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  1. #1
    CS2
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    LHT as an Everyday Bike

    I'm looking at a consolidating the herd. The LHT is one of my top choices. How is the handling unloaded? I've heard good and bad. In particular the 700C Disc Trucker frame looks appealing. The Straggler also looks nice but there's no firm pricing yet.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  2. #2
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    If I could have only one bike it would be my LHT. I've commuted on it plenty but also camped, ridden centuries, mixed terrain adventures and even used it for a 300k brevet last year. It's got an abundance of braze-ons for accessories (fenders, racks, etc) so that's great. The CS are long and the BB lower than a road or cross bike but those contribute to a nice stable ride. I've never really experienced shimmy with the bike. It's not a crit bike but it's fine for sporty rides. Yeah, it weighs more than a typical road bike or cross bike, so what, it's still a great machine for taking you places and getting your heart rate up. Go for it.
    All good expeditions should be simple in concept, difficult in their execution and satisfying to remember--Alastair Humphreys

  3. #3
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    I'm looking at a consolidating the herd. The LHT is one of my top choices. How is the handling unloaded? I've heard good and bad. In particular the 700C Disc Trucker frame looks appealing.
    Can you not go to a bike shop and test ride one to see for yourself? My recommendation would be to ride there on a bike you're familiar with, then jump on it yourself, so you can compare the two and see if the differences are something you're ok with.

    It has longer stays and a lower BB, so it's not as agile but it is more stable, it's heavier than average and it'll bomb down descents like nothing else. I can track stand it just fine so IMO the handling isn't bad. I believe the head tube angle is a little more slack than some of the racier bikes so people with big feet like me have a smaller chance of kicking the front wheel. With longer stays, people with big feet like me have a smaller chance of kicking panniers mounted on the bike too.

    I have a friend at work with the 700C Disc Trucker frame. He has had no issues with it, and it would likely be the one I would buy if I were using it for bad weather commuting. He's lighter than me, but on some really steep downhills with bike + rider at around 240 lbs (long 25+% downhills of 10s or more hard sustained braking) I've had brake fade issues using just the front brake with the stock 160mm rotor and organic pads. The brakes were Avid BB7's on his bike. If I had to make one change to the bike outside of the seat, I'd swap out the rotors for something like Shimano IceTech rotors, which have served me well in the past.

    The stock build is very good. The only thing that seems to bother people are the bar end shifters. If you're ok with that, I see no issues. If you're not, consider asking the shop to switch to Avid BB7 Road + brifters when you buy the bike and get store credit on the swapped out parts, because it'll cost you less that way.

    EDIT: I did think of one reason to go Disc trucker over regular LHT. When using a fork crown mounted light, some of the light mounts don't play nicely with the cantilever brakes on the LHT. No such issues on the Disc trucker.

  4. #4
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    Btw, it appears the Straggler will be $1850 complete bike MSRP, according to the Straggler thread. But that may vary depending on where you live and how much beer you give your mechanics.

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    The LHT has become my go to bike, the all rounder. I can control the quality of the ride with tire choice when the bike is unloaded. A 1.85" tire at 50-60 psi unloaded feels great.

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    If you plan to do a bunch of touring, heavy cargo hauling and/or you are a heavier rider than the LHT as your only bike can make sense.

    If you plan to ride it unloaded a bunch and you aren't heavy yourself I would look elsewhere at a bike with lighter tubing.

    I'm 175lbs with no gear on and have owned a LHT for many years. It rides great with a full touring load or a week's worth of groceries, but I do not enjoy it nearly as much unloaded. The bike is too stiff and doesn't respond to pedal input in a lively way.

    I wouldn't take that as criticism of the LHT so much as being realistic about how a heavy hauler will ride unloaded. An empty 1 ton truck isn't a whole lot of fun to drive either.

    I'm looking at a 25km each way commute for a new job. I'll start on my LHT because I own it and it's paid for, but I'll be getting a new commuter bike at some point because I can't see myself riding the LHT unloaded with smile on my face day after day.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

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    What will you be doing with the bike? Touring? MTB? Commuting? There is a good "all-arounder" for just about everyone, but the bike choice will depend on what you will use it for the most.

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    I bought the Cross-Check over the LHT for this very reason. If you are okay with riding a boat around town this bike works, but if you want something that's got a little more zip and is more fun to ride, I'd say nab a X-Check. You can pull out the wheelbase some more for touring, it won't be as stable as a LHT, but if you don't pack everything and the kitchen sink on your tour the X-Check is a great touring machine. Plus if you ever want a "new bike" you can build the X-Check a thousand different ways, steel road bike, monster cross, cyclo cross, urban commuter, single speed commuter, or get creative and do an interesting combo of them all.

  9. #9
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    You know CS2, you talk a good "thinning the herd," but where's the action?

