Top of my kit list is a 2012 Surly Long Haul Trucker Touring bike. The frame and forks are 4130 CroMoly steel. The main triangle is double-butted and TIG-welded. Manufactured in Taiwan and strong.

The Surly LHT is well reviewed everywhere and has received much praise over the years as the de facto standard touring/expedition machine.  They deliver a good ‘bang for the buck’ and compare well to pricier tourers such as the Thorn Nomad or Koga Randonneur.
No complaints here.

It is a beautiful British Racing Green and which Surly call Super Dark Green.

It took a little effort to find as the newer 2013 models with disc brakes were out and I really wanted the old style cantilever brakes.  The colour was a major factor too. 🙂

My new touring bike was supplied and custom built by Charlie Hobbs at his bike shop in Swanage, Dorset. Charlie is a good guy and his build was actually better than the stock bike I expected.

Surly LHT

Colombo, Sri Lanka 2013

 

The Surly LHT frame set and forks was augmented by the following:

Rear Derailleur: Shimano LX , T661SGS. Silver
Front Derailleur: Shimano Sora , FD-3403. Silver
Shifters: Shimano bar-end , SL-BS77 2/3 x 9-speed, friction setting
Chainset: Andel RSC6 , 26/36/48t. Square taper interface. Silver
Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN-54 , Square taper interface. 68 x 118mm
Chain: SRAM PC-971 , Silver. 116 links
Freewheel: Shimano HG-50 , 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34t
Headset: Cane Creek 40 , 1-1/8″ threadless. Black
Stem: Kalloy AS-009 , 26.0mm bar clamp. Aluminum. 4-bolt face. Silver
Handlebars: PMT , Silver
Front/Rear Brake: Tektro , CR720 cantilever. Silver
Brake Levers: Tektro RL340 standard reach
Brake pads: Kool Stop MTB ‘salmon’
Rims: 26″AlexRims Adventurer, 36h. Double wall. Eyeletted. Black
Front Hub: Shimano LX , T660. 36h. Non-disc. Silver
Rear Hub: Shimano LX , T660. 36h. Non-disc. 135mm O.L.D. Silver
Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon XR , 26 x 2.0 Wire bead HD Ceramic (the tyres!)
Saddle: Brooks Champion Flyer (Brown) Seatpost: Kalloy SP-248D, 27.2mm. 300mm. Grips: Grab-on foam. (I like foam grips) Pedals: MKS Sylvan with Christophe toe clips (replaced with Restraps)

Extra stuff:
SKS mudguards 26″ P65, Blackburn rear rack/lo-rider and bottle cages, ‘Bike Buddy‘ for an additional holder which is used for a fuel tank.
Cateye HL-EL 530, TL LD1100 Lights and Strada wireless computer RD 300W
Topeak Alien II Multitool:  The definitive multi-tool.
Topeak Road Morph Pump:  The definitive touring bicycle pump capable of delivering high pressures and incorporating an integral gauge.
Next Best Thing Mk2 cassette remover and lightweight alternative to a chain whip.
Park Tools CT-5 chain tool: The definitive chain tool and reputedly as capable as its professional counterparts.
Park Tool TB-2 Emergency Tyre Boot: Essential for dealing with tyre damage. I used one of these in Nepal for sidewall damage and it saw me through another 3 months cycling.

Over the course of a few years the bike has been updated a bit:

The rear of the bike was hit by a motorcycle in New Delhi. This caused the rear wheel to buckle. I was able to true it at the time but it was far from ideal. It continued to wobble as it criss-crossed the himalayas over the next few months. Not a lot but enough to be a worry. I was really lucky to pick up another (unused) set of  Alex Adventurer wheels once I returned to the UK.
Servicing (Summer 2016) the Shimano LX wheel hubs on that original set of wheels revealed the bearings cups to be pitted and worn.  However, touch wood, the LX hubs on the replacement set seem to be holding up well.

