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Question about Surly Troll dropouts

Old 09-28-19, 07:21 PM
  #1  
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Question about Surly Troll dropouts

I'm looking at getting a Troll - it has everything I want in a bike - but I've never had horizontal dropouts. I seem to remember reading some complaints about them on this bike and I was wondering if I could get some opinions from people who have Trolls.

Have the dropouts caused you any trouble?
Does the wheel need regular adjusting?
Any recurring issues with disc brake alignment?
Any other thoughts or recommendations are welcome. This is the one issue about the Troll that still gives me pause.
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Old 09-28-19, 08:39 PM
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Only difficulty is with the rear fender. Have to loosen the rearmost fender stays to remove the wheel. Carry a multitool with a 10 mm for this purpose. I have Planet Bike Cascadias, so it’s a simple matter of loosening the nut that slides on the stay and there is enough play in the fender to get the wheel out.

Installed a Rohloff on one Troll and it slides right in. Tension with a Surly Tuggnut. BTW, I have a regular Troll from the first year they came out, and bought a World Troller a couple years later. No issues with disc brake alignment.
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Old 09-29-19, 07:14 AM
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That sounds encouraging and if you own two Trolls, I'll take that as a vote of confidence in them. I won't have a Rohloff anytime soon, but I like having the option. Fenders, though, those are mainstays for me and I will mount racks, front and rear too. I don't change out wheel sets and I try not to get flats so removing the rear wheel shouldn't be a common occurrence. I can probably live with the fender issue.

Have you used rear panniers? Any problem with heel strike?
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Old 09-29-19, 03:49 PM
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I do not have a Troll, I am only making generic comments on heel clearance. The better panniers all have adjustable hooks on them that allow you to move the panniers fore and aft on the rack to adjust your heel clearance. I usually adjust my panniers for minimal heel clearance on my three touring bikes because too much heel clearance can impair handling if you have a heavy load on the rear rack. And I usually have a heavier than average load on my bikes when touring.
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Old 09-29-19, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Txthroop View Post
That sounds encouraging and if you own two Trolls, I'll take that as a vote of confidence in them. I won't have a Rohloff anytime soon, but I like having the option. Fenders, though, those are mainstays for me and I will mount racks, front and rear too. I don't change out wheel sets and I try not to get flats so removing the rear wheel shouldn't be a common occurrence. I can probably live with the fender issue.

Have you used rear panniers? Any problem with heel strike?
Here is a picture from a trip a couple weeks ago in Oregon. No heel strike with a large frame, Ortlieb panniers and a Topeak Explorer rack.

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Old 09-29-19, 10:17 PM
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I donít have experience with a Troll in particular, but do with a Pugsley. The horizontal dropouts would actually be better with a Rolloff/SS setup. Theyíre kind of a pain in the ass with a derailer. The wheel doesnít slide right out like it does with a vertical or even 80ís style angled dropout. You have to slide the wheel backwards, fighting the derailer chain tension, and then getting the chain off of the cassette cogs can be a hassle. That or you fight the derailer tension pulling the chain backwards off of the cogs before sliding the wheel out, which gets your hands really greasy. And thereís no fender on the Pugsley. Personally, I would choose another bike. Iíd think the combination of fenders and derailer would be a hassle every time you had to remove the wheel, to the point that youíd be kinda frustrated by the situation before you even started the process. But again, I havenít done it with fenders and derailer. And Iíve only dealt with it a hand full of times because itís a friendís bike. Maybe Iím wrong and maybe thereís an easy trick that I didnít figure out in the handful of times I did it. Someone with experience may be able to say otherwise. I know wouldnít want to deal with it after riding 40mi on a warm day, or in the rain, thatís for sure.

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Old 09-29-19, 10:24 PM
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The chain is not a problem. Either drop it off the smaller chainring to the bottom bracket or off the larger chainring to the crank arm and off the crank arm. Plenty of slack either way. Also, taking out the skewer helps a bit. I use nitrile gloves to keep my hands clean. I’m so used to removing and reinstalling the rear wheel, it’s second nature now.

