What happened to my Long Haul Trucker?

11 04 2012

My Surly LHT with the Selkirk Trestle in the background...

I’ve been out of town a lot so far this year and have mostly been riding my MTBs and Bike Friday Tikit when I am home. So the other night I grabbed my oldest bike and jumped on it for a ride into town to meet a friend. My sage green LHT has been one of those bikes I’ve used to size other bikes I was buying because it fit so well and it was definitely in that category of “bikes I would never get rid of”. So it came as a huge shock that I was both uncomfortable on my LHT and didn’t enjoy how she felt to ride…=-(

Now logically I know our bodies and our preferences change, but emotionally I was just so totally unprepared to not be smiling as I pedalled this bike into Victoria.

Some of the issues are reasonably easy to fix. I need to move the saddle to get my butt/knees and BB into the position that’s comfortable and efficient. Then I may or may not have to swap in a different stem to get the bars positioned where I want them and I definitely will need to rotate the bars and reposition the brake levers. This is a bit of a pain, but nothing overly challenging. Give me a warm sunny afternoon and 3 beers! =-)

I wasn’t loving the skinny 35mm Marathon XR touring tires either which is also a shock as these have been one of my favourite for a long long time. Tires are easily replaced so other than feeling bad for not enjoying an old friend’s company I can get over this issue. Now I know 35mm isn’t skinny for a road tire, but keep in mind my MTBs run on 2.4″-3.7″ tires and my go fast road bike runs on 42mm tires – plus the XRs measure a bit on the narrow side so they aren’t a true 35mm width.

I actually came home after the ride in question and said to myself “I could sell this bike and be fine about it.”

Now I’m fortunate in that I have a 26″ wheeled LHT in my work stand getting Retroshift brake levers + bar end shifters installed. I just setup the bars/levers and saddle position to be comfortable/efficient so that’s not a problem and it’s running on Schwalbe Big Apple 2.15″ balloon tires. This should address all my concerns about my 700c LHT. I’m keen to get the 26″ LHT back on the road and ride both of them [after adjusting the 700c bike’s cockpit]. A always assumed the 26″ wheeled LHT would be a bike I’d keep for 2-3yrs to compare wheel sizes after which I’d sell it, but now I’m really not sure which LHT will get sold.

If I do end up keeping the 26″ wheeled LHT I may forge ahead with the 650B conversion I had been pondering and perhaps even get the fork re-raked to lower the trail. That seems to be where my bikey preferences are headed.

Life is always full of surprises!