Year in Review: Surly Long Haul Trucker

Surly Long Haul Trucker in front of mural showing Mississippi River clogged with ice in 1918

I saw my first LHT in the wild when my Trek 1220 was at Cape Bicycle getting a shifter replaced. I wish I had put the money into an LHT instead of the repair. I really liked the LHT's look and feel, but wasn't sure I was ready to buy a new bike.

Checking the angle of the kneeWhen I got back home, a buddy of mine offered to sell me his Cannondale T800 at a good price. I was torn. Did I want to buy a used bike and make it fit me or make the jump to a LHT?

Bike fit is worth it

My first stop was to get a professional fitting to see if the Cannondale was right for me and to see which LHT would be suitable. The fitting was a good investment. I wish I had done it years ago. Read about it here. The best part is that the fitting was free if I bought a bike from them.

The fitting determined that the T800 WOULD work if I did some tweaking, but after polling the phreds and getting Wife Lila's blessing, I decided I'd rather have a brand new bike. After all, I had just retired. I DESERVED a new bike.

When the new bike came in, the LBS did a final fitting to get everything dialed in right.

Bringing my baby home for the first time

Surly Long Haul Trucker coming home for first timeI finally got to wheel my LHT into the driveway and go on its first ride. I tell folks that the Surly Long Haul Trucker is a Peterbilt, not a Ferrari: both of them will get up to 80 mph, but the Peterbilt can do it with 40 tons on board.

Adding a second stem gave me plenty of cockpit room for all my toys, plus my Arkel Small Bar Bag.

Building a wheel around a SON hub

The next big step was to get a wheel built around my SON generator hub. I'm fairly pleased with the video and I'm REALLY pleased with the hub and wheel.

Surly Long Haul Trucker with Cyo IQ and Flare5 headlghtsI later replaced my B&M DLumotec Oval N Plus and B&M Lumotec generator lights with a single Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ Cyo R N Plus. The Cyo IQ easily puts out more and better light than the other two combined. You can see a video of the installation here.

I kept the taillight setup I had on my Trek 1220. My NiteRider battery died, so I took it off the bike, but I haven't gotten around to removing the NiteRider taillight. I think this video will give you an idea of why I don't think anyone should miss seeing me at night.

Four-year-old demonstrates Click-Stand

I use a ESGE/Pletscher Double-legged kickstand AND a Click-Stand to hold the bike up (not at the same time). It's overkill, but they both have their uses.

I have a much-loved Brooks Champion Flyer that I almost killed with too much Proofide. I cover it when it rains. It is perched on top of a Velo Orange Grand CRU seat post which allows finer adjustments to saddle position than the factory post.

Few problems with my LHT

Surly Long Haul Trucker seat post clampI've only had a couple of problems with my nearly-year-old Surly. My seat tube had a tendency to slip down. On one ride, I cranked a fraction of a turn too far and snapped off the seat tube clamp bolt.

That caused me to stock up on some spare bolts and take an inventory of the tools I carry on the bike.

Some bolts are rusting

Some rust has shown up on some of the bolts. I guess that's to be expected when you live surrounded by blowing salt air like we do here in South Florida.

Rusted bolts on Surly Long Haul Trucker crank

12 Replies to “Year in Review: Surly Long Haul Trucker”

  1. Good review. Lots of tech info. Nice job.

    I wonder if your double-legged kick stand will work on my recumbents. I have a double-legged kick stand on my little one but when one of the rubber feet came off, it wobbles in the wind and falls over if you look at it cross-eyed. The legs just aren’t long enough.

    Was thinking about a hammer, spikes and tie downs, but that may be overkill.



  2. Thanks for the update. I got my LHT about 6 weeks ago. Been on two weekend camping trips with it and a bunch of day rides (did a chunk of LOST today)… couldn’t be more pleased. Bought after market racks though and feel that was a mistake. Are those the Surly racks on yours?

  3. Allen,

    I have the Surly Nice Rack on the front. It’s heavy and, according to my LBS, a challenge to figure out how to install because they include so much hardware to accommodate just about any bike on the market.

    I like the way it’s set up to mount lights on it.

    My rear rack is a Jandd Expedition rack that I had on my old bike. I like it because it is long enough to handle my Arkel Tail Rider trunk bag.

    Gary Ritter, an Okeechobee rider was on the LOST today talking about the head winds. They were blowing 17 mph, gusting to 22 on the coast.

    You much have had fun out there with that going on. (Gary said the wind died down on his way home, so he didn’t even get the great push from a tailwind.)

  4. Ken,
    Yes, it was pretty windy yesterday out of the SE. Seemed like a real steady 15-18mph. I remember thinking, if I’m doing 10 mph into a headwind doing 15 mph does that equate to a 25 mph of resistance? Simple logic… probably wrong somehow. Maybe you or one of your scientific friends can straighten me out.

    I looked at my bolts for rust. I think Surly changed the crank bolts since you bought yours. Mine are some sort of black metal. Also, I changed my stem to a 90mm from the 100mm standard so I’m not using Surly’s bolts there (I saw that was another place you had rust). My brakes still look good but it’s only been a couple months.

    Thanks for the info on the racks. I think I’ll probably go ahead and get the Surly racks. There was a good article in the Adventure Cycling magazine this month about rack contruction and it looks like the Surly racks stack are well made. There are instructions on the Surly site for attaching them.

  5. My Surly LHT is now a year old. I rode it down the California coast from San Francisco to Monterey. Amazing how many LHT’s are out there. I thoroughly enjoy the bike. It is a little heavy but handles Ortliebs front and back just fine. I have the same front rack, it is built like a tank.

  6. Jim,

    You must have gotten your LHT about the same time I did mine. I wish I had more miles on it, but I’m happy with the way it rides.

    You’re right about the rack. When future civilizations do archeological digs, they’ll find Surly Nice Racks still intact.

  7. Ken, We have 15mph winds EVERY DAY in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. That is unless the wind is blowing harder than that. 30 mph winds are not uncommon.

    You soon get used to it. Put your head down and crank into the wind when you have to.

    The wind and the low relative humidity dehydrate you big time on a long ride and 100 oz CamelBaks are not just for decoration ’round here.

  8. Hello LHT fan’s Just got myself a 2011 56cm with 26″ Wheel’s Blacktacular, And I love It I spend more time with It than my wife great bike never done much riding on the road always been a mountain biker I am from South Wales uk.
    So I Decided to cycle John o groats to Land’s end in April so I done a little research into Adventure Touring Bike’s and the LHT came out on top.

    The bike Is well thought out got all the right bit’s in all the right places (XT rear mech and Hub’s, and strong Wheel’s) very comfy and for the money its a great choice I looked into the Thorn sherpa nice bike But you will spend more cash on the spec that the LHT got as standard. The saddle Is a pain in the arse and the brake’s fully kitted up aint much good but a new saddle and a set of good block’s, some sks mud guards, racks and pannier’s point the bike where you want to go and It will do it.

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