Tag Archives: surly lht

Touring Bicycle Modifications and Additions Part 1

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There are hundreds of modifications and additions available to bicycle owners to make in preparation for a long bicycle tour.  There are a lot of special things you need to think about before embarking on your first, next, or possibly final bike tour.  Even if you are only considering modifying your existing bike to commute to work, there are a lot of options for making your ride more efficient and more comfortable.  In this post, we’ll look at some of the better additions and modifications that are available while checking out my Surly Long Haul Trucker additions.

Consider your purpose

There are many types of cyclists on the road today.  There are your road racers, mountain bikers, tourers, and commuters.  This is a bicycle touring blog, so we’re going to spend our time considering a bicycle tour and what kind of bicycle it requires.

You should ask yourself some questions before equipping your bike with upgrades and accessories.

  • Will I do self-supported touring?
  • Will I do overnight touring?
  • Will I have a riding partner?
  • Will I encounter extreme weather conditions?

Self-supported touring is a type of tour that requires riders to carry all of their equipment on their bicycles.  This is a contrasting style to credit-card touring, where riders carry minimal equipment and rely on their credit card or cash to buy things along the way.  Self-supporting bicycle tourists carry camping equipment and food in addition to clothing and repair tools.  Credit-card bicycle tourists carry clothing and repairs tools and purchase food along the way and usually stay in hotels during overnight trips.  These two scenarios present drastically different requirements for your bicycle.

Overnight touring is usually when bicycle commuters turn into bicycle tourers.  Whether you are on a self-supporting tour or a credit-card tour, an overnight tour requires carrying more equipment.

Riding partners are great for a number of reasons.  Safety comes to mind first.  Having another rider a long increases the chance that people will leave you alone and it gives you an immediate line of assistance if you have an accident and are injured.  Riding partners can also help share the load.  If you are on a self-supported tour, each rider could carry half of the common gear.  Some good examples of this are camping equipment and food.  Having one rider carry the tent and another carry the camping equipment greatly reduces the load.  You also save weight on tools and replacement gear and can also share that load between the multiple bicycles. One last thing to consider is motivation.  Having a good riding partner who is able to keep your spirits high, motivate you up a big hill, and lend an ear during a rainy night in a leaky tent will certainly make your bicycle tour more enjoyable.

Bicycle touring requires riders to spend a large part of the day on their bike exposed to the elements.  Especially if you are on a long trip with some timeline, riding through extreme weather is something you’re probably going to have to prepare for.  Depending on your trip, it might be monsoon rains (Southeast Asia, India,etc), snow and ice (Russia, Canada, etc), wind (everywhere), heat (deserts).  Knowing the conditions you will face greatly alters the equipment you need to bring on your tour.

Consider your budget

A rider’s budget effects just about every aspect of a bicycle tour and starts with the bicycle.  I’ve written a number of reviews for touring bicycles in the past so I’ll just take a quick snapshot here to give you an idea of what kind of bicycle you can afford.

Inexpensive (Good for short tours and commuting)

This is the Novara Safari Touring Bike.  Pictured below is the 2009 model.  This is visually appealing and inexpensive.  The price tag is 849.00 at REI.com.  Click on the picture to learn more.  I would recommend this bike for commuting, credit-card tours, and shorter self-supported tours.  It is a nice bike but there are a couple of things I don’t like on this bike if it is used for a long self-supported tour.  There are very good components on this bike so I’d check it out if you’re in the market.

