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.

Surly and me on the Mt. Vernon Trail

Surly LHT. Blue Velvet Version
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Adam and Crystal leaving
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Surly Long Haul Trucker!
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Mike's Truckaccino Surly LHT
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Surlys on the W&OD
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Mike on his Surly
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Kirstin on her Surly LHT
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
50 States Ride - Surly LHT
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
John and Surly at the D.C. Randonneurs '12 Populaire
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Jesse's Surly LHT and Swift bag and PDW light
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Justin and John
“I heart your bike: ” Surly
Ben and Lane talk Surlys
“I heart your bike: ” Surly

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.

Categories: SurlyTags: ,


Brevets, commutes, tandem rides, coffee. Sometimes a marathon. Washington, D.C.


  1. Paul

    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!


    • My LHT was bought for both occasional touring, but mostly for riding longer day rides. It is perfect for hilly terrain and makes up for being a bit heavier than most road bikes. Mine is a blue LHT and I love it! It fits me perfectly but I do want to change out the seat one of these days…


  2. David Spranger

    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.


  3. Chris R

    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.


  4. deb

    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.


  5. Gene Kauffman

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Steve Kukla

    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.


    • 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…


  7. Jim Bangs

    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!!


  8. 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.


  9. Mark H.

    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.


  10. 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


  11. 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.


    • 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.


      • James Reynolds

        Follow up. 2400 miles and destroyed by a reckless driver (I’m lucky to be alive with some injuries that aren’t debilitating so far). Getting a new Surly LHt eventually when the dust settles.


  12. Chris A

    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.


  13. Eric

    “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.


  14. Mark

    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.


  15. John Boland

    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.


  16. Mahesh

    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.


  17. Brianfschroeder@hotmail.com

    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.


  18. Nigel

    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).


  19. Big D

    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).


  20. Duncan Edwards

    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.


  21. 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.


    • James Reynolds

      Follow up. After reckless driver destroyed my Surly LHt decided to get a new one when the dust settles. Going iwth trekking bars next time. mUch prefer an upright position and was never a fan of the drops.


      • Wow, I hope that you were okay. Good luck getting another LHT up and running. I have not tried riding one with drops, although I like the aesthetic. I don’t really use the drops when I ride so I suppose upright bars might suit me as well. hmmmm…


  22. howard w

    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!


  23. Chris

    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!!


  24. Jason

    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.”


  25. 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.


  26. 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.


    • 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?


      • 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.


  27. Stephanie

    I rode my LHT every day often with 2 kiddos in tow, a 8 year old on the back and a 3 year old in the trailer behind us…Unfortunately it was stolen from my backyard today after an afternoon of using it to run errands…So as I read all of your fond memories, I am silently plotting revenge on this entire city…Tomorrow I start my search for whomever thought it was a good idea to steal the LONG HAUL TRUCKER!!


  28. MAS

    Bought mine in 2009. I was getting ready for the Pacific Coast tour from Astoria to Santa Barbara and my Dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. I spents 362 of 365 days with him and made the ride in 2011. Thought about him with every mile.


  29. Who rides a Trucker? Well first they must have legs, preferably with feet on the end. The superlative frame set does not make arms 100% manadatory, but unless you are a good Unicycler I advise a pair but mainly for braking. (Though I was picked up hitch hiking once by a Thalidomide guy with no arms and heart as big as a basket ball driving with his feet;no lie.Google: Brett Nielson Australia, He’s a bit of a celebrity here)
    My 2013 Shirly Disc Trucker is a dream. BB7s that halt a lorry loads, a friction chain ring shifter so no grinding noises from derailleurs, and an indexed clunk that never misses on the free wheel.
    It cost more than my car to fit out, but it often carries more 🙂 and was worth every cent. I love my Disc Trucker. Wish I could post a picture as I keep it tip top and pristine but I have no word press account.Mines a 58cm x700c and rolls along with a Pelaton quite well stripped of her front an rear Panniers and sundires; and with skinny slippers on. Surly Truckers? Good old American some how 🙂


  30. chris

    on my lht so far: gold coast australia, berlin to amsterdam, prague to sudan, pacific coast trail, sf to las cruces, los angeles to boulder, los angeles to merida yucatan. one in-the-field frame break and self re-weld, three field welds on racks. I use an aluminum race bike to commute at a decent pace, the lht would be heavy overkill. use the right tool for the job.


    • Since I use my LHT for things like running errands and buying groceries I don’t find it to be much overkill as a commuter. How do you manage grocery shopping/errands with your aluminum race bike? Curious what that setup would be and how it would handle weight


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