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Negative Opinions on Surly LHT?

Old 06-23-10, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by furballi
To those who think that Mavic A319 is expensive, the nominal retail price is only $35.
The point is that A319 are probably too expensive to be stock on a $1100 dollar bike.

This says $44 (for black ones). That's per rim. That is, $90 for a $1100 bike (or 8%). (Of course, manufacturers get a wholesale price and maybe even a volume discount.)

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/product.a...S&currency=USD

People were also talking about the A719, which is even more expensive at $75 per rim.

https://www.lickbike.com/productpage....B='2118-36'

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-23-10 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 06-23-10, 12:49 PM
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You asked for negative opinions on the Surly LHT.

By far, the toughest bike reviews being written today are in Bicycle Quarterly. They reviewed the Surly LHT in their Fall 2009 issue (you can buy a back copy) and gave it a very positive review. They were particularly impressed with the value for the money.

Their complaints:

- both reviewers hated the brakes, and suggested trying aftermarket brake pads and/or changing brakes entirely
- Jan Heine hated the handlebars
- Jan felt that the "q" factor of the crank was too wide; he would switch to a crank w/a narrower q factor
- They did not like the cornering
- They felt that the ride was more jarring than they would have expected.

Note: they tested the bike with Tubus racks and felt that the stiffness of the racks greatly enhanced the ridability of the bike

BQ tends to favor bikes that ride better with the load in front, rather than a rear bias. The Surly LHT in their view works better with the load biased toward the rear (less in front than in the rear), but they would rather tour on a bike with more bike on the front than in the rear. (they were fans of the Kogswell when it was around). With that reservation, they gave the Surly LHT a very strong endorsement.

The list of complaints above is a *very* short list for BQ -- they are very, very tough on bikes they don't like. They liked the Surly LHT, and were extremely impressed with the price.
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Old 06-23-10, 01:03 PM
  #53  
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Generally most everyone seems to give the LHT a good review. I do have one slight criticism...they tend to run large, so if you order one rather than test ride it before hand and get your normal size, you run the risk of having a frame a bit too big. Of course there is plenty of information out there to warn you of this beforehand.
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Old 06-23-10, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
The point is that A319 are probably too expensive to be stock on a $1100 dollar bike.

This says $44 (for black ones). That's per rim. That is, $90 for a $1100 bike (or 8%). (Of course, manufacturers get a wholesale price and maybe even a volume discount.)

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/product.a...S&currency=USD

People were also talking about the A719, which is even more expensive at $75 per rim.

https://www.lickbike.com/productpage....B='2118-36'
$32 bucks in 36 h 28" silver at Chainreaction. I can the A319 for less than $30 with 20% coupon code and price matching. A719 is way overpriced.

The tire and rim see the most abuse on a daily basis. Therefore, it's prudent to spend the most $ on these items. A good fitting saddle is also critical for long distance touring.

https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...x?ModelID=8948
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Old 06-23-10, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by furballi
The tire and rim see the most abuse on a daily basis. Therefore, it's prudent to spend the most $ on these items.
This isn't unreasonable. Spending a bit extra for rims on custom wheels also makes a lot of sense.

If you can show a stock $1100 bike with the A319 rims, it might make sense to complain that the LHT doesn't come with them. As far as I can tell, $1100 is too little money for these rims to be stock items.

I've read no complaints about the rims/wheels on the stock LHT.

Originally Posted by furballi
A good fitting saddle is also critical for long distance touring.
Obviously, but an expensive stock seat (on a $1100 bike) would likely be a waste, since it won't be a "good fitting saddle" for many people.

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-23-10 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 06-23-10, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by furballi
Feels like a chick bike.
A "chick" bike? What, exactly, is a "chick" bike?

When I was looking for a touring bike, Surly was on my list, but I had to discount it almost immediately for geometry reasons that others have already mentioned -- I'm a small woman with long-ish legs. (I wasn't keen on the 26" wheels that I would have had to get, either.)

Not a knock on the bike, though, really -- the "best bike in the world!" has to fit you, or else it's useless.

I bought a Trek 520 instead. Furballi will have to let me know whether I wound up with (the horror, the horror!) a "chick" bike.
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Old 06-23-10, 02:11 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by maxine
A "chick" bike? What, exactly, is a "chick" bike?
Apparently, a super tough, heavy touring bike that can be loaded to the max and still rides well. Also, one that can accept large tires and doesn't balk at rough roads. What's a manly bike? A Pugsley? Or does it have to have a motor, like maybe a Harley?

