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Negative Opinions on Surly LHT?

Old 06-23-10, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel
For me, the LHT geometry is far from ideal. The top tubes are too long and the head tubes are too short.
This is one very balanced answer, among other good advice. I ride an LHT frame that I built for much the same reasons, feeling stretched out with the complete version. Since I wanted to use trekking handlebars though, the longer top tube was an advantage for a build and the fit is ideal.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyS
The LHT looked great to me, but the Nashbar touring frame looked great too, and for 1/4 the price
Wouldn't that make the price arount 250$ ?
I guess that you meant that the Nashbar is ¼ less expensive, at around 700-800$.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:15 AM
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I built my LHT up from a frame so won't comment on the components that come on a complete. To me the LHT is a solid tourer. It has all the features I wanted, including handling and durability, for a really reasonable price. I'm very happy. I'm sure I might have been equally happy with other choices. I'm not sure if I would have spent as little money.

The LHT is a little heavy though. But if I could just take less crap on tour............ and the LHT handles my portly load.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by spooner
So all that being said, can someone please give me the negative aspects of the LHT? I'm not really talking about the aluminum vs steel thing. Are there basic design issues? Are the stock wheels bad? Are there fundamental problems with the LHT? Or is it just that damn good?
Biggest negative = you seem to be buying the complete bike. Buy the frame and build it up to your own specs, then any negative aspects are of your own making.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:33 AM
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I built up my LHT about 6 years ago, at that time Surly did not sell complete bikes, they only sold frames and forks. Thus, most of my comments are not on components.

I have been quite happy with it. The spare spoke holder however would work better on the right so that it does not interfere with a stay mounted kickstand. The bottom bottle cage braze ons are too high and prevent really big water bottles from fitting. But, these issues are minor.

Some have had problems with toe overlap with fenders, I have a 58cm/700c frame and have no overlap problem but it is very close. If I had a 56cm/700c, I think I would have overlap problems.

I have no expertise on the role of trail and weight balance, but it is my understanding that the LHT has a large trail and therefore favors more weight in the rear than some other touring bikes. But, someone that knows more about this topic should comment.

I do have one component issue, the 11/34 cassette with the 48/36/26 gearing has some redundant gears:
- The 48/23 gear is very similar to the 36/17 gear.
- The 48/20 gear is identical to the 36/15 gear.
- The 48/17 gear is very similar to the 36/13 gear.
Thus, there are some wasted gears, the gearing is not very well thought out by Surly.

I spend the vast majority of my time in the range of 60 to 90 gear inches. There are five gears in that range on the LHT complete, but two of them are redundant with others and for that reason there are effectively only three gears in that 60 to 90 gear inch range on the stock LHT build. I use a road crankset with low granny (52/42/24) and different cassette (8 speed Sram, 11/12/14/16/18/21/26/32), thus my bike does not suffer the bad gear selection that Surly has. I have six well spaced gears in the 60 to 90 gear inch range.

If you order one, order it with uncut steerer tube. It can be cut later, but if it is too short it can't be lengthened. A week ago I saw a couple people touring from Vermont to west coast, I met them in WI. One had a LHT and he had a stem that must be at least 35 degrees in an attempt to raise his handlebars higher.

This year I built up a 26 inch touring bike for non-paved touring, I built it up from a used Thorn Sherpa frame and fork. I plan to use the 700c LHT for paved road touring. I use 37mm width tires on my 700c LHT, my fenders interfere with larger tires so 37mm is my upper limit. But, I have 54mm width tires on my 26 inch Sherpa, but if I wanted to put on narrower tires I could. Bottom line is that if I could only have one bike, I would favor the 26 inch wheels for a wider variety of tire widths on that single bike.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by JeanM
Wouldn't that make the price arount 250$ ?
I guess that you meant that the Nashbar is ¼ less expensive, at around 700-800$.
Nope, I was referring to the price of the frames... ~$99 vs ~$4-500.

If you're talking complete bike, Nashbar doesn't sell the touring frames that way, but I built mine up to the condition an LHT complete would come in for $533, or about the price of an LHT frame.
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Old 06-23-10, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pasopia
They are cantis. The LHT can take traditional cantis and v-brakes, but not road calipers or disc brakes.
Yep, slip of the fingers, I meant v-brakes.

Do I need to change the levers over if I go to v-brakes, or just the brakes and add a noodle etc.

