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Old 08-19-11, 05:01 PM   #1
Chris Pringle 
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Surly Long Haul Trucker with 27" Wheels

A very good friend of mine is very interested in getting a Surly Long Haul Trucker (frame only) per my suggestion. He's looking at the 700c LHT frame. He currently has a Peugeot UO8 that he's had for 41 years with tons of great components that he's purchased over the years, including a major upgrade of the drivetrain earlier this year. Nevertheless, he's ready to move to a newer frame. He wants to get into more serious touring and French threading doesn't help.

To keep costs down, he wants to transfer as many components as he can to the new LHT frame. He knows that there will be inevitable things like a new bottom bracket and headset that he will need to buy. The main thing, however, is whether he will be able to fit his good quality 27" wheels/tires on a LHT frame and reuse his Mafac canti brakes. I can't remember if there is anything else he needs to pay attention to for a smooth transfer of components.

Thank you all for the help.
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Old 08-19-11, 06:57 PM   #2
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If your friend can't afford a set of 700c wheels to go with his new $500 LHT frame, then he can't afford to leave the house in the first place for a tour. In fact, he probably shouldn't buy the frameset, and instead pocket the money for extraordinary expenses.

A 1970-1980 era 27" wheelset has 5 or 6 cogs on a 120-126mm OLD spaced rear hub, which is not going to fit perfectly on a LHT. You'd have to compress the 135mm dropouts inward, and realign the derailleur hanger. Chainline would be sub-optimal. It would not be smart to go this route.

27" tires are going to be hard to find on the road (5s freewheels even more). Special orders to remote locations are expensive - ordering is expensive, and waiting in a motel/hostel/campground for 7-10 days will cost as much or more than a 700c wheelset.

The cost of wheels and brakesets are trivial in the long run. Upgrade all the parts with the frame. Keep the Peugeot as a spare, and as a reminder that it's sometimes cheaper in the long run to spend more money.

BTW - 26" tires are more common in Central/South America. Some folks choose the 26" wheeled version of the LHT for this reason, even on larger sized frames.

Your friend may be better off with a whole new low budget bike like one of these

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...an_turismo.htm

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...202339_202326_

(wait for a 20% off deal at nashbar)

Last edited by seeker333; 08-19-11 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 08-20-11, 07:56 AM   #3
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You can also get new french threaded parts at velo-orange if upgrading the UO-8 for more serious touring is still an option, but it would likely be cheaper to get a brand new bike rather than pay individually for parts like BBs and headsets, and then be left with a UO-8 frame that isn't likely to be worth all that much and then also get stuck another bike with 27" wheels. Get new equipment and keep the UO-8 as a backup bike or for local riding... it's always nice to have 2 working bikes for company or something.
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Old 08-20-11, 08:05 AM   #4
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Seeker, I don't disagree with most of your arguments but I did want to point out that 27" tires and tubes are easy to find. Most discount chains still haven't figured out they should switch to 700c.
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Old 08-20-11, 08:11 AM   #5
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The main question is whether the 27 inch wheel will fit. Just email Surly they have always answered my questions promptly. It could be a tight squeeze with fenders. A lot of touring bikes are tight with the wheels supplied.


I wanted to do a 27 inch project at one point. Tires are easy to find because walmarts stock the Bell semi-slicks which are OK. I liked the idea of 27 inch, it is a traditional touring size, and a lot of the arguments for going there would be like the 29er arguments that were making the rounds at the time.

I don't think he will find an upgrade a smooth thing. About 2005 I decided to buy a touring bike and transfer my 7 speed MTB stuff to it. I just wanted to get on the road cheaply. I fully expected to put it all back, and get the good stuff after acquiring a little experience. At the time there wasn't a Surly complete, and the frames were not really available in Canada. The only components I ended up shifting were pedals and brakes. The brakes didn't actually end up working that well. My stuff was all compatible in the sense that the two frames had the same BB, and axle width. But it just didn't make sense. There was always some little issue where you would hear a voice saying to just upgrade the part and be done with it. In the end not enough stuff worked with the old stuff to make it worthwhile hanging on to the old stuff. It could be a little different if you actually had everything coming form a touring bike. But then it sounds as though a lot of it won't be compatible...
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Old 08-20-11, 08:25 AM   #6
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On the brakes they will probably work. I do have a cautionary tale though. I did my build above, as mentioned with some cantis off my MTB. They were aggressive as many proposed as ideal. I got dangerously bad stopping power, and not because they were not adjusted. I decided to upgrade to Paul neo-retros. They are based on the Mafac by the way.

http://www.paulcomp.com/neoretro.html

These were better but still bad. I then sold the frame off, and got smart. I bought some 15 dollar cantis from Nashbar. These were low profile brakes like the ones on the Surly complete. Bingo, finally good stopping power.

These are the Surly brakes:

http://www.google.ca/search?q=Tektro...w=1024&bih=625

Anyway, what I learned from all that was that one should consider what the manufacturer puts on the frame before making substitutions. It isn't just stopping power, it can be rack or feet interference. My guess is they will work OK, but might not be the top choice.
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Old 08-20-11, 10:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
A 1970-1980 era 27" wheelset has 5 or 6 cogs on a 120-126mm OLD spaced rear hub, which is not going to fit perfectly on a LHT. You'd have to compress the 135mm dropouts inward, and realign the derailleur hanger. Chainline would be sub-optimal. It would not be smart to go this route.
The narrow rear hub spacing could be sorted out with spacers/ washers on each end of the axle. You could also get Schwalbe tires in 27" that may last you for the entire duration of a tour depending on total weight and length of tour.

As for stopping power, I would get Kool Stop break pads. I previously used the break pads that came with the bike and had decent stopping power, then switched to Kool Stops (black colour) and realized that my original stopping power was awful in comparison to these new pads. Although if you want to save money, you'll probably be fine with the original pads.

Lastly, I would bring as little stuff as possible because the rear 27" wheel will probably be quite strained. Here's a site for some inspiration. Perhaps put the heavy stuff on the front wheel as it's stronger.
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Old 08-21-11, 04:45 AM   #8
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I am planning a tour in early 2012, and I'm either taking my Bridgestone XO-2 or buying a LHT. I have a Gunnar Sport, which is a great sport-touring bike, but I'm leaving it at home. Why? Like another poster in this thread mentioned, 26 inch tires are more readily available. I don't remember the last time I've even seen a 27 inch tire ANYWHERE.
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Old 08-21-11, 08:54 AM   #9
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As the OP said, 27" tires are not easy, but they ARE available. My LBS carries them although admittedly he has only 2 selections and at most, 4 of each in stock. My Jamis Aurora is 700c. I considered 26" and if I ever tour outside of the US/Europe/Japan, I'd buy a bike that uses 26".
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