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Surly Troll Vs Disc Trucker

Old 07-28-15, 01:12 PM
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cyber.snow
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Surly Troll Vs Disc Trucker

I was all excited about my LBS that handles Surly bringing in a 52 Disc Trucker for me to test ride. I was thinking about converting the drop bar to a Jones bar and maybe going up to 180mm discs on the front.

Then I was surfing the Surly website and took a close look at the Troll, it seems to have a bunch of stuff that I really wanted. The question that I have is really for any Troll owners out there...how does the Troll handle on the road? I will be doing most of my riding (prolly over 90%) on finished surfaces, but do expect that there will be some gravel, etc that I will be going down. Should I stick with the Disc Trucker or go to the Troll? Won't be able to afford another bike change for a while....so want to make sure I get what I need, hope that makes sense.
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Old 07-28-15, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
I was all excited about my LBS that handles Surly bringing in a 52 Disc Trucker for me to test ride. I was thinking about converting the drop bar to a Jones bar and maybe going up to 180mm discs on the front.

Then I was surfing the Surly website and took a close look at the Troll, it seems to have a bunch of stuff that I really wanted. The question that I have is really for any Troll owners out there...how does the Troll handle on the road? I will be doing most of my riding (prolly over 90%) on finished surfaces, but do expect that there will be some gravel, etc that I will be going down. Should I stick with the Disc Trucker or go to the Troll? Won't be able to afford another bike change for a while....so want to make sure I get what I need, hope that makes sense.
I've been riding a Troll since they came out in 2011, primarily for commuting on roads and MUPs and offroad touring. However, not sure what you are asking. Never ridden a Disc Trucker or LHT, so if you are looking for a comparison, can't help you there. You can read more about my Troll here, and MTBR has a long thread on the Surly subforum:

https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/...ter-build.html
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Old 07-28-15, 02:04 PM
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Long Troll thread in the Commuter section: https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/...ter-build.html

Sounds like the OP does a lot of pavement riding as well. --oops, While I was typing, alan chimed in. That's his thread.


I can't speak to ride quality. Yet. I will say that I've been interested in the frame since it came out, and when I learned the World Troller was about to hit the shelves, I went ahead and ordered it. Hopefully I'll have it soon, but it'll be a while longer before I have a 26" wheelset built up.

Some things that I liked that have influenced me to switch from the LHT:

Horizontal dropouts. I run a gear hub, and would like to ditch the chain tensioner.

Rough roads and off-road. I also ride primarily on pavement, that may not change, but it's also the case that given two options, I will pick the pavement option because the LHT prefers it. I would like the option to go off-road and expand where I can ride. Even on gravel I'm not thrilled with the LHT. Maybe wider tires would help, but at 40mm, I feel like I'm already wider than most.

Speaking of tires. The Troll is far from a fat bike, but is sure lives up to the Fatties Fit Fine sticker on the chainstay. Maxes out around 3", and I'm looking forward to trying out some real fat tires.

Disc brakes. Recently wore through my rim thanks to all-weather riding with v-brakes. Thinking disc brakes will help the wheels last longer. Of course the disc Trucker would do this, too.

Handling. I actually love the LHT's handling, but I thought I might enjoy a more nimble, mountain bike geometry, especially combined with some off-road travel.

And specific to the World Troller (as opposed to the Troll or Disc Trucker), I really wanted the S & S couplers. That's what pushed me over the edge. Actually what pushed me over the edge was one too many trips where I took my Raleigh Twenty because my Trucker wouldn't fit in the car or would cost too much to take on the plane.

But you hit the real question: How does it handle on the long rides? I look forward to finding that out, too. Because of all things I'd like to change on my Trucker, it really excels on a long day of pavement riding. I look forward to hearing what current Troll owners have to say.
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Old 07-28-15, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
Should I stick with the Disc Trucker or go to the Troll?
419mm chainstays (CS) on the Troll are std MTB CS length, meaning it lacks another 41mm of CS the DT has for the express purpose of providing adequate clearance so that you will not experience heel-strike with rear bags attached.

So the questions/issues are:
1. how big are your bags/square or corners missing for less likelihood of heelstrike
2. how big are your feet/cleat position/shoe style
3. how long a rack will you use/are you content with possibly worse handling/shimmy because load is pushed way back on a JandD Expedition (one of the longest)
4. how much clearance can you add by moving axle rearwards, effectively increasing CS length (my guess 20mm maximum)

Due to it's horizontal dropout, you will probably need to add Tuggnuts/Monkeynuts/whatever Surly now sells to keep wheel from slipping crooked in the Troll. I believe you are probably less able to raise handlebar on Troll due to shorter HT length, but then you may not need bar so high relative to saddle if using flat/hybrid bar. Depends entirely on user's preference for fit/comfort.

