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Surly Long Haul Trucker Tour Bicycle Owner Review


This blog post was last updated on November 2, 2014. At that date my Surly Long Hual Trucker had completed 13,397 kilometres.  The update reflects minor maintenance changes in preparation for an upcoming short tour in Western Australia.


 

 

Early in 2009 I purchased my first and only “proper” touring bike, a Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT). Since then I have made some changes to the bike but otherwise continue to use it as my touring bike and as my commuter when I need to carry a load of clothes etc into the office and now in 2012 it will take up duties as a shopping bike as well.  I am trying to get greener in my life focus.

This blog post is about documenting my experiences of riding the Surly Long Haul Trucker as a commuter bicycle and more importantly as a touring bike.

Why Did I Choose a Surly Long Haul Trucker?

Surly Long Haul Trucker Decal

My original intention had been to build my own Surly Long Haul Trucker but the world financial crisis in 2009 and time killed that option. The price of a frame at the time of making the decision to order a new built Long Haul Trucker was Australia AU $990 whereas I could buy a complete 2009 bike in Truckaccino for AU$2,129. This combined with really not having the time to put into my own build lead me down the path of a complete bike with the intention of modifying it over time.

Before deciding on the Surly Long Haul Trucker I considered a Vivente Randonneur but was turned off by the attitude at Balmoral Cycles in Victoria Park plus they where happy to sell me a wrong sized bike). Also the other recommended dealer, Cycle Centre, East Perth, took nearly four months to get back to me when I asked about a bike! All this plus I just could not get excited about this bike led me to consider two other alternatives. The first was a Fuji Tourer (poor dealer response in WA but could have got one from Melbourne but with freight there was little cost advantage and again the whole experience did nothing to inspire confidence in buying one of these) and a Cannondale Touring 1 or 2 (just too expensive I am afraid, but at least the local Cannondale representative really tried to help).

All this kept leading me back to the idea of a Surly Long Haul Trucker, something about this bike and Surly bikes in general grabs me.  So in March 2009 I placed an order with Churchill Cycles in Myaree, Western Australia for my new Surly Long Haul Trucker and took possession of the bike on in April 2009.

This order got me a standard bike which I have progressively modified and add accessories to suit me over time and still continue to do so as discussed below.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

Surly Long Haul Trucker – All Naked and Waiting – Herdsman Lake, Churchlands

Specifications – Aushiker’s Surly Long Haul Trucker

This section of the post is about detailing the specification of my Surly Long Haul Trucker as I have it today rather than the bike as it was when I purchased it in 2009.  As I make changes to the bike I will update this blog posting.  The specifications or build details are detailed in the following six component areas. Clicking on the links will take you to that section of the post.

Accessories | Brakes | Controls | Drivetrain | Frame and Fork | Wheels and Tyres

Aushiker’s Surly Long Haul Trucker Accessories

As one can see from the photo above the stock standard Surly Long Haul Trucker comes rather naked; lacking lights, water bottle cages (bidon cages), racks, mudguards and for some users including myself a bicycle stand.  To overcome this nakedness I have added a few bits and pieces to my LHT.  These changes are documented below.

Lights

Busch & Mueller Lumotec IQ Cyo Senso Plus

Busch & Mueller Lumotec IQ Cyo Senso Plus fitted to a Surly Long HaulTrucker

While it is not my intention to ride at night on tours, I do use my Long Haul Trucker as a part time commuter in addition to touring duties, so lights are both required and desired. I wouldn’t for example like to get caught out on a tour without lights.  Initially I went with various battery powered lighting options but never found them ideal so in November 2011 I took the plunge and went with a dynamo based system consisting of a SON 28 dynamo hub laced into a 36 spoke Mavic A719 rim.  The front light is now a Busch & Mueller Lumotec IQ Cyo Senso Plus and the rear light is a Busch & Muller Toplight Line Plus.  I have also added a PedalPower Super-i-Cable to provide power to my electronics including my Garmin Edge 800 and mobile phone.  More details can be found here.  This has worked out really well so far.

Mudguards (Fenders to our American Cousins)

 

SKS Chromoplastic Mudguard Fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

SKS Chromoplastic Mudguard Fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

I have fitted to the Surly Long Haul Trucker a pair of silver SKS Chromoplastic P50 mudguards. The P50 fit 700c 38 – 45 mm tyres which has worked out well for me so far other than loosing a couple of the special mounting bolts. I really need to invest in some Loctite I think.

Water bottle cages (Bidons)

Water Bottle Cages - Surly Long Haul Trucker

Water Bottle Cages – Surly Long Haul Trucker

With the Surly Long Haul Trucker in touring mode I take a dual approach to my water bottle cages.  On the down-tube I have a normal aluminium water bottle cage as this allows me to access my preferred water bottle, a CamelBak Podium Big Chill on the go.  On the seat tube my preference is to fit a water bottle cage designed to take 1.5 litre PET bottles.  Initially I went with a Topeak Modula XL water bottle cage which I used on my Esperance to Perth road tour.  It turned out to be a poor choice of large water bottle cage as it fail.  I have subsequently replaced the Topeak Modula XL water bottle cage with a BBB Fuel Tank XL which has shown to be a much more robust cage.

