Oct 24, 2008

Atlantic Canada - Ze bicycle (Surly LHT)

I'd been looking for a steel touring frame with 26" wheels for a while. They were few and even when the surly frames came out, the cost of building it would be almost the same as a complete Bruce Gordon Rock & Road or some other custom bike. Then came the Surly Long Haul Trucker complete. All I had to do is convince myself that the "color isn't so bad in real". Yeah right, it's still ugly but at that price, the LHT is one of the best bang for the buck so buying an expensive bike and staying home looking at the expensive paint job was no longer an excuse.

I made a few changes from the stock LHT. The saddle was replaced by a Brooks B17 and the handlebar by a Nitto Noodle. Narrow bars were a problem with my other bike so I went with 46cm. The wide bars also give more control on soft terrain and the Nitton Noodles are flat behind the brake hood, which I find more comfortable. Finally, I added Paul Thumbies, which transform the bar-end shifters into thumb shifters. There are a few reasons for these. Even though I love drop bars in fast descents and against strong wind, I rarely ride in the drops. The Thumbies-mounted shifters are better protected from knocks and last, the cable routing doesn't get in the way of the front rack shelf as it does with barcons. The disadvantage would be trouble with bar-bag quick-release system. I'm now using a bag on the shelf so this isn't a concern.

Other additions or changes were a Topeak Modula XL bottle cage for 1.5L bottles, SKS P50 fenders and Schwalbe Marathon XR tire in 2.0" size. I prefer heavier and trouble free tires and I went a little overboard with size. I bought them for the Anticosti island but I ended doing very little riding there. I plan on riding even more on dirt roads in the future so all is not lost.

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