Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT), let the miles roll on and on and on …


Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT)Description: (From their site) If you want to carry a lot of stuff while riding your bike long distances, you’d be hard pressed to find a better bike than the Long Haul Trucker. It starts with the frame, whose tubing and geometry were specifically designed for loaded travel. We added braze-ons for everything you’re likely to need. We gave it parts that are durable and long lasting.

As seen on the blog: Label : Surly Long Haul Trucker

UPDATE : We have now done our first tour a week long cycling holiday in Croatia on the Adriatic coast from Dubrovnik to Trogir and a little 3 days tour in Wales. What can I say, it is the most comfortable ride I ever had, it just rolls, sits there taking the miles. I now use it as my daily commuter, even though it is not as fast or light as my other bicycles, but it gets me there, its like riding a sofa.

end update …

After hours, okok days, of surfing on the ‘tinterweb and talking to people who were in the know. We made our mind up and got two Surly Long Haul Truckers, a 58cm olive green (2009) and a 46cm burgundy/red (2008) from Brixton Cycles in London.

We then crawled the net for some good deals so that we could build the bicycles up. Like the XT groupset we got from chainreaction nearly 100 quid of the list price etc. So it took sometime to get the LHT ready and there was a wee delay because I got the wrong front dérailleur for one of the bikes, doh.

I test rode mine on a 137 miles ride to the coast, quite a mean feat since I have never ridden a touring bicycle before, let alone fully loaded.

Well here goes about the Surly Long Haul Trucker.

Weight unloaded : Heavy
Weight fully loaded : Fecking heavy
Handling unloaded : Very easy, smooth and comfortable, it just rolls
Handling fully loaded : Can you say four wheels
Speed : This is no race horse, but will get you there
Loading capacity : Bring it on!

Surly Long Haul Trucker (LHT)

Like all the other reviews says about the LHT as a touring bicycle, it’s the bees knees. Ok I have only done a few commutes, one day trip and a 3 day tour on the Surly. But it has quickly become our most comfortable and enjoyable bicycle to ride, loaded and unloaded.

The only down side with this bike is that you get so use to it and want to ride it all the time because it is so comfortable and a joy to ride. So when you get on your other bicycle(s) you will not like it, because you will feel all the bumps that are on the roads you take, it will be twisty, hard to handle. And therefore your other bicycles will just stand there not be used at all.

Equipment on the bikes, e.g. how we dressed them up.

The 46cm burgundy Surly aka Milly.
Cranks : XT
Rear dérailleur : XT
Front dérailleur : Ultegra
Shifters : Ultegra
V-brakes : XT, with Travel Agents so that the Ultegra would work with them
Hubs : Hope, and boy do the rear one talk when freewheeling
Cassette/Chain rings : Shimano, 44,32,22 and a 11-34 cassette.
Handle bars :
Racks : Tubus Ergo and Tubus Cargo
Seat : Selle Italia

Here is what Peli says about her Milly :

It’s just too comfortable.

Riding any of my other bikes almost cripples me. I rode my Enigma tonight and felt like I’d aged fifty years.

What am I to do?!

Perhaps I’ll just put all the stems up a few inches, on the Enigma. I’m finding I have to stretch a great deal to reach for the brake levers, which is annoying and see how it feel then. Plus, I’m finding the Campag shifters far less comfortable these days (too “flat” somehow – my hand slips off them easily) than the LHT’s Ultegra ones.

Seriously, though. I think it’s the long wheel base, 35mm tyres, 26″ wheels and higher bar position which make the LHT such a pleasure to ride. The bars are actually *very* high as I’ve found they’re really comfy like that when riding fully – and heavily – loaded, and there’s no point in moving them up and down for the daily commute.

The downside to the LHT is that it’s bloody heavy. And slow. And I get overtaken. A lot. Which I Do Not Like. The LHT eventually manages to build up quite a bit of speed on the flat, but takes ages to get going. Nippy it ain’t. Mine nods off at traffic lights and wakes up with a “Move? What, me? Oh, go on then”

The 58cm green Surly aka the Tank.
Cranks : XT
Rear dérailleur : XT
Front dérailleur : XT
Shifters : XT
V-brakes : XT
Hubs : SUN on the front and XT on the rear.
Cassette/Chain rings : Shimano, 44,32,22 and a 11-34 cassette.
Handle bars :
Racks : Tubus Ergo and Tubus Cargo
Seat : Brooks B17

As you can see we went for Shimano and XT, but I think that we have it covered. Since Shimano can be found all over and XT is compatible with lower specks of Shimano if we should end up breaking something. We have found out that the gear ratios we have atm is spot on, we even managed to climb a 25% (1/4) hill in Wales.