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Old 06-23-10, 02:16 PM
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I agree that horizontal dropouts would be nice, but so few people tour with a hub gear that there's good odds the average buyer would not care about that. I have a hub gear on mine, though, and would really like to ditch the chain tensioner.

Flex. I'm going to have pay more attention. It does feel flexy at times, but I thought that had more to do with my rear wheel.

I've never used disc brakes, but I know a lot of people prefer them, so not having that option might be an issue.

It is heavy, but I don't know how its weight compares to other touring bikes. I figure that, being steel, it's going to be on the heavy end no matter what, but I prefer ride and the look of a steel bike. Also I put more enough junk on it that I'm in no position to complain about a little extra weight in the frame.

Never really felt the top tube was too long. But I also don't have drop bars, so probably my swept back bars counteract the top tube length. I was actually thinking it could stand to be a little longer.

That spoke holder is too long to be useful for my spokes.

So, if you look hard enough, there are things to complain about. It's still the best bike I've owned. It's a joy to ride, and fun to load up. I've been riding mine for a little over a year now. If I had to replace it, I'd buy the exact same bike.
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Old 06-23-10, 02:55 PM
  #59  
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One interesting data point here:

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revie...sage_id=174282

Personally, I think the LHT is a fine budget touring bike. If it fits you (the top tube tends to be on the long side) and you don't get any handling issues when loaded up, then why would you want anything else? They can also take nice big tires, there's not a lot to dislike there. I've heard occasional tales of shimmy with the LHT - same as any bike, it depends on the rider and the load. I had one briefly in 2007 - I got rid of it because I preferred the ride of my Novara Safari at the time, and also because I didn't like the degree of toe overlap (this was one of the 700C 56cm - today I would get that size in 26" and slap some butterfly bars on there, which would take full advantage of the long top tube). Also there were a couple of rough patches of flaky paint underneath the upper parts of the seat stays. What do you expect, these bikes are bulk made in Asia, not lovingly hand-crafted by blind albino monks in a loft in Portland Oregon.

I do think there is a qualitative difference between the LHT and something like the Co-Motion Americano (the bike I have now). For one thing, you can bet that Co-Motion will not get any silly little details wrong, like misaligned brake bosses or shoddy welds. And there are differences in the design - though two bikes may look the same superficially, that doesn't mean they are equivalent in terms of strength. From what I can tell, the Americano is substantially stronger than the LHT. I don't know exactly how this comes to be, but it may have something to do with the tandem-grade (and oversized) tubing they use, and perhaps the type of steel (Reynolds 725 vs 4130) and the monster chainstays. On the other hand, I can only get 700x37 tires on my Americano, due to those same monster chainstays (Co-Motion can make allowances for bigger tires if you ask them beforehand), whereas the LHT can take much bigger tires.

Many people ask "Why pay $4500 for a Co-Motion when you can get a Long Haul Trucker for a quarter of that", and they are absolutely right - why pay more if the cheap option works for you? I agree. But for some people the more expensive bike will make sense, particularly if you find you want/need a stronger, stiffer bike, or a fit that is slightly out of the ordinary (e.g. I seem to have a relatively short reach), or if you just want to be able to spec your bike exactly so. I would advise anybody getting into touring to first try one of these budget bikes like the LHT or the Windsor Tourist etc and see what you like and what you don't like, then if it works, well you're set, and if it doesn't, then you go into the custom build process knowing what you DO want.

I'm glad the LHT is in the world - but I have to admit the "radical dude" persona that Surly attempt to embody on their website puts me off - just as much as the "retro grouch" attitude of Rivendell. Just tell me about the bike, I can supply the attitude myself thanks.

Neil
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Old 06-23-10, 02:56 PM
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Sometimes I bang my knees on the barcons.
I had to repaint it because I hated the Truccaccino "Flesh color"
It is not at all zippy.
It rides better loaded than unloaded...oh wait, that shouldn't be a criticism of a touring bike.
The brake pads are crap.
The saddle is crap.
The slickasaurus tires are crap.
The welds are not attractive.
Other than that, it's a good buy and durable. No flex issues here, but I'm on a 52cm. I wanted a bike with 26" wheels, and the Thorn Sherpa was my other option at the time and it was about $700 more shipped.
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Old 06-23-10, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy
You asked for negative opinions on the Surly LHT.

By far, the toughest bike reviews being written today are in Bicycle Quarterly. They reviewed the Surly LHT in their Fall 2009 issue (you can buy a back copy) and gave it a very positive review. They were particularly impressed with the value for the money.

