Tag Archives: bikes

Surly Long Haul Trucker Complete 2008 Overview video


I’ve posted a 3 minute video clip on YouTube looking at the 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker complete, that’s the model you can buy from bike shops which is designed by Surly.  The video looks at the frame, components, and some accessories.  I’ll be posting a new video tonight looking at optional upgrades and accessories needed for bicycle touring.  This is my 2nd video so I apologize for the poor quality, I’m working on improving my skills.

2009 Surly Long Haul Trucker


Last minute shoppers head to REI.com for your bicycle touring fanatic, they’ve got everything!

REI.com for Cycling

The new 2009 Surly Long Haul Trucker’s are hitting the shelves as I write this post.  With the holidays approaching, I’m sure some of you are in the market for a new purchase.  The new models mean a couple of things to us.  First, we get new colors.  Check out the new Truckachino frame color!  Nice, and would look great with some brown handlebar wrap, a nice brown leater seat, and me sitting on top.


What else does this new model mean to us?  Well, for those of us looking for a deal, head to your local LBS and look for 08′ models.  My LBS is selling them at $250 off to make room for the new models.

It also means that for those of you who couldn’t find your ideal frame size in an 08′ model, the whole set is being put out and you should be able to get what you want.  I know that during the last half of the year, it was hard to find 54cm and 56 cm models.  Shouldn’t be a problem soon.

One last thing to look at are the changes to this year’s model.  There are a couple.

1. PMT handlebars.  No big difference here.

2.Andel Crank

3.WTB SST saddle. Anyone tried this saddle yet?

That’s about it, mostly just a new color.

Ortlieb Frontroller bicycle panniers review


This is the first bicycle pannier review, there will be many more pannier review posts to come.

Why REI ads? Great customer service and great prices, really, I shop there!

I apologize for the recent lack of updates, I’ve been busy preparing my new website, www.theultimatetrek.com, to go live.  It finally has, so now I’m back to the blog.  Have a look at the new website if you’ve got the time.

So let’s get started with out look at Ortlieb panniers.








First up are the front panniers.  These panniers are typically smaller than rear panniers and are very important in effecting your bike’s handling.  You’re going to want to keep these panniers evenly loaded and low to the ground.  The lower the bag, the more stable the bike.  Don’t overload the front panniers or you might go head-over-bars on downhills.

Ortlieb Front Roller Panniers Ortlieb Front Roller Panniers

Let’s look at some specifics on the frontrollers from Ortlieb.  Obviously they are waterproof, and they are also well-made.  They measure 11.8 x 9.8 x 5.8 and can carry 1525.6 c inches combined.  That is about as much as a medium-sized backpacking pack.  The thing I like the most about the Ortlieb frontrollers, and the Ortliebs in general, is the mounting system.  It’s great.  Super easy to use, adjust, and replace if necessary.  I freaked out when I first went to install the panniers because the clips didn’t even come close to lining up with my Surly Nice Racks.  Upon further inspection I learned all about the great clip system. It’s very simple.

*  Clips are fully-adjustable left to right.  So this means you can make them wider or narrower depending on your rack.

*  Clips are quick-release.  Simply lift the cord and they come open, let it go and it closes.

*  Bottom clips move around to tightly secure the pannier to the rack and stop it from jiggling.

*  There are no ventilation options on these panniers, so do not keep wet things in here long.

Bicycle Panniers. A look at the types of bike panniers on the market.


Now that we’ve looked at some racks (more to come, don’t worry), we’re going to get into panniers.


There are a lot of brands of panniers on the market today, each pannier famous in their own niche, whether it be their quality, waterproofing, reliability, or price.  What panniers are the best?  What panniers are waterproof? What panniers are cheapest?  We’re going to dive into the long list of pannier manufacturers and pick out some hot brands to consider when making your purchase.

Take the poll and comment on your selection. Sorry if your pannier isn’t listed, there are a lot of them.

Popular Bicycle Panniers on the Market:


  • Famous for the GT-54’s and matching GT-18’s.  Load up for the ultimate trek.
  • 3,300 cubic inch rear set—2,200 cubic inches up front.  Total 5,500 cubic inches of space.
  • Not waterproof
  • Waterproof inner liner included
  • GT-54s come with a integrated tent/tent pole holder
  • Price is a little higher than other models, you decide if it’s worth it to you.
  • Lots of pockets and zippers to organize stuff
  • Easy mount/dismount clips


  • Ridiculously large.
  • Upwards of 6,800 cubic inches on only the rear packs!
  • Not waterproof and require rain covers
  • Lots of zip-offs and options
  • Pockets
  • Looks complicated to mount


  • Canadian company
  • Waterproof panniers available
  • Average sized, 1,100 cubic inches up front, between 2,800 and 3,400 on the rear.
  • Not too pretty.  Colors are not very inspiring.
  • They are very inexpensive.