One thing to keep in mind with water bottle cage choices is the size of the frame. Smaller sized Long Haul Trucker frames may not take a water bottle cage such as the BBB Fuel Tank XL.

Front and Rear Racks

Tubus Cargo Epedition Rack in use on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Tubus Cargo Epedition Rack in use on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

In tune with the robust nature of the Surly Long Haul Trucker I have gone with Tubus steel racks front and rear.  The front rack is a  Tubus Lowrider Tara and the rear rack is a Tubus Cargo Expedition.  The racks where easy to fit to the Long Haul Trucker and have performed well so far with no durability issues.

Kickstand

Hebie Bipod stand 605 NL fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Hebie Bipod stand 605 NL fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Whilst I appreciate that the debate about kickstand versus no kickstand is a bit like a discussion about religion (or helmets), I am going with a kickstand.  Having considered the option of the Hebie Bipod stand 605 NL and the ESGE Bipod kickstand I fitted a Hebie Bipod stand 605 and 699 40 mounting plate. Dan’s Bicycle Blog has a comparison of the two models which I found useful. Ken at Palm Beach Bike Tours also has a good reflection on his use of bike stands.  I went with the Hebie for a couple of reasons: (1) Price and ease of ordering from Bike24.net; (2) there is a mounting plate available (the Surly Long Haul Trucker does not have a mount for a stand); and (3) I like the look of the design.

The Hebie Bipod stand has worked well for me so far in whatever mode of operation I use the Surly Long Haul Trucker: panniers only, pulling a BOB Ibex or pulling my Extrawheel Voyager trailer.

Frame Lock

Abus Amparo 4850 CL NKR

Abus Amparo 4850 CL NKR Frame Lock

One of my objectives with my Surly Long Haul Trucker when it is not being used for touring (and well touring too) is to make it “self-contained” so speak. That is I want to be able to grab the bike and my helmet and just ride off to the shops or whatever. Part of that is having the setup to be locked at the shops or wherever. To that end I have in March 2012 fitted an Abus Amparo 4850 CL NKR frame lock to the bike.  This lock adds 760 grams to the weigh of the Surly Long Haul Trucker but I doubt I will notice it that much.  I use the Abus Amparo 4850 CL frame lock in combination with a Abus Cobra cable which I leave in my handlebar bag ready for use.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Brakes

 

Tektro 992 Oryx Cantilever Brakes as Fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Tektro 992 Oryx Cantilever Brakes as Fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

The Surly Long Haul Trucker comes standard with Tektro 992 “Oryx” brakes. After a winter of riding and still using the stock pads, I come to the view that these are not great brakes and even worse in the wet but that they may benefit from upgrading the pads to Koolstop pads.  Well I did upgrade the pads but never really got to try them out as I took the plunge and upgrade the brakes to a v-brake system.  The front and rear brakes are now Avid Single Digit 7 v-brakes and the levers are Cane Creek Drop V in black.  I also took the opportunity to upgrade the cabling to Gore RideOn sealed low friction cables.   Oh I also fitted Koolstop Tectonic v-brake shoes. Early test riding has shown an incredible increase in braking power.

Cane Creek Drop V brake levers

Cane Creek Drop V brake levers

 

For reference purposes the front cable hanger is a Tektro #1271A with noodle in silver.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Controls

Surly Long Haul Trucker PMT Handlebars with Co-Union Cork Mix tape

Surly Long Haul Trucker PMT Handlebars with Co-Union Cork Mix tape

With the exception of the saddle, the controls on the Surly Long Haul Trucker are as per the original build.

Handlebars

Little damage to the Surly Long Haul Trucker Cooke Road, Mt Cooke Campsite, Bibbulmun Track

A little damage to the Surly Long Haul Trucker Cooke Road – Bibbulmun Track

The Surly Long Haul Trucker comes standard with drop bars, the brand being PMT.  They are wrapped Co-Union Cork Mix tape.  The bars have been fine for me and the tape hasn’t done to badly. I have managed to damaged it on a recent tour have now replaced it with Fizik bar gel and tape (comes in a kit).  The replacement bar tape went the way of the original tape on my Chasing the Dirt Tour and I have now fitted SRAM bar-tape [updated November 2, 2014].

Surly Long Haul Trucker Kalloy 1-1/8" threadless with 25.4mm clamping stem

Surly Long Haul Trucker Kalloy 1-1/8″ threadless with 25.4mm clamping stem

Headset

The standard Surly Long Haul Trucker headset is a Ritchey Logic Comp 1-1/8″ threadless, w/ 40mm spacers in black. The stack height 30.2 mm.  The headset has worked fine so far, so I have no intentions of changing it.