Novara Safari Touring Bike - 2009

Economical, Versatile, Reliable (These models will go anywhere and have a small price tag)

This is the Surly Long Haul Trucker. Pictured below is the Surly LHT 2009 model in truckaccino color.  This is a simpler bike that is designed specifically for bicycle touring.  Surly bikes have a pretty impressive following in the bicycle touring world, considered a great value for all types of tours as well as commuting. The reasons people love these bikes is because they are extremely durable and are very easily upgraded.  There are four total braze-ons on the front and rear of the bike, these are screw holes used to secure racks, fenders, and other accessories.  There are 3 sets of water bottle bosses on the frame, allowing owners to attach three water bottle cages to the bike.  The frame also accomodates huge tires, check out these stats:

700c: w/o fenders: 45mm; w/fenders:42mm
26″:
2.1″ with or without fenders

The ability to fit tires is a great option for bicycle touring because you can fit snow tires, MTB tires, or road tires on the bike.  This model can be bought for around 1,095.00.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

Surly Long Haul Trucker

This is the Raleigh Sojourn.  This is another one of my favorite touring bicycles. The Raleigh Sojourn is very visually appealing with creme tones and brown accents. This bike is recommended for all types of tour including commuting.  I personally would be a little wary of the disc brakes if I was out in the middle of central Asia or some other remote region, in case they fail you will have a hard time fixing them.  The Surly comes with canti brakes which are found just about anywhere.  You can see in the picture, the Raleigh Sojourn comes with a set of fenders, a rear rack, and a frame-mounted mini-pump.  This model sells for $1,099.00.

Raliegh Sojourn Touring Bike

Raliegh Sojourn Touring Bike

Expensive

This is the Koga Miyata World Traveler. This is one of my favorite high-end touring bikes.  If you’ve got some cash to throw around, I’d go with this model. Nice components, a ton of accessories, and high-quality materials.

Koga-Miyata World Traveler touring bike

Koga-Miyata World Traveler touring bike

Don’t forget you’re going to need to buy other things for your tour, like bags, clothes, and camping equipment.  Keep this in mind when choosing a touring bicycle.

Consider your options

Now that you know what kind of bicycle tour you’re going to embark on, whether or not you’re riding with a partner, and what bike your going to use, we can look at some additions and modifications you can make to get tour ready.

Water

Clean, drinkable water is the most important thing to have with you on tour.  If you’re doing a credit-card tour you don’t really have to worry about carry more than a bottle or two of water as you can stop by the 7-11 convenience store and pick up extra liquids just about anytime you desire.  When your bicycle tour gets long and more self-sufficient, you’re water carrying needs increase quickly.  The farther from civilization you get, the more water you need to carry on board in case you can’t find it.  As a rule of thumb, you need about 1 liter of water per riding hour, and 2 liters per person for cooking dinner and breakfast at camp.  Think about a typical 8 hour day, that is 10 liters of water!  For an example, the Surly Long Haul Trucker has three water bottle bosses, allowing you to mount about 75 ounces of water, or 3 liters.  Here are a couple of ways to upgrade your bike to hold more water:

Racks

Bicycle racks attach to the front fork and rear frame and give riders the option to carry gear in a number of ways.  Some racks come with top platforms which are ideal for loading tents, sleeping bags, pads, and cooking gear.  Simply put it on the platform and strap down with a strong bungee cord.  The sides of the racks are ideal for securing bicycle luggage, called panniers, that hold clothes, repair gear, and other smaller objects.  There are a handful of rack manufacturers, I recommend the Surly Nice Racks, as well as the following companies:

Topeak (Check out the Super Tourist Rear Rack)

Jandd (Check out the Expedition Rear Rack and the Extreme Front Rack

Tubus (Check out the Tara and Logo Rear Rack

Topeak doesn’t offer front racks so consider pairing its rear rack with a Surly Nice Front Rack like my riding partner Derek.

Baggage

Panniers are the bicycle touring version of luggage.  These bags clip onto the front and rear rack of the bike and give you added storage space.   There are a lot of different brands out there, so I’m just going to say remember to consider your weather when buying bags.  Expecting a lot of rain? Get waterproof panniers.  A little rain?  Panniers with rain covers.  I’ve written a post about the types of bicycle panniers on the market, click here to go there.

That’s all for now, part 2 will be posted tomorrow, so come back and check it out.  In the meantime, please learn more about the Long Haul for Hunger, an 8500 mile bike ride on Surly Long Haul Truckers from South Korea to Portugal.