    I've recently had a desire for a 60cm 26" LHT. I think this will probably pass, though. Like Vik mentioned above, I only want a stiff bike if I'm carrying loads, which is fairly rare.

    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    I'm looking at a consolidating the herd. The LHT is one of my top choices. How is the handling unloaded? I've heard good and bad. In particular the 700C Disc Trucker frame looks appealing. The Straggler also looks nice but there's no firm pricing yet.
    Last edited by seat_boy; 08-01-2013 at 05:18 PM.
    FS: Chinese carbony goodness, trade for a steel frame?

  10. #10
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    Dude, you start too many threads. This is at least your third LHT thread. You've started at least as many CC threads, and half a dozen other Surly threads. Have you actually owned even a single Surly?

    Here's my advice: Stop dicking around on the Internet and cluttering the forums, buy a Surly, and ride it. You won't be disappointed. Then you'll actually have something to contribute to the discussions here...

    (Furthermore, this *exact* topic has already been recently discussed: How much fun can you have with a NAKED Trucker??)
    Last edited by mattbryant2; 08-01-2013 at 09:07 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbryant2 View Post
    Dude, you start too many threads. This is at least your third LHT thread. You've started at least as many CC threads, and half a dozen other Surly threads. Have you actually owned even a single Surly?

    Here's my advice: Stop dicking around on the Internet and cluttering the forums, buy a Surly, and ride it. You won't be disappointed. Then you'll actually have something to contribute to the discussions here...

    (Furthermore, this *exact* topic has already been discussed: How much fun can you have with a NAKED Trucker??)
    This is the Surliest response and I do mean the bike company.

  12. #12
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter006 View Post
    Can you not go to a bike shop and test ride one to see for yourself? My recommendation would be to ride there on a bike you're familiar with, then jump on it yourself, so you can compare the two and see if the differences are something you're ok with.

    EDIT: I did think of one reason to go Disc trucker over regular LHT. When using a fork crown mounted light, some of the light mounts don't play nicely with the cantilever brakes on the LHT. No such issues on the Disc trucker.
    Actually my LBS has quite a selection of Surlys in stock. But a ride around the parking lot won't tell me as much as long riding use. Thanks for the tip on the disc version.

    My current ride is close to perfect. The only problems are really bad toe clip overlap and fenders just don't quite work. That's what I really like about the LHT. BTW your review was exactly what I was looking for.

    Thanks
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  13. #13
    Abby Normal
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    I've ridden my LHT unloaded for quite a few miles. With it's current setup (upright, Champion Flyer saddle and Albatross bars) I find it just about perfect for tooling around at a relaxed pace. Love it. Sporty it is not. But in the hypothetical 'one bike' scenario it would be near the top of my list of keepers.

  14. #14
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    Rode daily on mixed terrain....couldn't be happier. Yes, it's not as lite as a carbon race bike...it won't fit 2.4 tires...you won't win the weekly crit on it...but you'll be comfortable and smiling when you get where you're going.

    LHT as an Everyday Bike-182937_612275228824698_344789172_n.jpg
    "You don't need a lighter bike, you need bigger muscles"

  15. #15
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    I built this on Wed... and Love it so far ... 62cm disc trucker


    i'm also a fatty so it works out well for me... but I do want a real road bike for shorter group rides
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  16. #16
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by seat_boy View Post
    You know CS2, you talk a good "thinning the herd," but where's the action?

    I've recently had a desire for a 60cm 26" LHT. I think this will probably pass, though. Like Vik mentioned above, I only want a stiff bike if I'm carrying loads, which is fairly rare.
    Parting with your old bikes is like selling the kids. It's really tough! I"ve just got too darn many toys and not enough time to ride.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Parting with your old bikes is like selling the kids. It's really tough! I"ve just got too darn many toys and not enough time to ride.
    Just do it!

    I've sold quite a few bikes over the last couple years including 2 Surlys and once I get a solid commuter bike replacement I'll sell the LHT to fund it.

    Bikes are tools - ride 'em or sell 'em...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  18. #18
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    I've sold many, many bikes over the last decade or so, and only ever regretted one or two of them. And you know what? Pretty much nothing is irreplaceable. If you really regret selling something, another like it will turn up here or on ebay sooner or later.

    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Parting with your old bikes is like selling the kids. It's really tough! I"ve just got too darn many toys and not enough time to ride.
    FS: Chinese carbony goodness, trade for a steel frame?

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    I'd tend to agree that if you won't be regularly and heavily laden, the Trucker might not be the best choice. It's just...slow. That said, I love my DT for touring and getting into trouble. As above, I'm enjoying the bike with an alt-ish handlebar, in my case an Easton Monkeylite DH--wide, high, and sweepy. Maybe without a drop bar it doesn't feel so slow.