As part of my preparation for the Dreaming Tour I have replaced the headset bolt with a Pitlock Ahead lock. I purchased a Pitlock Set 03/GA FW + RW + Ahead Lock kit as I also wanted to fit a Pitlock to the front wheel to secure my SON 28 dynamo. The combination of the Pitlock skewer lock and the Ahead lock hopefully will do the trick.

Stem

The stem is the standard  Surly Long Haul Trucker stem as supplied. It is a forged silver Kalloy 1-1/8″ threadless stem with 25.4mm clamping. The angle and length works for me so I have no changes planned.

Pedals

Shimano M424 SPD pedals fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Shimano M424 SPD pedals fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

As you would expect the Surly Long Haul Trucker was sold without pedals.  My preference is for SPD clipless pedal with a platform.  This allows me to ride the bike without having to put on my clipless cycling shoes. As a result, the bike is currently fitted with a Shimano M424 SPD pedals as they are clip-in both sides, offer a wide supportive platform and can be used with non-bike shoes if necessary.

I will continue using these pedals until they need replacing and then will review my options. I will probably look for a lighter pedal, but one with a platform and double sided.

Saddle

The standard saddle that came with my Surly Long Haul Trucker was a WTB SST with steel rails. I pretty much replaced the standard saddle immediately with a Brooks England B17 which had been fitted to my Giant CRX 1. The WTB SST saddle was just not for me. However the Brooks is sensitive to getting the adjustment correct and whilst I have just got away with the standard seat post this may not work out for all.  I have now replaced the Brooks England B17 with Brooks England B67 saddle to make the dirt road riding a little more comfortable.

Seat Post

The standard Surly Long Haul Trucker seat post is a silver Kalloy SP-342 (27.2 mm x 300 mm) post with a Surly stainless natural silver clamp. If you are fitting a Brooks saddle, the standard seat post may not provide sufficient setback. The Velo Orange VO Grand Cru or similar seat post may do the trick.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Drivetrain

Bottom Bracket

My Surly Long Haul Trucker came with a Shimano UN53 68 x 110 mm bottom bracket. So far it has performed well with no known durability issues.

Cassette

Shimano Deore XT CS-M770 Cassette as fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Shimano Deore XT CS-M770 Cassette as fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

The rear cassette as supplied on my Surly Long Haul Trucker is a Shimano Deore XT CS-M770 9-speed with clusters of 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34t. Whilst, no changes are planned, I have found the ratios are not quite tight enough for my commuting so may consider other options once the time comes to replace the cassette. In contrast when touring the ratios work fine. Not quite sure why this is.  In preparation for my Dreaming Tour as a precaution I replaced the original cluster which had done 9,676 km with a new Shimano Deore XT CS-M770 9 speed. I will in due course re-fit the original as still has life in it for sure.

Chain

The Surly Long Haul Trucker came standard with a SRAM PC971 9-Speed chain which has performed well as by chain wear rates show. The PC 971 chain was replaced at 5,833 km with a SRAM PC 991 9-speed chain. In preparation for my Dreaming Tour I replaced it early at 3,843 km with a Wippermann 9 SX 9-speed chain which comes with a Connex link. I plan to refit the PC 991 down the track as it still has some life in it.

Crankset

Andell 48-36-26t Crankset

Andell 48-36-26t Crankset as fitted to the Surly Long Haul Trucker

My Surly Long Haul Trucker came with an Andel 26-36-48t crankset.  This crankset has silver forged arms with aluminium rings and 110mm BCD. I initially thought that the chainring sizes may not be ideal but over time I have got comfortable with them and will probably stick with this sizes until they need replacing due to wear.

Derailleurs

Shimano Deore XT RD-M761 SGS long cage Dérailleur

Shimano Deore XT RD-M761 SGS long cage dérailleur fitted to a Surly Long Haul Trucker

The front derailleur that came on my Surly Long Haul Trucker is a Shimano Tiagra FD-4403 triple and the rear derailleur is a Shimano Deore XT RD-M761 SGS long cage. The derailleurs are married up to the Shimano Dura-Ace SL-BS77 bar end shifters and this combination has worked well for me.  The front is a friction only shift which I find easy to use and adapt to when I come back to the Surly Long Haul Trucker after riding my other bikes.  I operate the rear derailleur in index mode but have the option of flicking it over to frictionless.

Shifters

As mentioned my Surly Long Haul Trucker is fitted with the standard Shimano Dura-Ace SL-BS77 bar end 9 speed shifters.  When I first got the bike I did wonder if bar end shifters where for me but over time and some 13,000 odd kilometres on it I am quite comfortable with the shifters and actually like the nature of them on the touring bike. Just seem to go with the easy going nature of touring.  That said I have had a small problem with the rear (right hand) shifter and that it is lost the ability to “index”, i.e., click on each change so I now only use it is friction mode – Updated November 2, 2014.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Frame and Fork

Surly Long Haul Trucker in Truckaccino

Surly Long Haul Trucker Touring Bicycle Frame in Truckaccino

The Frame

My frame is as 58 cm Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bicycle frame painted in truckaccino, Pantone colour code RAL 1019.  The frame is described by Surly as “100% Surly 4130 CroMoly steel. Main triangle double butted. TIG-welded.  The frame comes with three braze-ons for mounting water bottle cages or in my case water bottle cages and a pump.  There is also provision for spare spokes to be carried on the rear stay. I had to remove my spare spokes from this position to accomodate the Garmin Edge sensor.  The rear triangle also has braze-ons for mounting a rear rack and mudguard.

