Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker – Touring Bicycle Evaluate

by touring-bicycle

If you wish to carry a whole lot of stuff whereas using your bike lengthy distances, you’d be laborious pressed to discover a higher bike than the Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker. It begins with the body, whose {custom} drawn 4130 tubing and geometry have been particularly designed for loaded journey, a low backside bracket for stability, lengthy head tube, lengthy chainstays, the entire thing. Surly added braze-ons for every thing you’re prone to want (entrance and rear racks, fenders, water bottle cages, and so on). They gave it components which are sturdy, lengthy lasting, and able to journey. Add racks, baggage, and fenders… and go someplace unbelievable!

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Deciding which touring bike to buy is not any small endeavor. While you’re going to be spending a lot money and time on a motorcycle, it’s essential to get it proper.

Over the previous two years, my associate and I’ve used our trusty Lengthy Haul Truckers to hold us up and over the hills of Wales, alongside the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, throughout the Peaks and the Pennines of England, and – in our most in depth journey but – round New Zealand’s lovely South Island.

However earlier than we did all that, we spent hours poring by means of web boards, blogs and critiques in our quest for the last word touring machine. We additionally talked to mates who’ve been biking touring and have been a wealth of data. Just a few of them had the Surly Crosscheck or the Lengthy Haul Trucker and rated them extremely.

three surly touring bicycles in different colors

We seemed on the Dawes, the Thorns and the Koga-Miyatas among the many many touring bikes on supply. Nevertheless it was the Lengthy Haul Trucker that stored popping up because the touring bicycle to have: a metal body with all of the braze-ons that you’d ever want for v-brakes, racks, bottle cages and even spare spokes.

We already had a Surly in our secure, the Steamroller, which had carried out service as a set metropolis commuter. The Surly 4130 CroMoly metal provides a cushty and dependable trip, the paint job was good, and we knew that we couldn’t go mistaken with a Surly.

At Brixton Cycles in London we had an opportunity to see the Lengthy Haul Trucker within the flesh. Stunning, aren’t they? We had an incredible chat with the workers there, who’re actual Surly lovers.  After some dialogue, we discovered the suitable sizes for the 2 of us: fairly comically I settled for the towering 58cm 2009 mannequin in inexperienced, and my associate went for the diminutive burgundy 46cm, of which, fortunately for our pockets, Brixton had one left over from 2008 at a decreased value. We got here away from the store buzzing with concepts about how we’d construct the bikes ourselves, to our actual specs and desires. New additions to the secure have been quickly to be born!

surly lht in wales fully loaded touring bicycle

The Construct & The Journey

All of the Surly bikes we’ve come throughout (the Steamroller, Crosscheck and now the Lengthy Haul Trucker) are actually not on the sunshine aspect. However they’re constructed to final – sturdy and rock stable.  The relaxed angles and the longer wheelbase make the Lengthy Haul Trucker a merely sensible trip.

Through the years, we’ve every tried many other forms of bicycle, from custom-made titanium racing bikes to aluminum hard-tail mountain bikes. Admittedly, we’ve by no means tried a unique mannequin of touring bike, however the Lengthy Haul Trucker has made such an impression that we really feel we’ll by no means must. Merely put, they’re most likely essentially the most snug bicycles we’ve ever ridden.

The Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker shouldn’t be constructed for velocity, however for carrying you and the kitchen sink. It actually does deal with and really feel most comfortable when you may have loaded it up. That is, I’m positive, a standard precept of all good touring bicycles.

We’re ashamed to confess that our different bicycles have roughly been put out to grass since we acquired the Lengthy Haul Truckers. We have now a few mounted and street bikes together with a MTB commuter. However, during the last two years, they’ve simply been gathering mud, for the reason that Lengthy Haul Truckers are so snug and a pleasure to trip. Whereas the titanium street
bike is a flighty thoroughbred, the Lengthy Haul Trucker is a sturdy and dependable cart horse.

We’ve even used our Lengthy Haul Truckers as commuting bikes in London. They’re gradual and heavy however all the time get you there in consolation and with a smile in your face. It’s no racer, however let’s face it, you’re not going to do a dash end when touring. Must take plenty of baggage, additional water and a inventory pile of meals when away from civilization? The Surly doesn’t complain. It simply takes the load and retains on going. You possibly can nearly hear it say “Extra baggage? Deliver it on!”