Their complaints:

- both reviewers hated the brakes, and suggested trying aftermarket brake pads and/or changing brakes entirely
Did the next issue have a 5 page letter section of people writing in to say that if the brakes were properly set up they would work better than discs?
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Old 06-23-10, 03:15 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Chop61
Sometimes I bang my knees on the barcons.
It rides better loaded than unloaded...oh wait, that shouldn't be a criticism of a touring bike.
I'd heard that, and didn't believe it after buying mine and riding it unloaded.

I took it on my first camping trip, and unloaded when I got home yesterday, and continued riding, and it felt almost twitchy without the front panniers and sleeping pad on the front rack. <shrug> I still love that bike.
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Old 06-23-10, 03:18 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by NeilGunton
... but I have to admit the "radical dude" persona that Surly attempt to embody on their website puts me off - just as much as the "retro grouch" attitude of Rivendell. Just tell me about the bike, I can supply the attitude myself thanks.
well put Neil!
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Old 06-23-10, 03:21 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by dcrowell
I'd heard that, and didn't believe it after buying mine and riding it unloaded.

I took it on my first camping trip, and unloaded when I got home yesterday, and continued riding, and it felt almost twitchy without the front panniers and sleeping pad on the front rack. <shrug> I still love that bike.
I'm pretty sure any bike you've ridden all day loaded feels weird for a while when you take the load off...
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Old 06-23-10, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy
You asked for negative opinions on the Surly LHT.

By far, the toughest bike reviews being written today are in Bicycle Quarterly.

snip

BQ tends to favor bikes that ride better with the load in front, rather than a rear bias.

snip

The list of complaints above is a *very* short list for BQ -- they are very, very tough on bikes they don't like. They liked the Surly LHT, and were extremely impressed with the price.
this is one data point to be sure, and I do like BQ quite a bit. I have learned a bit about an obscure corner of the cycling world from that rag... one of my former bikes has even had a photo cameo in its pages which was cool.

THAT SAID,

the BQ reviews tend to annoy me as they seem to be unable to tailor their reviews to different bike purposes. For example, they compare expedition touring bikes like the TT silkroad (which I now own), to lightweight custom randonneuring cycles (which I also own). They then conclude that the exped bike is "worse" because it is heavier and slower... Of course it is heavier than a bike meant to carry 10 pounds quickly on a 1200k ride, because its rated for 300 pound loads on rough roads for long voyages... comparing the two is silly. Put 100 pounds of cargo on that rebolledo or weigle rando bike, ride it through chile and then get back to me about the lack of nimbleness and planing of the silkroad... that use would destroy those beautiful bikes.

so I guess the BQ reviews are quite good in certain ways, and they try to be comprehensive, and they certainly put a good number of miles on their bikes in review; BUT, they certainly have a bias and it is good to keep that in mind. Imagine if a sport -tuning car magazine did a review of a dodge ram pickup and concluded that the ram was no good because it was slow and handled poorly compared to a tuned toyota supra or whatever. how meaningful is that to someone looking for a goo work truck?
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Old 06-23-10, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by maxine
A "chick" bike? What, exactly, is a "chick" bike?
Furballi will have to let me know whether I wound up with (the horror, the horror!) a "chick" bike.
Per my previous post, the bike does not handle well at higher speed...kinda flashy at a distance, but too soft and flexible under full load.

No hands-on experience with the Trek.

I'm a value guy who's looking for the most bang for my bucks. We built an $80 Nashbar touring frame from the ground up. IMHO, it's a more capable tourer.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by positron

the BQ reviews tend to annoy me as they seem to be unable to tailor their reviews to different bike purposes. For example, they compare expedition touring bikes like the TT silkroad (which I now own), to lightweight custom randonneuring cycles (which I also own). They then conclude that the exped bike is "worse" because it is heavier and slower... Of course it is heavier than a bike meant to carry 10 pounds quickly on a 1200k ride, because its rated for 300 pound loads on rough roads for long voyages... comparing the two is silly. Put 100 pounds of cargo on that rebolledo or weigle rando bike, ride it through chile and then get back to me about the lack of nimbleness and planing of the silkroad... that use would destroy those beautiful bikes.
I definitely remember the Silkroad review. That's why I was looking forward to seeing what they would say about the Surly LHT, and was surprised/pleased that they like it so much.

I also agree that there is a bit of shoe-horning various kinds of bikes into their mold, but they have looked at a variety of bikes -- commuters, racing bikes, touring bikes, etc. This month they looked at kids' bikes.

Anyway, back to this thread. The OP was looking for negative comments on the Surly LHT. The most I could find were in BQ, and they still liked the bike.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by WillJL
You're completely wrong. Surly frames are painted, not powder coated. Anyhow, a powder coat would be much more durable and far more expensive.
You should ask them, then, to correct their website, which states that all their frames are powder coated:

https://www.surlybikes.com/blog/spew/...e_environment/

In any case, the last couple times I checked, powder coating is cheaper than wet paint.

