Hi, I am thinking about buying a used LHT that I would not be able to see or try before buying it. It seems to be a decent deal but I have some questions. I've heard for years that they are great bikes but have not ridden one myself. I am looking for a good quality road bike that will be comfortable for distance touring. So if you ride a Surly Long Haul Trucker, could you please mention what you like about it? Do you find it heavy? And if you ride the 52cm size, how tall are you?
I personally don't own an LHT, but I've always heard favorable comments about them from people who do own one. But on the issue of the 52cm frame and "how tall one is" issue: Height alone doesn't always tell the whole story when selecting a frame size. You need to know your pubic bone height (PBH - the distance from your "sit" bones to the ground) and the size wheels/tires on the bike to determine comfortable stand-over height (SOH) and whether that size frame is appropriate. IOW, a bike set up with 700C wheels and 32mm tires will result in a different top tube-to-ground distance than the same frame equipped with 26" wheels and something like 40mm tires. The surly web site has charts that recommend the SOH for various LHT frame sizes equipped with specific tires/wheels.
Thanks, George. I appreciate your response and I had already checked the Surly website regarding the specs on wheels. I just felt like it might be a little personal to ask people to share their pubic bone height in a public forum. :)
Don't feel embarrassed about the PBH - it's a common measurement among cyclists and is referred to frequently when discussing frame sizes. Meanwhile, I agree with what tricolor says - go to a shop and see what it's like to actually stand over a bike with a given frame size. Also, take into consideration with what he says about the weight/handling of a frame like the LHT - it's good advice. You may wind up with a bike you really like or one you really don't.
What year is it? The components and colors other than black change every now and then. They're heavy, have a long wheelbase and don't have lightning handling. It can hustle if you have the energy and gearing - I've seen one of the lakefront crowd pretending to do a criterion on a Big Dummy with a six year old on the back - and you can attach fenders and racks to make it a good year round commuter. Most parts are Shimano bits that are easy to source and replace and there are plenty of chain rings and cassettes that can get you any gearing you want. It's sturdy and simple and cheap to run.
Loaded down for a trip it's very comfortable. It actually feels more like driving car with the extra weight. You won't be trying to go fast at that point and you can spend hours on it without being fatigued unless you're climbing a mountain or something. I've taken my 07 up to the campground at Illinois Beach, to Madison a few times (three day trips) and once from Pittsburgh to DC over the GAP/C&O trails in five days. Otherwise it's a slow-ish commuter but one I can ride in wet weather and carry everything in a pannier or two.
As with any bike the size makes a big difference. Go to a shop and take a look at an actual 52 to see if the one for sale would fit. With a list over $1,000 it's more than I'd pay for a new one, so hopefully it turns out to be a good used purchase for you.
I've been riding mine for years. I love it! Everyone I know who has one loves it! It's heavy and it's not fast but if you want to ride far and/or carry lots of stuff comfortably, it is great.
Thanks for the advice, you guys! I decided not to purchase that particular bike (or any bike I can’t try myself) but will look at the LHT when I do go to my local bike shop!