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Old 09-29-19, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The chain is not a problem. Either drop it off the smaller chainring to the bottom bracket or off the larger chainring to the crank arm and off the crank arm. Plenty of slack either way. Also, taking out the skewer helps a bit. I use nitrile gloves to keep my hands clean. Iím so used to removing and reinstalling the rear wheel, itís second nature now.
Ah, see, thereís the trick! Thanks! That just never even registered in my brain since Iíve removed so many rear wheels I just always do it the way Iím used to(and has always worked before). But I still wouldnít want to remove the skewer and throw a pair of rubber gloves in the landfill every time I pull the rear wheel. Iíd rather just get a bike with dropouts better suited to a derailer system, or with horizontal dropouts, donít use a derailer in the rear.
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Old 09-29-19, 11:17 PM
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The latest Troll has the Gnot boost drop outs. This means a couple of things... There are spacers needed for 135mm hubs, these are supplied with the frame, but taking the skewer out to remove the wheel means they'll likely fall off the axle. A QR is also not sufficient to hold the wheel secure if you use Rohloff or single speed, or if you move the wheel back to get a bit of extra wheel base. You will need tugnutts, both sides because the drop out slot is 12mm and there isn't enough bite on the frame by the QR. If you are using a 135mm hub with the spacers and tugnutts you need a tandem skewer, because a standard skewer isn't long enough. With Tugnutts the wheel goes back into the same place every time with my 135mm Rohloff.
But... if you are running a derailleur likely you will slam the wheel forward so all of the issues with alignment etc go away as the wheel will slip back to the same place every time. If you are getting new wheels get 12mm boost hubs and you won't have any issues, the other advantage with boost hubs is that there is a slot so the wheel can drop down out of the dropouts when the axle is removed, instead of being slid all the way back.
Oh yeah, we don't have any issues getting wheels off with fenders and ETs on either the old 135mm drop outs or the new Gnot boost with 135mm and adapters.

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Old 09-30-19, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I do not have a Troll, I am only making generic comments on heel clearance. The better panniers all have adjustable hooks on them that allow you to move the panniers fore and aft on the rack to adjust your heel clearance.
This. The Troll does not have the long chainstays of more road-focused touring bikes, but I have not had an issue getting my Ortleibs adjusted so that they are plenty far back. I have a grocery bag pannier with no adjustment option, and if it's too full, I will kick it, but even then I can usually adjust things to make it work.

Fenders. I've been using the SKS Velo 65s. They can be used with pieces that attach the fenders to the dropouts, but they are not required. Took some fiddling to get the rear fender attachment around my rack mounts so that I could run the fender without the optional mounting hardware, but now that it's done, the fenders don't interfere with tire removal.

I don't mind the dropouts. They were actually one of the selling points for me. I run an Alfine 8 hub, and horizontal dropouts mean that I don't need a chain tensioner. I do need the little Surly adapters, and the fit is not perfect, but it works and as long as I apply enough torque when I put the wheel back on, there's no extra fiddling. If not for the the gear hub, I would be looking at something with a thru-axle, so I could take advantage of that aspect of the dropouts, but that's an issue with lack of thru-axle gear hubs, not with the Surly dropouts.
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Old 09-30-19, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
...
I use nitrile gloves to keep my hands clean.....
Very good point, when I go to the Dr or dentist, I occasionally ask if I can have a few pairs of their disposable gloves for working on my bike. They are always happy to give me a few pair.
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Old 09-30-19, 01:16 PM
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This is great information and exactly the kind of experience I was looking for. Thanks for all your comments!

I really don't expect to remove the rear wheel very often so I don't think the process will bother me too much. Knowing to drop the chain off the chain rings will help a lot.

The comments about the dropouts and the axle sizes are interesting. I'll probably order a complete bike so I'll be stuck with what Surly has told me is a 141mm QR hub. It sounds like as long as I am happy with that wheel sunk to the end of the slot then I won't have any trouble with alignment. If I want to move the wheel farther back, sounds like I'll need some sort of spacer or Tugnutts to keep it in place. This all makes sense to me. At this point, I'm feeling pretty good about the dropouts.

