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  1. #1
    Senior Member 1bluetrek's Avatar
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    411 on a Long Haul Trucker anyone?

    Can anyone give me an opinion on the Surly Longhaul Trucker? I'm looking into a steel bike for longer rides, anyone have a LHT? According to the specs the small chainring is a 26 or 28 and the rear cassette is an 11-34. Wow that is pretty low geared! Should be able to make it up any hill, but are you doomed to do your rides at a snails pace with the 48t big ring?. How about weight, before fenders and racks etc. And how do they ride?
    Can anyone make a comparison to say a Trek 520 or maybe a Fugi or Jamis?
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    Senior Member lonesomesteve's Avatar
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    It depends on what you mean by "longer rides." The LHT is a great bike for loaded touring, but if you're talking about single day rides without a big load, the LHT is a little bit like driving around town in a Ford F-350. I mean, it will work, but it's sort of overkill. The low gearing is intended for climbing mountain passes with 50 lbs of gear. Some people run gearing that low on their long distance bikes, but many also get by with double compact setups or even standard doubles.

  3. #3
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    I don't have the LHT but have seriously considered one.

    My current vintage ride has the same gear range as the LHT. There is no problem with the 48T chainring; in conjunction with the 11T rear cog, it is plenty fast enough.

    Guy up here bought one just for cruising around, complains it is heavy (IIRC a medium weighs about #26, which for me would be light!) but he really likes the ride. And he has a stable of primo classics.

    As far as comparisons go, if you take a look at the other steel tourers you mentioned, you will see that none offers both the same low gear range and relatively upright riding position as the LHT.

    Still I can't see the point of buying one if you're not going to use it for loaded touring. It was designed to accept racks and panniers, both front and rear, and bear heavy loads. That's something you would be paying for, perhaps unnecessarily. Even my LBS tried to talk me into a much cheaper steel Marin because they knew I had no use for panniers (I prefer baskets and a trailer. But the more aggressive geometry of the Marin did not appeal to me so I passed.)

    Which is not to say the LHT is wrong for you, or for anybody else, for any reason. It is a fine machine and even at MSRP it is a great value.
    Last edited by andychrist; 06-08-09 at 02:15 AM.

  4. #4
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    LHT are popular with commuters, these bikes are not just for heavy touring. The 48t @ 11 gearing will allow 31.5 mph speed at a 90 cadence. The spacing of the gearing is broad, which is good or bad depending on your needs.

    The bike is not ideal for performance rides due to it's weight and broad gearing. If traveling with a faster group, the bike will not increase speed quickly and this can result in you being left behind. If you want to ride with faster groups, this is not your ride.

    I would consider a Surly Cross Check or Pacer for moderately fast recreational riding. The Salsa Casserole is another bike to consider. Also look at the Soma Smoothie ES, this is a great touring frame and can be the basis of a 20 lbs bike that is fast and comfortable.

    Michael
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 06-08-09 at 08:26 AM.
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  5. #5
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1bluetrek View Post
    According to the specs the small chainring is a 26 or 28 and the rear cassette is an 11-34. Wow that is pretty low geared! Should be able to make it up any hill, but are you doomed to do your rides at a snails pace with the 48t big ring?.

    According to Sheldon, a 11-34 with a 48t front ring will get you 117 gear inches on 700x32s. @ 100RPM that is 35 mph.

    That tall enough for you?

    The low end is 20.6"
    If not, swap the front ring. It can accept larger.


    Personally, I ride a double with 30t/46t and a 13-29 rear cassette.
    The high end is plenty for brevets / distance events (for me) - but I'm not a racer boy.
    I still get a range from 27.7" to 94.7".
    Or @ 100 RPM (high end for me to be comfortable for cruising) - 28.2 mph - at which point I might as well start to dial it back and rest as I'm fighting the air far more than my weight or the terrain.

    In the end, I think you are doomed to ride at a snails pace if you are trained to do so. A friend can easily keep up with us (even on some downhills) on his 44x16 fixed gear long distance bike.

  6. #6
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    Personally, I ride a double with 30t/46t and a 13-29 rear cassette.
    The high end is plenty for brevets / distance events (for me) - but I'm not a racer boy.
    I still get a range from 27.7" to 94.7".
    Or @ 100 RPM (high end for me to be comfortable for cruising) - 28.2 mph - at which point I might as well start to dial it back and rest as I'm fighting the air far more than my weight or the terrain.
    Hi bmike,

    That sounds like a great set-up. What model crank, chainrings, cassette and deraillures are you running?