New water bottle cages on my Surly LHT

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In my attempt to create the ugliest Surly long haul trucker ever, I have installed two hideous looking water bottles onto my front Surly Nice Rack.  You might ask yourself why, and if you do, you need to visit www.theultimatetrek.com to figure it out.  The Surly LHT complete comes with 3 frame mount spots for water bottle cages or pumps or whatever.  Due to the nature of my tour, I needed to carry much more water.  Not only will I ride with these 3 bottles, I will carry a water bladder backpack, a water bag in my pannier, as well as 4 rack mounted water bottles.  I will use 3 of the 4 rack mounted bottles for water, and the 4th for camping fuel.  Here are some photos of my rig.  Notice that they are attached with zip-ties and rubber padding to keep ‘em secure.  I’ve angled them slightly upward and away from the rack platform to ensure they don’t interfere with anything I’m mounting on the racks.  They’ve made a 50 mile ride no problem, so I think they’ll make it.  I’m probably going to use velcro for extra protection to ensure they dont slip out.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

And the front view…

Surly Long Haul Trucker

One last look.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

Please head over to learn about the Long Haul for Hunger trek, over 7500 miles on my Surly LHT for charity.  We need your help!  www.theultimatetrek.com

Surly Long Haul Trucker on Video

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Here’s the first of many upcoming videos of my Surly Long Haul Trucker as it prepares for the Long Haul for Hunger charity ride from Seoul, South Korea to Portugal.  Visit www.theultimatetrek.com for more info and make sure to donate to the Mercy Corps in our name, even just 1 dollar can secure over 11 dollars of food and supplies for starving children around the world, no joke.  Thanks.

My Surly Long Haul Trucker

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I’m back from Hong Kong, actually I didn’t make it, the flight was cancelled and I refunded my ticket.  I was quite disappointed but when I came home I had a message saying my Surly Long Haul Trucker has arrived from home.  I’ll be picking it up after the holiday and will get some pictures up shortly.  This reminds me, if you have a touring bike yourself, get some pictures and send them my way with the info about your bike.  I’d love to put up some posts with other people’s rigs, reviews, and pics.  Email at recklesscognition@gmail.com.  Who is going to be the first to email??

Koga-Miyata Traveler

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Choosing a touring bicycle; Koga-Miyata Traveler

We’re going to start out look into the high-end touring bicycles with the Koga Miyata Traveler.  This company offers numerous options for touring, but we’re going to look at their lowest price tourer first.  Please comment if you have ever ridden, owned, or know anyone who owns this bike.  Email photos of your setup to me at recklesscognition@gmail.com and have them posted on this site.

Koga-Miyata Traveler

Koga-Miyata Traveler

Before we begin….Check out the links on the left side of the page.  Go to the “About Me” page to the left and read about what this journey is all about.  If you are into it, support my journey by helping others and adding to the donations we will deliver to the Mercy Corps organization. Donate, Sponsor, or Pledge on a per-km/mile basis, anything will help.  Learn more by clicking here…Bike Journey

Frame- Triple butted aluminum frame.

Chainstay Length- 17.71 inches 450mm

Brakes- Shimano Deore LX

Tires- Maxxis Overdrive 37-622 with reflection

Hubs- Shimano Deore LX rear, Shimano Sports hub dynamo DH-3N71 6V/3W (Oooh!)

Components-Complete set of Shimano Deore LX components

Weight- Nearly 38 pounds, loaded with accessories though.

Price- $2,100

Let’s have a look at this impressive bike.