Even at low speeds and totally loaded it handles very properly. Neither is going up steep hills an issue. Within the fastnesses of Wales and the Pennines we managed a number of critical lumps – even a 25% incline – totally loaded, with the entrance wheel firmly planted on the bottom.

I’m informed I sound like a damaged report when telling individuals about this bike, however it’s truthfully one of the simplest ways to explain it: It’s like using a four-wheeled couch. Heavy, however comfortable as something.

loaded touring bike by surly

The Construct & The Value

We acquired maintain of our two Surly frames at our native bike store in London, Brixton Cycles. The 46cm was £50 cheaper than the 56cm, which set us again £350 because it was an older mannequin (2008 relatively than 2009). There aren’t any substantial variations between the 2 frames apart from totally different lugs on the dropouts, and the color: the 2008 body was
solely out there in a relatively fetching burgundy. In any other case, they’re precisely the identical. The 2010 mannequin appears to vary from the 2009 body in color alone, and if there are additional variations, they have to be refined as they’re not instantly noticeable. And, from discussions with different Lengthy Haul Trucker riders, the trip high quality doesn’t differ from mannequin to mannequin.

When it got here to choosing the right measurement, there have been a number of totally different faculties of thought to contemplate. We took the recommendation of the bike store to go for a smaller measurement than common in a touring body. The 60cm, and perhaps even 62cm body will surely have match me, however our man Barney on the native bike store suggested me to go for the 58cm so as to have
better management over my steed when totally loaded, particularly when getting on and off. I do have a relatively lengthy seat publish and a raised stem. I didn’t even want to chop the fork down. What issues is that I really feel snug on the bike, and so I’m completely positive I made the suitable sizing and set-up selections.  Even my associate took the scale down from her regular measurement, 46cm, and she or he simply loves using her Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker.

For those who want an off-the-peg bike, you may get the Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker constructed up from Surly for simply over £890. We determined that we needed to construct our tourers from scratch, as we had specific concepts about our most well-liked elements. For instance, I don’t get on with drop handlebars or downtube shifters, and my associate prefers shallow drops and women-specific saddles. I additionally seemed ahead to the method of sourcing the components and build up our new steeds. After which there was the sensible good thing about serving to me perceive the bikes in and out, and be ready for any potential mechanical breakdowns whereas out on tour.

I constructed up our Lengthy Haul Truckers with XT groupsets, 44, 32, 22 chainrings and a 11-34 cassette which supplies us loads of low gears for going up the steepest of hills. I selected the Hollowtech II backside bracket, which I admit I used to be a bit fearful about at begin (new-fangled know-how!), however they’re operating simply effective.

My bike has butterfly/traveller handlebars, which I’m nonetheless enjoying round with to search out precisely the suitable arrange. I’m nearly there. The wheels, 700c,  I purchased second hand from a buddy who’d constructed them up himself with a HOPE XC rear hub and SON dynohub on Mavic A319 36 gap rims.

The smaller Surly was arrange with women-specific shallow drop Bontrager handlebars and Ultegra STI shifters which work nice with v-brakes once you use journey brokers. The wheels, 26”, have been constructed with HOPE entrance and rear hubs on Mavic A319 36 gap rims, by our excellent buddy and wheel builder.

Each bikes run Marathon Plus 35mm tyres that are just about bombproof, which is way wanted for touring and commuting in London. Admittedly the tyres are barely on the gradual aspect (see a theme rising right here?), however it’s not velocity we care an excessive amount of about. Moderately, it’s  sturdiness and longevity which are essential. The Marathon Plus ticks these containers. As for the racks, we selected Turbus Cargo and Ergo racks as a result of we’d heard good issues about them and I used to be fortunate sufficient to get them on low cost by means of my work.

It’s a bit laborious to state the whole price of the bikes. To be trustworthy, we acquired relatively carried away when constructing our new toys and didn’t preserve an in depth eye on the funds. Plus, we did have a number of the components saved up already together with a number of nice gives we managed to select up on-line and thru my work. The bike constructing mission started in January 2009
and the primary bike was totally constructed by June of the identical 12 months. You probably have time to spare, regularly selecting up bits and items by means of on-line gives can prevent fairly a bit of cash. For instance, we picked up my associate’s Ultegra shifters for half value, and acquired the Hollowtech II crankset for over £100 lower than the road value.

