Surly Long Haul Trucker For Sale

My Surly LHT...

My Surly LHT…

I’m selling my trusty Surly LHT touring bike. My limited touring time these days is spent aboard a mountain bike offroad so I need to find this bike a new home. It’s a great looking bike that rides well for touring or errand missions. The bike is in excellent condition with no damage or significant wear. I’ve been using it mostly for short distance utility rides.

You can see a whole bunch of photos here: https:

  • //www.flickr.com/photos/vikapproved/sets/72157624116957171/
Retroshift brake levers...

Retroshift brake levers…

Build Spec:

  • 58cm 26″ wheeled LHT in blackalicious
  • XTR front and rear derailleurs
  • 9 speed cassette
  • Shimano Dura Ace bar end shifters mounted on Retroshift brake levers
  • Tektro CR270 canti-brakes with Koolstop salmon pads
  • Velo Orange stainless steel fenders
  • Shimano Alivio triple cranks
  • Velo Orange headset, stem & bell
  • Cateye bike computer
  • Schwalbe Big Apple 26″ x 2.15″ tires
Big rubber and sweet fender lines...

Big rubber and sweet fender lines…

The bike is currently setup as a 1 x 9, but the front derailleur is in place and the stock Shimano triple rings can be-reinstalled to easily provide wide range gearing. Everything is in excellent condition with minimal wear. You’ll be able to ride this bike for several seasons without doing anything to it.

Some lovely silver and gold accents...

Some lovely silver and gold accents…

A few things shown in these photos are not included with the bike:

  • no saddle
  • no pedals
  • no racks
  • no dynohub or dynolight
  • no skull mudflaps [I'll include some black mudflap material and the fenders are pre-drilled for easy setup]
Race Face single ring plus stock Shimano triple rings included...

Race Face single ring plus stock Shimano triple rings included…

Cost is $999 + $99 for shipping.

If you want the options listed below [sold as a package not a la carte] the cost is $1399+$99 shipping:

  • front and rear Old Man Mountain racks
  • dynoub front wheel + B&M light
  • Brooks B17 Champion Flyer in Honey
  • Time ATAC platform clipess pedals or MEC MTB style platform pedals
  • Compass Bicycle 26″ x 1.75″ tires nearly new [very fast]
Optional dynohub + light and front rack...

Optional dynohub + light and front rack…

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Tent Review

Home sweet home!

Home sweet home!

I’ve been using a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 tent as my primary bikepacking shelter for two seasons now so I thought it was time to share some thoughts. My previous tent was a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2. The motivation to get a new tent was reducing packed weight and bulk. The Seedhouse SL2 is a light compact tent for 2 people and a luxurious shelter for 1. However, the Fly Creek is 1/3rd lighter and much more compact. For trips where you are at your limited saving a pound of weight from your gear is very nice.

Zipped up tight...

Zipped up tight…

There is no free ride. The ultra lightweight comes at the expense of durability and interior space. As compromises go they aren’t too bad. I should add it’s fairly expensive compare to other UL shelters so wait for a sale at REI to grab one.

Cozy...

Cozy…

I’ve spent rainy nights in this tent and stayed nice and dry. The small aerodynamic shape means it hands high winds during storms well and it’s free-standing so you can skip the pegs on nice nights and just use it as a bug shelter. The tent uses a single shock-corded pole that setups up very quickly. If you are facing a storm you can get a shelter up and your gear inside quickly.

Works great as a bug tent in good weather...

Works great as a bug tent in good weather…

At nearly 6′ tall the Fly Creek is big enough for me to stretch out in when sleeping with personal gear on either side of me. I can sit up cross legged at the front of the tent to get dressed or read a book. Having said that I wouldn’t want to spend 2-3 days waiting out rainy weather inside this shelter.

Strategically placed mesh for ventilation...

Strategically placed mesh for ventilation…

The fabric colours are warm and pleasant while staying subdued for stealthiness. It’s fairly thin so you have to treat the tent gently if you don’t want to be repairing it. I’ve skipped the footprint and put the tent on the ground without any damage.

Single free-standing pole design...

Single free-standing pole design…

There are lots of guy point on the sil-nylon fly to get the tent ready for high winds during a storm. Although once wet the fabric stretches a bit so you usually end up adjusting it at least once. The pegs that are provided with the Fly Creek are high quality and easy to penetrate into hard ground – so far!

Compact packed shape...

Compact packed shape…

The tent is a front entrance design which saves weight, but isn’t as easy to use as a side entry shelter. There is a small vestibule area for your pack and shoes, but if you plan to enter and leave multiple times it can be a pain. Especially when it’s wet as water from the fly can get knocked off and drip inside.

Easy to setup...