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Old 06-23-10, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by furballi
Surly LHT is rather pricey ($1100 msrp) compared to similarly equipped bike. Quality of components is good, except for the Alex rim, seat post, and saddle (more profit margin for Surly). I would rather have Mavic A319.
Almost every manufacturer uses "no name" seat-posts and saddles at similar prices. Anyway, since seats are a personal-preference thing anyway, it might not be useful to the buyer to spec a more-expensive seat that they may likely replace anyway. What advantage is a more-expensive seat-post going to give you?

My bike, which came with A319 rims, lists at $1600 (but it also has a "nicer" frame).

Originally Posted by furballi
Similarly equipped bikes from other vendors like Diamondback can be had for 3/4 of the price.
Diamondback doesn't sell any touring bikes (as far as I can tell).

Originally Posted by WillJL
The Surly "stock" LHT build leaves some things to be desired: particularly the saddle, brakes, rims, and tires. The frame though, unto itself, is the best thing that you'll get for the money, and leaves little room for criticism.
The brakes are fine. The stock pads suck (replace them with Koolstops or some like).

Originally Posted by LeeG
the stock wheels are good. Just because the rims aren't more expensive Mavic rims or they're straight gauge instead of butted doesn't make them bad. Until someone comes up with A/B destructive testing I doubt they're stronger than a more expensive A719 rim and butted spokes. It's conceivable the heavier Alex rim will last longer.
The A719 rims are commonly used on tandems. I'd expect that they are better. Butted spokes appear to be strong than straight gauge (they might have better tension characteristics).

There is, though, no reason that the stock LHT wheels would not more than good enough. There have been multiple reports of the wheels on the Fuji/BD-Windsor-Tourist of having problems. I haven't heard of any problems with the LHT wheels.

Originally Posted by sstorkel
In my opinion, there's nothing bad about the LHT (other than the colors!), but there's nothing that would lead me to believe it's as exceptional as people seem to think.
There are a lot of good touring bikes. Some for not much more money.

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-23-10 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyS
The LHT looked great to me, but the Nashbar touring frame looked great too, and for 1/4 the price. My nashie rides great, looks great, and even gets compliments from the bike shop guys every time I bring it in, even though I ordered it from the internet.

I haven't ridden the LHT though... so I can't say for sure I wouldn't love it just as much.
I went on the Nashbar site just now and find only a "road frame" and "cyclocross frame", which is designed for "light touring." What is this mysterious "touring frame" of which you speak? Is it no longer offered?
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Old 06-23-10, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by WillJL
Oh, and Surly paint jobs are, as furballi pointed out, not the best. This is of little consequence though.
That's because it's not painted. It's powder coated.

I'm not quite sure why everyone hates on the Alex Adventurer rims. They are more than up to the job.

Last edited by jwbnyc; 06-23-10 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by pasopia
They are cantis. The LHT can take traditional cantis and v-brakes, but not road calipers or disc brakes.
If building from scratch you can swap out the fork with a disc fork and easily run a disc brake on the front.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by NoGaBiker
I went on the Nashbar site just now and find only a "road frame" and "cyclocross frame", which is designed for "light touring." What is this mysterious "touring frame" of which you speak? Is it no longer offered?
They run out. It will be listed again when they get more stock in (I have no idea what the schedule might be).
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Old 06-23-10, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by LHT in Madison
I do have one component issue, the 11/34 cassette with the 48/36/26 gearing has some redundant gears:
- The 48/23 gear is very similar to the 36/17 gear.
- The 48/20 gear is identical to the 36/15 gear.
- The 48/17 gear is very similar to the 36/13 gear.
Thus, there are some wasted gears, the gearing is not very well thought out by Surly.
This is typical of stock gearing. Part of the reason is that it is really hard to not have some duplicate gears and part of the reason is that it makes for smoother shifting (harder shifting is harder to sell).
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Old 06-23-10, 09:42 AM
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Chip,
the LHT is a good deal for the money. BUT... the one I tried had excessive flex under hard pedalling. One of the mechanics (also a racer) at my bike shop
had one, I asked him what he thought about the flex and the word he used was "horrible". Some people here have said they didn't have that problem, and it would not surprise me in the least if they sourced tubing from multiple sources and that some were substandard.

Gunnar has a terrific touring frame (and another frame that also might do the trick). IMHO, it's worth the bucks.

https://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/grand-tour/

https://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/fast-lane/
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Old 06-23-10, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
I believe the TT is relatively long, so if you have long legs and short upper body, this may give you fit problems... So maybe not optimal for lots of women
On the other hand, if you're like me, and you have shorter legs and a longer torso, it's probably a plus. I don't have an LHT (yet), but I've seen this comment before, and it makes me even more enamored w/ the bike than I would be otherwise.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by azesty
Yep, slip of the fingers, I meant v-brakes.

