Tag Archives: bike frames

My Surly long haul trucker, post 2.

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Day Two:  10KM.  I got my Surly equipped with some clipless Shimano pedals today and picked up my shoes.  I got cleats put in them and also had my shop put an odometer (speed computer).  Had a bit of rain yesterday to put the fenders to test, but other than that I got about 10km in.  Had a ride down the cheongyecheon and was averaging about 35km/h with a head wind.  Not too bad, but I had nothing loading on my racks.  I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at the clipless pedals, this is my first time riding on something other than platforms, and my pedal power has increased immensely.  Pedaling un-attached I averaged about 28km/h, clipped in I was at 35.

Have a look at the Surly Long Haul Trucker’s numerous brazeons for connecting my racks and fenders.  Four used and 2 more leftover!

The front fork of my LHT

The front fork of my LHT

My Surly Long Haul Trucker

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I’m happy to announce that my Surly Long Haul Trucker has finally arrived from home.  If you don’t know already, I have been living in Seoul, South Korea for the last three years.  It is quite difficult to get touring bikes here as the population is generally obsessed with mountain biking.   Nonetheless, I got my Surly LHT here and am going to put up some posts here to keep you all up to date.

My model is a 58cm olive frame.  I got the bike completely packaged by Surly with a couple of upgrades (the crankset) and some accessories.  If you don’t yet know about Surly, click here to head over to their website, and then go check out the review here on this blog.  Here is a look at the stock bike…

Blue Surly long haul trucker

Blue Surly long haul trucker

And now here’s the first look at my 58cm olive Surly Long Haul Trucker…not gonna see the whole bike until I cover all the parts first.

My Surly Long Haul Trucker

My Surly Long Haul Trucker

Day One:  5KM.  Used the Surly today to/from work to get a feel for it.  Though I don’t have clipless shoes yet, I had to get a ride in.  First impressions are great.  Super smooth ride, took bumps and holes with ease.  Saddle is comfortable thus far and the 58cm seems to fit me perfectly.  I am almost 6 feet tall and am happy with the adjustable seat post.  Also was surprised by the weight of the bike.  I was under the impression that this was gonna be a load of a bike, but it is actually lighter than my last mountain bike I had.  No problem carrying it up 5 flights of stairs.  More to come tomorrow…

Choosing a touring bicycle; some things to consider…Part II

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As mentioned in the previous post, touring bikes differ from other bikes in certain very important ways.  We’re going to delve into those ways a little deeper in this post thanks to my LBS owner June who helped me write this post.  He’s owned his shop for 15 years and is a well-toured rider himself.

From June….”

When you’re gearing up for a tour, something long enough to require carrying a load, you’ve got to consider these important things when choosing your bike.

Frame material- I only ride steel-framed (you’ll see cromoly often on spec sheets) bikes and recommend them to all my customers who are going touring.  There is a lot of talk of the reasons people choose steel-framed bikes for touring.  Most people you talk to recommend a steel frame because it is easy to repair cracks on the road, even in developing countries, and it is strong.  Sounds good to me.  I have repaired many a steel frame but can be honest in saying I do not have the equiptment to repair aluminum or and composite frames.  I’m sure the same goes for some repair shop in the middle of Turkmenistan.

Chainstay length- So, the next thing you can look for in a good touring bike is foot clearance.  You’ll probably be hauling panniers (bags on racks) and don’t want to be kicking and hitting them with your feet everytime you pedal.  In order to gain clearance, you want a long chainstay measurement.  Chainstay length is the distance from the middle of your rear dropout where the axle sits to the middle of the bottom bracket spindle.  You should be looking at something in the 18″ (~460mm) range to ensure good foot clearance from your panniers.  I’ll be back to post the specs from my popular touring bikes in another post.

Rims- If you’re hauling heavy loads (including yourself), you’ve got to have sturdy rims.  When you look at a touring bike, check out it’s rims, spokes, and hubs.  You should be riding with 36 spokes to extra strength.

Road vs. Touring

Brakes- You’ve got 2 pretty obvious options here, cantilever vs. disc.

Cantilever Brake

Cantilever Brake

Disc Brake

Disc Brake

I would say that 95% of my customers ride their touring bikes with cantilever brakes (the ones that were on your bike as a kid with the pads), and only a handful ride with disc, and they are the ones on Raliegh sojourn bikes.  The argument for disc brakes is their power.  When you’re carrying a heavy load in the rain going down a dirt road in the mountains of Bolivia, you want your brakes to work, and disc will do the trick. Disc brakes are made of metal and are not prone to weather lubrication like the rubber in cantilever brakes, thus they are suitable for all weather conditions.  They are connected to the bike hub and apply force to the hubs and spokes instead of the rims like cantilever brakes.  Disc brakes will wear on your hubs/spokes, cantilevers wear on your rims.  The placement and size of disc brakes will effect your load racks though, and that is why you don’t see these types of brakes on most touring bikes.  There are specially designed racks out there for these brakes, but they are not the norm.

But as far as repair and replacement go, cantilevers are the way to go.  These brakes are cheap, light, repairable/replaceable, and powerful in dry situations.  Most of us have used these brakes in the rain and know that dreaded feeling and sound when trying to stop on a dime.  Other than that, they don’t effect your load racks, are easy to carry replacements, and readily available overseas.  They get my vote.