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Why All The Bromances with Surly LHTs?

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Why All The Bromances with Surly LHTs?

Old 08-02-17, 06:14 PM
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raria
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Why All The Bromances with Surly LHTs?

Now I like my Fuji touring but some of the guys I met with LHTs their affection is ... well you know what I mean. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the owners broke into a rendition of Willie Nelson's "You were always on my mind" after coming home from work and seeing their LHT.

I've ridden them and they are nice no doubt, but not without their flaws. For example, the steering at low speed can cause wobbles even without a load.

But clearly I'm missing something as the love of them is there like few other framesets. So what do people love about them so much?
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Old 08-02-17, 06:21 PM
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I look at my Kona Sutra and I hear the Pet Shop Boys version of "You Are Always On My Mind".
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Old 08-02-17, 06:47 PM
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If I had to hazard a guess I'd say its because the LHT was/is one of the few off the shelf ready to go loaded expedition strength touring bikes you could/can buy with a proven track record of reliability. If that's what you are looking for and dont want to diy or spend a premium on custom the LHT seems to tick a lot of boxes right off the hop.

Sometimes on the forum it seems some people are so much smarter than the average bear but if you look at it from the perspective of someone trying to find a reliable bike to do that job at a reasonable price...

and people tend to champion the choices they have made ie. confirmation bias. That's why I think diy rigid mtbs are best

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-02-17 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 08-02-17, 06:56 PM
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I had one of the first LHT back in 2004. Surly refused my warranty claim, they said that a bottom bracket shell that needed to be re-threaded was normal. And it had such a bad shimmy that when I got home from a 692 mile tour with unresolvable shimmy problems, I put the frame in the metal recycle bin. No more shimmy problems.
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Old 08-02-17, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Now I like my Fuji touring but some of the guys I met with LHTs their affection is ... well you know what I mean. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the owners broke into a rendition of Willie Nelson's "You were always on my mind" after coming home from work and seeing their LHT.

I've ridden them and they are nice no doubt, but not without their flaws. For example, the steering at low speed can cause wobbles even without a load.

But clearly I'm missing something as the love of them is there like few other framesets. So what do people love about them so much?

I don't have one yet, but hope to remedy that next year.


They are a very good looking frame and in my opinion, they have the best name for a bike that has ever been.
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Old 08-02-17, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
If I had to hazard a guess I'd say its because the LHT was/is one of the few off the shelf ready to go loaded expedition strength touring bikes you could/can buy with a proven track record of reliability.
Nah come on. There are lots of good quality touring bikes you can buy off the shelf. Fuji, REI, Trek etc. all have high quality touring bikes around the $1000-$1500 but I've never heard a Trek 520 owner go on and on and on about the Trek.

It must be the frame because all of them are speced almost identically: Deore RD, Dura Ace 9 speed Bar End Shifters etc.

So what is it about the frame?
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Old 08-02-17, 08:29 PM
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Trek 520 = Ford F150. LHT = Chevy Silverado. Fuji Touring = Toyota Tundra. They all do the same thing, but people swear by one brand. I have two Surlys, but no Trucker, and they are good solid frames, made by people who understand the market. Decent price and decent quality with a middle of the road geometry and lots of flexibility in attaching things.
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Old 08-02-17, 09:03 PM
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Interesting. People that I have chatted with never cared for LHT.

I'm a roadie so handling and acceleration are very important to me. IMO, there was no excitement about riding LHT. If you like just riding a bike and touring is where it matters, LHT will work fine. However, if you like riding bike for fun and the riding part of touring is important, look else where.
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Old 08-02-17, 09:22 PM
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It does the job it's advertised to do at a decent price. Not that complicated.
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Old 08-02-17, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by linus View Post
Interesting. People that I have chatted with never cared for LHT.

I'm a roadie so handling and acceleration are very important to me. IMO, there was no excitement about riding LHT. If you like just riding a bike and touring is where it matters, LHT will work fine. However, if you like riding bike for fun and the riding part of touring is important, look else where.
What do you use for touring, say with moderate loads, i.e., 35 lbs. of gear?

Last edited by Doug64; 08-02-17 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 08-02-17, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Nah come on. There are lots of good quality touring bikes you can buy off the shelf. Fuji, REI, Trek etc. all have high quality touring bikes around the $1000-$1500...


So what is it about the frame?
1- there are hardly 'lots' of drop bar touring bikes with legit ready to go setups for under $1500. There are 5 or 6.
Lht, fuji touring, coop adv whatever(old rei randonee), trek 520, kona sutra, and masi giramondo.