DT lacks the short CSs and horizontal dropout, so no consideration needed for bag rear fitment or wheel immobilization, as these issues are solved by DT (and any conventional touring frame) design.
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Old 07-28-15, 03:11 PM
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I love my troll. You'll probably need front racks for panniers. The chain stays are too short for me and I get bad heel strikes. I only run a bag on top of the rear rack.

It's great on long trips and hills. It's real fun on dirt trails too.

When I ordered my Troll, I asked them not to cut the steerer tube down. I put an angled stem in the bike and I like the rise on the Jones bars.

I moved the shifters forward and put the long grips on it. I bought them off Jones web sight.

The OEM saddle did not work for me. I got a Brooks.

The longest I've ridden the troll was just over four hours. I was still comfortable. Longer rides are planned for when it gets in the low eighties.

I've ordered big apple tires for mine. I have them on another 26" tired bike and like them. I guess smaller slicks would be faster, but I'm not in much of a hurry.

I was wary of the disc brakes but I'm a convert. it stops better than my other bikes.
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Old 07-28-15, 03:44 PM
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I have to be honest here, this is my first real touring bike. Originally I was all over the place and just couldn't get enough information to satisfy the old engineer in me. I finally realized that I don't have the cash to buy a custom bike and Surly seems to be the way to go.

This will be my main bike and most of the time will be ridden for pleasure/exercise on bike paths and roads across N. CA. I do plan on doing some credit card touring in the Fall of this year and would like to do Portland to Crescent City in the Spring and then Seattle to Portland in the early summer. Also would like to do some riding in the Sierras, if the drought would ever get over...Cascades also look really good. Big plan/dream is to do Anchorage to Seattle in early summer of 2017. I am an old ex military man and a minimalist when it comes to camping, so I expect that I will be buying racks and panniers in the very near future and really look forward to some light weight camping.

I realize that there is about 1 1/2 inch difference in the chainstays between the two frames...does that really cause a problem? Are you really hitting the fronts of the panniers when you pedal? Do they make special panniers for the Troll?

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Old 07-28-15, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
I have to be honest here, this is my first real touring bike. Originally I was all over the place and just couldn't get enough information to satisfy the old engineer in me. I finally realized that I don't have the cash to buy a custom bike and Surly seems to be the way to go.

This will be my main bike and most of the time will be ridden for pleasure/exercise on bike paths and roads across N. CA. I do plan on doing some credit card touring in the Fall of this year and would like to do Portland to Crescent City in the Spring and then Seattle to Portland in the early summer. Also would like to do some riding in the Sierras, if the drought would ever get over...Cascades also look really good. Big plan/dream is to do Anchorage to Seattle in early summer of 2017. I am an old ex military man and a minimalist when it comes to camping, so I expect that I will be buying racks and panniers in the very near future and really look forward to some light weight camping.

I realize that there is about 1 1/2 inch difference in the chainstays between the two frames...does that really cause a problem? Are you really hitting the fronts of the panniers when you pedal? Do they make special panniers for the Troll?
You're asking a lot of good questions. I get no heel strike with Ortleib Backrollers with the panniers all the way back on the rack (Topeak Explorer). That's with a large frame and size 11 shoes. No idea how that would work out on other frame sizes. No shimmy either, although there is a bit of frame flex when fully loaded.

I installed Surly monkey nuts which add 14 mm to the wheelbase to get more tire clearance for 700x35s, and a tugnut would move the wheels back even more if necessary. You probably won't find a more versatile bike than the Troll, but if you like dropbars and lighter set ups, there are better options. Not sure I would go with the LHT, which from what I hear, is more of a dedicated touring bike and pretty heavy also.

I've ridden many 80-100 mile days on the Troll, and find it very comfortable. I recently added Jones loop bars, thinking they would be a nice addition, but went back to risers bars with Cane Creek bar ends, which are more comfortable and suit my riding style better. Recently, I bought a Lynskey ti cross/commuter bike, and had it out for a short road tour. https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/...ter-build.html It is quite a bit lighter, and a better road bike, but for trail riding, the Troll is my first choice. As with all bikes, there is no single bike that can do everything well. You have to figure out how you plan to use it, and get the best bike based on that, knowing that you are making compromises.
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Old 07-28-15, 05:17 PM
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90% road = get the Trucker.
Troll is a mountain bike with suspension corrected fork - sure it's all-purpose, but what Surly isn't?
Trucker can handle plenty of dirt roads.
You could get a 26" Trucker.
Also - you're looking at size 52cm? Your feet aren't going to hit any fenders or panniers.
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Old 07-28-15, 05:27 PM
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Have just been riding my Surly DT for a little over a week and really like the ride. It allowed me fairly wide tires and the thing.I have about a mile of packed dirt road each day and the Surly DT just laughs off the bumps and pot holes. I did set mine up with the Jones bar as you mentioned and so far I am glad I decided to go that route also.
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Old 07-28-15, 07:12 PM
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Seems there isn't a troll out there in my size to even test ride...Surly is saying that they can't get the parts in until early September. My Surly LBS has ordered me a 52 Disc Trucker and boy am I looking forward to the ride. Not sure if I will sell my Felt V85, but not sure I will be riding it.