I have chosen to not apply any frame protection. At the time of writing and after 9,000+ kilometres I have no sign of rust or evidence that deciding to not protect the frame was an error of judgement.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Frame Damage

Surly Long Haul Trucker Frame Markings

The frame, after over 9,000 km is showing some signs of paint damage. The worse is as per the photo on the top tube.  As much a reflection of my “loving care” as anything else.

The Fork

The fork on my Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike is the standard Surly Long Haul Trucker fork, a 100% CroMoly, lugged and brazed fork with a 1-1/8″ threadless steer tube uncut.  It is designed to allow for the fitment of mudguards (fenders) and a front rack.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Wheels and Tyres

Wheels and Hubs

Shimano Deore XT HB-M770-S hub fitted Alex Adventurer Rim on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Shimano Deore XT HB-M770-S hub fitted Alex Adventurer Rim on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

My Surly Long Haul Trucker came in 2009 with what was at the time the standard Alex Adventurer 700C 36h rims. The rear hub as supplied was a Shimano Deore XT FH-M770-S rear hub mated with DT Swiss 14g stainless steel spokes.  The front rim was also a 36h Alex Adventurer 700c 36h with a Shimano Deore XT HB-M770-S front hub mated with Dt Swiss 14 g stainless steel spokes.  The Alex Adventurer rims are a double wall design with the following specifications: ERD 603.1 mm ETRTO 622×18 mm, with an inner rim width of 17.5 mm and an outer rim width of 24.5 mm.

The Alex Adventurer rear wheel and the Shimano XT rear hub at the time of writing has done over 9,000 kilometres and the front Alex Adventurer wheel and Deore XT HB-M770 hub has done 8,843 kilometres on the bike before it was swapped over to my Extrawheel Voyager trailer.  Neither the wheels nor the hubs have given me any issues nor have they required any maintenance.  To date I am very happy with their performance.

As indicated on December 11, 2011 I completed an upgrade to the Surly Long Haul Trucker, swapping out the front Alex Adventurer wheel for a 36h Mavic A719 rim with DT Swiss Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0 mm 288 mm spokes and a SON 28 dynamo hub.  This swap over occurred at the 8,843 kilometre mark.

As part of my preparation for the Dreaming Tour I have replaced the front skewer with a Pitlock locking skewer. I purchased a Pitlock Set 03/GA FW + RW + Ahead Lock but in hindsight with the use of the Extrawheel Voyager trailer I cannot use the rear Pitlock.

 

Tyres

Continental Contact fitted to Alex Adventure Rims on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Continental Contact fitted to Alex Adventure Rims on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

The original  tyres on the Surly Long Haul Trucker where a set of Continental Contacts 700Cx37 which I removed at 4,722 km.  They just didn’t perform to a standard that I considered acceptable for a touring bike.  At the time the Continental Contacts needed replacing I was planning my Esperance to Perth road tour so on March 26, 2010 I fitted a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Cross HS 334 700Cx38.  Up to June 2012, these where the tyres on the bike.  In June 2012 in preparation for my Dreaming Tour I have replaced the Marathon Cross tyres with Schwalbe Marathon Mondial HS 428 47-622.  I keep a track of my bicycle tyre wear rates and puncture rates here.

With my fitment of SKS Chromoplastic P50 mudguards I am pushing my luck with the 47-622 (28 x 1.75″) Marathon Mondial but with a little tweaking of them mudguards they are on the bike.  I wouldn’t be able to go any bigger but without removing the mudguards or fitting a larger size.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Resources

Surly Long Haul Trucker Pages at Aushiker.com

Besides this page I have a few supporting pages related to my Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bicycle. These pages are:

  1. My maintenance record for the Surly Long Haul Trucker.  I use this page to record all the maintenance I undertake on the bike and history of changes to the bike.
  2. In August 2010 Product Safety Recalls Australia issued a recall of Surly Long Haul Truckers due to a safety issue involving the cantilever brakes as fitted to the bikes. Details of the recall can be found here.
  3. I also keep an Excel spreadsheet summarising the capital costs of my Surly Long Haul Trucker.  The spreadsheet can be downloaded from Dropbox by clicking here.
  4. My Surly Long Haul Trucker also has its own Picasa web album where you can find more photos of the bike in all its glory.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Discussion Forums

If you would like to find our more about the Surly Long Haul Trucker or other Surly bike models there are a couple of good discussion forums on the web. In particular I strong recommend the Surly Long Haul Trucker & Cross-Check Owners Group which is a Google Group. It is a great resource and place to talk Surly Long Haul Trucker.

