What Kind of Person Rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker?

"I heart your bike: " Surly
“I heart your bike: ” Surly

Occasionally I check the statistics page of this blog to find out what searches led people to Chasing Mailboxes.

The most common search terms are for the blog name itself and in a close second “Surly Long Haul Trucker.” Third? “Surly LHT.”

Recently I saw that some people stumbled upon this space via the phrase “What kind of person rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker.”

Indeed. What kind of person does ride a Surly Long Haul Trucker?

I delved into my archives and found at least a partial answer to that question. Lots of people! Touring cyclists, randonneurs, commuters… we really like the Surly LHT.

Me and the Surly on the Mt. Vernon Trail
Me and the Surly on the Mt. Vernon Trail
Surly LHT. Blue Velvet Version
Surly LHT on the commute. Blue Velvet Version
Kristen (in the middle) on a Surly LHT on Adam and Crystal's first day of their cross country tour
Kristen (in the middle) on a Surly LHT out for a bike overnight on Adam and Crystal’s first day of their cross country tour.
Surly Long Haul Trucker!
Surly Long Haul Trucker heading out for a bike tour on the W&OD!
Mike's Truckaccino Surly LHT
Mike’s Truckaccino Surly LHT. Commutes and randonneuring
Surly Bicycles on the W&OD
Surly bicycles on the W&OD. Heading out for a bike touring weekend.
Lane, on the Surly LHT
Lane, on the Surly LHT on a weekend “training” ride
Mike and his Surly on the fleche. I think this is an LHT, but w/ a different fork?
Mike and his Surly on the fleche. I think this is an LHT, but w/ a different fork?
Kirstin on her Surly LHT
Kirstin on her Surly LHT. WABA 50 States Ride
David
David on a DC Randonneurs Brevet
50 States Ride - Surly LHT
Surly LHT on the WABA 50 States Ride
John and his Surly LHT at the D.C. Randonneurs '12 Populaire
John and his Surly LHT at the DC Randonneurs Glen Echo Populaire
Chris
Chris on his Disc Trucker at the Hains Point 100
Jesse's Surly LHT. Sorry I only got it from this angle
Jesse’s Surly LHT at Friday Coffee Club. Sorry I only got it from this angle
Justin and John on Pennsylvania Avenue (Photo by Felkerino)
Justin on the LHT and John with his SOMA on Pennsylvania Avenue, post-Friday Coffee Club, I think (Photo by Felkerino)
Ben and Lane talk Surlys
Ben and Lane talk Surlys.

Felkerino calls the Surly Long Haul Trucker the Schwinn Varsity of our time. Perhaps he’s right.

I really like answering this question “What kind of person rides a Surly LHT.” Do you ride a Surly LHT? How do you use it? Let us know in the comments.

47 thoughts on “What Kind of Person Rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker?”

  1. For a long time the Surly LHT has been on the short list of bikes I’d like to own for touring, randonneuring, gravel roads, etc. And the price is hard to beat!

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  2. Have had a Surly LHT since 2009. These days it mostly serves as my winter commuter. Other seasons it is usually only used when I need to carry a lot of stuff. Here is a picture of it as outfitted for my commute into work this morning:

    Surly LHT on commuter duty.

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  3. I would have gotten an LHT while I was bike shopping last year, but I already have a sweet touring/rando bike. I got a cross-check for commuting instead. Overall, Surly gets high marks in my opinion for being one of the few companies that makes bikes for tall people in standard sizes.

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  4. I ride a lht!

    Mostly bike commuting, but also coffeeneuring, errandoneuring, riding to concerts at wolf trap, occasionally riding to volunteer at a sanctuary in poolesville.

    I’ve got something like 34,000 miles on it! (It is almost 6 years old.) I love it. I have a brief dirt detour I can take on my commute, and a dirt embankment I go over every day, and I love that I can just tackle pretty much whatever on the lht.

