Surly Straggler vs. Brother Kepler

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  • Some of you may have enjoyed my bent Straggler import story. For whatever reason I've always wanted a Surly gravel/commuter/tourer, and in recent years I've been fixated on a straggler as I want something a bit sexier than a LHT.

    But it seems like somebody out there really doesn't want me to have one! I've been battling supply issues and then one has finally arrived to me all mangled. More on that here....

    So now that Brother have launched their new Keple pre order today and their new colour is sparkle pink (very similar to the straggler I've been listing after) I'm considering getting one of those...

    Price is essentially the same, they're pitched as the same sort of bike, the new Kepler has through axles which is a bonus (haven't had wheel built yet so that's fine).

    Anyone else got any input on important differences?

    Thanks
    Nick

  • Hi Nick,
    I had both actually. Used the Straggler for about 3 months or so, years back now so all I remember is the rear dropouts being a nightmare (though people insist that using better qr levers solves that).
    Have more experience with the Kepler (disc). Felt the same as Surly, heavy, dead, slow and boring (But that's just me buying the wrong bike really, neither of them made a good winter road bike. Went for a Tripster instead and not looked back since).
    From memory Kepler wasn't as long as the Surly, Brothers were also doing a discount on carbon fork upgrades (perhaps they still do). Not sure if the new Kepler is flat mount, but thru axle alone makes it better than the Straggler I think.

  • Went for a Tripster instead and not looked back since

    Sounds like sound advice @nick_warner...

  • Interesting...I wasn't aware of the Tripster, or Kinesis at all.

    It looks like it has a lot of great features and practical goodery. Cable routing is cool and the adjustable fork sounds, interesting? but at the risk of sounding like a superficial aesthete, its fugly as hell!

    It's also a 100-150 quid more than a Straggler/Kepler. plus the cost of respray...

  • brother has a very classic look, newer version is more modern for sure. fork is still ugly.
    Surly has good dropouts, no under downtube bosses.

    Have a look at cotic escapade. bit more pricey, but carbon fork and great looking frame (no pink tho)
    https://www.cotic.co.uk/product/escapade­

  • Interesting...I wasn't aware of the Tripster, or Kinesis at all.

    u mad bro?

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CEwGtxPlvjS/­

  • I can't stand the forks on either of those. Mason do some steel stuff and they have the Bokeh gravel thing. Spendy but I do like the Resolution of theirs for road these days. https://masoncycles.cc/reviews/categorie­s/resolution-bikes

  • u mad bro?

    What can I say, I guess I'm uneducated! I'd just never heard of them

  • Mason do some steel stuff and they have the Bokeh gravel thing. Spendy but I do like the Resolution of theirs for road these days.

    I'm not going to spend any time looking at these because if I decide I want one I'm in trouble! they're out of my price range for sure

  • I've had one variation of Kinesis or another for (googles...) 10 years now, since replacing a Ribble Audax with a T2 for winter training. That got hit by a car and cracked eventually so got a 4S then I raced TCR so upgraded to the 4S Disc, that had a shit dropout design and eventually cracked so got the Tripster under warranty, that was hit by a car so got a Mason Resolution for road and replaced the Tripster frame like-for-like for commuting/gravel.

  • Mine was paid for by insurance money so that helped. The rate I destroy bikes I'm not too keen on buying anything nice or buying anything expensive. :D

  • I'd go kepler with carbon fork based on very little except a preference for thru-axle and supporting a local brand. The only others that are close on budget are the Ribble CGR al frameset (£599+postage) or just get an Arkose.

  • I've had both and if I were to have one again I'd take the Straggler.

    Straggler
    Better off-road
    Better touring capabilities
    Nicer forks
    Nicer frame details
    Dropouts didnt cause an issue once for me - shimano skewers

    Brother
    Great Square geometry
    Better on road handling

    The Straggler rides like a 90s rigid mtb, it's a bit long but easily compensated for by a stem 1cm shorter.

    The brother much more like a heavy road bike.

    Straggler looks better, with nicer paint and is pretty cool imo.

  • Mason do some steel stuff and they have the Bokeh gravel thing. Spendy but I do like the Resolution of theirs for road these days.

    oof i've been looking at these all day now

  • I used mine for RATN, TransPyrenees, TCR and Transiberica last year. I like it. I had the rear brake mount cleaned up and I ditched the switch lever thing (just carry an allen) but yeah, did a lot of work and did well. Got very favourable comments on a bunch of 600s. Not that I care but it's probably better looking than most of my other bikes.

  • So I went with a Kepler. I still really would have rathered the Straggler, but there aren't any, anywhere.

    Unless I ship one from the states. And that didn't go well last time...

  • People bitching about the Straggler's dropouts don't seem to be aware that in a geared configuration you're meant to run the wheel slammed as far forward as possible effectively creating vertical dropouts.

  • I have an early rim-brake Kepler. As has been said, heavy and boring, and with an ugly fork. Its also too big for me. But I have used it for commuting, touring etc and have really enjoyed it

  • Fairlight Faran 2.0?

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Surly Straggler vs. Brother Kepler

Posted by Avatar for nick_warner @nick_warner

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