Easy to setup…

All in all these short comings are worth it to me to get a light compact tent for demanding mountain bike tours. I’ve kept an eye out for a better option, but so far I haven’t found one.

Blackspire Bruiser Bashguard Review

Blackspire Bruiser...

Blackspire Bruiser – click image for product info…

There are a new crop of XX1/XO1 bikes out now that use a narrow-wide single chainring up front with a clutch derailleur in the rear. This setup doesn’t require any chain retention help, but it does leave your ring/BB area vulnerable to rock/log impacts.

XX1/XO1 don’t play nice with traditional crank mounted bash rings and using a full ISCG chain guide just to get the taco style bash portion is a waste plus it adds back a bunch of weight you paid through the nose to get rid of.

There are some Taco only bash guards, but until I found this Blackspire Bruiser they were all made for the bigger rings we were using on double/triple ring bikes so they hang down too low [ie. MRP XCG].

The Bruiser was purpose built for the smaller XX1 rings and works with 26T-32T. There is also a 32T -38T model if you need a bigger ring. It is light at 76g for the smaller ring version. Low profile and best of all made in Canada. Cost is $60 CAD so that’s like $20USD or something? ;)

Bruiser installed...

Bruiser installed…

I ordered 2 for Sharon and my Pivot Mach 6 mountain bikes. We’ve been using them nearly 6 months now and they have performed as expected.

  • light
  • unobtrusive
  • provide protection from high obstacles to protect the frame
Bruiser with crank in place...

Bruiser with crank in place…

Surly Straggler

Singlespeed simplicity...

Singlespeed simplicity…

I built up a Straggler recently to replace my LHT as a commuter bike on my 50km round trip between Victoria BC and Sidney.

The goal was to build a bike that was more fun to ride than my LHT unloaded and faster…in that order of priority. My secondary goals were to reuse as many parts as I could from my spares bin and maximize compatibility across my fleet. I’m really tired of building up expensive wheels that only work on one bike for example.

40T x 16T...

40T x 16T…

My build is pretty basic:

  • 58cm Straggler 700c version
  • Velocity Blunt SL rims + Hope Evo Pro 2 hubs
  • Compass Bicycle 32mm tires setup tubeless
  • Race Face Turbine cranks + Time ATAC pedals
  • SS 40T x 16T drievtrain
  • Brooks B17
  • Velo Orange hammered 45mm fenders
  • Avid BB7 brakes with 160mm rotors
  • Salsa Short ’n Shallow bars with Tektro brake levers
  • Salsa 70mm Moto Ace stem

Front end...

Front end…

I’ve got a torn muscle in my arm so I have been keeping my rides short. So far the bike is meeting my expectations for enjoyment and speed. The SS gear ratio seems to work for the speed range and terrain I am riding.

The fit is good [I ride a 58cm LHT]. I may swap in a slightly longer stem, but I’ll wait and see if that’s needed once my arm is better and I can commute on it a few times.

Unlike my LHT I have kept this bike clean and simple. No racks, no gears, no dynohub and no tubes! I did install full fenders and mud flaps because I live in the PNW and I hate getting road grim on me….especially since a good chunk of my commute is dirt.

Rear end...

Rear end…

Although the Straggler is setup SS at the moment the rear Hope hub is a geared version so I can quickly swap to a 1x derailleur setup using a down tube shifter. Given my move towards light weight touring and the fact I don’t need super low gears a single-ring drivetrain will more than meet my needs for the odd road tour I take this bike on. Heck I may give SS touring a shot and not bother with gears, but it’s nice to have the option.

In terms of negatives for this bike my main concern is whether I’ll find the frame too stiff for my needs. I enjoy a lively flexible steel frame and the performance that comes with it. However, when considering my options the cost of the Straggler frame was such a good deal through my LBS I figured it was worth a shot. Worst case I sell it next spring and move the parts to something else.

Can be setup as a singlering drivetrain if desired...

Can be setup as a singlering drivetrain if desired…

My 58cm black 26” wheeled LHT will be posted for sale shortly. I’m going to clean it up and take some photos today for the ad.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vikapproved/sets/72157624116957171/

Sadly this will be the end of my membership in the Surly LHT club, but at least I’ve still got a Surly under me! ;)

Full fenders and mud flaps...

Full fenders and mud flaps…

Spruce Lake Basecamp Trip

Sharon closing in on the lake...

Sharon closing in on the lake…

After a fairly arduous bikepacking trip to the Chilcotins in July I headed back as part of a 17 rider crew from the Dirt Hombres Mountain Bike Club in mid-August. The plan was to have our camping gear flown into Spruce Lake and ride in/out on unloaded mountain bikes. That way lots of people who were not interested or equipped to bikepack could enjoy some backcountry riding and by sharing the cost of the flights 17 ways it wasn’t super expensive.