  • Famous for the Front/Back roller series and matching Bike Packer series.  Load up for the ultimate trek.
  • 2,441 cubic inch rear set—-2,441 cubic inch front set. Total 4,882 cubic inches of space.
  • Very waterproof
  • Interior pocket and outside pockets with water draining slots on the Bike Packer rears.
  • Reasonable price
  • Not a lot of pockets
  • Super simple & easy mounting/dismounting


  • Offers a seriously impressive line of panniers.
  • Five lines in fact: Discover, Aqua, H20 Proof, Roadmaster, and Traveler
  • Lots of color options
  • Roadmaster series offers serious space in a stylish package with a rear rack that has a detachable top pack.
  • The H20 proof does exactly what you expect it to
  • Similar set-up to Ortlieb panniers, similar mounting system too.
  • Surprisingly low-priced

Ok, that was very tiring and I have to get back to work.  More posts on the way.  Don’t forget to check out www.theultimatetrek.com if you’ve got the time.

Touring bicycles; Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10


Choosing a touring bicycle; Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10.

Here is your next option. NUMBER 9… Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10.  http://www.bikes.com.

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.

Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10

Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10

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 (Reynolds 853 chromoly)

Chainstay Length- 445mm or 17.5 inches

Brakes- Tektro Oryx cantilever

Tires- 700 x 32c Kenda Kwest with Shimano hubs

Components- This bike comes equipped with Shimano Alivio, Sora, and Deore components.  These are the lowest grade of components I’ve reviewed thus far.

Weight- 29 pounds

Price- $1,110 The Rocky Mountain Sherpa is a solid bike that comes out of the factory well equipped and well priced.  It was recently featured in bicycle magazine as the best tourer available in this price range.  A little difficult to track down, but solid.  There is also a Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30 available. Needs much better components.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10:

Value:  3/5

Quality: 4.5/5

Compliance: 4.6/5

Overall: 12.1/15

Value. With such a price tag it’s hard to give such a good rating to this bike that has such low-end components.

Quality.  There aren’t many complaints about the quality this bike.

Compliance.  This bike is well equipped for touring.

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; Some things to consider…Part I

Inspired by solar power

Choosing a touring bicycle can be exciting and stressful, so knowing what you want before you head out to your local bike shop is very important.  There are a number of special features that make touring bikes differ from road and mountain bikes.  Over the next series of posts, we will look over some of these differences, hoping to equip you with the knowledge you need to decide what type of bike to take on your tour.

First things first. What are some of the major differences between road, mountain, and touring bikes?  Typically, touring bikes are more similar to road bikes than they are to mountain bikes for a few key reasons.

Road Racing- fast, lightweight, typically frame made of lightweight composite materials, with wheels spaced closely to each other for optimal handling and control.  The seat and handlebars are put in a position to keep the rider ‘hunched’ over in a more aerodynamic position.

Touring- strong, typically frame made of steel for its strength a repair ability in remote locations, with wheels spaced far apart in order to accommodate front and rear loads that require foot clearance (check for chainstay lengths around 18 inches or about 460mm).  The seat and handlebars are put in a position that allows for greater comfort on extended rides, more upright than road racers.  The key to a touring bike is its ability to haul heavy loads on it’s front/rear racks.

Mountain- strong, typically made to ride off-road, frame made of strong composite materials, with front, and now more frequently, front/rear suspension.  Large, wide tires.  There are four types of mountain bikes;

Fully rigid-  Fixed rear with no suspension

Hardtail-  Front suspension with a fixed rear

Softtail- Small amount of rear suspension with full front suspension

Dual/Full- Front and rear full suspension.

There are many other types of bikes, but since we are focusing on touring, we’ll only look at these three when choosing the right bike. It is possible to equip any of these bikes for touring and often people will turn their old bikes into a touring bike with varying degrees of success.

In our next post we will look at the specifics of touring bikes, including key measurements, components, and manufacturers.

Inspired by solar power

Surly Long Haul Trucker


The as-of-yet unnamed bicycle journey is starting to take shape. I guess you could say it has officially begun. I’ve purchased my bicycle of choice, a Surly Long Haul Trucker (58cm) and am having it shipped here to Korea next week.

Surly is a very reputable bike manufacturer with solid support in the touring community because of its well-equipped, inexpensive, and high-quality touring bikes.

When I was deciding on a bike, I had narrowed it down to a Surly LHT, Trek 520, Jamis Nova Pro, and a Raleigh Sojourn.  I relied heavily on Bicylce Forums to figure out exactly what I needed in a touring bike. Turns out, its not all that simple. There are numerous things you need to pay attention to when selecting a touring bike. Look forward to more posts on individual elements deemed necessary for your next touring session.