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The Perfect Commuter Bike : Quick Update

by Bike Shop Girl

Long Haul Trucker

Currently the Long Haul is sitting as pictured above.  I installed the Schwalbe tires by chance, not thinking they would fit, but they did.  The tires I think have taken the bike a completely different path than originally I thought it would go.  The bikes looks have changed.

Yesterday, I worked on installing the Velo Orange 60mm 26″ fenders.  I need a new L-Bracket to install the front fender but I did a quick mock up photo, as you see above.

The handlebars installed right now are Nitto North Road handlebars, attached to a Misfit Psycles stem. I’ve been really impressed with the change of ride quality between the fat, balloon type, tires and the swept back handlebars..  There are still several handlebars to work through before I can give you an honest opinion on which handlebar I prefer, but I like the swept back and comfortable feel as it is.

What do you think so far?

 
Burley nomad 229

26 Responses to “The Perfect Commuter Bike : Quick Update”

  1. Peter says:

    Very cool. I like it! It’s rather similar to my winter bike in appearance. The main difference is that I opted for enclosed brakes (coaster brake rear, Sturmy Archer drum brake front) and gears (Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal hub). The idea here was to internalize the stuff that wears out during winter riding up here in the Pacific NW.

    While I’ve never used your North Road handlebars, I imagine they’ll be just great. I opted for the Nitto Mustache handlebars because of the wide variety of grip alternatives.

    Drooling over the steel fenders – they look fab!

  2. chumbox says:

    That is easily one the best long hauls I’ve seen. Not the standard drop bar and racks set up. Nice choice of bars too, those Nittos are great to ride.

  3. dreamlet says:

    I think it looks awesome with those tires and I bet it rides like a dream. I’d like to see a brown Brooks saddle on it, though.

  4. Doug D says:

    I would try to squeeze some wide rims in there. I put some snowcats on a similar bike that I built up this past spring and they improve the ride even more than just the tires on their own. I am not sure if the LHT will fit wide rims though…

  5. That looks super! I’m a huge fan of oversized tires. I run 32′s on my road bike, 2.3′s on my commuter/folder. I feel that running on the large side solves a lot of the issues that folks complain about, particularly in ride quality, and the resultant soreness.

    Of course, it’s not terrific for wind resistance, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most daily riders.

  6. scarecrow says:

    If you have not commuted on big tires, you don’t know what you’re missing. They are fantastic. Commuting on skinny tires is like hiking in dress shoes.

  7. jdc says:

    No-one’s going to steal the thing, that’s for sure…unless it’s parked outside a senior’s residence. At least you won’t need to carry a lock! ;p (just kidding)

    I’d dump the cheap looking chrome fenders. They look like they were borrowed off of a garage sale bike and added as an afterthought. I assume that they’re heavy, will look bad in no time and most likely eventually start to rust. I’d like more snow clearance between the tire and the fender.

    I’d also change the tires to black during wet season. You’re using rim brakes and alloy rims. In wet weather season, there will be plenty of black residue being thrown across the sidewalls of those pretty tires. They’ll look really bad in no time.

    The bars aren’t my cup of tea. It looks like the owner is trying too hard to make a brand new 1960s Schwinn. I’d use a wider width mountainbike flat bar with full sized ski bend barends.

    All in all, it’s a cool looking bike but stylewise some things don’t seem to work with other things. It’s a practical commuter if you aren’t concerned with visuals over time.

  8. IBCleary says:

    Great update, really interested in what you figure out for the bars. I know someone designing a 700c version with disk brakes and internally geared hub. I need to start picking parts in a couple weeks. As to JDC “it looks like the owner is trying too hard to make a brand new 1960s Schwinn.” exactly, 16 million dutch can’t be wrong.

  9. Old and In the Way says:

    She sure is pretty. I love it. Looks very relaxed and comfortable.

    I have a 68 Schwinn racer with a 700c singlespeed wheelset that looks very similar (only with a lot more rust).

    Someone suggested a brooks saddle. I agree that (maybe not a brooks, but) a bigger, more cushy saddle would better round out the relaxed look of the bike.

  10. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    What! now Ihave to build a wide tire bike to keep up with all the cool stuff?

    Very cool looking LHT..

    But up here in the frozen land of stupid motorists I would be cleaning chains everyday… Go ahead and rub in the warm weather you have.. : /

    More than once I set out to build a light bike, but the need to carry stuff ends that…

  11. KnotWright says:

    Nice ride. What kind of winter weather do you encounter?

    I gave up on external rear derailleurs for winter riding and use an internal Nexus hub now. For snow, ice and deep cold it works great and I do next to no maintenance on it.

