I’m spending entirely too much time on this and it is totally premature, but….
Last night I started looking seriously at the prospect of upgrading to a Surly Long Haul Trucker. My initial angle was to purchase the frame and build it up using a combination of used and new parts. I figured that I would initially cannibalize parts from the C’dale and Marin, then gradually upgrade and return the parts. When those bikes were back to being rideable, I would either keep them for family use or sell them to fund more upgrades.
I ended up calling River City Cycles in DC about their clearance on frames for $314. “Uhh…that’s a mistake and we’re all sold out.” Get Some! in Glen Rock has never had a LHT, but they have a Karate Monkey in stock. I end up talking to the guy and it turns out the Surly is owned by QBP, which is a national parts supplier to just about every bike shop in the country. So by rights, every shop can order Surly bikes.
Next step: For Spring 2007, Surly is offering built up LHT’s. Bikeman.com has them listed for $929, but I couldn’t find any information on shipping costs. The component setup is not ideal, but is not far from what I would want. For instance, it comes with 35mm tires; I would like 37mm Paselas. The bars are too narrow for me, I’d like a taller stem, and I don’t need a saddle. Still, I already have the bars I like, with interupters, etc… So yes, there would be some work, but not alot of money would necessarily be needed to get it where I want – maybe $150 on top of the $929, and most of that would be for the wooden fenders and leather bar wrap that Ive been lusting over.
The only real disappointment is the color. In the first year, Surly offered the LHT in a pea soup green, which drew a few complaints, but I like it. But now, the bikes are only offered in “Utility Blue” and red. So blue will be OK, but not perfect. (Another reason for the green is that it blends well with the tan Carradice bags.)
So…the bikes are not shipping yet, but I think I’ll talk to a few LBS’ and see if they want to play. I’ll use my bars and interupters, seat, rack, pedals. I’ll see if they want to sway the stock stem for something steeper; and then I’ll buy new fenders and the wrap.
Now…this will only happen if I end up getting this promotion that my bosses are lobbying for – kind of a present to myself. All of the planets seem to be in allignment for it to happen, but the whole thing could be put on hold if someone gets skittish because of the sillyness with the pay bonus scandal that the Legislature is dealing with right now – greedy punks. I might be overly pessimistic, but I’ve been around enough to know how things work in this crazy town.