The Surly ECR is a handsome machine that has received rave reviews of late and taken some serious abuse in long-term real world testing (world touring kind of real), and come out the other side still rolling faultlessly.

The ECR (Escape Common Reality?) rolls on Surly’s 29+ wheel size. 50mm Rabbit Hole rims clad with 3″ Surly Knard rubber give a wheel height taller than ‘normal’ 29er that just crushes rough terrain, and has fantastic momentum.

The ECR excels as a go anywhere touring rig, a back country adventure machine that can be loaded up with gear thanks to its low slung bottom bracket height and slightly relaxed ‘touring’ geometry. That said, it can hack single track with aplomb, with a loose but pinned carving feel.


Where do you want to go?

We built this custom Surly ECR electric conversion for a customer who wanted a bomb proof camping bike for taking to the hills in Central Otago for overnight trips. Anyone who has ridden in central will know that the network of dirt roads is seemingly endless, and often the angle of the bulldozed farm tracks is on the steep side of what can comfortably be pedaled with a load.

We added a Lekkie Summit mid-drive motor to the ECR’s 73mm bottom bracket shell, which just fits, with a spacer added on the drive side for the motor and chainring to clear the wide chain stays.


Stealthy but powerful Lekkie mid-drive

We added a Lekkie ‘Bling Ring’ narrow/wide chainring to bring the gearing down a little, and keep the chain nicely lined up and stop any chance of the chain jumping on rattly descents.


Lekkie narrow/wide Bling Ring

The power on the final build will come from a custom 36 volt 1188 Watt Hour battery that will sit in a Revelate Ranger frame bag in the main triangle of the bike frame – tidy and out of harms way. This frankly huge range battery will make the ECR electric capable of around 120 kilometres on one charge!

A couple of other niceties complete the setup: a Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost takes care of the big trail shocks that aren’t soaked up by the voluminous tyres, and ESI Silicone grips on the Jones Loop H-Bars add some extra cushiness and shock absorption to the cockpit.


Form and function – Jones bars and ESI grips

A Surly Nice Rack will do hauling duty on the rear end, paired up with an Old Man Mountain rack up front and no-nonsense Carradice Super-C canvas panniers.

This was a really fun build to do. The Surly ECR makes a solid platform for an electric conversion, and the XL frame size of this one meant that we could fit a big battery to create a real back country adventure machine.

Like the look of this electric conversion? Get in touch to discuss custom electric build options and advice.