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  5. After many months of reading reviews on the LHT and touring blogs on Crazy Guy. I bought my trucker. I’m short and the 42cm size was a perfect fit. I love it. I’m 72 years old and planning some tours.

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  6. My son asked me to go on a long-distance bike tour with him this summer (starting here in Northern VA). Last week I inspected my 30 year old beater bike and realized it was time to get a new bike. So I bought a 2013 stock dark green 54cm 26″ Surly Disc Trucker (go away snow!). Now I’m hunting for silver fenders and a lightweight medium-priced rear rack that are trivial to install for a non-handy person like me. Any pointers would be most welcome.

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    1. Steve, I think I may have accidentally delayed approving your comment. Sorry about that! Regarding rear racks, Felkerino and I have been very satisfied with Tubus and Nitto rear racks.

      Silver fenders that are easy to install… do you mean metal? I think metal are a pain to install, but I am really not handy AND I’m also impatient. Others may have good suggestions, though…

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    2. Steve, I would go with silver sks plastic fenders over metal, primarily because of weight. I also had good luck with tubus racks. Good luck on your upcoming tour.

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  7. I ride an LHT! It is one of those “do-all” bikes that can fit many styles of riding needs. I have had mine for five years. Fits my touring needs and I ride it almost everyday as my commuter. I have found….nice people ride Truckers! They always stop to talk bikes, rides, anything!!
    I always said I will always have the trucker…but…I got my Ogre last spring and I love the disc brakes. First bike I have ever had them, so, of course, now I lust after a disc Trucker. Damn you Surly. The bike lust never ends!!

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  8. Here’s a better shot (shows the 26″ wheels, whole cockpit and porteur rack!) from that same day:

    IMG_1250

    And to answer your question: anyone who’s anyone rides a Long Haul Trucker!

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  9. I ride a LHT almost every day for commuting, my grocery getter, coffeeneuring, errandoneuring and general transportation. I’ve had mine for a year and it gets better every ride! I ride club rides, centuries & overnights with ease and it’s a great conversation starter too. With this past winter, I have started thinking about jumping over to the disc model for more reliable stopping in inclement conditions, but otherwise I’m totally happy with my bike.
    I think LHT owners are the kind of people who just love being on bikes, the kind of people I want to be friends with.

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  10. Curmudgeons AND hipsters. That’s part of the charm. My 2013 LHT DiscTrucker (bought in large part because of your thoughtful assessment) gets me 20 miles to work and back in comfort and keeps that transcontinental touring dream alive. I hope to show it off at Swing’s some Friday soon.

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  11. I bought my Trucker because I figured that any bike that could handle a heavy touring load would have no problem hauling around my weight. How right I was. It rides like a dream, and I love that it can handle anything that I throw at it.
    I also like that when I tell people the name of the bike, they think that I’m making it up.
    Here’s a shot of this years incarnation: http://flic.kr/p/maiTuj

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  12. I am always thrilled when I get a mention in a Chasing Mailboxes blog post! I adore my Surly LHT and a big part of choosing it was thanks to meeting all you smart & adventurous LHT devotees at Friday Coffee Club. Hooray!

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  13. I *want* a LHT! Actually, a Disc Trucker, but I could still be part of the club, right? What’s the average length of time coveting-LHT-to-owning-LHT because I’m going on two years now! It would be my primary “me” bike for the rare occasion I head out without kids in tow, but as I’m a family biker first and foremost, I’d more often anchor it down with Burley Piccolo trailer bike plus trailer.

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    1. Took me 2 years, about 4 months sooner than I had planned because my main commuter hybrid aluminum frame dropout broke off the frame after 4 great years of use (about 15,000 miles). As a very heavy full-time commuter, I did lots of online research and ended up lusting for an LHT for a year, finally putting a down-payment on one at my LBS, and paid it off in bits in pieces starting from April of last year (not disc) with the plan of having it paid off this coming April. A too-small-for-me backup bike accelerated the purchase this past January 18th. 135 miles to get used to a different riding position. 300 miles in, a switch to a Brooks saddle made a huge comfort difference. At about 600 miles now and love it and really want another one as my backup bike.