    Michael
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  7. #7
    Senior Member 1bluetrek's Avatar
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    Have been giving much thought to a Cross-Check, just looking into options here. Saw several LHTs and quite a few Cross-Checks at the TDC. CliftonGK1 loves his CC. Mostly concerned about my back, I can barley move today. Need a softer ride and I dont want to go bent.
    Could use help with hills too! Clifton GK1 gave me some gearing options for my trek that I'm considering.
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  8. #8
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Hi bmike,

    That sounds like a great set-up. What model crank, chainrings, cassette and deraillures are you running?

    Michael
    ta carmina, 94 bcd.
    i have rings in combos from 30/44 30/46 32/46 34/48 and 34/50.
    rear cassette is campy 13-29 or 13-26. 10 spd.
    rear der. is a mid cage campy chorus, but i could probably have used short cage.
    front der. is a campy chorus, but previously i had a campy compact on until is self destructed at the rear bolt of the cage.
    better shifting with the standard for whatever reason...


  9. #9
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1bluetrek View Post
    Have been giving much thought to a Cross-Check, just looking into options here. Saw several LHTs and quite a few Cross-Checks at the TDC. CliftonGK1 loves his CC. Mostly concerned about my back, I can barley move today. Need a softer ride and I dont want to go bent.
    Could use help with hills too! Clifton GK1 gave me some gearing options for my trek that I'm considering.
    cross check would make a fine rando bike - but the geometry is pretty odd in some sizes.
    and you are stuck with canti's or v-brakes depending on lever.

    check out a casseroll. just picked one up for the wife, and if i wanted wider tires, ability to carry reasonable loads for LD events and lite touring, fenders, and caliper brakes i'd get one for myself... (but i already have a custom rando rig...)
    Last edited by bmike; 06-08-09 at 09:37 AM.

  10. #10
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    cross check would make a fine rando bike - but the geometry is pretty odd in some sizes.
    and you are stuck with canti's or v-brakes depending on lever.

    check out a casseroll. just picked one up for the wife, and if i wanted wider tires, ability to carry reasonable loads for LD events and lite touring, fenders, and caliper brakes i'd get one for myself... (but i already have a custom rando rig...)
    i should add that i can't get super comfortable on my cross check... and it has a higher bb and tighter geometry than most road bikes...

  11. #11
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1bluetrek View Post
    Mostly concerned about my back, I can barley move today. Need a softer ride and I dont want to go bent.
    Sorry to hear that. Funny but when I ride I hurt all over, except for my back. But I have adjustable stems and bow handlebars in both my rides, for an extremely upright position. Admittedly, this probably makes my butt hurt more though.

    Perhaps the LHT would be a good fit for your needs, if you mostly need a frame that will absorb shock and allow you to stretch out comfortably. The stem on the LHT has a nice rise so you'll be sitting more upright; a lot of owners even swap out the drop bars for butterfly trekkers.

    But if your back is that bad, why are you not even considering a bent? As I mentioned earlier, I was seriously looking at a LHT-- came this close to buying one, too. But then I asked myself, would it make such a dramatic difference over either of my current rides? My old Fuji Road Racer is almost identical to the Surly in terms of geometry and has the same gear range, but I can't bear to ride it more than about forty miles a day, even with a Brooks saddle. Any bent I've ever ridden, I never wanted to get off.

    Hope you feel better real soon!

  12. #12
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    I have a 54cm LHT with 26x1.75" tires which is really great for fully loaded touring. Unloaded, for long distance, my Gunnar Sport is surprisingly more comfortable...Perhaps it's the Selle An-Atomica seat. My wife has the Salsa Casseroll which I think is very comparable to the Sport and can be ordered complete with Shimano 105 road triple. I know you didn't ask but I think the latter two (and probably the Sonoma Smoothie) are better choices for LD unless you also want the bike to perform double duty for heavy touring.

  13. #13
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    I know you didn't ask but I think the latter two (and probably the Sonoma Smoothie) are better choices for LD unless you also want the bike to perform double duty for heavy touring.
    Soma; and yeah, the Smoothie is a nice rig for LD. When it comes time to replace my Cross Check, that's one which is high on my list.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member lonesomesteve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    I know you didn't ask but I think the latter two (and probably the Sonoma Smoothie) are better choices for LD unless you also want the bike to perform double duty for heavy touring.
    Sorry, not meaning to pile on, but I think you probably also meant to say Soma Smoothie ES. The Smoothie has fairly standard racing geometry while the Smoothie ES is their Sport Touring frame, with clearances for bigger tires and fenders and a less aggressive geometry. Both are great bikes, but the Smoothie ES is probably a little better suited for long distance riding.