In addition to the Surly Long Haul Trucker & Cross-Check Owners Group there is also a manufacturers sub-forum at the Mountain Bike Review forums.

Surly Long Haul Trucker Owner’s Blogs and Reviews

If you are interested in reading more about the Surly Long Haul Trucker here are links to some of the blogs and reviews that I found interesting or helpful.

  1. This is the first durability review I have found on the Surly Long Haul Trucker and it is a good read. It can be found over at Ozsoapbox.
  2. Cranky Cycling has an informative write-up of a build of a Surly Long Haul Trucker.
  3. Like myself, Jon has kept a costing spreadsheet on his 2009 Surly Long Haul Trucker. Funny thing his costs are not much different to mine!
  4. Ken does not tour on his Surly Long Haul Trucker but he does ride it a lot and does some great write-ups on modifications he has made to this bike. Ken’s blog, Palm Beach Tours is well worth a visit.
  5. At Crazy Guy on a Bike there is a pictorial gallery of loaded Surly Long Haul Truckers. Well worth a look for ideas on setting up your Surly Long Haul Trucker or for that matter other touring bicycles.

24 Responses to Surly Long Haul Trucker Tour Bicycle Owner Review

  1. centurion48 November 25, 2008 at 5:18 AM #

    Andrew,
    Stumbled on your work in progress. I am also on the LHT & CC Owners’ Group but have not yet taken the plunge. I suspect I have the benefit in Sydney of a good LBS (Cheeky Monkey Transport, Newtown NSW) that specialises in Surly.
    If I can be of help sourcing something in Sydney, just let me know.
    Good luck with the project.
    regards,
    Darryl

  2. kymbo December 19, 2008 at 7:12 AM #

    Andrew – for your wheels have you considered Mavic A719s? They seem popular in road bike circles where strength is needed, and also in 29er MTB groups. I spent some time researching recently after my Mavic Cosmos (from an earlier Carbon bike I had bought already 3rd hand) died and I wanted to replace them with something more suitable on my Surly Cross-Check – with a view to eventually doing some loaded touring on it. I got them in Silver 3h, for $140ea. http://www.mavic.com/road/products/a-719.324119.2.aspx (Warning: woefully slow, flash laden site!)

    Kym

  3. Aushiker December 21, 2008 at 5:58 AM #

    Thanks Kym for the suggestion. I had heard of the Mavic A719s but hadn’t given them much thought. I have now added them into the mix.

    Regards
    Andrew

  4. Mon December 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM #

    Hi Andrew – came across your blog when goggling Surly in Australia. I’m in Melbourne. Looking at getting a touring bike for a long trip I’m planning for Europe in early 2010. Doing the research now with a plan to purchase in the next few months. Want to use it as a commuter bike before and after my trip. Currently looking into the Surly Long Haul Trucker Complete – not sure I’m knowledgeable enough up for a custom build… But there are a few things that I’m not sure of on the Complete, namely the drop bars and whether the gear range is low enough. Anyway, they are getting some in at a new commuter bike shop new me http://commutercycles.com.au/ in mid Jan 2009, so I’m going to check it out more closely then. Looking forward to following your build blog! Mon

  5. Francis Xavier Holden January 12, 2009 at 6:57 PM #

    Have you any thoughts The Reelight is a batteryless lighting system based on a simple principle – LED’S powered by magnets
    http://www.spinopsys.com/archives/386

  6. MoonDawg March 9, 2009 at 2:10 PM #

    Hey Andrew,

    For what is worth I just built a Cross Check fo around the same price As MSRP on the CC. That said I think you can get a betted deal on the pre-buit Surly’s then modify as needed, Good Luck!

    Cheers

  7. BigBlueToe March 10, 2009 at 8:08 AM #

    I have a Surly LHT. I bought it right before they offered the complete. I spent a lot more outfitting it myself from the frame than I would have if I bought a complete. The parts I have are nice, but not worth the added expense. However, it was a fun project so that was a benefit.

    I have Mavic 719 rims, 36-spoke, front and rear. I laced them myself (my first wheels) using Sheldon Brown’s website. They’ve made it through the first two years and 1 1/2 tours without problems. No broken spokes.

    I actually like bar-end shifters myself. I have brifters on one bike and bar-ends on the LHT. I like them both. I’ve heard that bar-ends are simpler, less likely to have issues, and can still be used even after issues arise. I just repeat what I’ve heard.

    I have a Jandd front rack with a shelf. I like it. It’s strong, and I use the shelf.

    I think your choice of a 22-tooth chainring is smart. I have a Sugino crankset and the smallest granny I could put on was 24. I have a 32-tooth sprocket in back. On my tours I’ve always felt like that was low enough, so I’m not complaining, but I don’t think it’s possible to have too low gearing for touring. There will always be those extreme hills. I’ve been on tour when I wanted a lower gear and didn’t have one (on a previous bike) and that’s not a good feeling. My knees scolded me.

