Saturday, November 24, 2012

Surly Long Haul Trucker - Rough Stuff

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Surly Long Haul Trucker

I have enjoyed using my Surly Long Haul Trucker for utilitarian purposes such as commuting to work and trips to the grocery store. It is built a little on the stout side to handle heavy loads and and to have stable handling. These same attributes enable the Long Haul Trucker to work well for off road rides also. This bike was really designed as a touring bike. I haven't had the chance to  take it on any long distance tours, but hopefully that will be something I can do in the future. 

Twice this week I have gone for off road rides on the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I consider cycling to be an adventure. Riding this bike off road is always fun. There isn't much pressure to go fast, because it just isn't going to happen on this bike. It is a heavy bike and that's OK.  Both times it was early in the morning and both times turned out to be fun adventures. One morning five deer jumped up out of the tall grass right beside me and ran in all different directions. That startled the heck out of me. Try a short off road ride when you can't get in a long ride. Different types of riding keep cycling interesting. 
 A Continetal Town and Country Tire on the Surly Long Haul Trucker 26x2 inch size.
 Surly Long Haul Truckers framesets are designed to work with different wheel sizes. Most size frames are available with a choice of a geometry that works with 26 inch tires or a frameset for 700c tires. The smaller sizes are only available in the 26 inch tire design. Mine is a smaller frame and has 26 inch tires on it. The smaller wheels look right on this bike but would look a little funny on larger frames. All Long Haul Truckers are designed to fit much wider tires than most bikes will accommodate. This bike is equipped with Continental Town and Country tires in size 26x2 inch. These wider tires are heavy but work well for commuting since you can bounce through most pot holes on the road with out doing any damage to the tires or rims. The wider tires also make the bike more stable and provide better traction off road. The inverted tread works well on most surfaces except for wet mud. 

Surly Long Haul Truckers are available equipped with either traditional cantilever brakes or a disc brake model is also available. Mine has the traditional cantilever brakes on it. Cantilever brakes have worked fine for me. I have wished for a little more braking power when the bike has hauled a heavy load of groceries. 
Surly Long Haul Trucker on a trail

The stock built Surly Long Haul Trucker provides a wide range of gearing. The stock crankset has three chainrings in sizes 26 - 36- 48 teeth. The stock rear cassette has 9 cogs in sizes 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34 teeth. With a low gear of 26 tooth chainring in the front and a 34 tooth cog in the rear it is easy to haul a heavy load up most any hill on the road and easy to get up most steep inclines that are encountered while riding off road. While pedaling in this low gear the bike will not be traveling very fast, but you should be able to get up about any hill. Off road climbing is mostly limited by the traction of the tires. I had no problem riding up the hills I have come upon while riding off road on the Surly. 

This bike is not near as fast as a mountain bike off road. The off road ride of the Surly reminds me more of a Jeep than it does an off road motorcycle. 

The trails in these pictures are all within a few minutes ride of my house. 

Click here to visit the Surly web site and learn more about the Long Haul Trucker and all the Surly Bicycles.
The Surly Long Haul Trucker in the shadows beside a trail.
In the video below Linda Ronstadt performs the song "Willin'" which was written by Lowell George of the music group Little Feat. This was in November 1976. The song has some references to Long Haul Truck Driving. A few of the lines are:

Driven every kind of Rig 
that's ever been made.
Driven the backroads
so I wouldn't get weighed.

I've never been a Long Haul Trucker, but I have driven a few trucks on occasion in years past. It always turned out to be a big adventure. Most of the time I would end up driving the backroads to avoid the scales on the main highway so I wouldn't get weighed.  That's just the way it is for a Long Haul Trucker.

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