Gear Review


Surly Long Haul Trucker (2011) (54cm, 26″ wheel)

A very solid frame, with all the connections you can think of for building up a touring bike.

The frame held up very well over more than 15,000km, and is still going strong. Some nicks, which were easily concealed and protected with a bit of nail polish. Some rust has appeared, but this is understandable. Seat post is now “frozen” but I haven’t been overly concerned as I don’t need to adjust it.



Surly Long Haul Trucker (2011)

Nice and solid – the uncut stem was an advantage as I could set the height to my requirements.









Mavic XC717 V-Brake Rim

Skinnier than I thought they would be.



Shimano XTR Centre Lock

Spins well. Wheels appear true.



DT Swiss Competition with alloy nipple

They are spokes. We’ll see how they hold up.



Brooks B17-S

Very pretty! Seems very hard and will take some breaking in.


Handlebar Grips

Ergon GC3

Very comfortable, offers multiple hand positions with the integrated bar ends.



Schwalbe Marathon Dureme Evolution DD (26 x 2.00)

Tyres fold down well, which will make the spare easier to carry.


Inner Tubes

Schwalbe MTB (Presta 26 x 1.5-2.5)

Not much to say really, will see when we get the bike up and running how many flats I get.



Knog N.E.R.D. 12 Function Wireless

Very brightly coloured. Easy to install.



Shimano A530 SPD Single Sided Touring

Good construction, and the bearings work well.



Topeak Road Morph with Gauge

A tidy little unit, almost feels like a track pump (for very short people)



Shimano Ladies WM43 Multi-Use SPD Shoes

Good looking shoe. The sole isn’t completely rigid so walking in them will be easier.


Water Bottle Cages

Clarks Polycarbonate

Slightly flexible, hopefully will assist in reducing breakage.


Front Rack

Tubus Ergo Lowrider

Solid construction. Ortleib bags fit snugly.


Rear Rack

Tubus Cargo

See above.


Handlebar Bag

Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Plus+ Map Case

Bag does not appear to be dust proof, may have to invest in something to protect camera etc. Really don’t think I’ll be able to read a map and ride at the same time, but it will be convenient to have the map out and ready for stops.


Panniers – Front

Ortlieb Front Roller Plus Panniers (25L)

Tidy little bag, fits more than you would expect. Should keep a low profile on the front of the bike.


Panniers – Rear

Ortlieb Back Roller Plus (40L)

Good sized bag. The attachment system means that they can be adjusted to stay out of the way of your feet, although I don’t think this will be a problem given the wheelbase of the Surly.


Nutrition Bag

Lezyne Energy Caddy

Roomy enough for on-the-road snacks


Bike Cable

Giant generic D-Lock & Kryptonite KryptoFlex 7ft Cable

Cable is a good length, will enable bike to be chained securely through both wheels and back through the frame. Possibly large enough for two bikes.



Trangia Mini

Cute little piece of kit. Only suitable for boiling water for a cuppa or instant noodles. Could at a stretch make a meal for one. Includes a 800ml pot and small frying pan/pot lid.


Ortlieb Folding Bowl (20L)

This is going to be very useful. Bigger than I thought it would be. Will be great for washing laundry and my person when a shower isn’t available.



Northwave Devine (3/4 length)

Probably a little on the big side, comfortable and dry quickly.



Altura Attack Waterproof

Again a little on the big side – hard to order off the internet – but roomy enough not to restrict movement with an additional layer or two in inclement weather.



Altura Ladies Quantum Cycling T-Shirt

Feels good on, nice and cool. Will be great for the tropical sections of the trip.


Tool Kit

Lezyne Port-A-Shop

Nice collection of tools, well made and appear durable. Case is very handy, and is smaller than I thought it would be.



Endura Coolmax Race

Same colour as the bike! Good fit, should be good for hot weather riding.



Gear Review — 5 Comments

    • Hi David

      I started with a Shimano XT bottom bracket but after about 5,000km it developed a clicking noise. I was lucky enough to find a shop in China that had an XTR bottom bracket in stock so switched it out and there have been no problems since. The cranks are Shimano Hollowtech II XT on a triple crankset. No problems at all with those.

      Are you building your own Surly? Let me know how it all goes and where you are planning on riding. Love hearing from fellow tourers!


      • Thanks for the reply Jane! I see, obviously worth the extra cash then! I was thinking at first that I would be buying an off-the-shelf Surly but after reading your website have decided to take the plunge and build my own…for better or for worse. Will keep in touch with how it goes. Thanks again.

      • Extra question: was it more expensive to build your bike than buy a fully build Surly Long Haul Trucker (i.e. ~£1200)?

        • Hi David

          It was more expensive, but not by much, and I got to choose all the parts myself. I couldn’t get a fully built bike in China (where I was based at the time) and decided to build one myself. An extra cost of building a bike is you have to purchase some specialty tools to install some parts (eg bottom bracket and rear cassette). I rigged up a headset press using a large bolt, which was a bit dodgy but it worked ok in the end. I’d also recommend investing in a work stand so you can work in comfort, I scored a second hand one (after I’d finished the build and realized how good it would be to have one) for $100/~£60.

          I found it immensely satisfying to build my own bike, also a little frustrating at times, but now I get to say I built her myself which gives me a bit of street cred ;-)


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