    Your choices all seem sound, though not always what I’d choose (I don’t really want a kickstand, for instance.) I’ll be interested to check back from time to time to see your progress. Will you have pictures of the actual bike?

  8. centurion48 March 10, 2009 at 7:54 PM #

    Andrew,
    My LHT came from Cheeky Transport (Sydney) about six weeks ago and I have spent plenty of dollars getting it ready for my Munda Biddi trip in 10 days time. Yoo Hoo!! Staying at Mundaring YHA Sat night and heading off Sun morning. Once I get to Collie it is off to Margaret River for the Great Escapade.

    I bought the LHT complete in 56 cm but in olive green.

    I am very happy with just about everything but will go though what I am changing or have changed in the order you used above.

    Lights: because I already had Ay-Up on my road bike I bought another lamp and 6hr battery. I also have added cheap LED lights front and rear that will stay on the bike. I don’t leave the Ay Up light on the bike when it is parked but need insurance in case I get caught out coming home in the dark. The Ay Up mounts on the handlebars over the stem. The cheap LED lights are mounted on the racks. I do not intend to take the Ay Up on tour but they are superb lights for night time riding. I now love riding dark roads at night.

    Mudguards: I bought the SKS black chromoplastic 50s from Wiggle. I was surprised they would ship them out from UK but I bought enough gear (>$250) in the transaction so shipping was free.

    Water bottle cages: Two alloy cages in matt black from Probikekit (UK)

    Front rack: Old Man Mountain $175 from Cheeky Transport. I bought this because it has a flat tray top, it super light and super strong. The only thing wrong (apart from price, is that it has an unusual lower mount that uses the skewer through the front hub. You have to use a longer OMM skewer and it might also pose a problem when preparing the bike for air transport (still working on a solution). I would have preferred it mount on the fork mounting eyes.

    Rear rack: Topeak super tourist ($75) and a nice rack. Really happy at that price for a steel tube rack. I have Ortlieb rear rollers and also mount my pump under the rack.

    Kickstand: Have not fitted one yet. Will wait until I finish my first tour and decide.

    Power: Solar is too expensive for me – another victim of the financial crisis – so I will take my 240v adapter and plug in where I can.

    Brakes/ h-bar/ headset/ stem: all standard but I got them to leave the steerer uncut. I have 2cm spacer above the stem and will decide my most comfortable riding position en route.

    Pedals: I picked up Shimano M324 pedals today after having some on order for weeks but he could not supply. I went for the M324 because they are aluminium with platform one side and clip on the other. Most other pedals the clip protrudes slightly higher than the platform and I figured that might be annoying when I wear my sandals (basically my only other form of footwear than my cycling shoes).

    Saddle/ seatpost: no change although the seatpost looks a bit cheap. I can live with that.

    Crank arm length: You did not mention it but the cheap flat pedals I put on when I first got it were hard to ‘grip’ with my sandals. I went for one decent ride and ended up with a sore knee which confused me because my crappy old shopping bike is the same. Then I ‘discovered’ that the cranks on the LHT are 175 mm. My road bike has 172.5 and my shopper and MTB both have 170mm. If I had my chance again I might consider shorter cranks. Yours might be fine but longer cranks put more strain on the knees.

    Shifters: I am keeping the bar-end shifters now that I have tried them. I have brifters, twist-grip and rapid-fire on the other bikes but it only took a few minutes to get used to the bar-end shifting. The other reason is because a bought an Ortlieb handlebar bag (part of my Wiggle order).

    Handlebar bag: Ortlieb have a unique mounting system that uses a plastic coated wire that loops around the handlebars. Typically clever German engineering except:
    1. I now cannot use my Ay Up headlight while the handlebar bag is mounted because the bag is too high to shine the light over.
    2. I cannot undo the stem to take the handlebars off when I pack the bike for air transport. I will have to take off the whole handlebar & stem assembly from the steerer. Not ideal.

    I bought a toolkit with every spanner I am ever likely to require and am assembling a range of spare parts.

    My biggest worry now is access to water on the Munda Biddi, and the weight of the loaded bike, and the trail surface, and …

    Good luck with your build and tinkering. The LHT is a delight to ride.

    regards,
    Darryl

  9. Aushiker March 12, 2009 at 12:30 PM #

    G’day Darryl

    Great post! Thanks for your thoughts and good luck on the Munda Biddi.

    The cranks is not something I had considered. May have to investigate this further.

    Regards
    Andrew

  10. Dunstan One April 3, 2009 at 5:31 PM #

    You may wish to re investigate Velocity Dyads. Velocity are relocating to a new warehouse and some items have been unavailable. The situation is about to change (as I understand it)

    I was able to buy 36 spoke dyads. (rims only)

    Regards,

    D1

  11. John Davidson April 21, 2009 at 12:15 PM #

    Ay Up lights are definitely good when you need a strong light for rough terrain, but i’ve been trialling these bike lights with integrated indicators around town, and have been quite impressed. they boost safety quite significantly. no need to wave my arms about in round abouts or when turning corners. not that everyone will be into the design, i understand.