What you get:

  • SKS p-50 fenders
  • 2 Aluminum Bottles/Holders
  • Front/Rear lights (powered by front hub, no batteries required)
  • Pump
  • Tubus LOGO Blackon the rear, and Tubus ERGO Black on the front
  • Saddlebag
  • Integrated kickstand

That is quite a package.  The components are good, the gears have a great low range, it is ready to tour on almost all terrains.  This is a serious bike.  But is it worth the price? Check the ratings.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Koga-Miyata Traveler:

Value:  3.8/5

Quality: 4.6/5

Compliance: 5/5

Overall: 13.5/15

Value.  Although the price is much higher than the other models we’ve look at up to now, this bike is fully equipped and has a dynamo hub on the front.  Figuring in the lack of upgrades needed, it is conceivable that this bike, without all the accessories would be worth about $1,600 saying there are about $500 dollars worth of accessories on the bike.  Now we can compare that figure with what you get on the basic bike.  Compared to other bikes in the $1500-1800 range gives us our value rating.  I like the dedicated line of Deore LX components, but wonder if they are worth that extra money.  A LX build kit can be had for about $700, while an XT is about $950.  A regular low-end Deore kit is $625.  That makes the difference in equiptment about 75 dollars between just about every bike we’ve reviewed and this one.  The total price difference is much more than that, making the value rating low. Granted, this is a high quality, hand-crafted frame, but does that matter to you?

Quality.  High quality frame, lifetime warranty as long as it isn’t used professionally.

Compliance.  This bike is a truly dedicate touring bike.  Everything you need to tour is built into the frame, ready to load up and go.  You can see it in the picture, read it in the specs, and feel it on the road.

We’ll be compiling all of the ratings on a new page, look for it to be complete shortly.  Check it out here.

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Choosing a touring bicycle; Option 8 with the Cannondale Touring 1 & 2

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REI.com for Cycling

Choosing a touring bicycle; Option 8

I’m pretty excited to start moving out of the lower-priced models as they were starting to look very similar.  This is our first look at the mid-level bikes.

At NUMBER 7 is the Touring 1 & 2 from Cannondale.  Please comment if you have ever ridden, owned, or know anyone who owns this bike.  Email photos of your setup to me at recklesscognition@gmail.com and have them posted on this site.

Cannondale Touring 1

Cannondale Touring 1

Before we begin….Check out the links on the left side of the page.  Go to the “About Me” page to the left and read about what this journey is all about.  If you are into it, support my journey by helping others and adding to the donations we will deliver to the Mercy Corps organization. Donate, Sponsor, or Pledge on a per-km/mile basis, anything will help.  Learn more by here…Bike Journey

We’re going to take care of both of Cannondale’s touring models, starting off with the Cannondale Touring 1.

Frame- Aluminum……hmmm.

Chainstay Length- 18 inches (good)

Brakes- Tektro Oryx cantilever

Tires- Schwalbe Marathon Racer, 700 x 32c

Hubs- Shimano LX, 36h

Trail- 2.5″ (the larger models)

Components- I’m going to make note of this now because the Cannondale Touring 1 takes us into a new level of components.  This bike comes equipped with higher-grade Shimano 105/Ultegra components.  These are mid-high grade components that are reliable, smooth, and pretty lightweight.  Check out the components post here to learn more.

Price- $1800

I’m excited to move onto the more expensive bikes so let’s discuss the first issue with the Cannondale.  The aluminum frame.  There are so many discussions about steel vs. aluminum that it gets a bit sickening.  We’ll keep it simple here.

Aluminum frame- We can argue about the ease of repairing an aluminum frame all day, but from what I’ve heard and experienced with Cannondale, it probably won’t be much of an issue.  The frame has a lifetime warranty, so if it goes, you can always ship it to Cannondale and wait for it in a nice cafe on the Mekong or something.  The aluminum frame will also give you a stiffer ride, which will probably be uncomfortable on long rides (touring) because it doesn’t give as easily to bumps as steel does.

Geometry- I like the geometry of the Cannondale, nice wheelbase, chainstay, and trail.

Extras- No pedals here, basic clipless models are going to run you around 40 dollars and you’re going to have to buy some.  Touring 1 comes with a rear rack which is a nice addition, could end up saving you 60-100 dollars.