Now, however, you all have made me curious about internal gear hubs since they seems to be so common with this bike. Do you keep the 3x set up in the front or turn the bike into a 1x? Has anyone found they prefer a derailleur or is it pretty universal that an IGH is better. I'll be using the stock derailleur until it dies probably but I can always make plans for the future!
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Old 09-30-19, 01:21 PM
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By the way, Alan S, I really like the color of your World Troller (I had to look up "World Troller" on the legacy bikes page of the Surly website.) If I don't get a deal on an in-stock Troll here in town, I'd like to order the current "salt shaker" color, which, as far as I can tell, will be white. I think it looks great.
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Old 09-30-19, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Txthroop View Post
...
Now, however, you all have made me curious about internal gear hubs since they seems to be so common with this bike. Do you keep the 3x set up in the front or turn the bike into a 1x? Has anyone found they prefer a derailleur or is it pretty universal that an IGH is better. ...
Since Alan S owns both a derailleur Troll and a Rohloff Troll, I am looking forward to his comments to see if his experience is different than mine.

Not owning a Troll, my comments are generic. And my only IGH experience is with a Rohloff or with a three speed, I have never owned a 7 or 8 or 11 speed IGH.

A couple years ago someone on this forum asked me for comments on the Rohloff since I toured on a Rohloff and also toured on derailleur bikes. I dug out those private messages and pasted below, except that I edited out a few off topic comments that were unrelated:

***

I like stuff that is reliable and works. Before I bought my Rohloff, what I had read suggested that Rohloffs met that criteria. There were a very small number of reports of flange cracks at the spoke holes or of needing to send it back to factory for changing a shim, but those failures were generally in teh first few hundred miles. Thus, once worn in, it should be pretty reliable.

<some text deleted>

You might have to buy your own skewers. For riding around town I use quick release, but on a bike tour I use skewers that use an allen wrench (5 mm) to remove a wheel. I assume most thieves are opportunists and do not walk around with a 5 mm allen wrench in their pocket. I do not want a skewer that uses a special key like a pitlock, I would likely lose the key.

I use rim brakes, the Rohloff I think uses a non-standard disc mount but I will let you research that if you want a disc.

I have no idea if you want flat bars or drop bars. The hub was initially designed for mountain biking, so the shifter is a flat bar type shifter. I use drop bars. After trying several options, my preferred option is the Hubbub adapter for the end of the handlebar.

My expedition bike is what my Rohloff is on. It is a heavy bike (40 pounds) with extremely robust frame. I have also taken the solid front fork off and used a 100mm suspension fork on it for mountain biking. One thing I really like about the Rohloff is how fast I can downshift in rough terrain. But there are people that will say the opposite. I was biking before index shifting was invented, I have always let up on pedal pressure before shifting and that is a must for Rohloffs. Younger kids that are using to pedaling hard while shifting will complain about Rohloffs not shifting properly.

I like the range of gearing and that each gear upshift is roughly 13 percent higher gear. Thus, the gears are all well spaced from top to bottom. But, 13 percent is a pretty big jump compared to some derailleur bikes. This past February I did a bike tour for two weeks in Florida Everglads and Florida Keys. Flat as a pancake, except they have bridges that are their version of our hills. I was very happy I brought a derailleur bike there because I have a lot more gear choices in that range where I spend most of my time when I am on flat ground, there I could slightly change gear for changes in windage, etc. The Rohloff would have been bigger gear changes.

I have three touring bikes, the Rohloff bike (Thorn Nomad Mk II with S&S couplers, 2013), and two derailleur bikes. The derailleur bikes are both 8 speed with triples, one is 26 inch wheel (Thorn Sherpa, 2010) and the other is 700c with room for 37 mm tires (Lynskey Backroad, 2017). I had a 2004 LHT, that is gone.

I like all three. For rougher terrain I would take the Rohloff and for an all pavement trip I would take a derailleur bike. (Exception, anything on a airplane and I am taking the S&S bike, meaning the Rohloff bike.)