  15. #15
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonesomesteve View Post
    Sorry, not meaning to pile on, but I think you probably also meant to say Soma Smoothie ES. The Smoothie has fairly standard racing geometry while the Smoothie ES is their Sport Touring frame, with clearances for bigger tires and fenders and a less aggressive geometry. Both are great bikes, but the Smoothie ES is probably a little better suited for long distance riding.
    D'oh! I didn't catch that difference.
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  16. #16
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    I was very dissapointed in the quality of the components that came with my Surley. I could strip the frame and toss out the low quality parts- but what a terrible waste of money.

  17. #17
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheval View Post
    I was very dissapointed in the quality of the components that came with my Surley. I could strip the frame and toss out the low quality parts- but what a terrible waste of money.
    What didn't you like about them? DA barend shifters, XT RD, XT hubs, Sugino 600 crankset. I thought those were pretty OK. The Alex rims could be a little better, yeah. Did you not look at the spec before you purchased it?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheval View Post
    I was very dissapointed in the quality of the components that came with my Surley. I could strip the frame and toss out the low quality parts- but what a terrible waste of money.
    Without some detail, this isn't useful information. Everything I've read about the LHT complete is that the components are more than good enough and affordable as well.

  19. #19
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    I love my LHT for commuting and for long all-day rides. But it is not a fast bike. Fitted with full fenders, aerobars, two water bottle, a Brooks saddle, and both front and rear rack (for touring), it tops out at about 33 pounds. Mine is very comfortable in the saddle, but when doing brevets it does slow me down a good bit. I average about 1 to 1.5 mph faster on my road bike for about the same effort. But on the LHT, I feel like I can ride all day without the same pains I get riding a more aggressive geometry.

    My favorite ride on the LHT is up in the mountains with a full touring load. Yes, it might be slow going on the long climbs, but I'm not in any real hurry. The gearing allows me to pull the full load (bike + gear = 70 lbs) with plenty of comfort.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan View Post
    What didn't you like about them? DA barend shifters, XT RD, XT hubs, Sugino 600 crankset. I thought those were pretty OK. The Alex rims could be a little better, yeah. Did you not look at the spec before you purchased it?
    I did research on Surleys web site, in fact it was their web site that convinced me to buy. I purchased this as a back-up to my road bike as well as a way to ride the numerous crushed limestone trails. Seventeen miles into my maiden voyage I'm off the bike adjusting the barrel nut on the rear DR.[chain skating up and down the cassette]. Some weeks later I was riding the Brown County Hills Challenge, which as the name implies requires some down shifting. In my case it also required stopping to put the chain back on the chain ring. Braking power, or lack thereof, was beyond annoying to the point of being a bit scary. The wheels had to be trued twice[and they're rubbing again]. This was over the past 16 months, but with only approx 1000 miles. I know alot of savy riders are firmly entrenched in the Surley camp, I'm just saying if you're considering a purchase, look into buying the frame then outfit it with components that will hopefully give you the performance and reliability I didn't get with the standard issue parts.

  21. #21
    ChooseVeg.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheval View Post
    I did research on Surleys web site, in fact it was their web site that convinced me to buy. I purchased this as a back-up to my road bike as well as a way to ride the numerous crushed limestone trails. Seventeen miles into my maiden voyage I'm off the bike adjusting the barrel nut on the rear DR.[chain skating up and down the cassette]. Some weeks later I was riding the Brown County Hills Challenge, which as the name implies requires some down shifting. In my case it also required stopping to put the chain back on the chain ring. Braking power, or lack thereof, was beyond annoying to the point of being a bit scary. The wheels had to be trued twice[and they're rubbing again]. This was over the past 16 months, but with only approx 1000 miles. I know alot of savy riders are firmly entrenched in the Surley camp, I'm just saying if you're considering a purchase, look into buying the frame then outfit it with components that will hopefully give you the performance and reliability I didn't get with the standard issue parts.
    To me, it sounds like the problem was with the mechanic who assembled and tuned the bike rather than the components.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by idegen View Post
    To me, it sounds like the problem was with the mechanic who assembled and tuned the bike rather than the components.
    The shop recieved Surley's highest recommendation.?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonesomesteve View Post
    Sorry, not meaning to pile on, but I think you probably also meant to say Soma Smoothie ES. The Smoothie has fairly standard racing geometry while the Smoothie ES is their Sport Touring frame, with clearances for bigger tires and fenders and a less aggressive geometry. Both are great bikes, but the Smoothie ES is probably a little better suited for long distance riding.
    Yes. I meant the 'ES'. Thankyou Steve.

  24. #24
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Cheval: The bike was not put together properly.

  25. #25
    Seņor Member dwnptrl_777's Avatar
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    Just joining the LHT camp. Bought a complete, had it stripped, powdercoated. And just swapped for Modolo Yuma trekking bars this weekend.

    LOVE this bike.



    ......_ .
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