Surly Midnight Special

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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
Gearing Type
26 lb
Brake Type
Frame Material

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Surly Midnight Special. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

10 reasons to buy

  • The Surly Midnight Special has a durable steel frame.
  • Testers found that the wide 650b tires cushioned the bike on paved roads, gravel routes and mild singletrack trails.
  • Surly specs the bike with Salsa Cowchipper handlebars that are comfortable for long days in the saddle.
  • The bike has attachment points that allow riders to secure a water bottle cage or frame bag.
  • Rack and fender mounts on the bike are appreciated by testers. They allow riders to carry panniers and stay dry commuting or touring.
  • Testers describe the bike as stable and planted, even when it's loaded with gear.
  • TRP Spyre dual-piston brakes are powerful for mechanical disc brakes and are easy to maintain, even in remote areas.
  • A 44mm tapered headtube allows riders to utilize a carbon fork on the Midnight Special.
  • Swapping the 650b wheels for 700c options, can transform the Midnight Special into a capable road bike.
  • The geometry of the Midnight Special places users in a nimble riding position. Experts felt in control and able to guide the bike through turns with ease.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Surly’s Midnight Special is expensive, according to experts.
  • The bike weighs in at a hefty 26 lbs, depending on the size.
  • Test riders suggest swapping the front chainring to improve the climbing ability of the Midnight Special.
  • Riders with hand issues may consider using an alternative handlebar option. The drop bars led one expert's hands to go numb.

Bottom line

Surly’s Midnight Special is a reliable, all-round bike that can excel on roads, gravel, bikepacking adventures and daily commutes. The bike comes with plump 650b wheels and tires. It also has the capability of running a 700c setup. The Midnight Special can carry up to three water bottles. It has mounts for a rack and fenders, better preparing riders for rainy day commutes or multi-day adventures. It is a heavy bike that does not excel on steep climbs, with its stock gear setup. Overall, the Surly Midnight Special is a steel bike for cyclists commuting in the city but ready to venture out of town, on the weekends.

Expert Reviews

80/100 based on 2 rated expert reviews

Surly Midnight Special 1X HRD

The Midnight Special never was a light bike at 26lbs, and it still isn’t. It is designed to let you tap out mile after mile in comfort, not to attack Strava segments.

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The Path Less Pedaled

Review: Surly Midnight Special

The Surly Midnight Special is light and nimble and it’s a blast even on mixed terrain.

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Gran Fondo

Surly Midnight Special in Review – Your Best Friend From the Past

The Surly Midnight Special is a timeless steel bike with modern features and a certain something you’re really fond of – just like your best mate from the olden days.

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Reader’s Rig: Wayne’s Surly Midnight Special

Overall, I love this bike. I don’t think I will ever covet a carbon bike again. Steel is real. Adventure and fun are king.

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The Radavist

The Surly Midnight Special is Truly a Fat Tire Road Bike

The Midnight Special is unmistakably Surly. It’s a bit of a middle finger to traditional road bikes, yet it’s certainly capable of keeping up with them on the right tires.

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The First 60 Days with a Surly Midnight Special

Critics and number crunchers were quick to write it off as too fat for road or too steep for gravel. It’s definitely a genre-blurring bike.

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Just Ride the Bike

Surly Midnight Special

The new Midnight Special, which was launched into the UK in mid February, is no exception. It is an evolution of what Surly calls its pavement bikes (that’s American for tarmac), but this category covers pretty much all terrain.

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All Together Out There

Surly Midnight Special – One Month Review

This is how I settled on the Midnight Special: it is fast, comfortable and capable at both all-terrain AND carrying stuff. A fully-capable dream bike.

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Adventure Cycling Association

Surly Midnight Special

It has the right combination of speed and weight to make it viable as a road bike that can handle a bit of those off-paved-surfaces too.

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Endless Velo Love

Surly Midnight Special is… Something Special

In stock form, it’s a fun road bike that’s keen to carry you on lesser traveled roads.

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User Ratings

0/100 based on 0 ratings
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Compared to other bikes
#58 Best Gravel - Adventure
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#56 Best Bikepacking
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#5 Best Surly Bike
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#575 Best of All Bikes
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Bike Comparison

Surly Midnight Special in comparison to averages

Forum Discussions

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