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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 04-04-08, 06:18 AM   #1
Cyclaholic
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Naked but still utility....

I recently stripped down my Surly LHT to the bare minimum.... removed both racks, fenders, and a few other assorted bits. I went back to commuting with a backpack and using my trailer(s) for shopping/hauling.

I have a Shimano R550 front wheel (18 spoke, radial pattern, aero rim, aero spokes) so I replaced my heavy 36-spoke front wheel. I replaced my heavy 700x38 tires with 700x28 Conti Gatorskins (plus Mr Tuffys).

The difference is nothing short of amazing! The feel of the bike has completely changed, she feels more like a sports car and less like a land yacht. She accelerates better, hits higher top and average speeds on my commute, and I haven't lost any utility at all since I use a shopping trailer for hauling stuff. If/when i want to use my panniers it's a 3 minute job to throw the rear rack back on.

I'm really enjoying my naked Surly.


[Edit] I have another bike with fenders for rainy days.
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Old 04-04-08, 07:25 AM   #2
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Do you have any before/after photos? 18 spoke radial - sounds like a delicate wheel.

My Trek 8000 is fully equipped as a utility bike (racks, fenders etc) and still weighs very little, <30lbs. Amazing frame.
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Old 04-05-08, 08:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
I recently stripped down my Surly LHT to the bare minimum.... removed both racks, fenders, and a few other assorted bits. I went back to commuting with a backpack and using my trailer(s) for shopping/hauling.

I have a Shimano R550 front wheel (18 spoke, radial pattern, aero rim, aero spokes) so I replaced my heavy 36-spoke front wheel. I replaced my heavy 700x38 tires with 700x28 Conti Gatorskins (plus Mr Tuffys).

The difference is nothing short of amazing! The feel of the bike has completely changed, she feels more like a sports car and less like a land yacht. She accelerates better, hits higher top and average speeds on my commute, and I haven't lost any utility at all since I use a shopping trailer for hauling stuff. If/when i want to use my panniers it's a 3 minute job to throw the rear rack back on.

I'm really enjoying my naked Surly.


[Edit] I have another bike with fenders for rainy days.
Last year, I replaced my front tire -- a Schwalbe Marathon Plus 32C -- with a tire just like your Conti. Also put in a liner and noticed that the acceleration and overall speed of the bike was quite noticeable. I did leave a Schwalbe on the back and did not touch the fenders, the rack or anything else. Just changing the rubber on the front helped quite a bit.

Having said that, I also just replaced tires on my other commuter. This time I used 2 Schwalbe Marathon Pluses with heavy thorn-proof tubes. They are a bit heavier, but I was getting sick of leaving work to come home and finding yet another flat tire.

I'd have to say I'm somewhat opposed to nudity.
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