  20. #20
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    My LHT was my only operational bike for several years, and its a wonderful daily driver. It helps to have a Rivendellish "just ride" attitude; its more fun to ride if you're not in too much of a hurry. However, I think the "LHT's are slow" meme is a bit overplayed. LHT's are slow because most are set up with high handlebars, heavy-duty components, and racks and fenders and such. Like, you know, a touring bike.

    My affection for my Trucker isn't to say its perfect. For one thing, I'm glad I now have dedicated "road" and "mountain" bikes. If I was looking for another "one bike to rule them all", I would be leaning towards something that splits the difference between my LHT and CC. Like the Black Mountain Cycle Monstercross or Velo Orange Campour. The new crop of "gravel grinder" bikes are in that vein - long chainstays and low BB, but with lighter weight tubes than full-blown touring bikes. I'm not quite so slavishly devoted to disc brakes as some. But, for an "only bike" I can see the appeal. Disc brakes do make wheel swaps real easy - and that's a big advantage for using the same bike for both utilitarian and sporting pursuits.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
    Surly LHT: Kid hauler
    On One Inbred: SS 26er

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd View Post
    However, I think the "LHT's are slow" meme is a bit overplayed. LHT's are slow because most are set up with high handlebars, heavy-duty components, and racks and fenders and such.
    The only two things that make a LHT slow are:

    - the stiff tubing which doesn't reward putting a lot of power into the bike unloaded and for folks of light to average weight/strength
    - stiff/slow tires

    Racks and fenders don't make a bike slow. With drop bars even a typical bars level with saddle touring setup offer sufficient aerodynamics to go at a decent clip.

    Tires can be changed easily.

    The stiff tubing is something you have to live with.

    You'll notice the folks that are happy with an unloaded LHT echo the same "just get on and cruise" sentiment. If you can be happy with that the LHT does indeed make a good daily driver. If on the other hand you enjoy a lively bike that goes fast and responds to spirited riding inputs the LHT isn't a good choice.

    Given that it is marketed as a touring bike I don't think you can fault the bike, but it's worth noting this reality so people aren't disappointed.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    The only two things that make a LHT slow are:

    - the stiff tubing which doesn't reward putting a lot of power into the bike unloaded and for folks of light to average weight/strength
    - stiff/slow tires

    Racks and fenders don't make a bike slow. With drop bars even a typical bars level with saddle touring setup offer sufficient aerodynamics to go at a decent clip.

    Yeah, okay, fair enough. Fenders aren't heavy at all and racks only marginally so. Still, what I was driving at is that the typical LHT is outfitted with components and accessories that aren't on the typical roadbike and generally add 5 to 10 lbs in total to the unloaded weight. Of course, that's neglible when you add another 50-100 lbs of touring baggage. And for unloaded riding, the extra weight only matters on hills. High handlebar setup only matters on decents, when you're going fast enough for aerodynamics to make impact. The net effect, however, makes for a slower bike overall. My main point was that when people bemoan their LHT's "slowness" compared to their roadbike, its not an apples-to-apples comparison. If they set up their roadbike with the same components and accessories as their touring bike, they would find the roadbike rather slower too.


    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Tires can be changed easily.
    Bingo! Goes to my componenet argument. People who are put off by their LHT's "slowness" should try different tires.

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    The stiff tubing is something you have to live with.
    I don't follow you here. Okay, I sort of do. Are you alluding to Jan Heine's "planing" theory? I love Bicycle Quarterly and Jan Heine's blog and I'm open to new and different ideas, but I'm not totally convinced on the "planing" yet. I mean, not to idealize racing, but the industry does put a lot of R&D time and money into developing the fastest race bikes. And race bikes are always as stiff as they can make them. Maybe I'm missing something there.

    Also, as noted above, a frame's stiffness is relative to the weight of the rider. I bet I find my LHT a whole lot less stiff than you. I bet a bike you find "lively" and "spirited", I would find "noodley" and not very responsive at all. Preferences and perceptions play a role too. You know the old saw that one cyclist's "vertically compliant" is another's "frame flex".

    It seems to me that usually the LHT frame's "slowness" is attributed to the heavy tubes, the relaxed geometry, and the long chainstays. Heavy tubes, of course, add to the weight. The geometry puts the rider in a comfortable position, but not into the best position for maximum power output. And long chainstays flex, providing a nice smooth ride, but impair efficient energy transer to the ground. The first two points are contistant with your "stiffness" explaination. The last is not, I don't think. Wouldn't shorter, stiffer chainstays improve energy transfer, thus making the LHT "faster" to the detriment of ride quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    You'll notice the folks that are happy with an unloaded LHT echo the same "just get on and cruise" sentiment. If you can be happy with that the LHT does indeed make a good daily driver. If on the other hand you enjoy a lively bike that goes fast and responds to spirited riding inputs the LHT isn't a good choice.