The base specialized awol isnt terrible...odd crankset, but the ratio gear range is good thanks to a huge cassette. Big jumps though.

So...yeah. i wouldnt say lots.

You could add the nashbar bike in, but thats redundant since the fuji is listed already. Also, since nashbar advertises the fork as 'hiten cromoly', the bime doesnt deserve to be listed out of a lack of editing.


So...6.

The rest that ive seen under $1500 are either discounted due to odd/limited sizes, or they come with gearing thats just not ready to ride for many(most?) people.
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Old 08-02-17, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by linus View Post
If you like just riding a bike and touring is where it matters, LHT will work fine. However, if you like riding bike for fun and the riding part of touring is important, look else where.
What in the same pricerange is good to use that carries gear and elicits the fun you mention?
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Old 08-03-17, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
So what is it about the frame?
The LHT got its fame when it was sold as an inexpensive frame. Steel, long chain stays, takes wide tires, adequate gearing on the built version. It ticks all the boxes.
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Old 08-03-17, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
It does the job it's advertised to do at a decent price. Not that complicated.
Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
The LHT got its fame when it was sold as an inexpensive frame. Steel, long chain stays, takes wide tires, adequate gearing on the built version. It ticks all the boxes.
Yep. You can't judge the past by today's choices. I just think Surly filled a niche for an affordable, reliable heavy duty touring bike. That's all.

And the Trek 520 has just as loyal a fan base btw.
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Old 08-03-17, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Nah come on. There are lots of good quality touring bikes you can buy off the shelf. Fuji, REI, Trek etc. all have high quality touring bikes around the $1000-$1500 but I've never heard a Trek 520 owner go on and on and on about the Trek.

It must be the frame because all of them are speced almost identically: Deore RD, Dura Ace 9 speed Bar End Shifters etc.

So what is it about the frame?
Well the recent Trek 520 is actually a pretty bad frame all in all. Or at least it's not nearly as good as the LHT (we have both). The geometry of the 520 is way too sporty to be a touring bike. For example my wife's bike has a seat tube angle of 73.8 degrees, which forces her to use a 25mm setback seatpost and push the SMP TRK saddle all the way back on it's rails. For comparison the LHT has a 72 degree seat tube angle across all models which kinda makes sense since usually people look for a more relaxed rearward riding position with touring bikes where riding on the rivet and using full power is usually not as common as say, road riding.

The 520 is also ridiculously low for a touring bike, at least in the 54cm size. I had to put in a 60mm steerer extender on my wife's bike to get the bars level with the saddle. If the steerer had been cut to a appropriate length at the factory this would not have been as big of a issue but the steerer out of the box was just way too short. Combine with a low stack and you have a bike that's way too racy to have a lot of functional geo variations for a lot of different types of riding, let alone touring.

And the 520 frame also lacks features, such as top fork eyelets, a chain peg, pump peg, spoke holder and the fork blades are not sufficiently ovalized for comfortably mounting lowrider racks.

As for the build kit, the parts are pretty run of the mill and standard for the most part but the wheels are just purely some of the worst pieces of cr@p I have ever seen on any bike. Very difficult to work on since apparently the rim / hub / spoke combo is matched really badly, making the spokes have some seriously funky angles leaving the rim. Also the nipples are some weird size that does not want to fit my multi size Park spoke wrench. And the spokes break, even after me doing a retension, stress relief and retrue before we did any serious riding with the bike. My wife is a lot lighter than I am and theoretically she should be completely ok with 32 spoke wheels built by me, but the factory retensioned wheels that had 36 spokes broke spokes on her.
Not to mention that the rims are a nightmare to mount marathon plusses on. My DT Swiss TK 540's just take the marathons perfectly, but the bontrager rims seem like they don't want to use any tire in existence. There's always a part of the bead that either low or high and requires 50 miles or so with full tire pressure to seat in properly.

Now I don't have experience with the LHT stock build but I can talk about the frame since I have that.
72 degree seat angle! This is important for me since I've recently taken up using ISM seats and I would actually require a 71 degree seat angle to optimize my seat position but 72 is enough to make the setup work. A lot of the other touring bikes have seat angles of 73 degrees which I can't work with.

Also the LHT has all the aforementioned frame features such as the chain peg, pump peg, spoke holder and top fork eyelets. These may not seem like much but once you use these features and realize other bikes may not have them, they are pretty nifty and nice to have.

I had the option of having my fork steerer uncut so I got to decide at which height to mount my handlebar. I'm not sure whether Surly package bikes ship with cut steerers, but usually you see pretty high spacer stacks on them. This is a feature any tourer can appreciate since the high steerer doesn't prevent you from lowering your handlebar, but it does let you experiment even on tour if your riding position turns out to be iffy.
And the LHT has pretty nice stack numbers which in turn also helps with touring since a high stack doesn't prevent you from going low (at least if the bar is kept at a reasonable drop levels) but it really helps with going high.

