Look at My Nearly Naked LHT with a Nice Rack

There are going to be some folks searching for porn who are going to be REALLY disappointed with this story.

Son Matt and I journeyed to The Racer’s Edge in Boca Raton, FL, this afternoon to pick up my Surly Long Haul Trucker. It wasn’t exactly naked: it had a Surly Nice Rack on the front, a Cateye Strada computer and a set of Planet Bike fenders fore and aft.

Fitter John Palmquist, who did my pre-order fitting already had my bike somewhat in the zone waiting for me.

Pedal, pedal, pedal

Just like the first time, John was working to get the right seat height. I would pedal for a minute or so, he would measure the angle of my knee and have me step off.

He’d raise the seat a bit and we’d repeat the process. Gradually my pedaling became more efficient and the seat became substantially higher.

The handlebars were now quite a bit lower than the saddle, which isn’t my favorite position.

“Don’t worry about it”

“Don’t worry about it,” he assured me. “We’re going to get the seat adjusted first, then we’ll start to work on the upper body. If we did it the other way around, we’d have to do the handlebars twice.”

Fore and aft comes next

The next step was to figure out the right fore and aft position of the saddle. It was getting closer, but something didn’t feel exactly right. I ride on a leather Brooks saddle which takes on the shape of your bottom the more you ride it. (No, it’s not exactly like siting bare butt on a copy machine, but there ARE a couple of dimples in the leather where your sit bones dig in.) It took about three adjustments to get it about right.

Sure enough, after watching me spin the pedals a few more minutes, he had me get off for one last tweak. He thought the nose of the saddle should go up just a hair. And that was it for the saddle.

Raising the handlebars

John started off by raising the stem until the bars were just lower than the saddle. It was close, but not exactly right.

Then he loosened the bar and rotated it slightly backwards so the brake hoods were just a little closer.


What should I twiddle with?

While he was writing up the bill (which came to less than I had feared originally), I asked him what minor twiddling I should expect to do once I got it on the road.

Paraphrased, he said, “Don’t touch it.”

Then, knowing that was WAY too much to expect, he said it was OK to rotate the bars and change the tilt of the seat if I really felt compelled to muck. “Don’t change the seat height, don’t change the stem height, don’t change the saddle fore and aft distance. They’re right.”

Son Matt suggests that I should leave my tools at home to help me resist temptation.

Here’s the result

Everything visible is stock except the front rack, pedals, Brooks saddle and fenders.

I’ll put on my old rear rack, lights and other stuff tomorrow.

Wayne was supposed to work on building a wheel around my SON generator on Sunday, but his shop was closed Sunday afternoon and today. I hope he isn’t sick.

6 Replies to “Look at My Nearly Naked LHT with a Nice Rack”

  1. Hi Ken

    Nice report and ride. I do think it is still naked without a rear rack but :)


  2. So what is the stock weight at this point, around 32 pounds?

    I can only begin to guess that amount will grow exponentially with each turn of your allen wrench as you begin to re-build the edifice.

    I have to admit that it looks great and I am anxious to see if you feel that you ride “better” with this bike compared to the old one.

  3. The LBS, which caters to folks like you, has a digital scale hanging from the ceiling. It tops out at 30 lbs. When they hung the bike from it, without the Brooks saddle and without the pedals, it registered slightly in excess of 30 lbs.

    Fitter John wasn’t overly concerned with the weight of the bike. While he was watching me try to use the drops, he commented, diplomatically, that I will become much more comfortable in that position after I ride more and become more “flexible.”

    What he really meant was that riding more miles may reduce the size of my large ab that is pummeled by my thighs in that position.

    When I reduce pounds there, I’ll worry about grams elsewhere.

  4. Best wishes for happiness on your new bike.

    I was just wondering if you plan to transfer EVERYTHING from your old bike to the new one or if you might just settle on the few hundred of them that you actually need.

  5. He did. Transfer everything — and then some.

    I got the first glimpse of the new bike today, as it arrived home with proud papa, outfitted to the hilt and hub. Lila and I laughed all over ourselves at the sight of all his stuff as he pushed it valiantly into the yard, and somewhere in it, the new bike. She declared it the “semi of bikes!”

    The three lights on the front are hilarious!! Two mounted at knee level somehow just off the tire. Horns, two stems, all kinds of things I’m not sure of (satellite dish?). . .
    It reminds me of those 12 clowns that used to ride one bike at the circus — you couldn’t see the bike. That’s what it’s become.

    Full disclosure: I’ve made use of a lot of his stuff on our rides — most importantly, the first-aid kit and bandages after hitting that armadillo — so I’m not saying he doesn’t use it.

    But you can’t help but laugh. And wait till you see the mudflaps! MUDFLAPS!

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