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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Long Haul Trucker: Phase Two (or, Retro-Grouch Special)

Helloo friends! I realize it's been awhile since I've talked about my bikes. Since you all love hearing about them, what better time to talk about bikes than now? Let's talk about the Surly Long Haul Trucker. A metric ass-ton of stuff has been done to the bike since the spring. I've been meaning to write about what's happened, but wanted to wait until it was all done. And yeah, it got done a few months ago, but then I forgot to write about it. (So sue me.)

Drivetrain: I basically got a new drivetrain before I left for the Cross-Continent Tour in May of 2011. Since departure, I racked up 5,000 miles of wear and tear, so it was definitely in need of TLC. Of course I got a new rear cassette (seven speed, 13-34) and chain. And I could have just replaced the front chainrings that needed replacing. But I decided to get more drastic. I wanted a new crankset.

Now there was nothing functionally wrong with the old crankset, a Shimano Deore. In the olden days when I wasn't so concerned about the look of my bikes, it didn't matter to me. But now that I've become a retro-grouch aesthete, the Deore crankset looked out of place. Too modern mountain bikey. So I asked myself, What Would Grant Petersen Do?

Answer: a Sugino XD2 triple crankset (46x36x24). Very classy, old-skool looking. And works great. Now paired with the MKS Lambda (Grip-King) Pedals that used to be on the Raleigh.

Fenders*: The Planet Bike Cascadia fenders served me well for five years (they were first on my Univega three-speed.) But they were getting a little long in the tooth, and with some prodding by Mr. Todd Boulanger, I made the plunge and got a set of Velo Orange Hammered 45mm Fenders 700c. Yeah, they're not Honjo, but they still look pretty damn sweet. And light! They are actually lighter than the plastic fenders I took off the LHT, if you believe it.

Handlebars: Here's another area where my taste has changed over the years. The drop bars that I've used for four years on the LHT were swapped over from my old touring bike (Centurion Accordo). I don't remember picking out any specific drops for that bike; I simply asked my bike shop for a set of drop bars and that's what they gave me. They worked, but I wanted something more classy.
Grand Raundoneur bars, pre-shellac.

And when you want classy handlebars, you go for Nitto. (Or Soma, I guess.) I originally wanted some Noodles (#177) as they are well liked. But an error happened in the ordering process and I ended up with Nitto Grand Raundoneur (sic) #132. And it turns out I like these bars a whole lot. Originally I had wanted more traditional randonneur bars but was steered** toward the Noodles. Add some cork tape, twine, and shellac, and voila!

Headlamp: I've had dynamo powered lighting for the LHT since before the big tour. The B+M Lyt Senso Plus headlight did the job, but I've been itching for something more. So I purchased a B+M Lumotec IQ Cyo R Senso Plus headlight from Clever Cycles. At 40 lux, it's almost twice as bright as the old light. Now if it would be dark enough for me to really test it!

That's about all I've done to the bike. After four years of owning the Long Haul Trucker, she now feels like a new machine. I love how versatile this bike is, and how I can do it up in so many ways. Wonder how long this look will last before I move onto a different phase?

And what's that bag on the front rack? That'll have to wait for an upcoming post!

*Or, if you must, mudguards.


  1. It must be the season for sprucing up our LHT's :-) Very nice!

  2. It makes me want to spend some serious dough on the Miyata and put sensible lower gearing so I can really put some touring miles on it. Thanks for the drool shots.

  3. The only question I have is: How much exactly is a "metric ass-ton"?

  4. I'm LOVING the new look,my good friend! Those fenders are sweet,loving the headlight placement too,not only functional,just unique enough to where I digs it lots :)

    Long time no speak (comment),eh? Had to move house again,second summer in a row (this one didn't burn though,LOL,only our hope for it). Riding everywhere everyday is...just not an option here,but what it lacks in cycling op's it makes up for in swimming/fishing op's being right on a lake,but anyways...

    Please do (talk about your bikes),I DO love reading about em,seeing pics :)

    The Disabled Cyclist

  5. I'm sure the Cyo won't disappoint. I was just moving mine from the old Brompton to the new and although it has seldom been dark enough for me to need it these past few months, it performed admirably over the winter months. Is the Philips Saferide dynamo light available stateside yet?

    1. Haven't seen the Saferide yet. If anyone would have it, it would be Clever Cycles, and so far, nothing. The problem with good dynolighting in the States is we have one "gatekeeper", and that be Peter White. Any B+M or Schmidt stuff comes through him, even the stuff I buy at Clever. If Peter White doesn't get it, than...

    2. I had an email from a guy at Philips USA after I reviewed the Saferide and he seemed enthusiastic about making it available there. Maybe it will appear eventually (and I would recommend).


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