New Surly Long Haul Trucker

As indicated elsewhere, my sturdy 2003 Long Haul Trucker never made it home from the tour of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. I immediately had the LBS order a replacement, which arrived in less than a week. Today I got around to adding a few last bits and baubles to it.

I was aiming to realize an utterly reliable expedition touring bike that has a classic look, thus the Trucker in black without decals and with a brown leather saddle and matching tape.

It is a size 54 so has 26″ wheels which in any case I would have specified. It is their stock complete bike excepting: Schwalbe Big Apple tires, a Selle An-Atomica Titanico saddle and tape, a Velo Orange Retro bottle cage, MKS Grip King (Lambda) pedals, and an Old Man Mountain front rack fitted to the rear.

I selected the rack because of its light weight, compact design, and track record of reliability in my experience.  It was trivial to move the attachments at the bottom of the rack outboard, so as to accommodate the greater width of the rear triangle over the front fork. I also mounted the rack to the rack eyelets rather than with the provided skewer, which, of course, would have been too short since it is designed to clear the front hub. I used 32mm steel bolts.

Compare to the old LHT.

22 thoughts on “New Surly Long Haul Trucker

  1. Looks nice, classic even.

    I have been looking at the Wald baskets on Rivbike as the idea of sorting kit into 2-3 drybags and securing them with a bungee net would make it easier to access stuff on the fly. Big drybags are a black hole for kit and require iron disipline to keep sorted.

    So where next?


    • Thanks, Alex. What you’re saying about dividing kit into several dry bags makes a lot of sense to me. I certainly fall short of Ultralight Bikepacker cred in running panniers instead of one cavernous dry bag. But a lot of the times, for me, the weight penalty is greatly offset by the convenience of being able to quickly unlatch two easy-to-handle panniers, not to mention just what you’re saying, that one bag requires an irritating amount of discipline.

      My view is that when we head out on a proper serious bikepacking tour like Nepal, well, it makes sense to travel ultralight. Otherwise, it’s a series of reasonable compromises between weight, organization, convenience, sanity, etc.

      Next? Good question. We were going to do an adventure on the Continent some time, no? (I’m on sabbatical leave this coming fall, so was imagining that I’d go to some combination of Bolivia/Peru/Unspecified South America, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia. Or something.

  2. Well I have a little bonus coming to me and plan to use some to go somewhere sunny and then ride and eat in equal proportions :) Portugal might be a possible or maybe somewhere on the Med (not the south side maybe!) or Bulgaria?….so much world, so little time!


    • Hey Dave,

      Thanks for visiting my blog.

      Honestly, I’ve had very little time on the saddle at this point, as it remains inclement enough for the Pugsley to be the bike of choice. My initial impression is that the quality is high, and my customer experience with Selle An-Atomica was positive. A few short rides reveal a very comfortable saddle, even if it moves under me more than I am used to. Not surprisingly, out of the box it is far more comfortable than Brooks saddles I’ve owned. (For further reference, my race bikes have Selle Italia SLR’s on them, i.e., firm, narrow saddles.)

      The tape is also high quality, but you should know that it does not have adhesive on the back unlike, say, the Brooks leather tape. This makes wrapping technique more crucial, but I haven’t perceived any downside so far.

      The color in the photos is brown.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help,

      • Thanks for the reply. I have ordered the saddle and bar tape for my new black Surly Cross Check which I plan to tour with this summer. My next question is how did you remove the Surly decals? Was it difficult? Thanks.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Removing the decals was not at all difficult, though it was a bit tedious. I used a hair dryer and an old credit card: For each decal, I heated the whole thing (or, for the large ones, half of it) with the dryer very close for 30 seconds or so. I was then able to scrape the now-soft material off the frame. At the end of the whole process, I went over the spots that had decals with nail polish remover to get rid of any residual adhesive.

    Incidentally, I can now report that I am finding the Selle An-Atomica absurdly, wonderfully comfortable. As some owners report, I was startled to have to take in so much of the tension adjustment early on to get it firm enough (roughly half the thread is still to go on the tension bolt), but right now it’s perfection.


  4. Hi Joe,

    I removed the decals following your instructions today. Very easy but time consuming especially on the larger stickers. The nail polish remover cleaned everything up nicely. I tried out the Selle An-Atomica saddle yesterday. So far I am very pleased. The saddle was very comfortable even without wearing padded biking shorts.

