Loving my other Long Haul Trucker…

21 04 2012

Click on image for more info on custom Buddy Flaps for your fenders...

I recently posted that I was not loving my oldest bike a 700c Surly LHT. Having just installed some Retroshift brake levers on my 26″ wheeled Long Haul Trucker it has seen a bunch of saddle time and I must say I love it. The saddle, pedals and bars are exactly where I want them and the big balloon tires roll along like I’m on cloud. I’ll eventually take some measurements of the cockpit so I can adjust my 700c LHT to the same fit, but for now I’ll just ride the fat tire trucker and smile.

Profile shot...

This LHT is setup with:

  • Schwalbe 2.15″ Big Apple tires
  • Velo Orange fenders with some sweet Buddy Flaps
  • Old Man Mountain Sherpa rack [new version]
  • Velo Orange double crank
  • XTR derailleurs and MTB cassette
  • Shimano bar end shifters mounted on Retroshift levers
  • Tektro 720 canti brakes
  • Brooks B17
  • Velo Orange stem & bell
  • Salsa drop bars
  • franken wheels I pulled out of the garage of which we shall not speak!

Protected light placement...

If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that my preference for bike tires has slowly move towards wider and wider rubber over the years. There was a time where I had a road bike on 23mm rubber and a city MTB on 25mm rubber. Today I wouldn’t ride those same bikes if you offered them to me for free! My performance road bike runs on 42mm wide rubber for example – yet it’s fast and comfortable enough to hammer out a 300K even with my pathetic engine.

So it’s not shocking to me that I am enjoying the 55mm rubber on this LHT more than the ~35mm rubber on the 700c LHT. For urban environments as well as the gravel/dirt around Victoria big fat rubber makes life better. There is no real downside at a utility ride pace to this big rubber and there are wide performance rubber options [26 x 2.0″ Schwalbe Kojaks] if I wanted to improve the speed/range of this bike.

Those are some Big Apples...

Ideally I’d like to see 650B wheels and Grand Bois Hetres on this bike as I love how they feel, but I’ve got a limited bike budget so replacing some perfectly good wheels/tires isn’t a top priority. I’ve got some nice shiny Velo Orange 650B rims hanging in my garage so I’ll keep my eyes open for a deal on some disc hubs. That way when I do have a 650B wheel set I’ll be able to use it with both rim brakes and disc brakes.

Old Man Mountain - that's how I roll!



12 responses

21 04 2012

I find it kind of funny when people refer to 35mm (or 28mm even) as being wide. I just ordered a set of 2.15 Mondials to replace my 2.0 Marathon Supremes. I’m just hoping it’s not overkill.

21 04 2012

Another cool build there Vic. I’m going in the same direction tyre-wise. Last summer I built up an alfine 8 cross check for touring with 38mm marathon cross – the ride sure beats my giant tcr road bike with 23mm’s. The only problem I have is major toe overlap. Maybe I should have gone for the 26 LHT?

21 04 2012

I’m also changing my views on fat tires. Maybe it’s the experience of riding a Pugsley since 2006. The narrowest tire I ride now is a 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus on my Surly Belt Check commuter. And it feels narrow to me.

Currently I have 26 x 1.75 Marathons on my LHT. They have well over 5,000 miles on them and still look good. I have a new pair of Schwalbe Supremes 26 x 2.0 ready to go on for my cross-country ride this summer. Many people would gasp at the thought, but I think they will be perfect for a long distance ride.

21 04 2012

I take it back, my Ellis has 32mm Schwable Marathons. That’s my thinnest tire. I feel like I’m going to fall into every crack in the road with those thin tires.

21 04 2012

The 26″ LHT came out nice and that bar tape is pretty sexy, what kind is it? Its funny how are tastes are constantly changing and also are bodies. I’ve been struggling to find a saddle that’s comfy on my Cannondale Synapse this spring after riding a mountain bike all winter. The Specialized saddle used to feel great. What tire pressures are you running on the Big Apples?

22 04 2012

@AC – the tape is a Fi’zi:k product. Don’t recall which specific one. I throw 30-35psi in the Apples, but I don’t get too precise with them.

I could recommend saddles I like, but my riding position is more upright than a typical road bike so the same saddles probably won’t work.

25 04 2012

Tire sizing: I’ve never owned anything but mountain bikes, even though I’ve ridden exclusively on the road for the last 10 years or so (about the same age as my bike). This has limited how wide my tires can be and 1.5 inch is what I run now. But they feel just right to me now.

Wheel size: I’ve wondered about bigger wheels after only ever riding on 26 inch wheels. Is there any particularly large difference from just the wheel size? I guess I’d really just have to try.

Anyways, you’ve inspired me to keep tinkering with my current bike and given hope that it can keep going for many more miles.

25 04 2012

@Pumpikslayer – there is definitely a noticeable difference between wheel sizes and tires widths. Having said that it doesn’t mean you have to sell a particular bike and buy a different one. I commuted for years on a MTB with 26″ x 28mm tires and a road bike with 700c x 23mm tires. Today those are options I would never use, but clearly they worked well enough to ride.

Tires are always worth looking at since you can quickly and cheaply change the way a bike performs.

New wheel sizes are something to look at when a new bike is in order and you have a chance to switch to something that might serve you better.

30 05 2012


Nice build. I am about to do a very similar build with a new 26″ Disc Trucker. What width fenders are those from Velo Orange? I wish they had a 55 or 58 hammered fender, but I will probably have to settle for the smooth ones.


31 05 2012
24 05 2015

Would Big Apple 2.35 fit into frame of LHT?

As far as I see there are only two sizes of Big Apple : 2.0 and 2.35

Thank you,

24 05 2015

@Marcin – I’m running 2.15 BAs in 26″ size. They fit with a fender. I don’t know if 2.35″ BAs would fit. They might, but it would be tight.

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