Tinyl, did you get your bars from Jones? What about brake levers and shifters? Where is your stem relative to your seat height?

Thanks all for the good advice and inputs.
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Old 07-28-15, 10:31 PM
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VO Crazy bars are similar to Jones style bars but cost half as much, or less. They're compatible with DT's stock Microshift bar-end shifters. You'd need some black MTB cable levers too, which are not too pricey (the stock BB7s are the MTB version, so no new brakesets required). The 26.0mm DT stock stem won't fit the 25.4mm Crazy bar or the 31.8mm Jones bar. So the conversion to Crazy would cost a bar+stem+levers; conversion to Jones would cost a bar+stem+levers+shifters.

Crazy bars come in steel version too for off-road/HD use:

https://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...-bar-noir.html



These are nice MTB levers, they have lever reach adjustment:

https://www.pricepoint.com/Brand/Avid...evers-2014.axd
Attached Images
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Old 07-29-15, 08:15 AM
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Now that is an interesting option and like you said, less expensive. Where do you put the shifters? In the bull horns?
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Old 07-29-15, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cyber.snow View Post
Where do you put the shifters? In the bull horns?
Yes:

"The main bar is 22.2mm so MTB grips, levers, and shifters fit. The "horns" are 23.8mm, so road levers - including inverse levers - fit, as do bar-end shifters. Clamp area is 25.4mm.

Crazy Bars are made from 6061 aluminum and are heat treated. Weight is pretty reasonable at around 450gm. Note that these are not intended for mountain bike use. We do have a chromoly version that is mtb rated."

I don't know if you want/need fenders, but if you do, VO also has great value metal fenders. I've had them on my bikes for years now. If given the choice, I use Al fenders to save weight and no chance of rust. The Al ones are plenty tough in my experience.

https://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...s/fenders.html

Last edited by seeker333; 07-29-15 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 07-29-15, 04:02 PM
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I have a drop bar setup troll and a 26" disc trucker. Here are my observations.

Position: The trucker is more relaxed/upright than the troll, but both are comfortable.
Racks/packs: The troll has slightly shorter chainstays, but my bags adjust rearward and I don't heelstrike.
tires: Troll wins this hands down. I ride pretty fat tires through most of the winter (why I bought the troll). I put studded tires on the trucker and just fat tires on the troll for clear days.
Speed: no difference in speed, but the troll "feels" faster.
Off-road: For me this is cutting across a few gravel parking lots here and there. The troll handles the curb climb/drops with more ease due to shorter wheelbase, and the fat tires are better in anything loose like sand/snow. On pavement, the big tires give a cushy ride. I prefer the ride of the troll.

Everyday use: Trucker wins. Mostly this is because I have fenders on the troll, and one flat on the troll with the fenders on and the horizontal dropouts will introduce those around you to a diatribe of colorful metaphors.

Both my bikes are set-up similarly in terms of dyno lighting/racks/gearing/fenders/stabilizer kickstand etc. They serve their purposes for me and I like both, even though they have probably 80-90% overlap in function.
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Old 07-29-15, 04:21 PM
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OK, I think I have enough information to make a decision. When the bike shop gets the Disc Trucker in, I will give it a thorough test ride. If it tests OK, I will go ahead and buy it and not make any changes other than adding a rear rack, bottle holders, under seat bag, etc., for at least 100 miles of riding. If I don't like the set up, then I will change the handlebar to the Jones bar. If I still don't like the bike, I will go ahead and order the Troll International frame and move everything to the Troll. How does that sound for a plan?
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Old 07-30-15, 11:08 AM
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As long as your Trucker has 26" wheels, most stuff will transfer. I'm doing this now, or will be as soon as my frame comes in, and there are a couple of items that don't transfer well/at all, and a couple of items that I don't want to transfer.
  • My LHT uses 700 wheels. They should fit in the Troll, but the bike is actually made for 26" so the 700 will only go in the new frame until some other wheels are built.
  • Another wheel issue: A benefit of the Troll frame is how it can handle much wider tires, but it's possible that the LHT rims will not be optimal for running wider tires. Another reason that a new wheelset might be beneficial.
  • Bottom bracket on the Troll is wider. You will not be able to use the bottom bracket from the LHT.
  • Different riding positions may have you wanting a different handlebar set up. Of course if you've already switched to and like the Jones bar, that will probably work. It's what the complete Troll comes with, I believe. But...
  • Reach, effecticve top tube length, will likely be completely different, so it's very likely you will want a new stem.
  • I think they both use the same size headset (haven't checked), but I felt like getting a new headset was preferable to uninstalling and reinstalling the one on the LHT. If I ever plan to use the LHT frame again, the headset is one piece that's not easy-on/easy-off, so it was worth it to me to spring for another one.
  • I also have to deal with going from v-brakes to disc. You won't have that issue. But I had to either get disc brakes or get a 26" wheelset from the get-go. V-brakes + an oversized wheelset would not have worked.