  12. craig durkee June 6, 2009 at 11:27 AM #

    Awesome post, very informative and loads of information to take in. I am in the market to replace my Kona Sutra which I had to get rid of mid last year due to my heels catching the pannier bags. It was to annoying so off it went. I love the following the Surly has and its going to be my bike of choice for WA tours this coming touring season.

    The only thing that is putting me off so far is price. When I purchased my Kona I was in to minds re the Surly, at that point they were $1500 Australian, Churchill cycles are now quoting me $2200 around what you paid for yours. A call to Brunswick Street Cycles in Melbourne alerted me to a great price which was $1850 included freight to Perth.

    It is a tough decision to make as to which store to choose. The benefits of buying local are great, servicing, advice and making new friends come into the mix. However the cost difference is HUGE.

    It is frustrating that there is such a cost hike from buying in Melbourne were they obviously sell through loads more of these bikes possibly meaning a better deal from the supplier but really $400 extra its a lot to stomach.

    So my question to you. Is Churchil Cycles worth the extra money or so I just buy from BSC

  13. Jon Scott June 10, 2009 at 10:59 AM #

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the link to my blog. I started it (and am maintaining it) as a log of my purchases and a diary, but if it helps anyone else out that would be a bonus!

    You’ll be interested to know that after weighing up the Surly LHT vs the Dawes Ultra Galaxy that I ended up actually getting the Surly. It arrived last week and after one 50km ride I think I’ve made a good choice, cant say whether the Dawes was better (as I have never ridden one) but the Surly is a beautiful bike.

    You have also inspired me to put up a bit of a chart of my purchases, I haven’t filled in the prices yet but it is here: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df9wjkms_1cf6gqpcn&hl=en

    I’m going to try to build it up with a ‘classic’ touring bike look. With honey brooks leather gear and chrome everything else.

    I have found your blog incredibly useful in making my decision so thanks!

    Jon

  14. Ron Kinang August 19, 2009 at 11:57 AM #

    Andrew,

    In June I bought an LHT Complete from Brisbane’s Epic Cycles, at an end-of-financial-year sale price of $1600. I think the LHT Complete offers excellent value, as you discovered it’s difficult to build one cheaper.

    But there were some thing I didn’t like. The brakes, the position of the shifters, the saddle, the tires – I have modified these but otherwise the bike will retain it’s original equipment.

    I replaced the rather pathetic cantilever brakes on my LHT with v-brakes and levers from Jenson USA. The Tektro 857AL brakes have longer arms for fender clearance, and this also gives them extra bite. The Tektro RL520 levers are a better shape than the OEM Tektro levers with smaller span from lever to bar. Brakes have gone from indifferent to excellent.

    While the levers and bar tape were off I fitted Paul Thumbies to move the shifters from the bars ends. Shifting is so much more convenient now with the shifters on top of the bars.

    The OEM Conti Contacts were rubbish. I had two punctures from stones chips caught in the treads on my first 60km ride. I’ve downsized to 32C Marathon Supremes from SJS Cycles.

    Other items:
    Saddle: Brooks B17
    Front Rack: Tubus Ergo
    Rear Rack: Tubus Cargo
    Panniers Fr & Rr: Ortlieb Roller Plus
    Handlebar Bag: Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Plus Medium
    Rack Bag: Ortlieb Duffle Travel Bag Small
    Tool Bag: Lezyne Caddy Large Saddle Bag
    Multitool: Lezyne Stainless 19 Multitool
    Pump: Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HP Mini Pump with Gauge
    Muduards: SKS Black Chromoplastic
    Tires: 700×32 Schwalbe Marathon Supreme
    Pedals: Shimano A530
    Lights: Cateye EL530 And LD1100 Light Set and Cateye Rear Carrier Mounting.
    Bidon Carriers: 1 x Topeak Modula XL and 2 x Salsa SS

    All these items were sourced from Wiggle, except the brakes (Jenson USA), thumbies (Paul Components), and tires (SJS Cycles).

    P.S. I also purchased a STEIN MINI CASSETTE LOCKRING DRIVER from Jenson USA.

    You can see pictures of my thumbie setup here:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum/board/message/?o=3Tzut&thread_id=130783&v=1q&page=1&nested=0

  15. Sarah January 17, 2010 at 6:35 AM #

    Hi Andrew

    I noted your difficulties with the SKS mudguards. I fitted them , and have some left over mounting pieces. Let me know if this would help you

  16. Aushiker January 18, 2010 at 12:33 PM #

    Hi Sarah

    Thank you for your kind offer, but I think you might want to hold on to them in case the fitted ones come loose as mine did. My work with the tie wire does seem to be holding good.