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  14. I’ve owned a Utility Blue LHT since early 2008. As one of two bikes, it’s my only “road bike”. It is what I use for any riding where I don’t need a full mtb, including errands, gravel roads, centuries, camping, noodling around town, etc.

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  15. “I *want* a LHT! Actually, a Disc Trucker, but I could still be part of the club, right? What’s the average length of time coveting-LHT-to-owning-LHT because I’m going on two years now!”

    I spent two and a half years coveting… basically from the first time I saw one. I scrimped and saved and added a lot of the components I wanted/needed on a hybrid frame I was riding until I got a frame and built it up using said hybrid as a donor bike, and then continued to mod it and improve it for another couple years, before it was stolen. :( 95+% of the miles I put on my LHT were commuting and utility miles. I’d get out for the occasional weekend ride and I also did a 160 mile RT overnight on the C&O with it. Loved that bike! It did everything I ever wanted it to, looked great, and felt so good.

    Its replacement, though an 90s vintage rigid steel MTB frame, is a Surly LHT at heart with similar geometry to 26″ LHTs and with drop bars, racks, fenders, and parts that I would want which could be transferred almost in their entirety to a new Surly frame, if I ever break down and buy one. Even if I don’t I will still always have a very soft spot in my heart for the LHT.

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  16. My 2008 olive green LHT and I have done RAGBRAI, D2R2, bike camped the C&O canal, Seagull Century 6 or 7 times, as well as recreational miles too numerous to count. I love riding steel again. It’s a great ride and can go anywhere. I recommend it highly.

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  17. Hello fellow DC area LHT enthusiasts! My 2008 army green LHT is my go-to sled for mixed surface rides around here. It just excells on the Fairfax CCT, the C&O canal, even the singletrack at Laurel HIll. These days, we spend a lot of time hitched up to the Chariot trailer, trucking the kids up and down the Mt Vernon and 4 Mile Run/WO&D trails on day trips.

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  18. Its a pain bike In my opinion.
    I am one of those who
    – does not like the looks of the bike
    – does not like the fit.

    A Brompton, for me, is a better choice – even for touring.
    I have a Bike Friday which I rarely ride, Surly LHT sometimes and a searching for opportunity to ride the brompton.

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  19. Nice pic’s…. Thanks. One note, it appears to me that in the picture labeled “Mike on his Surly LHT, doing the fleche”, Mike is not on a LHT. The fork’s braze ons, side pull brakes and lack of an extended head tube are clues to that.

    I don’t own a LHT quite yet, but do want one but love my other Surlys (Karate Monkey, Cross Check and Pacer.) Have ridden a friends and it put a smile on my face…. Love the older ones in that split pea soup green color.

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    1. Good eye. You’re right. I will have to ask him about it. I switched this for another photo. Might be a different fork on a Surly LHT frame?

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  20. I have one. I have used it for Randonneuring, coffeeneuring, commuting, touring, pulling trailers, pulling kids on trailer bikes, S24O rides, gravel grinding, trail riding, errands and JRA (just riding around).

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  21. I run a Disc Trucker with 26 inch tires since now 4 month and 1250 miles.
    First it was intended to be my travel bike for day traveling and longer rides up to 10 days.
    But riding is so much fun that it’s now my daily commuter (20 miles) and training bike.
    I’m 41 years old and have two more bike in the garage but the DT is my favorite. It is self build up with a mix classic parts from Nitto, Soma, Brooks, Velo Orange, Gilles Berthoud and Carradice and newer parts (Tubus, B&M, Shutter Precision, Shimano, BB7).

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  22. I got the Disk Trucker last year for touring, but liked it so much, it is my main bike. Rode 3000 plus miles last year commuting. Not a speed machine, but I can ride all day and feel great.