Rohloff gearing, I wanted the lowest gear I could get for hill climbing with a load of camping gear. I figured I could pedal at 3.5 miles per hour with a cadence of 72 as my slowest practical speed to maintain vertical and horizontal stability, so I calculated out what chainring I would need for that gearing. I use that for touring and mountain biking. If the hill is too steep for me to maintain that speed and cadence, I walk. I am 63 years old
(now 65), I do not run a heart rate in unsafe zones for the steeper hills, instead I wimp out and walk. But for around town riding when I have less weight on the bike I have higher gearing so I do not spin out on the downhills. If you get a Rohloff, you will need to think about your chainring size that you want.

I have chain, not belt, it is easy for me to change chainrings and add or subtract a few links.

One more thing I like about the Rohloff. When I was mountain biking with it, when I needed to downshift I twisted the shifter one way, the other way to upshift. I did not have to think about what I was doing. If I was on a derailleur bike with a triple or double, I would have had to think about which shifter to shift each time I shifted, and if I screw up that is a missed shift that might mean I come to a halt.

Rohloff uses two shifting cables. Normally both cables are slack, but you pull on one cable to upshift and the other cable to down shift. The indexing is in the hub. This means you need a lot of play in the shifter so expect a shifter to feel sloppy, that is the way it is supposed to be.

It looks complicated to remove a rear wheel. It is a bit harder than a derailleur wheel, but not that hard. You just have to disconnect the shift cables.

My Thorn uses a bottom bracket eccentric for chain tension, I have no clue what your bike would use.

Would I buy another? One is enough. But I would rather have one instead of zero. So if I lost my Rohloff bike I would probably replace it.

I am an engineer by training, now retired. I worked in a bike shop before college. I do all my own work on bikes, built up my wheels, etc. I do not know if my engineering background means I am more prone to liking or disliking Rohloffs, but I thought I should mention it.

Budget is not an issue for me, I can own any kind of bike I want, so cost is not a big factor in my decisions.

Good luck.


***

You asked about multiple chainrings, I have never seen a Rohloff bike with more than one chain ring installed. But, for touring I use a 36T chainring, around home I use a 44T chainring. When I use the smaller chainring to get lower gears for taking a heavy load up a steep hill, that means I lose my higher gears and spin out on the downhills. But for riding around home I never carry more than a load of groceries up shallower hills, thus do not need the low gearing around home. For touring if I have a choice of giving up the high gears or the low, I will keep the low gears and lose the higher ones.

I also mentioned above that I have used my Rohloff expedition bike as a mountain bike. My frame is designed so that I can either use the solid fork that came with it or I can use a 100mm suspension fork. I do not own a mountain bike and do not do enough mountain biking to make it worth owning one.

My comments above about pulling out the wheel are for my Nomad, not a Troll, so that is not applicable. My Nomad does not have the horizontal dropouts like the Troll.

I bought my Rohloff from Germany instead of from USA. I think I saved something like $500 USD in the process. But I build up my own wheels, so I often buy a hub from one vendor and spokes from another.
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Old 09-30-19, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Txthroop View Post
Now, however, you all have made me curious about internal gear hubs since they seems to be so common with this bike. Do you keep the 3x set up in the front or turn the bike into a 1x? Has anyone found they prefer a derailleur or is it pretty universal that an IGH is better. I'll be using the stock derailleur until it dies probably but I can always make plans for the future!
For me a huge part of the appeal of a gear hub is a simplified drivetrain, which means no chain tensioner, which means you have to run a 1x set-up. One reason I switched from the LHT to the Troll was that I felt like I didn't get the full benefits of the gear hub when I also had to use a tensioner. But I did run it as a 2x for a little while. I just decided having the extra chainring up front did not extend my range enough to be worth dealing with the front derrailer. I have considered a 2x set-up using an internally geared bottom bracket, but that route looks like a pain to set up and is a lot to pay for one more front gear. For the price, I could get an Alfine 11.

