2007 Surly Long Haul Trucker

(Click for big)

I’m just going to come right out and say it:  “This is the world’s best bike.”  Not the brand, not the model…but the bike.  It’s a continual work in progress, but I love lust over it constantly.  There are things that I think about changing and most likely will, but that will only make it better than the world’s best bike.

A good part of this project was the result of a well planned and executed course of events.  Other aspects just kind of fell together.  Whatever money I saved through careful shopping and scrutiny, I ultimately blew through impulse shopping and that darned Ebay.  I also can’t go further without mentioning the help and guidance received from the crew out at Pedal Pushers Bike Shop in Colonial Park.  They are an LBS that gets it: customer service, patience, resourcefullness, and the whole steel frame/touring mindset.  Thanks guys!

This is my main bike.  If I ever go missing, check the garage.  If the Trucker is gone also, give up all hope of ever finding me, but be satisfied knowing that I am probably cruising down some country road with no intention of ever stopping.  It’s comfortable, it’s smooth, and it fits.  When I get on any other bike, this one is my “frame of reference” and I adjust from there.


It came to be after a few years of riding other bikes, realizing the type of riding I enjoyed the most, and going over what kind of component mix would get me where I wanted to be.  A lot of this is documented throughout the blog, around the Spring of 2007.  I got some really good prices on a lot of the stuff, and I think Pedal Pushers cut me quite a break in recognition of the free advertising this blog has given them, but it was a promotion that I received around that time that funded it all.  Fortunately, it has returned every penny through getting me back in shape and helping me to keep my sanity.IMAG0016

And it is true what they say about Truckers:  they ride better fully loaded…

Frame: 2007 Surly LHT 60cm, Dark Cherry.  After a few years, I removed the decals.  I find it looks classy and understated, and highlights the cherry paint job.

Aheadset: Cane Creek S3


Bars: Velo Orange Casey’ Crazy Bars.  For the first three years I had a pair of Bontrager CX 46cm drop bars that I had pulled from another bike.  After fiddling with comfort and giving some serious thought to the type of riding I do, I decided to switch to an upright position.  That led to Albatross bars that I really like.  But the next step up in comfort has been these bars that offer more hand positions, and better ergonomically positioned as well.  Those are cork ergo grips and Deda tape, which I’m hoping will darken with use.DSCN1600

Stem: Specialized 120mm with a moderate rise.  The polished aluminum sticks out, so I wrapped it with some leftover leather bar tape.  I also clamped a chromed keyring on the end to help route the brake cables.

Levers: Tektro BMX.  Dirt cheap, but they modulate well and can still lock up the wheels with two fingers.

Brakes:  Tektro V linears with Kool Stop salmons.  With the drop bars, I had used Tektro Oryx Canti with the Kool Stop Salmon pads, which worked well; but the V brakes have just a hideous amount of stopping power.  ‘Certainly with enough safety reserve for loaded touring.  Either way, I highly recommend the Kool Stops for any configuration.

Shifters: Shimano Ultegra Barcons set for friction

Mirror: Busch and Muller, ordered through Peter White.  Don’t let the size fool you, this little guy has great optics, clamps down tight, yet still has the flexibility to make minor adjustments on the fly.October 2, 2010 008

Bell: Velo Orange spacer mount.  Every country bike needs a bell.  If anything, it gives you something to do when passing a herd of cows.11-13-10 007

Saddle:  In the fall of 2012, I installed a Brooks Pre-Aged B67.  I’ve discovered that there is no set formula for saddle comfort, since each rider and each bike is different.  In this case, the wide back provides ample support for the sit bones while the softer leather insured a quick break in.  So far, its the most comfortable set up I’ve had.  I’ve also tried a Selle Titanico, Brooks Champion Flyer, and VO Model 8 on this bike.DSCN1602

Seatpost: A Chinese “GT” aluminum post with 30mm of set back.  That’s alot, but Brooks saddles are known for their short rails, and I have long thighs.