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  23. Full-time heavy commuter. First bike I’ve had that felt like it fit me without too much adjustment (52cm), especially once I put the Brooks saddle on. Also plan to use “Pauline” as a day tourer and eventually an actual long tour (Underground Rail Road Route)). I pushed my beloved Raleigh Venture 3.0 into doing long day tours it wasn’t really designed for.

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  24. I take delivery of my disc trucker at the end of April :)
    Think its only been 9 months of covet
    And its coming with a rohloff!

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  25. I don’t have an LHT but I am seriously considering getting a frameset to build up. The reason I am considering the LHT is because I want a 26″ wheel bike with a traditional (ie, non-MTB) diamond frame. Also, I weigh almost 400 lbs so the thicker, oversized tubing of the LHT is desirable. My main concern with the LHT is the long chainstays. I know it’s a touring bike and that’s part of the package but for my uses, 42-44cm would be preferable.
    Basically, the LHT is the best compromise at a reasonable price. I can’t afford a Rivendell Atlantis, a Co-Motion Pangea or an R&E UTB but I can afford the LHT and I can still run my 55mm Big Apples!!

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  26. 30-something fat guy who needed a bike to get in shape, commute, bike-camp, and ride bikes with my 9-year old. The Trucker was the best option for me…love it. My 30-something in-shape girlfriend also wanted to ride, so she purchased a Trucker also…why?…because it was the only bike that “listened to her.”

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  27. I took my LHT (52, 26 inch wheels) on Adventure Cycling North Lakes tour back in 2011. It was a 30 day, 1,500 mile tour. I have Tubus front and rear racks, Ortlieb panniers, Nitto Noodle bars, and a Brooks B67 saddle. I love my bike, and am planning on riding from Dayton, Ohio to Washington DC this summer via the GAP and C&O, and hopefully the Trans-Am next summer.

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  28. I’m a born again cyclist, got my Surly Disc Trucker, 54cm 26 inch wheels, 2 inch tyres, after heart bypass surgery, because it reminded me of bikes I rode in the 50’s. Named it Connie after my first 45rpm love.
    I’ve ridden it a lot here in New Zealand, on road and off, and overseas, fully loaded which I’ve assumed is the default setting for the LHT. Not many here with whom to compare usage.
    Recently I changed the 26 inch wheels and 2 inch tyres for 700’s and 28mm tyres, for light cycle touring and randonneurs. Its a different bike, far more responsive and certainly a lot better hill climber. Not as quick as the Roubaix plastic fantastic but ok for a 1950s reincarnation.

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    1. Alan, I have the same bike frame you have and currently have 26″ – 2″ tires and currently ride unloaded on paved roads in northern Virginia. Did you notice any speed or other ride differences when you switched to the 700 – 28mm versions? Did you upgrade hubs?

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      1. Hi stretchy54, The short answer is yes .Bike performance often seems to me to be a subjective issue. However, the bike is quicker, requires less effort in hilly terrain and windy conditions to maintain average speeds of around 20kms an hour. The ride is not as smooth and I tend to pay more attention to the location of the front wheel. However its still very acceptable even after a long day in the B17 saddle and I have less fatigue.
        I’m using wheels from a Specialised Roubaix Expert 2013 model which is a disc version. The brand is Axis which, I believe, is a Specialised in house component with a 28h front and 32h back. The tyres are Specialised Roubaix 25\28 at around 95/100psi. I’m told by the LBS that’s its a strong wheel, but a bit heavy in terms of the carbon fibre world of Roubaix’s.
        This setup works well for me (weight, 73kgs) while I’m lightly loaded, 8kgs max, or doing a randonneur. For times when I’m carrying more, 10kgs+, I’ll use the 26″ wheels, 36h (DT Swiss) and a 1.35″ or 2″ tyre depending where I’m travelling.
        Hope that’s useful.

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