During 2014 Tubus Tara and Cargo Classic racks were added.  Excellent racks!

img_5031

Bolaven Plateau, Laos 2015

In early 2015 I installed ‘butterfly’ or trekking bars. The lower ‘drops’ on the original setup were rarely used and had bugged me for a while..
The existing Shimano ‘bar end’ levers were put to good use with Paul ‘thumbies’ clamps ordered from the US. Shimano BL-R550  brake levers completed the setup. This allows good use of braking and gear change controls without removing my hands from the handlebar grips.
This is  really proving useful and much safer for street riding amongst traffic. The downside, however, is that I can no longer ‘ride on the hoods’ of brake levers. It required some major adjustment from my normal ‘default’ handlebar position. However I have found the biggest advantage with these trekking bars is that steering and handling is much more stable. Another concern is that  my ‘reach’ is affected. I have tried swopping in  a few different size and angle stems to solve the issue and have reached a compromise by using a longer angled Thorn Ahead stem.
It is a little frustrating that manufacturers make such conversions difficult with proprietary sizing.  Mountain bikes and Road bikes simply do not exist in the same world as far as the suppliers of bike parts are concerned.  I cynically guess it is all about creating demand and increasing profits.

The mileage has taken its toll on the bikes components and caused a few problems in SE Asia. In particular the jockey wheels were knackered. They danced their way across Laos and gave me serious grief until replaced in Bangkok. The rest waited till back in the UK.

The drivetrain had to be replaced. Derailleur cables too.

Spa cycles provided new chain rings.

With a new chain, jockey wheels and cassette the bike was looking good. Following a ride over the Pamirs the ‘salmon’ Kool Stop brake pads finally gave up the ghost. Metal started splintering through the thinly worn surfaces and threatened the rims. They seem to have lasted an age. New Kool Stop brake pads inspire confidence.

Summer 2016:
Replacement bottom bracket : Shimano UN-56
Yet another chain and another middle chain ring from Spa Cycles.
Sourced a good second hand Shimano LX T661SGS rear derailleur and fitted that to replace what was becoming a heavily marked and well used original.
Replaced the Brooks Flyer which had finally stretched beyond reliable usefulness with a very nice old Brooks B17 Select I have had lying around for yonks.

IMG_2022.JPG

Pamir Highway, Tajikistan 2016

 

Autumn 2016

Replaced the rear rack with the  Tubus logo classic  which I found on sale at a local bike shop. The lower rail drops the panniers nicely and creates a more level surface for the rack bag.

With much renewed; new Tektro CR720 cantilever brakes [black], cables and housing replaced, hubs and pedals re-greased, the bike is practically refurbished.

The cassette hub bodies on my rear wheels were grooved and worn. The indexing on the bike was a bit off and ‘jumped’. I finally found and fitted a replacement and it shifts better.

 

 

Here are the (yawn) fork and frame specs. Detailed here as much for my on-line reference as anything else.

ITEM SPECIFICATIONS – FORK
COLOUR SUPER DARK GREEN
MATERIAL CHROMOLY
BRAKE USAGE F/R FRONT
FORK RAKE 45MM
AXLE TO CROWN LENGTH 376MM
CROWN RACE 30.0
BRAKE TYPE LINEAR PULL,CANTILEVER
WHEEL SIZE (both) 26″
FRONT HUB SPACING 100MM
FRONT AXLE TYPE 9X1
WHEEL MOUNT CENTER OFFSET 0MM
DEFINED COLOUR GREEN
S.H.I.S. CLAMP DIAMETER 28.6
STEERER TYPE STRAIGHT
ITEM SPECIFICATIONS – FRAME
BRAKE USAGE F/R REAR
BB/FRAME INTERFACE ENGLISH
SEATPOST DIAMETER 27.2MM
REAR AXLE TYPE 10X1
FRONT DERAILLEUR CLAMP 28.6 (1-1/8″)
FRONT DERAILLEUR CABLE PULL BOTTOM
FRONT DERAILLEUR STYLE TOPSWING,TRADITIONAL
TT (EFFECTIVE) 57CM
BRAKE TYPE LINEAR PULL,CANTILEVER
WHEEL SIZE 26″
BB SHELL WIDTH 68MM
SEAT TUBE 56CM
REAR HUB SPACING 135MM
WHEEL MOUNT CENTER OFFSET 0MM
MFG SIZE 56
DEFINED COLOR GREEN
S.H.I.S UPPER EC34
S.H.I.S LOWER EC34

4 responses »

    • Hi Alec, resurrecting an old thread…. are you able to estimate the approx volume of said panniers? Difficult to tell from the perspective on the pic. They look really good, and I recall the Karrimor Kab range as being very light but tough, and they occasionally come up for sale.

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