IMAG0038Saddle Bag: Carradice Pendle.  This had been a Barley, but I found that bag too small for day trips where I wanted to carry some extra clothes along with food.  The Pendle is darn near perfect, although the old style straps can be a pain.  I would prefer to still have the leather, but with some sort of clip type fastener.  There is a plastic sheet inserted on the back and bottom to help the bag hold its shape.  A toe strap wrapped around the rack keeps the bag from swaying.

BTW: There is no York Bicycle Club; at least not in York PA.

Basket: A good old Wald with a bungee net that works out perfectly for carrying odds and ends – everything from books to a jacket.  It’s affixed to the Nashbar front rack using black zip ties.LHT

Crank: Shimano Deore Octalink 175mmDSCN1607

Chain Rings: 44-36-22.  For some of the climbs we have in this area, the 22X34 gearing can really help.  Having 44X11 for a top end is plenty for the type of riding I do (slow).

Pedals: MKS Lambda Grip Kings.  The GKs provide more arch support, and thus less stress on my feet.  With these pedals, one tends to ride with the entire front of the foot on the pedal, as opposed to riding primarily on the balls of the feet.  This is particularly important for me since I managed to shatter a tiny bone on the base of my right foot playing soccer.  I also like the fact that I don’t need any special shoes to ride.  If there is a down side, its that every now and then one of my feet will slide off the pedal if I’m really mashing it and mess up a shift; but that’s the price one pays to be free of clips, cages, and straps.  The bike previously had Dimensions with full clips (off the C’dale).  I had originally put mini-clips on, but they were actually harder to slide my toes into.

If you look closely, there are two track spikes mounted on the front end for additional “traction.”

To correct a problem I was having with the chain jumping off when shifting into the granny, I installed a Jumpstop on the seat tube near the bottom bracket.  This cool little device is nothing more than a guide that blocks the chain from going any further than the gear.  It works flawlessly and really helps when you’re grinding up a hill and need to “throw down” in a hurry and under load.

Rims:  Rear is an Alex Adventurer with 36 spoke lacing to a Shimano XT hub.  Front is an Alex Adventurer 36 spoke laced to a Sanyo dynohub.  (More about that later.)

Tires: I just recently switched to Schwalbe Little Big Bens.  My initial impressions are good.  They mount without levers, have plenty of volume, ride nice, and feel like they are gripping the road just right.  These replace Pasela Tourguards, 37c Kevlar, which are great tires for day rides and commuting. I got about 35oo miles out of the rear one before it required replacement, but I was never completely comfortable about the woven sidewalls.  They make for a light tire and a comfortable ride, but they delaminate after a few years.  I’m not sure they are the best for touring, so I’m hoping the Schwalbes will fit the bill.IMAG0021

Fenders: Woody’s Custom.  These always get a lot of attention and seems to be what people remember about the bike.  I have had several people comment on my “old bike” because of the wood fenders.  The funniest was when I was riding down a trail and passed a couple who were toodling along.  A minute later I heard a bike whizzing up behind me, and the guy started asking me about the fenders, out of breath.  He had desserted his girlfriend and took off after me!  I would have liked to hear that conversation when she caught up.

In the Fall of 2013, I added a pair of solid black Buddyflaps to help with tire spray.  In addition to being very good mudflaps, they contribute highly to the old school vibe of the bike.

Racks:  The front is a very inexpensive but unusually useful Nashbar.  There… I said it.  The perfect bike has a piece of Nashbar kit.  It’s just surprising how often it comes in handy for strapping something down; and now as a platform for the basket.  The rear is a Topeak Super Tourist.  I like the fact that it has the lower mounting bars for getting the panniers out of the way.  It also has a taillight mount drilled for European spacing (for my European taillight).