    Thanks
    Andrew

  17. bob June 30, 2010 at 7:45 PM #

    I definitely think that you’ve done a amazing job with this website it looks really good and you have a ton of great information as well, I know I found what I was looking for anyways. Just thought I would take the time to comment, again keep up the great work

  18. Lonerider1968 March 3, 2011 at 10:28 PM #

    Hi Aushiker. I was reading though your LHT shenanigans………………….I ended up getting a Vivente World Randonneur. Initially,I asked my LBS here in Wollongong if they could get me a “Large and an “XL” for me to throw my leg over. Bear in mind that Gemini Bicycles at the time,were located in Summer Hill in Sydney…………..I was basically told ……………”they won’t send any down for you to try,you just have to order one”. In defence of the lads @ my LBS, they were gobsmacked themselves.
    Anyway. Not really a fan of the LHT.More from what they are asking for one here in Sydney. $2250.00-ish, bog standard ! Bog standard it has to be said, is pretty average to say the least. Not that the Vivente is much better in off the shelf mode either. 36 hole , factory made Alex rims on LX hubs make me cringe a bit to be honest.

    Ayways………………….Mid last year whilst mooching about on eBay, I came across a “Large” Vivente World Randonneur going for $800.00 with like 500 kilometres on it.As I was going to Victoria that weekend,I threw a bid in and won it!.VWR’s started @ $1750.00 back then so it was a real bargain! Only downside was some chips to the paintwork but honestly ? Who cares ? I buy bikes to ride em,not to have em on show! One BIG bonus for me was that the Large was a sloping top tube effort which I much prefer over the standard geometry frames.
    Anyways.I have gone about speccing it up as I wanted it. Phil Wood Touring Hubs on 48 hole rear / 40 hole front Velocity Dyad rims, flat ULTRA wide {BIG shoulders here!}MTB bars with Deore shifters with seperate Deore brake levers, 170mm SLX triple cranks, Tubus Cosmo rear rack {AWESOME!}, Nitto BIG Front Rack {Even errrrr AWESOMER!!!!}. As a side note. The Nitto BIG Front Rack is “conserivtavely rated at 50 pounds!. Makes it better than the rear rack for weight holding capacity!!! IRD Cafam Cantilever brakes and I have, on the way, some Woody’s custom made “compound curve” fenders in Maple {An Off White Colour}. A Selle SMP Pro saddle is what I sit on. Not a brookes saddle but I have an SMP Pro on my flat bar road bike and it is by far the best saddle I have ever used. No pin, no numbness, no “bedding in” etc etc. It just works………….Superbly!!! Cannot recommend it enough. I use the same pedals as you in the M424 SPD which are brilliant. I also have some MKS Sylvan Touring Pedals that I stripped down {Oh so user friendly these pedals……no special tools needed ! }and replaced the S/S ball bearings with some ceramic bearings. Am going to buy some power grips to go on them. Simply fantastic pedals the MKS’s.
    I now have a bullet proof Tourer/All Rounder { I have ridden this bike for ten hours straight more or less……………it is ULTRA comfortable ! You really can “ride it all day! }. Just goes to show that looking around combined with timing can get you some real bargains !
    Have not written down to the cent what this bike has cost me all up but going through it roughly in my head, it comes to $2550.00 which also includes new Schwalbe Marathon Plus { Front } and Supreme { Rear } Not bad at all I think you’ll all agree. Admittedly,I shopped around for the parts as I was in n hurry but it was more than worth it for what I saved from the crazy shop prices for same of the stuff.
    Just threw this here as a comparison Aushiker. This rant is not an attempt to steal your thunder or anything.

    Fantastic website by the way. Really interesting stuff on here.

  19. JensM October 11, 2012 at 5:41 AM #

    Followed your link in this tread http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=69053 on the CTC forum and kept reading.

    I have a 64 cm LHT frameset in the pipeline from the US and would just like to pay my compliments on doing a terrific job on the LHT write-up. :-)

    • Aushiker October 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM #

      Thank you. Enjoy your new Long Haul Trucker.

  20. Carl June 12, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

    Hi Andrew,
    To echo what everyone has said, you have such a great site here and I appreciate the time and effort that has gone into it…such a great resource!

    With regards to your LHT, I was wondering what your height and pubic bone height/standover height was? How has the 58cm been for you in terms of reach? I’m in between the 56-58cm and whilst I am aware of the sizing height chart on the LHT google group, I was interested to hear the opinions of someone who obviously loves and rides the hell out of their LHT!

    • Andrew Priest June 17, 2013 at 5:35 PM #

      My apologies for the delay in replying. My height is 178 cm or 5′ 11″. Sorry don’t know my standover height. Never actually measured it.

      As to comfort I am fine with the 58cm. When I purchased the Surly Long Haul Trucker I determined the size based on my Look 555 and applied the measurement approach suggested by Sheldon Brown; i.e., I came up with a size score which I then used to determine the best size in Surly range.

  21. Eddie September 21, 2014 at 9:18 AM #

    Andrew,

    Still happy with the Velo Orange VO Grand Cru seatpost?

    Cheers

    Eddie

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