So really, the only thing you will need to buy is probably the bottom bracket. But there may be other items that you want to replace.
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Old 07-30-15, 04:25 PM
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I would recommend you carefully consider and research the effect of putting a Jones bar on a LHT. The LHT top-tube is sized for drop bars while the Jones bar is designed for longer top-tubes. You may find the cockpit extremely cramped if you put the Jones on an LHT.

I will also say that I found the Troll much, much, much more fun to ride than the 26" LHT. The LHT might be better for riding long distances in a relatively straight line but the Troll just invites you to look for things to ride around or over. The Troll brings back the kind of riding most people did when they were a kid and that's what I'm after. Your needs and wants might be different.

If you plan to travel light, you can load the Troll "bikecamping" style and you won't have to worry about panniers.


Last edited by corwin1968; 07-30-15 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 07-30-15, 06:07 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
I would recommend you carefully consider and research the effect of putting a Jones bar on a LHT. The LHT top-tube is sized for drop bars while the Jones bar is designed for longer top-tubes. You may find the cockpit extremely cramped if you put the Jones on an LHT.

I will also say that I found the Troll much, much, much more fun to ride than the 26" LHT. The LHT might be better for riding long distances in a relatively straight line but the Troll just invites you to look for things to ride around or over. The Troll brings back the kind of riding most people did when they were a kid and that's what I'm after. Your needs and wants might be different.

If you plan to travel light, you can load the Troll "bikecamping" style and you won't have to worry about panniers.

You hit the nail on the head...the Troll is a fun bike to ride. I bought a road bike for commuting a few months ago, and shelved the Troll for a while. Then recently took the Troll out on twisty, hilly paved trails, and it was a blast. For straight line riding and climbing, commuting and touring, the road bike is faster and rides so nicely, but for rougher, twisty stuff, the Troll is best. The Trucker is made for hauling you and your gear around, which is what you want for touring and commuting. If you want to just go out and ride, there are better options.
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Old 07-31-15, 08:35 AM
  #19  
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Rear wheel removal is different. you can IGH a Troll and pull the chain in proper tension.

Own neither .. personally ... look at the web site for details.
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Old 07-31-15, 09:41 AM
  #20  
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I went trekking bar with bar ends, paul thumbies for the shifters, and 1 interrupter brake for the front wheel on my LHT.
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Old 08-01-15, 06:58 AM
  #21  
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I will weigh in on this as I run a Troll for commuting and touring. I originally bought the Troll because 95% of the miles on it were going to be commuting but I wanted something for the occasional tour. My commute takes me into the City of Chicago, its urban commuting with some sections of rough pavement, and only about a 10 mile commute. Only about a third of the commute involves wide enough space where a road bike would make a difference so a mountain bike platform is the way to go with this commute. I run the 2" plus Big Apple tires on the Troll. For this task this Troll is great. Its sturdy, very comfortable, and the I prefer the more upright position in dense urban commuting.

I have also taken the Troll on two weekend 140 mile round trip tours on pavement. Again the Troll is comfortable, sturdy, and you can hang everything including the kitchen sink on it. On both of these tours I was with a group of people on road bikes and not surprisingly I struggled to keep up. The road bikes averaged 2-3 miles per hour faster than me. I also think the Troll cuts down the number of miles you can do in a day for the same amount of energy expanded. In 7 hours of riding I could only get about 70 miles in.

If I was going to do a coast to coast tour on pavement, the Troll would not be my first choice, however, it is a touring bike and probably more well suited for this task than many other bikes people use. For pavement touring if you carry a lot of stuff, prefer a comfortable ride, tour by yourself, and don’t mind doing fewer miles per day, the Troll could work well for you.

A couple more things. I do not love the Jones H-Bars. My hands get tired on extended rides as none of the positions put your wrists in a neutral position. This thread was the first I heard of the “Wild bars” and I may change to that after the season. I wear size 8.5 shoe and my last three bikes over the past 10 years all had chain stays shorter than the LHT, and I have never had heal strike problems. I think that is more of an issue if you have big feet.

I am actually looking around right now for a Cross Check for touring as I want to experiment with lighter road set up. I am primarily a backpacker and I think the Troll/LHT is over kill for the loads I cary. I think both these bikes are designed for heavy, heavy loads, like 50 lb plus, and that is not me.
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