Ladies made up more than half the crew...

Ladies made up more than half the crew…

We all rode in 35kms along Gun Creek Trail from Tyax Lodge. It’s a pleasant ride with a slight uphill grade for the most part. There are a few hike-a-bike sections to keep you honest, but on unloaded bikes we cruised up the trail without much difficulty. At one point a black bear blocked our progress and he was quite stubborn. The sight of a large group didn’t phase him and he even started trotting down the trail towards us to see what was going on. I had to fire off 2 bear bangers to get him off the trail. After which point he just watched us pass from a safe distance.

It's not all buff singletrack!

It’s not all buff singletrack!

One concern I had initially was how we’d manage 17 riders on such a big trip. Happily without any prompting the group broke down into smaller teams that rode together throughout the week. Everyone had someone to ride with that wanted to do something similar.

Tyax Air landing at the lake...

Tyax Air landing at the lake…

When we arrived at the lake our luggage had been delivered by Tyax Air and we setup our camps for the next 4 nights. There was only 1 other group camping at the time so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Heading towards Spruce Peak...

Heading towards Spruce Peak…

Each day we set off on different rides from our Spruce Lake basecamp. There are enough trail options to ride something new each day for 5 days – although most rides are out and backs.

There is some nice variety in the scenery...

There is some nice variety in the scenery…

We really lucked out with the bugs. There were literally no flies or mosquitos to deal with. In my limited Chilcotins experience that was just unheard of, but very welcome.

Near the top of Windy Pass...

Near the top of Windy Pass…

Not having to carry camping gear and coming back to an established camp after each ride was quite pleasant. It certainly made the riding less gnarly and more fun.

The ladies getting some trout...

The ladies getting some trout…

In the early mornings and evenings we did quite a bit of fishing. Spruce Lake is filled with a ton of hungry trout which makes fishing dead easy. Sharon caught her first ever fish on her first ever cast. :)

Dinner...

Dinner…

Needless to say we ate a lot of trout during our stay at the lake.

Planning the next ride...

Planning the next ride…

The gang riding a fireroad in...

The gang riding a fireroad in…

Charging Tyaughton Creek...

Charging Tyaughton Creek…

Solo ride up Windy Pass...

Solo ride up Windy Pass in the rain…

For the most part we had dry and hot weather during our trip with the exception of one day of light rain. It was just enough moisture to cool us down and keep the dust in control.

Coming back from Tyaughton Creek...

Coming back from Tyaughton Creek…

Letting some horses go past...

Letting some horses go past…

4 thumbs up!

4 thumbs up!

Crossing a creek the easy way...

Crossing a creek the easy way…

Resting at Mach 6...

Resting at Mach 6…

Another creek...

Another creek…

A bunch of the team...

A bunch of the team…

Nice work Hombres...

Nice work Hombres…

The Dirt Hombres had a lot of smiles and laughs at Spruce Lake. There was lots of talk about doing a similar trip next year. If so I’m bringing a packraft and I’m going to fish a whole lot more. ;)

Getting a wee bit 'o air under the tires...

Getting a wee bit ‘o air under the tires…

Sell me your packraft!

Photo: JH Packrafts

Photo: JH Packrafts

Up until a week ago I’d have told you I had no use for a packraft. I’ve got zero interest in whitewater paddling for fun. I’ve never encountered a body of water I couldn’t cross or get around easily on my bikepacking trips and we don’t have many rivers around here that are suitable for a bike out float back type trip. Then I was at Spruce Lake in the Chilcotins and needed a boat to get my fishing on and had to borrow a crappy rowboat from an outfitter and got yelled at because I didn’t ask the right person and sign some waiver. At the same time two guys showed up with packrafts and their bikes and proceeded to fish like bandits.

Hmmmm….time to start thinking about a packraft! ;)

I’ve been using a plastic kayak to fish from, but I am limited to lakes I can drive to and carry a 40lb 10′ boat in to. So a light packable raft would be great to use biking or hiking up to lakes that harder to get to in the mountains that see less fishing pressure.

Yukon Yak...

Alpacka Yukon Yak…

The one I am looking at is the Alpacka Yukon Yak. I’m nearly 6′ tall with a fat ass so I need something bigger than the smallest rafts, but I don’t need the biggest expedition rafts. This bad boy costs $1K with a paddle so I figured I would ask around if anyone had an older Alpacka raft in good shape they wanted to sell to get the latest greatest level of performance? I’m just going to fish from it in high mountain lakes that I hike or bike to.

I don’t want any of the cheapie knock offs so if it’s not an Alpacka raft or a Feathercraft or something comparable I won’t be interested. Colour doesn’t matter.

Let me know…