Adding a new bike to my stable, this one has big shoes to fill. I looked at my current bikes and tried to find something to fill in the gaps. Not wanting to have overlap, I chose the biggest gaps to fill.
1) Gravel. None of my bikes would inspire me to ride gravel all day.
2) Lock it up. None of my bikes would I want to scratch up/trust having locked up.
3) Ice. My Pugsley does great in the snow, but its encounters with ice usually knock me on my ass.
4) Braze-ons. The more, the better. Racks, bottle cages, anything cages, fenders, etc.
5) Disc Brakes. Winter/wet commuting is a lot safer with discs.
6) Enjoyment. Something that begs to be ridden, far and/or anywhere.
7) Not too pretty. See rule #2.
So looking at this list had me torn between a couple choices, either build something new like a Salsa Fargo or Surly Ogre, or find a nice old mountain bike and build it up my way. The problem with the Fargo is that it's "too nice", and it wouldn't meet rule #2. The problem with the Ogre is that it's the same geometry as the Surly Karate Monkey (which I've had, and don't like), and the curvy seat tube. The seat tube limits how far the seat can go down, therefore my wife couldn't ride it.
The old mountain bike idea is solid, and a popular choice among commuters, but it doesn't meet rules #5 or #6. Plus doing what I want to it would far exceed the value of the bike.
So enter the Surly Troll. Revised for 2013, this frame has a ton of #4's. Having seen their capability up close (read the www.boundsouth.org blog!). This bike meets all 6 requirements and then some.
When the new frames became available, I quickly ordered one and a ton of parts. This build is going to be ugly. In a good way. Using most of the parts I have laying around from other bikes, and some used ones from the bike forums. There will be no being careful with wrenches, if it gets scratched, so be it. I may even take the decals off. Surly frames are built so well, that if I want to gussy it up years from now, I can re-powdercoat it and add new decals. This should be fun, assuming the rest of my parts come in...