The SON hub, even if people say it is heavy and generate drag. It is a good thing I do not have to worry about charging batteries that often. Yes it is heavy and there is drag, which I haven’t noticed while cycling only when I spin the front wheel when the bike is stationary. And the drag is nothing compared to the drag that a heavy bicycle on thick 35mm tyres with fully load panniers would generate, oh and me on it. And would you even notice the extra grams that the hub is compared to your extra batteries or charger you are carrying in your already full panniers, naa.


Ok this is a bit wrong to do a rating on a bicycle that you have never ridden the like of before. This is my first touring bicycle and the only touring I have done fully loaded. But the LHT have not turned me off the idea of touring, the only question is where next ?

woolly ratingswoolly ratingswoolly ratingswoolly ratingswoolly ratings


  1. Hi
    very interesting about the LHT, I am thinking of buying a frame to build up, did you consider any other frames? or were you sold on this as I think I am.
    I did some touring in Holland on my converted rockhopper; pretty good touring holland, bike was well loaded up,but the rockhopper is a bit ova soft ride and felt a bit cramped.
    I like the look of the LHT, I intend touring france and over in to spain 2010 and I was looking for somthing solid.
    you certainly have endorced my choice so far


    • Hi Duncan

      We did look at the Dawes and Thorn but settled on the LTH. Mainly because what friends and reviews said about it. But also that my partner have the Steamroller from Surly which she loves. Surly build like a tank but build to last, you will not regret getting on.

  2. Hello folks
    I am about to buy a LHT but unsure as to use drop or flat bars. I will be going to South East Asia on it in a coule of months. Has anybody got experience of the LHT with flat bars?


    • Hi Rikki

      I have butterfly bars on mine. But handlebars are a very personal thing, so the only way to find out if you like it, is to try it out.

  3. I rode across Canada this summer on a LHT and I must say that I am in love with my bike. I did 5000 miles from Seattle, Wa. to St John’s, Newfoundland without a single problem other than 4 flat tires. I can’t say enough about this bike that I also use as a commuter.

    • I might pick your brain one day about your route. Since it is pretty much starting and finishing the same places we are dreaming about doing on our next big tour. Yes it is a great bike, the other bikes are just collecting dust since the LHT came in to our stables.

  4. MY: yes I use them for chain set and rapid fire shifters too. I did have problems with the first Hollowtech II, it exploded on me. But the second set have clocked up close 5000 miles without any problems.

  5. Thanks for the reply! Im gonna get The Shimano XT M770 chainset, front Derailleur and Rear Derailleur. Which model of FD and RD your using?


  6. Hi! was fascinated by your very thorough report on the LHT ! :) I´m just about to order my frame but erring on the size. Being 170cm/5,55 I was thinking of getting a 50cm frame cause worried with 46cm there would need to be a stack of spacers to get the handlebar at saddle height and then shortening the cockpit too much. I´m far away from countries to testride :( Curious to know how tall is your companion if I may ask? Cheers :)

    • Lene: Sadly I can’t say anything other than it depends on many things. How big your tyres, how long your legs compared to your arms are, what kinda riding you do etc. One thing for sure do get the forks uncut and then you got plenty of space to play with. I went with a frame that was a little bit too small for me, so more room between the frame and me when I stood with the bike between the legs, nice when you are on rough roads and heavy touring. Though with fatter tyres there was less space. So I have a lot of spacers and a very long seat post to get it to fit to me. After four years of riding the LHT in all conditions – commuting, light loaded touring, heavy loaded touring, rough roads, off road, steep hills etc – I truly love the Surly and I might get a larger frame if I ever should get a new LHT. I’m 6’4″ (194cm) and picked a 58cm 700c frame.

      My partner who is 5’5″ (165cm) picked a 48cm 26″ frame, where her 700c road bike is a 50cm frame. She do like her frames to be a little smaller than the size that should suit her, because she like the extra clearance.


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