However I’m fairly positive if you happen to go into a store and order what we’ve, you’re going over the £2000 mark for every of those bicycles. That stated, I’m positive that the off-the-peg Surly could be an incredible trip nonetheless and an incredible starter tourer to construct up when you’ll be able to afford to improve.

largest long haul trucker touring bicycle pictures

The Small Issues

The paint job is sweet high quality. I’ve used my Surly closely during the last two years and naturally there are a number of scratches, however the paint job remains to be sound. I had learn that the paint job on the burgundy colored Surly wasn’t the very best. However, we’ve not had any issues with ours. There was a relatively massive scratch inflicted by the journey to New Zealand however no paint job would have survived that.

The smaller 46cm body is relatively compact so you’ll be able to solely have one 750ml bottle within the three cages. The one on the seat tube can nearly maintain a 750ml bottle, and it’s a little bit of a faff to get the bottle in and out. The one on the underside of the down tube can solely take a small bottle as there isn’t a room for it due to the entrance wheel.

For the reason that Lengthy Haul Truckers are on the heavy aspect, you’ll be a bit pushed preserving your packed up bicycle inside your baggage allowance when flying. We attempt to add a bit bit additional into the field, akin to your sleeping baggage and tent. However with the Lengthy Haul Truckers you don’t have many additional kgs to play with.

The usual sized bike field you’ll be able to choose up out of your native bicycle store, is a decent match for the 58cm body. Even with entrance rack and mudguards off your Surly will likely be greater than the field. I needed to take the forks off as properly so as to get all of it into the field. The 46cm body, nonetheless, match good and comfortable into an ordinary cardboard bike field.

My very first trip on the Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker was fairly an epic one: a trip known as the Dunwich Dynamo, a 110’ish mile lengthy trip over evening from London to a seashore north east of London. Round one thousand individuals participate yearly in the summertime. It was just about thrown collectively within the morning earlier than the trip, a fast spin within the carpark
to see if it labored, loaded it up and off we went.

After round 40-50 miles my shoulders began to harm. I then raised the stem one spacer and the ache began to go away. And that was it for the remainder of the trip. It was simply so snug. After I acquired again onto the bike after a fast swim and breakfast it was not painful.

When individuals see the Surly they’re actually and solely let you know good issues about it, both from their very own expertise or from what they’ve learn or heard. I recall that at 4am on the Dunwich Dynamo, I used to be passing two girls on a hill, and all of us have been relatively drained at this level. Certainly one of them requested me, “Is that the Lengthy Haul Trucker, with the
lengthy wheel base?” This made me smile, gave me a lift and made me relatively proud that I had picked such a properly considered and well-known bicycle.

The one factor that has damaged on the Surly is the rear wheel which was second hand. After almost 10,000 miles in whole, the rim cracked. I believe it dealt with it tasks very properly since I’m not the smallest of individuals and do carry lots in my panniers, together with a heavy device package, whereas commuting in London. And we did trip on some relatively tough gravel roads in New Zealand. In any other case they simply roll alongside taking in no matter you throw at them.

female touring bicycle - the surly long haul trucker touring bike

The Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker: In Abstract

You’re not going to win any races using a Lengthy Haul Trucker. Nevertheless it does precisely what it says on the tin. It carries you lengthy distances, with all of your worldly possessions (properly, nearly) in consolation and elegance. It simply will get higher the extra you load it up.

I’m now coming as much as 8,500 miles on mine and when it’s clear it nonetheless appears to be like like a brand new bicycle. In the mean time, our different bikes look out jealously from beneath the washing draped over them; they’re simply glorified laundry hangers as of late. We have been warned that after we’d joined the Lengthy Haul Trucker membership we’d have bother weaning ourselves off… and it’s true!

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I do know for positive that these beautiful, reliable Surly Lengthy Haul Truckers will likely be in our secure for a few years to return. It’s testomony to the consolation and high quality of the bikes that we actually can’t consider something that we need to change about them. We would simply prime up the paint job when it’s wanted. Within the meantime, there’s a whole lot of world left to discover, so we’ll simply carry on Lengthy Haul Trucking.

Pictures of the Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker

product view of surly long haul trucker touring cycle bike

loaded surly touring bicycle

bright blue surly long haul trucker

light brown touring bike

ash gray touring bicycle

light green touring bike

modern surly touring bicycle

blue surly lht touring bike with leather saddle

black touring bicycle against white picked fence

rear view of touring bicycle

bicycle fuel canisters on touring bicycle

white side view surly long haul trucker

green surly long haul trucker

full loaded touring bicycle carrying too much gear

white touring bicycle with 700c wheels

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Surly Lengthy Haul Trucker – Touring Bicycle Evaluate  
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