Long Haul Trucker

About a year ago I started looking for a commuter bike. I was riding my Soma Rush at the time and commuting via Metro. I wanted a bike that I could run fenders on and possibly go on some trips. I had done some research and found the Surly Long Haul Trucker to be the best bike for the money.

I ordered the complete LHT and had to wait an agonizing month for it’s arrival. The only things I added to the complete build were a Chris King Headset, Brooks B-17 Saddle, Planet Bike Fenders, Tubus Logo Rear Rack, Old Man Mountain Ultimate Lowrider and Pletscher Kickstand. I was looking at joining a friend on his tour at the time so I ordered some Arkel Panniers as well. Here’s a pic from the day I brought her home.

I started commuting on the bike and after only a few rides I had to switch out the tires. Too many flats. I installed some Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and matching Schwalbe tubes. The tires are heavy, but I haven’t had any tire issues if you know what I mean. I don’t want to jinx myself.

I’ve ridden almost 2000 miles on the LHT since then. I’ve made some more changes to the build. The bike now sports a Salsa seatpost (more adjustable), Dinotte Lighting, Nitto Randonneur bars, Nitto Extra Bar, Front Avid V-Brake and Shimano M324 Pedals.

Overall I love this bike. As a commuter it’s king. I haven’t had a chance to do any tours yet, but I’m sure it’s great there too. My only complaint is that it’s a heavy bike. I’ve been doing more fun/club rides and the LHT is not the best bike for that. At least the way mine is built. I guess if I removed the rack/fenders/kickstand everytime I wanted to do rides like that it would be better. However, that’s not what this bike is for. It’s my commuter and long distance bike.

Here are some photos of the Long Haul.

The Dashboard.

Custom Headbadge.

Latest build. (Minus the new V-Brake)

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  • Hey @Area45! Great post!

    I like to see how others have built up their bikes to meet needs. You have a beautiful set up. I especially like your ‘stache headbadge. Laura does a fantastic job. When the copper is polished up its mesmerizing. 🙂

    I agree with your comments about the LHT. It has great utility overall. I can also identify with the inadequate feeling on club rides. Especially when someone zips by me up a hill with grace and ease. 😉

    I gave some thought to what you mentioned about the slow, heavy starting feel of the Salsa Fargo and the Surly LHT and I think I have a solution. 🙂 I took a wheel building class last winter and learned about wheel weight, strength and feel. To put my new skills to the test I rebuilt my wheels using the same rims with thinner/lighter double butted spokes, lighter alloy nipples and lighter tires (I can give you the details later if you wish). The stock wheels for the LHT have straight gauge spokes, brass nipples and heavy tread tires. I estimate I shaved about a pound off of the perimeter of each wheel. It may seem silly to take this approach on a heavy touring bike but in my little experiment I chose each component carefully to ensure I was not compromising any wheel strength or tire quality. The last thing I wanted to do was turn the LHT into something it was not such as a skinny tire club racer. With new wheels the bike instantly felt more responsive and quick when accelerating. I was told it had something to do with centrifugal force and less weight to turn on the outer rim of the wheel however, it didn’t take an engineer to feel the difference.

    Perhaps this is the quality you are looking for. You don’t have to shave weight everywhere (I still have my racks, fenders and double leg kickstand) just in a few places where you are not compromising anything and where you will feel it the most. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Cheers,
    Logan.

  • Thanks Logan,

    You are right about the extra weight on outside of the wheels. It’s most evident on the Fargo due to size of the wheels. As far as the LHT goes, if I just change the tires I can shave 2 pounds right there. But it will never be a slim/bike. It goes all the way back to the 4130 steel.

    That doesn’t take anything away from it though. It’s just a right tool for the right job situation.

    Thanks for reading!

    Errin

  • jennix

    … thanks for a good post, Errin!

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