Saturday, February 6, 2010

You should have a bike like this

Forget all your biases, if you harbor them, against 26" wheels. This bike made it's HC showroom debut yesterday, and it has been getting a ton of attention from employees and customers alike.
58 cm LHT with 26" wheels
It's a stock Surly Long Haul Trucker, 58 cm frame with 26" wheels. We added some Tubus racks, Planet Bike Cascadia fenders, MKS pedals, a Brooks saddle, King bottle cages (plus Klean Kanteen), and most importantly, Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 26x2.0 tires. The best thing about the 26" wheel option on these new LHTs is that it allows for a much fatter tire than is possible on the 700C variant. With a 2" (50 mm) tire and fenders, there's still plenty of room in there. Why should you care? Because a 50+ mm tire will roll over mushy sand and gravel and other questionable surfaces where a 35 mm tire will falter. And, with decent tires (like these Schwalbes), this will be pleasingly fast on pavement and hard-pack dirt/gravel surfaces. More comfort and traction and flotation, with no discernible loss of speed or handling! It's a win-win-win-win-etc-situation! Bonus: if you ever find yourself in Mongolia, Mozambique, Montreal, or some other exotic place, spare 26" wheels and tires will be found growing on trees thereabouts, while 700C bits will be unavailable at any price. At least that's what I hear.

This bike, as pictured, will be around $1550, but numerous equipment options (and prices) are possible. The base bike with stock parts (no pedals) is $1095.

13 comments:

Vik said...

I've got a 58cm LHT and don't need another touring bike, but I am curious about the 26" version and what I would find the direct comparison to be like.

Bryan said...

Nice! Please post a pic of one of the larger sizes (60 or 62) when you get one of those built up. I do a lot of my commuting on an old Stumpjumper, and I love riding around on those 26" wheels.

Anonymous said...

I like the way Surly sticks with the tried and true and has stayed off the wierd wheel size hype wagon.

Jim Thill said...

I am a 26" wheel fan, but there's nothing inherently weird about other sizes, even if they are new (or newly resurrected). Square wheels would be weird, but circular wheels of slightly different diameters are ok with me!

Darin said...

I think I'm in love! What would be the turnaround time be to get a blue 62cm 26" built as pictured without the racks or saddle?

Jim Thill said...

We could have it ready by Wednesday if you give us money by Monday. The distributor has 3 in stock.

Doug said...

Is the ride comparable to a 700c touring bike? Do you even notice the smaller wheels?

Jim Thill said...

Our roads are too gnarly to test this clean bike, but I have a similar custom 58cm bike with 26" wheels. Rides and handles great, and I am as fast on that bike as I ever am. The big tires really inspire confidence on bad pavement or unpaved roads and trails.

MplsMTB said...

How much off-road abuse do you think one of these frames could take? Could this be the perfect River Bottoms flyer?

PJC said...

re: Off-road abuse, absolutely whatever you could dish out. I've done a fair bit of proper mountain biking on my 2005 26" wheeled LHT, including in an expert mountain bike race (okay, maybe it wasn't ideal for that, but it happened). I routinely run Nevegal 2.1's; it's a blast. The low bottom bracket is a bit of a limiter, but that's about it.

The LHT deserves its status as a classic, and the one in this post looks great.

Anonymous said...

I'll second the offroad-ability of the LHT. The frame is plenty stout. The low BB can sometimes be a bit of a bummer. But on buff singletrack or fire roads where you're not likely to strike pedals, it totally rocks.

Tony said...

Wait a minute, no 700c wheels in exotic places like Montreal? You decided to forgo accuracy for the alliteration didn't you? Maybe substitute Montenegro for Montreal. :)

Jim Thill said...

Just a little humor for my Canadian friends.