    Given that it is marketed as a touring bike I don't think you can fault the bike, but it's worth noting this reality so people aren't disappointed.
    Yes, exactly. Certainly the Trucker rewards less aggressive riding - spinning up to speed instead of sprinting, climbing in the saddle instead of standing up, carving smooth turns instead of hairpin manuvers. I don't think that's the same thing as "slow", which is the LHT's bad rap. The degree to which an LHT is "slow" can be adjusted by component choice (i.e. tires, per your suggestion). And, of course, the bike's "engine" has a good deal to do with it too, right?
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
    Surly LHT: Kid hauler
    On One Inbred: SS 26er

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    I'm looking at a consolidating the herd. The LHT is one of my top choices.
    Found myself in similar position in that I've only room for one bike in my accommodation situation.
    My regular ride wasnt suited to my new locale in that its small wheels (20') weren't optimal for pulling a trailer off road and it luggage ability meant it couldnt haul enough water for extended Australian tours (which often mean days of riding in between water resupply).
    The two top contenders were the Disk Trucker or Ogre.
    As I anticipated lots of gravel grinding and singletrack as well as sandy trails in some areas the Ogre won out as being the "one bike to rule them all".
    I determined that for "me", the Ogre was the most versatile sharing the Truckers luggage hauling ability with mounting points aplenty for racks/fenders yet with the ability for serious rubber width (2.5' tyres) for off road use. Both capable bikes but I wanted the emphasis on off road loaded ability in which I feel the Ogre has the edge.
    If I had the room, I'm sure there would be a S&S coupled, disk braked Long Haul Trucker sharing pride of place with my Ogre.
    Good luck with the choice - let us know how you get on with the purchase decision.

  24. #24
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Parting with your old bikes is like selling the kids. It's really tough! I"ve just got too darn many toys and not enough time to ride.
    I'd probably have less trouble selling the kids.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd View Post
    Yes, exactly. Certainly the Trucker rewards less aggressive riding - spinning up to speed instead of sprinting, climbing in the saddle instead of standing up, carving smooth turns instead of hairpin manuvers. I don't think that's the same thing as "slow", which is the LHT's bad rap. The degree to which an LHT is "slow" can be adjusted by component choice (i.e. tires, per your suggestion). And, of course, the bike's "engine" has a good deal to do with it too, right?
    Just a few thoughts:

    - 5-10lbs of weight don't make a bike much slower than another bike....assuming all other things are equal so that doesn't explain why a LHT is slow for average/lighter riders when used unloaded.

    - tires are one culprit as we seem to agree on

    - I bought a semi-custom bike spec'd to test out Bicycle Quarterly's planning concept it worked as advertised for me. It also explained the performance of various bikes I've had [good and bad]. If you care about bicycle performance this is certainly one aspect I would at least investigate for yourself. I don't agree with everything Jan writes about, but planning and the performance of wide supple tires are two things I've taken the time to test for myself and I agree with him.

    - as you note how stiff a frame is and how it performs depends a lot on the specific rider in terms of body weight, leg power and riding style.

    - the whole planning concept and what makes a bike plane is a complicated topic. I followed BQ's recipe which amounts to stiff chainstays, skinny flexible tubing for the front triangle [TT more flexible than DT seems to be good].

    - the LHT main triangle is overly stiff for most people unloaded....that's what I am talking about...BQ was critical of the LHT's ovalized chainstays not being stiff. I can't really speak to that aspect of the bike and separate it from the stiff front triangle without building some sample bikes to compare to.

    - As you can see a breakdown of tube by tube analysis is excessive for most people considering a production bike like the LHT. If it's not a good choice there is not much you can do about it.

    - for anyone that's keen on the topic of bicycle performance it's worth getting your hands on Bicycle Quarterly Magazine and seeing if the ideas in there work for you.

    - The LHT is slow because it doesn't reward aggressive riding. For an average weight/power rider like me [and more so for folks on the lighter/less powerful end of the spectrum] there is little point trying to hammer on a LHT. At a certain point the bike doesn't keep going faster relative to the power you put down. Forget climbing for a second - let's just talk level ground to make things simple. If you are riding for any length of time and care about getting to your destination in the shortest amount of time you'll gravitate to the fastest cruising speed of your LHT.

    - The point of this thread was is the LHT a good ride unloaded. The answer is not simple. It depends on the rider and their desire for performance. For a lot of people the LHT would not make a good bike to ride unloaded the majority of the time.

    - the bike I had built to test BQ's planning theory was amazing to ride with a light load, but would have handled like crap with a "full touring load.

    - I could and would build it slightly stiffer if I was starting all over again. Way less stiff than a LHT's main triangle, but stiffer than I tried. That would get me into a better balance between unloaded and loaded performance.

    - Riding with a variety of touring loads I've spent thousands of happy KMs on a LHT, but for my daily commute I wouldn't buy a LHT if I was starting from scratch.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

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