Headlamp: Busch and Muller Luxos U wired to a Sanyo H27 Dynohub.  Read back through the blog for my saga with different headlamps.  As for now, I’m very satisfied with this set up.  The Luxos lights up the entire road for riding on a dark night at a reasonable speed, and you can’t beat the convenience of a dynamo set up.  Add to that the USB charging feature, and this is perfect for commuting, camping, and touring.  You can see the Garmin plugged in to run off the dynamo, but I can also plug in my phone, a camera, or my Nook.DSCN1597IMAG0002

The cockpit at night: green=tail light working, yellow=normal headlamp beam, red=charge available for USB. A blue LED lights up when I hit the high beam.

Tail Light: Busch and Muller Topline Plus, also wired into the dynamo.  It has two LEDs that create a nice wide light that can be seen from a good distance.  For a backup, there is a Planet Bike Superflash.  Awesome light that is held in place with a zip tie on the strap on the back of the Pendle.

I run three bottle cages which are nothing special, although the one on the seat post is a Topeak Modula, which expands from a “standard” size via an allen bolt wide enough to accept a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle.  That might seem like overkill, but the Nalgene is part of my camping kit, having a Steripen water filter affixed to the top.  It makes more sense to carry it on the frame than it does to take up space in a pannier.

Computer: Planet Bike wired Protege 9.0.  I did have a wireless Aero, however the B&M Ixon IQ light that I had interfered with the signal.  I haven’t tested it with the Cyo, and I prefer the wired unit anyway, since it has autostart.

Cassette: Shimano Deore 9 speed, 11-34

Chain: Shimano HG73 9 speed, 113 links with a Master Link

Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore (off the C’dale)

Front Derailleur: Shimano Exage (used)

Pump: Zefal HP 4X (ancient)  I’ve had to use this pump perhaps a dozen times in the last twenty years…and it has never let me down.

Seatpost Clamp: Surly Constrictor

Kickstand: Greenfield chainstay mount.  I’m told that these will not fit on the newer LHT frames.  I like it because it allows you to rotate the pedals without interference.

Below are pictures of previous configurations:


LHT Fall 09 002



25 responses to “2007 Surly Long Haul Trucker

  1. Pingback: 2007 Surly Long Haul Trucker « Pedalling Along

  2. Awesome bike, and a beautiful build. I have a Trucker that I got this summer, and I absolutely love it. I am still tweaking it, but it is nearly the perfect bike already.

  3. I’m getting buried with my Surly….

  4. Pingback: 2007 Surly Long Haul Trucker :: Local Cyclist

  5. Pingback: Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker « Pedalling Along

  6. A thing of beauty!

  7. Great looking bike, absolutely gorgeous, I too will be buried with my LHT. I absolutely love the gas price sticker. Where did you get it? I WANT ONE!!!!!

  8. Great looking LHT
    thanks for sharing the pictures.

  9. I had a set of Nitto Rando bars on a bike that was stolen last year. They’re the only part of that bike that I actually miss. On longer rides I found the top to be a bit too narrow, but the drops were so comfortable that I actually used them on a regular basis. If I ever swap out the bars on my LHT, I’ll go back to the Nitto Randonneur.

  10. What don’t you like about the Cyo being mounted on the front rack?

  11. I just can’t get comfortable with it being out there exposed like that. I’m waiting for some foolish disaster where it gets knocked off. I’ve thought about mounting it under, and maybe cobbing together some sort of guard for it, but so far the disaster hasn’t happened.

  12. I’ve had the Fly mounted on the fender, and even with the extra stay it vibrates something awful. It might get moved back to the fork crown.

  13. Great bike! I had a similar challenge mounting a light on my Orange Velo front rack equipped RetroVelo. Check out Terracycle’s accessory mounts. They work great and are very well built. Made in Portland Oregon. Im not sponsored, paid, or related, just a fan.

  14. Beautiful LHT! i am in the process of buiding an LHT also. I have drops, but I think I’ll replace them with an albatross also. What are those big light brown panniers on the rear rack? Are those Carradice? What model? Very, very, nice.

