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  1. #1
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    Differences between 2012, 2013 and 2014 Surly LHT

    Good day,

    This is my first post on the forum, but I have read many threads before coming to my decision to purchase a Long Haul Trucker. I was contemplating the idea of getting a Novara Randonee as well, but the local availability (I live in Canada) made me go for the LHT. Now in the only (somewhat) local store that sells Surly bikes here, they have 2012, 2013 and 2014 models and I was wondering what are the differences between those models, if any?

    The 2014 model they have is only disc brakes, 26'' or 700c, and is $1,650 (those are Canadian dollars). The 2013 model is also disc brakes, 700c, for $1,575. The 2012 model is rim brakes, 700c, for $1,500. I never used disc brakes before, but I read that they are better in wet conditions, which could be good for me since I use the bike to commute to work even if it's raining. Also I use my bike for bikejoring (like dog sledding but with a bike), so brakes are important and needs to work since the dog doesn't stop right away at the command sometimes, especially if he is going after a gopher or something (but he is getting better ). Back on topic now, I will also use the bike off pavement, especially since where I live not all roads are paved, so even day trips include portions on dirt or gravel roads, if that makes a difference in my choice between 700c or 26", or between rim or disc brakes. Also, I'm not that tight on cash to not be able to afford the difference of $150 between 2012 and 2014 models, but why spend it if there are no differences (or if the 2012 model is better for any reason, i.e. the only one with rim brakes), noting that only 700c versions of the 2012 and 2013 are still available.

    Thanks,
    Last edited by MarchandDeBoeuf; 05-19-14 at 02:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    I have the 2012 model with rim brakes, but I believe 2012 is the first year Surly added the disk brake option to the LHT so I'm fairly confident you can find it with the brakes you would like, but may involve a bit more searching. BTW I'm very happy with the bike.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    local store that sells Surly bikes here, they have 2012, 2013 and 2014 models


    The Company orders their Taiwan supplier to paint them all a different color every year ...

    All 3 years are on the floor? why not Look at them, there .. and figure it out, and ask the shop staff ?

    here we only get them when the customer asks it to be ordered , since Trek's 520 is also available ..

    As a cycle touring Destination town people passing thru have all that stuff ,

    the other 3/4 of the year the locals buy stuff , so that is a lot of the inventory.

    AFAIK now disc and Rim brake LHT are parallel products .. Tell the shop what you want, components can be changed .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-19-14 at 10:11 AM.

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    Senior Member Vintage_Cyclist's Avatar
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    Not accounting for the disc brake versions (which I wasn't interested in when I was researching this), the differences between the 2012, 2013, 2014 years are minor.

    Color
    2012 - Blue or Green
    2013 - Silver
    2014 - Silver or Black

    Brakes
    2012- Tektro Oryx
    2013/2014 - Tektro CR720

    Rear Derailleur
    2012 - Shimano Deore XT
    2013 - Shimano LX
    2014 - Shimano XT

    Shifters
    2012 - Shimano bar end
    2013/2014 - Microshift bar end

    Hubs
    2012 - Shimano Deore XT
    2013/2014 - Shimano LX

  5. #5
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    MarchandDeBoeuf, Most important is which of the LHTs fits the best. The major differences are wheel size and the brakes. I don't think there's a "wrong" choice regarding the size of the wheel or brake design. The 26" wheel will be slightly stronger because of the shorter spokes, assuming all else is the same. Disk brakes are better in the wet, but not overwhelmingly so. They would eliminate rim wear along the brake track, in particular if rode off pavement a lot.

    Brad

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    No one carries the DogBoy
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    As to tire size selection: I'm not sure what size you are looking at, but the 56cm 700c has toe overlap concerns when fenders are mounted. The 26" 56cm frame does not. If you need to make a lot of tight turns under power, this is an issue.

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    If you want to go mad nuts you can check out Surly's archived catalogs here Catalogs | The Information Hole | Surly Bikes.