Components- The Touring 1 comes with a nice mix of Shimano components, Ultegra, XT, and 105.  Check out the  components post below for more information.

Moving on to the Touring 2

Cannondale Touring 2

Cannondale Touring 2

Frame- Aluminum (Fork is Cro-Moly)

Chainstay Length- 18 inches (good)

Brakes- Tektro Oryx cantilever

Tires- Schwalbe Marathon Racer, 700 x 32c

Hubs- Shimano LX, 36h

Trail- 2.5″ (the larger models)

Components- Shimano Tiagra

Price- $1300

Let’s look at some of the differences between the Cannondale Touring 1 ($1800) and the Cannondale Touring 2 ($1300).

Components- The Touring 1 comes with a nice mix of Shimano components, Ultegra, XT, and 105.  These are entry-level professional components.   The Touring 2 on the other hand, comes with Tiagra components.  Tiagra are the higher-end beginner components.

The only other issue with the Cannondale touring bikes are a little board noise about rear-wheel failure.  Mostly broken spokes and rim failures.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Touring 1:

Value:  3.8/5

Quality: 4.2/5

Compliance: 4.8/5

Overall: 12.8/15

Touring 2:

Value:  3.9/5

Quality: 4.2/5

Compliance: 4.8/5

Overall: 12.9/15

Notes.  I like the value of the Touring 2 and have given it a high rating because of the components and low price.  Also, the lifetime frame warranty is boosting the quality rating on both bikes.

We’ll be compiling all of the ratings on a new page, look for it to be complete shortly.  Check it out here.

Choosing a touring bicycle; Fuji Tourer

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Choosing a touring bicycle; Fuji Tourer

For our 6th touring bike option we have for you the Fuji Tourer.  This is our last look at the lower end of the price spectrum before we head up into the mid-range and high priced models.

At NUMBER 6… the Touring from Fuji.  Please comment if you have ever ridden, owned, or know anyone who owns this bike.  Email photos of your setup to me at recklesscognition@gmail.com and have them posted on this site.

Fuji Touring

Fuji Touring

Before we begin….Check out the links on the left side of the page.  Go to the “About Me” page to the left and read about what this journey is all about.  If you are into it, support my journey by helping others and adding to the donations we will deliver to the Mercy Corps organization. Donate, Sponsor, or Pledge on a per-km/mile basis, anything will help.  Learn more by here…Bike Journey

Frame- Steel.  Fuji Elios 2 custom butted Cro-Moly

Chainstay Length- 440mm or 17.32 inches

Brakes- Tektro Oryx cantilever

Tires- Kenda Eurotrek, 700 x 32c

Hubs- Fuji Sealed Alloy Road, 36H

Weight- 27.75 pounds

Price- $900

Hmmm….this bike is eerily similar in specs to the Jamis Aurora.  Same size, same tires, same brakes, same weight, similar trail.  So I’m not going to harp on the same issues, if you didn’t see them, just click back and check over the Aurora review.  Some other things to add which I forgot on the Aurora post is the issue with these brakes.  It’s quite easy to find bad reviews of them and seems like they require replacement.  Keep that in mind when considering the price of the bike.  I think overall this is more of a commuting and light touring bike than a real cross-country tourer.  Not so say it isn’t possible to use for that purpose.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Fuji Touring:

Value:  4/5

Quality: 3.8/5

Compliance: 4.6/5

Overall: 12.4/15

Notes.  I’ve heard some talk about Fuji Touring frames cracking, not many, but enough to lower the quality rating a bit.  Also a lot of broken rear spokes when under load as well as front brake failures.  Again, not a lot of them, but enough to raise a little concern.  The price is pretty low but the quality of components are as well.  As far as compliance, the bike comes equipped with a rear rack but the gearing is a little higher than I like, so that accounts for the low rating.  The compliance rating is a bit low because of the bike’s shorter wheelbase and gearing issues.

We’ll be compiling all of the ratings on a new page, look for it to be complete shortly.  Check it out here.