In my opinion the LHT is one of the most thought out touring frames out there. It's just so dang utilitarian with no marketing gimmicks, just pure functionality at every step of the way. And it is a road bike (at least the 700c is) with road stable geometry. Some other touring or expedition bikes may have more offroad geometries which works ok on road but may not be as nice.

Kona Sutra is nice but it also does not have all the features the LHT provides.
Spesh Awol frame seems pretty nice with a lot of tire clearance but it has really strange gearing.
Fuji Touring size 64 has a stack of 610mm. That's less than the Specialized Tarmac at size 61.........
And there's a lot of others but all the other frames always seem to have a compromize the LHT just doesn't have, especially now that there's the disc trucker so you get discs if you prefer.

Originally Posted by linus View Post
Interesting. People that I have chatted with never cared for LHT.

I'm a roadie so handling and acceleration are very important to me. IMO, there was no excitement about riding LHT. If you like just riding a bike and touring is where it matters, LHT will work fine. However, if you like riding bike for fun and the riding part of touring is important, look else where.
I'm also a roadie but I don't do crit racing so I don't really have a need for a zippy bike. The LHT is my current main road bike and it works perfectly for the riding I do (long flowy roads, gravel, descents etc). It may be sluggish to accelerate but it does maintain speed and is stable enough to be a very comfortable ride on longer distances.
I don't really get where the idea comes from that a bike needs to be zippy and quick turning to be fun. I've had my best descents on an LHT and it does come down mountains like a missile. No matter the speed and it just keeps on rolling as stable as a truck. If I'm not doing crits I'll take stability over zippyness any day of the week.
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Old 08-03-17, 02:35 AM
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My... is this to celebrate the passing of three weeks already? Where is he? Must be here somewhere...
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Old 08-03-17, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
Well the recent Trek 520 is actually a pretty bad frame all in all. Or at least it's not nearly as good as the LHT (we have both).......
yebbut, the 520 doesn't have a personal troll with hundreds
and hundreds of posts dedicated to desecrating the sanctity
of the LHT.
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Old 08-03-17, 03:27 AM
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I owned a Surly LHT and done lots of miles on it

doubt if I will buy another one as I found it sluggish, heavy and over rated. It was comfortable though. I would class a Surly LHT as an 'old man's bike'

Lots more better bikes for cheaper on the market. For a simlar price, you can get a lighter bike with better gearing and hydraulic disk brakes etc (gravel/adventure bikes)
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Old 08-03-17, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
My... is this to celebrate the passing of three weeks already? Where is he? Must be here somewhere...
Heh. My money is on sock.
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Old 08-03-17, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Now I like my Fuji touring but some of the guys I met with LHTs their affection is ... well you know what I mean. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the owners broke into a rendition of Willie Nelson's "You were always on my mind" after coming home from work and seeing their LHT.

I've ridden them and they are nice no doubt, but not without their flaws. For example, the steering at low speed can cause wobbles even without a load.

But clearly I'm missing something as the love of them is there like few other framesets. So what do people love about them so much?

These LHT hate threads are growing tiresome. Ride the bicycle that suits you and/or can afford. It is that simple.

P.S. I ride a Jamis never owned an LHT. Jamis is what I wanted to pay for a touring bike.
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Old 08-03-17, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dim View Post
Lots more better bikes for cheaper on the market. For a simlar price, you can get a lighter bike with better gearing and hydraulic disk brakes etc (gravel/adventure bikes)
What bikes in the loaded touring category are better for cheaper? or what are lither with better gearing and hydraulic brakes at the LHT price?

maybe England's offerings are much better than over here?...
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Old 08-03-17, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
My... is this to celebrate the passing of three weeks already? Where is he? Must be here somewhere...
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Heh. My money is on sock.
Thought that, but the OP has been around and posting detailed conversation since weeks before squeeze was banned.
If its a ruse, man its a lot of background work.
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Old 08-03-17, 07:11 AM
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....but posting at a similar prolific rate...

...for all of 20 days...

Last edited by saddlesores; 08-03-17 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 08-03-17, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
but some of the guys I met with LHTs their affection is ... well you know what I mean.
Kind of an ironic view, coming from someone belonging to a forum where people sit around and talk about their bikes
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Old 08-03-17, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
....but posting at a similar prolific rate...

...for all of 20 days...
And starting a thread that is reminiscent of one that was locked a long time ago.
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