    Toe overlap is one of those things you learn to deal with. You'll only crash once before you learn how to avoid it. Not a big deal.

    the 26" will allow you to mount fatter tires on balance if you're some kind of masochist. Although I'm in the process of settin up my 56cm 700C LHT with 29x2.0 Schwalbe Fat Franks AND V-O 52mm Zeppelin fenders and there appears to be ample room.

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    The LHT does not have disc brakes. Every model sold since 2004 has rim brakes.

    The Disc Trucker has disc brakes, both models since it's introduction in mid 2012. It is identical to the LHT in every way except for powder coat color, disc brakes, and frame/fork modifications required to support disc brakes.

    These are two distinct Surly models, both sold as frameset or complete bike.

    OP, I recommend a 26" wheeled Disc Trucker, fitted with large studded tires for winter use. I suspect there are very few green models (2012,2013) left to choose from (I know the framesets are completely sold out from QPB in all sizes except 62cm). You'll most likely end up with a red model (2013,2014). Surly models (colors) typically change in mid-year and may persist for more than one year without change.

    As others indicated, spend some time determining the proper fit/size. Touring bikes are intended to fit differently than road bikes - I hope your LBS knows this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DogBoy View Post
    As to tire size selection: I'm not sure what size you are looking at, but the 56cm 700c has toe overlap concerns when fenders are mounted. The 26" 56cm frame does not. If you need to make a lot of tight turns under power, this is an issue.
    As a utility bike with heavy loads, stop/start maneuverability on bike paths and around bollards I found the toe overlap AND the low speed handling of the 700c 56cm objectionable compared to the 26" version. Even if I coasted around a sharp low speed turn so as to not jam a pedal on the front tire the bike simply could not make some tight turns and I'd overshoot, which is a bother with a heavy load with wet soft dirt just off the path.

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    Thanks everybody for your answers, very instructive.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    he inventory.

    AFAIK now disc and Rim brake LHT are parallel products .. Tell the shop what you want, components can be changed .
    I think there are differences in the models to make room for the disc brakes, so they cannot just switch it, but I'm sure they could order in another model if I really wanted to. Thanks.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    All 3 years are on the floor? why not Look at them, there .. and figure it out, and ask the shop staff ?
    Of course I will, but I was just asking in advance, since the "somewhat" local bike shop is 3 hours car drive from where I live, and yes this is the closest one, and I don't drive car myself, I only bike, so I wanted as much info before going. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    As a utility bike with heavy loads, stop/start maneuverability on bike paths and around bollards I found the toe overlap AND the low speed handling of the 700c 56cm objectionable compared to the 26" version. Even if I coasted around a sharp low speed turn so as to not jam a pedal on the front tire the bike simply could not make some tight turns and I'd overshoot, which is a bother with a heavy load with wet soft dirt just off the path.
    Maneuverability at low speed on narrow paths is important to me, especially considering the bikejoring part. So maybe 26" wheels are better for me, and stronger is always better, I guess.

    This is also something I'm a bit apprehensive about, having the drop handlebars vs the straight handlebars I'm used to, considering the need for more control on narrow paths.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarchandDeBoeuf View Post
    Maneuverability at low speed on narrow paths is important to me, especially considering the bikejoring part. So maybe 26" wheels are better for me, and stronger is always better, I guess.

    This is also something I'm a bit apprehensive about, having the drop handlebars vs the straight handlebars I'm used to, considering the need for more control on narrow paths.
    I had my LHT w 26" wheels set up with drop bars as is my preference but later switched to swept back upright bars, Titec J bar, as I found it more secure with heavy loads and leaving curbs.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    If you spend a lot of time on trails, the 26 inch wheel is a little better choice as are the disc brakes.

    In terms of model years, there is no particular advantage in getting a 2014 over say a 2012. In fact, if anything, the earlier models probably have a little nicer parts (parts tend to get a bit "cheaper" over time so that the cost of the bike doesn't go up much) but the differences are marginal in the LHT over time. It has been a very successful model for a good many years.