Do I need to change the levers over if I go to v-brakes, or just the brakes and add a noodle etc.
With the levers the complete is stocked with, you can either use mini-vs alone or 'maxi' v's in combination with 'travel agents'. Or you could use full-size v's w/ dropbar v levers that cost like $25.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyS
Nope, I was referring to the price of the frames... ~$99 vs ~$4-500.

If you're talking complete bike, Nashbar doesn't sell the touring frames that way, but I built mine up to the condition an LHT complete would come in for $533, or about the price of an LHT frame.
That's very good!

Have fun.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by EKW in DC
On the other hand, if you're like me, and you have shorter legs and a longer torso, it's probably a plus. I don't have an LHT (yet), but I've seen this comment before, and it makes me even more enamored w/ the bike than I would be otherwise.
I resemble that remark somewhat (6'2", 34" cycling inseam) and I love my LHT. I also liked that I could look at the Excel spreadsheet over on the Surly LHT user group that shows people's heights, inseams, & frame sizes before I bought my bike.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by late
the LHT is a good deal for the money. BUT... the one I tried had excessive flex under hard pedalling. One of the mechanics (also a racer) at my bike shop
had one, I asked him what he thought about the flex and the word he used was "horrible". Some people here have said they didn't have that problem, and it would not surprise me in the least if they sourced tubing from multiple sources and that some were substandard.
I'd guess that the variation in flexibility for same-sized LHTs isn't that large. It would seem that "horrible" to a racer might not be to another kind of rider. Some people might like more flex.

Anyway, I don't think the Rocky Mountain Sherpa frame is especially flexy. I'd guess the Cannondale T frame is pretty stiff too.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by late
Chip,
the LHT is a good deal for the money. BUT... the one I tried had excessive flex under hard pedalling. One of the mechanics (also a racer) at my bike shop
had one, I asked him what he thought about the flex and the word he used was "horrible". Some people here have said they didn't have that problem, and it would not surprise me in the least if they sourced tubing from multiple sources and that some were substandard.

Gunnar has a terrific touring frame (and another frame that also might do the trick). IMHO, it's worth the bucks.

https://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/grand-tour/

https://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/fast-lane/
Thanks, but I'm just commenting on the LHT frame, I never made any claim that it was the best touring frame out there.
If I had my druthers, I'd probably have a Bob Jackson built. Heck, my last loaded touring bike was a Fuji World, which has now been relegated to commuting duty in favor of its replacement, a Surly...but it's not an LHT, it's a Big Dummy.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by NoGaBiker
I went on the Nashbar site just now and find only a "road frame" and "cyclocross frame", which is designed for "light touring." What is this mysterious "touring frame" of which you speak? Is it no longer offered?
As someone else replied, they must be out right now... if you want to know what one looks like... here's mine:

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?626210-I-bought-the-Nashbar!/page5
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Old 06-23-10, 11:43 AM
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the powdercoat is pretty weak and chips/scratches easily. Other than that, its a great bike all around. The decals are ugly, but removable.

Its like the VW bug of bikes (for the people, cheap)...
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Old 06-23-10, 11:58 AM
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I bought my LHT as a frame only and think it good value for money.
There have been some comments on the slightly longer toptube.
But, this is precisely why I went with the LHT, it's ideal for straight handle bars.

Have found the paint quality to be comparable with other non custom frames.
My paint has survived a self build without showing any signs of damage.

To me, the white graphics are a bit 'in your face' on my black frame.
Gold would be a nice alternative.

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Old 06-23-10, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TonyS
Nope, I was referring to the price of the frames... ~$99 vs ~$4-500.

If you're talking complete bike, Nashbar doesn't sell the touring frames that way, but I built mine up to the condition an LHT complete would come in for $533, or about the price of an LHT frame.
It's even a better deal if you buy with the 20% off. That Nashbar frame is an excellent value, if you know how to build a bike from scratch.

Nashbar's $64 1" threaded carbon folk is also a good value. Had to scrap the old Al Cannondale fork when a motorist ran over my bike in an attempt to pick up some tacos.

To those who think that Mavic A319 is expensive, the nominal retail price is only $35. You can buy the Nashbar frame, spec quality parts, add about $200 for assembly, and still save a lot more $.
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Old 06-23-10, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by NoGaBiker
I went on the Nashbar site just now and find only a "road frame" and "cyclocross frame", which is designed for "light touring." What is this mysterious "touring frame" of which you speak? Is it no longer offered?
As others have stated: Nashbar is currently sold out of the touring frame. Here's the link to the old product page , though. At the end of last year, they were frequently on sale for $100 or less.
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