But really I don't know what your plans are for this bike that you think you'll kill your stock derrailer. I don't think that's a big point of failure, and, of course, the real issue is the wheel that will need to be replaced. A lot of people prefer derailers. I like the protected internals of the IGH for my all year, all weather commute. I like the easy shifting, even at a standstill. But especially for touring, many people prefer the derailer set up because it's more likely to be field repairable or quickly serviced/replaced at the next shop. My IGH fails on a tour, I might be building a whole, new wheel before I move forward. Hasn't happened, and I'm not really worried about it, but I understand the desire to Keep It Simple on your touring bike.
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Old 09-30-19, 03:11 PM
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I have the Rohloff on my commuter bike. Haven’t toured with it, and probably won’t unless I go to a really remote area. I like the Rohloff for the simplicity in shifting, which I do a lot of on my commute. Shifting while stopped is a really nice feature of an IGH. Also, as an all weather commuter, the drive train needs very little maintenance. I tend to ride in very dirty conditions, and using a wax based lube, a quick rinse and occasional reapplication is all that is needed. A good cleaning once in a while helps, but is really not necessary. Changing the internal oil is quick and easy. Maybe once a year or so. It does add a bit of weight, but for a fairly flat commute, that’s not a factor.

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Old 09-30-19, 04:07 PM
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Agree with Alan S on ease of shifting. My last tour was five weeks in the Canadian Maritimes, most of that was Nova Scotia. And it was all up and down. Not much was really steep, but it was very frequent shifting. Often I was up shifting or down shifting a couple of gears at once and that is quite easy with the twist grip shifter.

My shifter is on the right bar end, using the hubbub adapter, see photo. (Sorry, not a Troll photo in a thread on Trolls, but this is the easiest way to show my shifter location.) Since three of my derailleur bikes have bar end shifters and I have been using bar end shifters for decades, I find it quite natural to have my Rohloff shifter located at the bar end.

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Old 10-01-19, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Txthroop View Post
I'm looking at getting a Troll - it has everything I want in a bike - but I've never had horizontal dropouts. I seem to remember reading some complaints about them on this bike and I was wondering if I could get some opinions from people who have Trolls.

1-Have the dropouts caused you any trouble?
2-Does the wheel need regular adjusting?
3-Any recurring issues with disc brake alignment?
4-Any other thoughts or recommendations are welcome. This is the one issue about the Troll that still gives me pause.
the others have pretty much answered everything, but here are some more encouraging comments.

1-nope, but with caveats
2-nope, I have derailleurs and have those "monkey nuts" adapter thing that is put in at the farthest in part of the dropout, so the wheel is set out a bit. My wifes troll, the newer one with the boost dropouts and those doohickies than fall on the ground when you take the wheel off, does not, and both rear wheels simply go in as far as they can and are fine.
The monkey nuts help with something, but its been so long since Ive read the details, I dont recall . One advantage I find is that by setting the rear wheel back a bit, it makes "flossing" my cassette with a rag a bit easier, ie the rd doesnt get in the way--but that said, my wifes bike, stock one, shifts perfectly well with as is. I even changed the thumbie shifters to trigger shifters, 10 spd deore ones, and setup was easy peasy.

3-no problems with rear disc alignment, no more than with any mech disc bike as far as I can tell--removing and putting front wheels back on regularly for travel means one has to eyeball the exact alignment properly to avoid rub, but it isnt a hard thing to do.
I hardly ever have to take rear wheels off, so havent in ages.

4- one of my concerns with the horiz dropouts for me was fenders--I put on sks fenders, but purposely left a lot of space between tire and fender--for avoiding mud issues and or if I needed to put on wider tires with slight knobs (started with 2 inch slicks) So the bonus is that I can slide rear tire out easily without having to loosne or force rear fender. Maybe if you fit fenders very tight it could be an issue.

re bag clearance, for a rear rack, I went with what others used a lot seen in photos and used a tubus two level rack. It has long attachment rods, and it works fine, although I have very average sized shoes, so no issues with my rear ortliebs for heelstrike.

all in all, as others have said, the troll is a very versatile bike, and I love mine. Have spent months on it and would take it anywhere with a change of tires.