  16. #16
    Senior Member gif4445's Avatar
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    Get the black one. It looks pretty cool. Seriously, I have a 2 year old Black LHT and love it. 700 tires. Old fashioned brakes work really well. IDK if discs are a major improvement. Heavy, but comfortable, solid and stable, especially loaded. It has performed admirable for over 7000 miles. Get the old model and spend the extra $$$ on accessories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
    Get the black one. It looks pretty cool. Seriously, I have a 2 year old Black LHT and love it. 700 tires. Old fashioned brakes work really well. IDK if discs are a major improvement. Heavy, but comfortable, solid and stable, especially loaded. It has performed admirable for over 7000 miles. Get the old model and spend the extra $$$ on accessories.
    Thanks

  18. #18
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    For your bikejoring I'd go with the extra stopping power of disc brakes, and the no toe-overlap of 26" wheels.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Vintage_Cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
    Get the black one. It looks pretty cool. Seriously, I have a 2 year old Black LHT and love it. 700 tires. Old fashioned brakes work really well. IDK if discs are a major improvement. Heavy, but comfortable, solid and stable, especially loaded. It has performed admirable for over 7000 miles. Get the old model and spend the extra $$$ on accessories.
    +1 on black

    2014-05-20 12.44.38.jpg

  20. #20
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I have a 700c LHT, and my daughter's 50 cm LHT has 26" wheels. She has no trouble keeping up with any of the "bigger" bikes.

    My wife has a 47 cm custom built frame with 700c wheels; looking at it, you would think that toe overlap would be a problem. It has never been an issue in the 10,000 plus miles she has ridden that little thing. However, it is mostly road riding except on occasion.

    Although, I'm not a 26" wheel advocate, they may be the better fit for your intended uses. On this tour, part of our route took us over more than 400 miles of dirt and unsurfaced roads and dirt and gravel trails. We both used 700c 32 mm tires with no problems. If you ride a 58 cm frame or larger, toe overlap is not an issue unless you have big feet.

    Last edited by Doug64; 05-20-14 at 03:07 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarchandDeBoeuf View Post
    Maneuverability at low speed on narrow paths is important to me, especially considering the bikejoring part. So maybe 26" wheels are better for me, and stronger is always better, I guess.

    This is also something I'm a bit apprehensive about, having the drop handlebars vs the straight handlebars I'm used to, considering the need for more control on narrow paths.
    I wouldn't give it a thought, once you start riding with the drop bars you will get used to them and control won't be an issue. I have the 56 LHT with 26 inch wheels. I am very happy I chose the 26 inch wheels over the 700s. I have no toe overlap issues and can run wider tires if I want. I also was able to mount my pump on the seatpost tube between it and the fender.

    When having the bike set up, be sure to tell them to not cut the steerer tube. Leave it uncut until you determine where exactly you want to run your bars. Mine is still uncut since 2011 and I am leaving it that way, it gives me places to mount things. My bars are just slightly above the seat, almost level with them but slightly above.

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    often the Asian Build up and shipped in a Box Bikes will Pre cut the Steerer ..

    you wont have a choice , but to have the shop order a substitute fork with an un cut steerer.





    As the XT went to an Aluminum axle for the mountain bike Racers , the steel axle LX is a pragmatic choice.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    often the Asian Build up and shipped in a Box Bikes will Pre cut the Steerer ..

    you wont have a choice , but to have the shop order a substitute fork with an un cut steerer.





    As the XT went to an Aluminum axle for the mountain bike Racers , the steel axle LX is a pragmatic choice.
    I bought the complete bike and gave instructions to the bike show to leave it uncut. The prebuilt bike came from Surly with the steerer tub uncut when I got mine. It pays to specify in advance.

  24. #24
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    cool .. maybe they swapped out in MN and re-boxed it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    cool .. maybe they swapped out in MN and re-boxed it.
    From what I understand, Surly sends them uncut and the bike shop does the final assembly and cut it. That is how it always was with Surly. I don't know if it changed. Most bike shops assemble and cut them unless you tell them not too.

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