In Seattle, paint + clearcoat = $460 at Davidson:
https://davidsonbicycles.com/pricelist.html

Or $325 to $550 a R&E:
https://www.rodcycle.com/

Seattle Powder Works will strip and powder coat a frame for $125-ish.

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Old 06-24-10, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker

I've read no complaints about the rims/wheels on the stock LHT.
I never heard of or read anything bad relative to the XT hubs, straight spokes or the Alex Adventurer rims either and the LHT has had all my attention, both as a complete that I rode and as a prospect that I later built, for more than one year.
The 26" Slickasorus tire or the 700c Continental Contact though have had too many catastrophic sidewall failure, one spectaclular that was just reported yesterday by a member of Velocia.ca, here in Montreal, where a 4 days old LHT's tire blew out wth a bang.

The Conti has a good reputation but something seems to be wrong with their quality control sometimes.
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Old 06-24-10, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by WillJL
You're completely wrong. Surly frames are painted, not powder coated. Anyhow, a powder coat would be much more durable and far more expensive.
They are powdercoated, period. I had two such frames, one that I built and which is on my current ride. Also, powdercoat is one of the finishes that we use frequently where I work so I can tell.
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Old 06-24-10, 03:52 AM
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Really great info in this thread. Thanks for the input.
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Old 06-24-10, 04:28 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy
You asked for negative opinions on the Surly LHT.

By far, the toughest bike reviews being written today are in Bicycle Quarterly. They reviewed the Surly LHT in their Fall 2009 issue (you can buy a back copy) and gave it a very positive review. They were particularly impressed with the value for the money.

Their complaints:

- both reviewers hated the brakes, and suggested trying aftermarket brake pads and/or changing brakes entirely
- Jan Heine hated the handlebars
- Jan felt that the "q" factor of the crank was too wide; he would switch to a crank w/a narrower q factor
- They did not like the cornering
- They felt that the ride was more jarring than they would have expected.

Note: they tested the bike with Tubus racks and felt that the stiffness of the racks greatly enhanced the ridability of the bike

BQ tends to favor bikes that ride better with the load in front, rather than a rear bias. The Surly LHT in their view works better with the load biased toward the rear (less in front than in the rear), but they would rather tour on a bike with more bike on the front than in the rear. (they were fans of the Kogswell when it was around). With that reservation, they gave the Surly LHT a very strong endorsement.

The list of complaints above is a *very* short list for BQ -- they are very, very tough on bikes they don't like. They liked the Surly LHT, and were extremely impressed with the price.
And they are subjective. One hated this, another disliked that, still another had his expectations altered. But nothing was brought to light that could be called a flaw.
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Old 06-24-10, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by late
Gunnar has a terrific touring frame (and another frame that also might do the trick). IMHO, it's worth the bucks.
I test-rode a Gunnar Fastlane the other day (it would handle the load I expected to be carrying, and I wanted the disk brakes), and it is a pretty nice bike. Very well constructed. Definitely worth the bucks. But it is a lot more bucks. The frame & fork are more than a complete LHT. So good if it's in your budget, not so good if it isn't.
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Old 06-24-10, 06:01 AM
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If you get a LHT, build it up yourself and get the components you really want. Have the wheels built by a professional who knows what it means to have the "stand".... meaning they won't need truing or break spokes from the moment it leaves their hands. Whatever wheel components you choose .... is not as important as how they are built. People think it's normal to have to true wheels, or break spokes. It is not.

I'll add this about the Mavic A719/A319 . The A719 has a welded joint, this makes for a seamless joint, which means a perfectly smooth braking surface for it's life. This means no grabbing. They cost more, but so what ..... they're a long term investment and in my opinion worth every penny. I don't know anyone who has both rims, but I bet if you rode both they'd take a A719.

Saving money is great and all, I'm very frugal ..... but sometimes it goes too far. We're not talking dinner .... or a vacation ..... we're talking something you'll have for years.
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Old 06-24-10, 06:03 AM
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I am really enjoying reading this thread. A Surly LHT will be in a shop in Singapore waiting for my arrival there on the 22nd of July. I was thinking about getting just the frame and building the bike myself when I got it back to China, but that seems difficult here.

I will be flying back to China with it, as I just dont have enough time to get it tour ready, and then do the 3200 + km to get it back here.

I still have to get the racks, panniers, etc together here, and good stuff from outside of China is expensive.

z
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