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What Does A Surly LHT Offer That My Trek FX3 Does Not?

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What Does A Surly LHT Offer That My Trek FX3 Does Not?

Old 03-11-23, 11:42 AM
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What Does A Surly LHT Offer That My Trek FX3 Does Not?

A Surly LHT came up locally for $700. What would be a fair price? Assuming it's in good shape of course.

The Surly offers fenders which would be nice but Im not car free so riding in the rain would be rare. This one comes with Jones Loop Bars" which look like they would be nice.

​​​​​i know it's a steel frame and I know the pros and cons of that. It's a cool looking bike but for my 3x week commute, shopping trips and 12-14 mph group rides I'm not sure I need it. Plus 26 inch vs 700c wheels seem like it would probably a slower ride.

So what would the LHT do better?
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Old 03-11-23, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadWearier View Post
So what would the LHT do better?
Heavy duty fully loaded cross country touring with four panniers, three bottles, a handlebar bag, and a bedroll.
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Old 03-11-23, 01:21 PM
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IMO, in similar sizes the Surly would have a more-solid, smoother ride (given its chromoly frame), about ~35mm greater stack and ~20mm less reach required (comparing the 54cm frames), along with more than 3" greater stand-over height. You'd get the potential for a much wider tire, hence, possibly a cushier (and perhaps even quicker) tire.

I suspect it'll be a bit slower for the same essential effort, along a route. But I suspect it'll "beat you up" somewhat less than the FX3 might otherwise do.

They're fairly different animals. I think you'll find a noticeable difference in general ride quality and stability, and a greater carrying capacity with the Surly over the FX3. But whether that mix of traits will end up feeling better for you ... it's hard to tell without a solid test-ride on the Surly for comparison.

Have had a Trek DS5, similar to the FX but with a suspension fork, and have several miles on a FX. Myself, I like the Surly Trucker frame a lot. Haven't owned one, but have bopped around on one a bit. Nice bike, but to me it didn't feel as quick as the similarly-sized FX. The DS felt much the same as the Surly, speed-wise, though the Surly felt much smoother and more-stable.

Depends which traits you want most, I'd say.
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Old 03-11-23, 06:02 PM
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Yeah. Sounds like the wrong tool for the job. Maybe I'll just stick with this. For $400 I could probably find a decent mountain bike to mess around on.
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Old 03-13-23, 03:53 PM
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Sounds like a station wagon vs. compact sedan situation. Depends on what you want to do.

PS I've heard that LHTs ride better loaded, so there's that.
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Old 03-15-23, 08:09 PM
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I owned a couple of Surly Cross Checks which are lighter than the LHT. I found the Cross Checks to be pretty damned heavy. And that's OK depending on what you want to do. But you might not like the extra weight, either. They're great for a few purposes but are overkill for some people for commuting.
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Old 03-17-23, 05:03 PM
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I have an LHT. Carries my 200+ pounds, camping gear, and up to 14l of water. Without a hint of poor handling.

Even at my weight it is overkill for commuting. My choice for dry weather is my Surly Pacer built with flat bars running fast 700*28 road bike tyres.

My LHT really settles down with a touring load. It feels a touch dead without any load. Unless you are a heavy rider or need to sometimes carry heavy loads the Trek is probably better.

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Old 03-18-23, 10:39 PM
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As others have mentioned the LHT will let you carry more stuff and run fatter tires. What do you currently find lacking about your Trek FX3?
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Old 03-19-23, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by tFUnK View Post
As others have mentioned the LHT will let you carry more stuff and run fatter tires. What do you currently find lacking about your Trek FX3?
That's a good question. Nothing really except the ride on these cruddy streets and the bone-jarring wooden walking bridge leaves a little to be desired. Thought maybe steel might help. Probably I could lose the hard case tires or run them with lower air pressures.

Mostly I just hear how great Surly is for the real world commute as was wondering why.

Plus I have a form of N+1 disease called N+1-1. I get a bike then I have a compulsion to flip it and buy something else.
Maybe there's a 12 step program for it. Lol
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Old 03-19-23, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadWearier View Post
That's a good question. Nothing really except the ride on these cruddy streets and the bone-jarring wooden walking bridge leaves a little to be desired. Thought maybe steel might help. Probably I could lose the hard case tires or run them with lower air pressures.

Mostly I just hear how great Surly is for the real world commute as was wondering why.

Plus I have a form of N+1 disease called N+1-1. I get a bike then I have a compulsion to flip it and buy something else.
Maybe there's a 12 step program for it. Lol
Go ahead and get it. I run Rene Herse Rat Trap Pass tires on mine for a city bike. Yes, it's heavy but it's also stable and smooth as heck. I also have an 18 lb Lemond steel race bike that I have ridden the same route on several times. The Lemond has 23mm tires. It is nimble,and very fast, but you need to be a better rider to be safe on it compared to the LHT. You would have to be very nimble about picking a good line on rough roads and be able to bunny hop in an emergency. The trucker with the right tires, Rene Herse RTP's, feels half as heavy compared to Continental Touring tires. It becomes remarkably fast but smooth as butter compared to a fitness or race bike. It is a bike you could sit comfortably on for a full day VS a few hours.