    • Zindra, Thank you for your kind comments. The panniers are made in the US by Swift Industries. That model is called the Short Stack, and they are made from waxed cotton duck. Thanks again.

  15. Thank you doc. Those panniers are a great find. I’ll spread the news.

  16. Couple of things. I’m going to be in York in June, around the 18th or 19th on my way to Cumberland, Md. to begin a bike tour. I’m planning on meeting George for a doughnut. Maybe we could make this a threesome.

    I tried the B67 on my touring bike but that didn’t work out. I went to the B17 and it’s just about perfect for me.

    I see your fully loaded bike but don’t remember reading about any long tours of yours. Have you done a tour with the Albatross bars?

    Lastly, I’m riding a good chunk of the Southern Tier either in November or March. Jacksonville, Fla, to Austin Tx on my Novara Randonee steel touring bike and am really thinking about converting to Albaross bars.

    • John, I would love to meet up. I have no idea what I’ll be doing next week much less in June, but I’ll keep this on the radar, even if it’s just for coffee and a doughnut.
      The B67 proves to be a good combination with the A bars for me, while the B17 worked better with the drops. So far the B17 is working on the X bike with the A bars, but they are set a little lower than the LHT. Also keep in mind that my B67 is pre-softened, so it was broken in from day one.
      Two years ago I took a three day tour with the A bars, and I’ve had several day rides (60-80 miles). I had been planning a 5 day tour last year until my job situation came up and I had to cancel. Bottom line is that I think they’re great for touring and riding in general. I really like being able to sit up and enjoy the view.
      I eventually want to do the CO/Gap, but unsupported; and I’m really envious of your Southern Tier plans. I expect to hear all of the details in June!


  17. I usually tour with my son and a friend. Both have moved away so I’ll be doing the GAP with Rails to Trail. The Southern Tier looks to be a solo tour.

  18. I am late arriving here as I got your link off MG’s blog on LHT owners. I really like your bike and set up. I also switched to Albatross bars a few summers ago after a ten day tour that left a hand numb for about two weeks after the tour ended. Tours since solved that problem! I also really like that front rack. I have the Surly nice front rack and I have found it to be total overkill. I take it off immediately when tour finishes. I have been deciding to change that and your set-up might just push me to pull the trigger. At this time I am on the short vacation type tours (10 to 12 days) at least until I retire. I can usually fit most of what I need into rear panniers and handlebar bag but I need front rack to put my tent. So then since it is there I pack the front panniers and then I carry more crap than I need. I think a rack like that will be perfect for me!
    I am totally with you about comparing fit. I do the same thing. LHT is the perfect fit and ride for me and then I work and judge my other bikes to get there. I just got an Ogre last summer and just now getting it to a comparable fit and ride.
    Anyway, great post and write up on your bike, I enjoyed it!!
    Jim Bangs

  19. I love the look of your set up. It is clearly a labour (although that is probably the wrong word) of love. I am keen audaxer so although a fan of self-suffiency I like to travel a bit lighter than you.

    Anyhoo, the reason I am writing is to ask you about the handlebar mount for your Luxos. Is it made by R&M? My Luxos is currently mounted on the crown but because there is quite a bit of trail in the fork, it is sitting so far back that the mudguard fouls the bottom of the beam. I have unsuccessfully looked for longer brackets but B&M don’t make anything that fulfils my needs. I have put up with this for a year but I know that it is a poor situation that I would like to resolve. I’d be very grateful to hear your thoughts.

    • hey Pichy, The mount is an R&M. With the Luxos wiring on the right side, the mount has to be inverted to come in from the left. Given the amount of light output, the beam is plenty bright at handlebar height; even with the shadow from the front basket. I am pleased with the result.
      Thanks for your kind comments. doc

  20. Love this bike! I am just thinking of trying touring…this is my favorite bike after looking around the “interwebs” a lot. Thanks for the blog. Where did you buy yours? Inquisitive noobie asking…

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