the new ones also have a redesigned rear chainstay, so it can take up to 3inch tires front AND back now.

the stock new one, like my wifes, is a good setup, 48/36/26 and 10 spd 11-36. I put butterfly bars on it and trigger shifters as mentioned, it works great. They arent light, but its that type of bike.
Mine is a dropbar setup and needed a short stem, but handles wonderfully.
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Old 10-02-19, 06:01 PM
  #19  
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hey mr txthroop, have you looked at a Bridge Club?
cheaper, regular dropouts, although Im not familiar or dont recall the tire clearances.
The stock model comes with a double though if i recall. I set my Troll up with a mtb triple crank, 9 speed era 44/32/22, but the double of the Bridge Club along with probably a rather large cassette gives a pretty good range.

anyway, another option to look at.
Seems to me its about 500 bucks cheaper than a stock troll, but you can look into it to find out the differences.
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Old 10-02-19, 06:10 PM
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just looked at the BC and theyve changed stuff.
Stock comes with a one by, which is hip and up to date, but the old double was more versatile. I mean, on a bike like this, whats a few hundred grams?
and the BC is 700 wheels, which is fine, but the 26 troll wheels have some advantages, and the (used to be anyway) 36 spoke troll wheelset is probably tougher, but that depends on what you plan to carry of course. I use 32 spoke wheels on my troll and its been fine fully loaded, but lots of factors come into play here on this subject.

hey, stuff always changes, just looked at newest Troll and they changed crankset to an octalink bb, my wifes from 2017 has a hollowtech 2 outboard...weird.
but most other stuff seems same from a few years back, crank, wheelset etc
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Old 10-04-19, 04:31 PM
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I dislike the horizontal dropout

I have a troll and I dislike the horizontal dropout quite a bit. If you do not move the axle all the way to the front it is easy to pull the wheel out of alignment. In order to move the wheel up you have to buy a special disc brake adapter from surly,
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Old 10-04-19, 05:00 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by rmball28 View Post
I have a troll and I dislike the horizontal dropout quite a bit. If you do not move the axle all the way to the front it is easy to pull the wheel out of alignment. In order to move the wheel up you have to buy a special disc brake adapter from surly,
the monkey nuts I have on my troll are these ones
https://surlybikes.com/parts/monkey_nuts

the ones that are locked in place with a small allen key tightened bolt.
It must be because of the rohlof requirements that the dropouts are the design and shape and length they are, but that has always been the whole thing with the troll.

I just put the wheel as far as it can go, and its done.
and Im very happy with the handling of the troll with the wheelbase at the length it is with the wheel in this position. It steers nicely and a bit quickly, but not overly, and its stable from 5kph to 80kph, so thats cool with me.

mind you, this is why they brought in the Bridge Club, normal (and cheaper) dropout design, and it can take a variety of wheelsizes, so fairly versatile as a bike for diff setups.
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Old 10-04-19, 06:53 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by rmball28 View Post
I have a troll and I dislike the horizontal dropout quite a bit. If you do not move the axle all the way to the front it is easy to pull the wheel out of alignment. In order to move the wheel up you have to buy a special disc brake adapter from surly,
I've heard about the Monkey Nuts and Tuggnuts. Is a disc brake adapter needed in addition to those?
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Old 10-04-19, 08:03 PM
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I'm fairly certain the caliper mount on my bike is a standard troll mount and must have leeway for slightly different wheel position.

I'd have to look at it closely.

I know that if I wanted to change from a 160 to 180mm rotor, it takes a 180 mount that moves the caliper higher to put the pads centered on the taller rotor.
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Old 10-04-19, 08:20 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I'm fairly certain the caliper mount on my bike is a standard troll mount and must have leeway for slightly different wheel position.

I'd have to look at it closely.

I know that if I wanted to change from a 160 to 180mm rotor, it takes a 180 mount that moves the caliper higher to put the pads centered on the taller rotor.
Surly says the largest rear rotor is 160 on the older version of the dropouts. Not sure whether that changed. The disc brake mounting point is adjustable fore and aft to match the axle position.
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