I also sometimes put 2.2" MTB tires on mine and bikepack into the local National Forrest. I have front and rear racks and bags and can carry all my camping and fishing gear. A LHT isn't necessarily the best at anything, but it will do nearly anything you should do on a bike.

For nothing but short commutes however I would ride something else unless I only wanted to have one bike for everything.
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Old 03-20-23, 08:28 AM
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If you want another bike and can afford it then buy it.

To improve your current bike the fast way is better tyres. Go for a top end road bike tyre in 32mm width if they fit. Don't run the pressures too high.

The improvement in speed and comfort comes largely from the thin flexible sidewalls.
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Old 03-20-23, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by irc View Post
If you want another bike and can afford it then buy it.

To improve your current bike the fast way is better tyres. Go for a top end road bike tyre in 32mm width if they fit. Don't run the pressures too high.

The improvement in speed and comfort comes largely from the thin flexible sidewalls.
I'm running 32mm now but apparently these hardcase tires might be part of the problem. I like the added puncture protection though.
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Old 03-20-23, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadWearier View Post
I'm running 32mm now but apparently these hardcase tires might be part of the problem. I like the added puncture protection though.
Well there is no free lunch. Depends how much you need puncture protection. I use Schealbe Ones 70*30 on my local city riding bike. But I avoid roadside bike lanes with loads of crap in them I'm either riding in the road where the surface is swept by traffic or canal towpaths or bike paths well separated from the road. No punctures so far.
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Old 03-20-23, 01:12 PM
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I used a FX3 as a daily commuter for about 12 years until it developed a crack in the frame near the bottom bracket.

I replaced it with a steel tourer. Though Iíve only got about 4 years on it so far, I expect it to be more durable than the aluminum frame. ​​​​​
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Old 03-20-23, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
I used a FX3 as a daily commuter for about 12 years until it developed a crack in the frame near the bottom bracket.

I replaced it with a steel tourer. Though Iíve only got about 4 years on it so far, I expect it to be more durable than the aluminum frame. ​​​​​
​​​​​When that happens I'll be sure to join the aluminum hate society. 12 years doesn't sound too bad though
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Old 03-21-23, 01:12 AM
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Never been one to talk another out of an unnecessary new bike acquisition... 😁

Echo on the new tires, though. I wonder if you can go larger than 32mm on the FX - that would help smooth things out some as well.

And as much as I like light bikes, I do appreciate the stability that a heavier bike offers - kind of like the difference between having to ride around rough patches vs. just riding through them.
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Old 03-21-23, 07:54 AM
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The new FX3 will take 38mm tires without fenders. A set of 38mm Rene Herse tires would totally transform the ride if you have been running 32mm hard touring tires.
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Old 03-21-23, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
The new FX3 will take 38mm tires without fenders. A set of 38mm Rene Herse tires would totally transform the ride if you have been running 32mm hard touring tires.
One great thing about the ReneHerse (and other similar type) tires is that they can, indeed, transform the feel of the ride. Bummer that in this case the Trek FX only allows somewhat smaller tires.

On my own vintage Trek 970, I've got a set of the ReneHerse Rat Trap Pass 26x2.3" ... and they do make heading out onto questionable urban roads and paths a much cushier experience. Takes most of the buzz and bumps of the trip right out of it, as compared to most other tires (harder, heavier, more-contemporary designs).
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Old 03-26-23, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
IMO, in similar sizes the Surly would have a more-solid, smoother ride (given its chromoly frame), about ~35mm greater stack and ~20mm less reach required (comparing the 54cm frames), along with more than 3" greater stand-over height. You'd get the potential for a much wider tire, hence, possibly a cushier (and perhaps even quicker) tire.

I suspect it'll be a bit slower for the same essential effort, along a route. But I suspect it'll "beat you up" somewhat less than the FX3 might otherwise do.
I had a 2006 LHT and I loved it. Iím still annoyed it got stolen cause it was absolutely my own dumb fault. But no, itís not going to be notably more comfortable than an aluminum hybrid, at least when unloaded or lightly loaded. Thatís the price you pay for good handling with a heavy load. On the plus side, the 26Ē LHT is still a pretty fun bike to ride. The small wheels make it feel less slow and sedate than youíd expect.

Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
I used a FX3 as a daily commuter for about 12 years until it developed a crack in the frame near the bottom bracket.

I replaced it with a steel tourer. Though Iíve only got about 4 years on it so far, I expect it to be more durable than the aluminum frame. ​​​​​
Plenty of steel frames will crack from that much use! I have no idea if one is more durable than the other, but Iíve known of multiple Surly frames, for example, that cracked at the chainstay or seat tube near the bottom bracket from years of use. Just about anything can be ridden enough to break.
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