, so I put together a handy dandy chart to see how the geometry of the new small fits between the old x-small and small.

A few things I’ve noticed right off the bat after ceremoniously unpacking and building the new Green Machine:

  • Stand over height vs the xs. Good thing I’m done having kids.  In the winter with deep snow, I might need a cup, BUT I like the space in the front triangle.  More room for a larger frame pack = more beers!
  • More zits. The fork has the same attachment points as always, but the frame gets a pair on the underside of the down tube and a triple set on the top side of the same tube.  Can you say bikepacking!
  • Sweet color, the Atomic Green Relish from Super Dawg has nothing on this Plutonium Sparkle Green beauty!
  • The rear hub is LOUD! I’ve got Hope hubs and an old set of DT Huge hubs, these hubs are more than 1 louder, they might even go to 12!
  • Anyone shorter than me would have to cut the stock seat post down. The bend in the seat tube limits the seat post insertion.  Someone of my stature wanting to use a dropper post would be limited to a shorter travel post.
  • The wheel/tire set up is noticeably lighter than what I am currently running. I have Rolling Darryl’s with Maxxis FBF/FBR tires.  WOW do these spin faster!  I may have to swap wheels between the bikes and test more thoroughly because – SCIENCE!

Speaking of Science…

A day or so after the box arrived from The Mother Ship “Q”, my family unit had already planned a weekend getaway when my spouse read my mind and asked if we were going to bring both the Ice Cream Trucks along.

“YES, because Science and stuff!”

My wife is not one who is in her comfort zone on a bike, at all.  She has ridden my Truck a few times and liked how stable it is compared to her bike but was all about the new ICT.  I think it’s the color.  While camping, she grabbed that Plutonium Sparkle Green Machine whenever she went for a ride around the campground.  She was so comfortable on it she kept asking if we could keep it.  That right there says something about how awesome fat bikes are, they can generate spousal approval!

Remember it’s SCIENCE!!

We camped at Rock Cut State Park, near Rockford Il, because there are a ton of activities for families, and they have several trails to rip right from one’s camp site.  FYI, these trails are a bit rough.  Not much trail maintenance, if any, eroded, roots, hardpacked sandy soil with sand pits at the base of hills and A LOT of mosquitos!  Perfect for back to back rides on the ICT’s.  I’m not going to get too deep into a ride report here (gotta generate a bit of suspense!), but I am enjoying the subtle differences between how the 2 Trucks ride.

I rode the Green Machine stock at Rock Cut and this past weekend’s Beulah Boogie Race in Zion IL, and it rides quite well, but after riding mine for so long, I realize that there is so much room for growth.  The main differences between my Truck and the new Green Machine are that I ride a 1x XT setup (new is SLX) with a bit different gearing (28-40 vs the new @ 30-42) and semi-custom bars (a sweet collaboration between Oddity and Black Sheep Bikes).  I’m now ready to ride the snot out of this newer rendition of Surly’s Ice Cream Truck. You can look for a review in a month of Sunday’s or maybe just a few dozen more test rides or whichever comes first.

So, stay tuned true believers. I plan to ride it like I stole it as long as they let me and see how the new Ice Cream Truck stands out from what came before it.

If you’re interested in digging deeper into the theory behind and specs of the new Ice Cream Truck, more info is to be found  here and  here.

Let’s not forget Spinner’s preview and review of my beloved ICT-OPS here and  here.

BBR Test Pilot Grande signing off, Cheers!!

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5 Responses to First look at Surly’s New Plutonium Sparkle Green Machine AKA the 2019 Ice Cream Truck By Tony Grande

  1. Eli October 4, 2018 at 4:01 pm #

    I wish Surly didn’t ruin so many of their frames with kludgy rear dropouts. Now the ICT. Dang it, I’d seriously consider buying this frame if I wasn’t wary of having to fumble with the rear axle in the snow.

    • Mike October 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm #

      Although they look like standard horizontal dropouts they actually have a cutout on the inside so that the wheel indeed drops down and out like it should once you remove the axle. Works great on my Wednesday and I’ve built the new Green ICT at the shop and can vouch that it is simple as eating pie.

      • Gomez October 16, 2018 at 10:44 am #

        Newer clutch style derailleurs also make the surly style drop-out easier to work with. If you don’t have one of the newer derailleurs these drop-outs make you wrestle against the spring tension in the derailleur to remove or install the wheel. (all while trying to line up the brake rotor) It’s sort of a macro-sized tug of war. Not everybody has the newest generation of doodads and whatnots. On the positive side – Spinner would remind everyone that these dropouts also make singlespeed conversion very easy.

  2. Pistil Pete October 4, 2018 at 9:37 pm #

    That new ICT is a rad machine, and BIG! Yours is set up sweet!

    • Erv Spanks October 8, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

      Thanks! My ICT rides like a comfortable couch that can get RAD when needed.

      TG