    A couple more questions. I noticed your LHT has stainless steel stem, stackers, and seat post. Were these standard or did you order them separately? If so, what brand and where did you order the parts? Lastly, what are your thoughts about the Old Man Mountain front rack mounted on the rear? Are you still happy with your choice?



    • Hey Dave,

      Glad to hear it! I’ll look forward to seeing your bike when you’re willing to share photos. Do you have an inaugural trip in mind?

      The stainless bits on my new LHT are all stock items that came on the complete bike. From the Surly website, they are listed as:

      Stem – Kalloy, 1-1/8″ threadless. Forged. 26.0mm clamp. Silver
      Seatpost – Kalloy SP-342, 27.2 x 300mm. Silver

      (There’s no separate listing for the spacers but seem to be included under the Ritchey logic comp headset)

      And so far no complaints or problems with the front OMM rack mounted to the rear. Seems as bomb proof as all of OMM’s stuff, and, as I mentioned, I like the small footprint of the rack. It’s true, too, that I had the ulterior motive of being able to mount the front rack to the front of some of my other bikes if need be, since I already own an OMM rear rack. If you elect to go the front rack route and want some advice on mounting it, just let me know, I’m happy to talk it through.


  5. Hi Joe,

    I am using my Surly Cross Check as a commuter bike here in Portland most of the time. In the past, I have only done supported bike tours. I will do my first self-support bike trip over the 4 day Memorial Day Weekend along the Columbia River Gorge to work out any bugs. Then we will do two self-supported trips from Denver to Tennessee and Portland to San Francisco this summer.

    I was feeling ambitious yesterday and even got the decals removed from the stainless steel water bottle. Is there some way to post my Cross Check photo in this comments area?

    Thanks for the help. I am trying out a Tubus Cargo Rear Rack for now so see how I like it. The seat poster, spacers and stem on the Cross Check are all black when you buy the complete bike from Surly.

    • Dave,

      All three, the shakedown trip and then the Denver/Tennessee and Portland/San Fran sound fantastic! You’ll be able to ride on any roads/tracks/paths/trails you care to on that Cross Check.

      I don’t know of any straightforward way to upload your photo to the comments, but if the bike is on Flickr or Photobucket, feel welcome to paste the link right in here. If you put the link in this form:

      img src=”http://***YOUR LINK HERE***” alt=”” /

      (Bracketed by the less-than and the greater-than symbols)

      It should display in the comment.


  6. Hi Joe

    I do have another question. The granny gear on my rear cassette is a 32 and the smaller of my 2 chainrings is 34. I do not have a triple. Do you think this will be adequate gearing for fairly light to moderate touring? I weigh about 150 lbs. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


    • Hey Dave,

      I absolutely think that your 32/34 is adequate for touring, though so much of this has to do with the cadence that you’re used to and how fit you are when you get to the bigger climbs. When Salsa specced the exact same ratio on their Vaya there was initially a bit of an outcry from the heavy load four pannier set, but I think this was unwarranted and that the Salsa guys got it right.

      Take some runs fully loaded and see how you feel. If you get nervous about it, you can probably mount a 34 or 36 cassette in back, assuming you have a long cage derailleur.


  7. Hi Joe

    I did my first 4 day loaded touring this weekend. I was indeed happy with the gearing. However, after about 100 miles the jockey wheel kept hitting the granny gear. I took the bike back to 7 Corners Cycle in Portland where I purchased the Surly Cross Check and they are putting on a longer cage and chain all for free. The shake out trip was a success and I am looking forward to riding from Denver to Ohio on the TransAmerica Bicycle Route after the Bike Tour of Colorado in late June. Everything seemed to fit in my back panniers so I am not planning to take a front rack.

    I am a little concerned about the seat. It is very comfortable but I’ve already stretched the adjustment bolt almost all the way. Have you had any problems?


  8. I’m currently “researching” the long haul trucker as a new general adventure bike for myself. Thanks for all the great info and posts. I worry that I’ll be torn between actually riding my bike and reading about all your adventures. Great stuff.

    But, I also noticed that today is the anniversary of this post re your replacement LHT. It seems you have quite a passel of bikes. Have you actually ridden this LHT much in the past year? Does it get used, or is it just The Best Bike That Never Goes Anywhere?

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