    I love the Nitto bars too, they’re beautiful, but I had to stay with flat bars to fit my poagies. I can’t ride the really cold stuff without ‘em.

  12. Geo says:

    It’s one of those lust-inspiring bikes. It just looks so right. I bet it’s a blast to ride!

    Side note for those who don’t click links: the fenders are polished aluminum. Not likely to rust, and I bet pretty lightweight too.

    Every commuter bike is different to so many people – I like the clean, classy look of this one a lot.

  13. KFo says:

    If you are going to sit up that straight you should rally consider a wide springer saddle of some type. Even with the fat tires it’ll make a big difference in comfort.

  14. dukiebiddle says:

    jdc, wow, you must be from a different planet from me, because that bike above looks almost identical to the fantasy ideal commuter that I’ve built in my head. If I was in Charlotte, I’d think the author would have to worry about me stealing it.

  15. Tinker says:

    Jdc, you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. Fat tires and fenders are key pieces for a perfect commuter bike. Claiming the fenders are too heavy and will rust, is simply an idiotic assumption, since they are hammered aluminum.

    I’d like a wider bar on there, not sure why though, perhaps a mustache bar, or Velo Orange Tourist bar (its hard to judge size and angles of a 3-dimensional product in 2D)? Can you show both bars in the same photo, so we can compare them?

    I’m leaning toward the VO Tourist bar conversion for my Torker cargo-T, but since they only come in silver, they are totally wrong for the black trim, with eye-searing-green color scheme.

  16. jdc says:

    Tinker….I understand fat tire usage. Three of my bikes use really big ones. 26 x 2.65 Kenda Kinetics…26 x 2.5 Maxxis Hookworms and 26 x 2.4 WTB Velociraptors. I’ve had 29x 2.10s on my cyclocross bike “just to see if they’d fit”. Those fenders? I didn’t read any text and from the picture they looked like chromed steel. My bad. Anyhow, we can’t all have the same ideals in bicycles. That’s what I love about seeing and working on the bicycles that people commute on. Each one holds a bit of the rider’s personality within it. The eccentric ones are those that we remember and talk about.

  17. dukiebiddle says:

    jdc, I totally agree with your second comment. With personalized commuters, nothing is essential, necessary or an absolute must, be it tire width, weight, fenders or handlebar type. All that matters is what works best for the rider.

    I will come to the defense of chromed steel fenders. Chrome doesn’t rust. I just replaced the 40 year old chromed steel fenders on 3-speed I recently bought. They were beat up all to heck, but not a speck of rust on them. Also, I don’t think they’re prohibitively heavy on any bike that isn’t intended for racing.

    As for the LHT commuter above, the only change that I think would be necessary for me would be saddle. I’m not going to go on about exclusive overrated expensive brands or whatever on that, but with the more upright seating position of those handlebars, the butt is more comfortable on a 170mm wide saddle. The narrower saddle (145-150mm?) above seems more appropriate for an aggressive bent over riding position.

  18. Tom says:

    Tinker,
    Geez the VO Tourist bar looks exactly like the bar that’s on my Cargo-T. Why would you upgrade? I need about 2″ more height on mine, so I would likely upgrade to a Wald 870 or similar.

    I think this LHT looks great! If the saddle height is correct, the frame appears to be either a little small and/or the handle bars are too low. The ride wouldn’t be very upright. Maybe it’s the perspective of the photo.

  19. John B. says:

    The LHT came out great. It is a very nice mix of form and function – reminds me of my HD Sportster in that way. And MY LHT for that matter. The thing I love about commuters is that everybody’s “ideal” commuter bike is different because everybody’s riding style and situation is different. Sure you can make some generalizations – like fenders are almost always useful. But tire size, handlebars, MTB vs. road bike – all those sorts of things are highly variable. So this bike is going to work great of Bike Shop Girl in North Carolina, but it might be sub-optimal for lots of icy-snowy riding or going a long way effeciently, or whatever. I mean, anyone could nit-pick it to death. I think it looks great. One question, though. What is your storage solution. Looks like backpack/messenger bag for now. Any plans for racks or baskets?

  20. John B -

    We are still going through our “build out” process. There are about 3 or 4 more handlebars I would like to test out and review. Once I nail down a handlebar, then we will move on to “how to carry things” topic. Most likely front basket or rear rack.

    Any thoughts?

  21. John B. says:

    Yes. The conventional wisdom is that the Trucker’s high trail means carrying weight in the rear is the way to go. Sounds about right to me. A Kogswell or a VO Polyvalent would be a better choice for a front-loader. I generally prefer an unloaded front end for negotiating curbs and potholes anyway.

  22. dukiebiddle says:

    John B., I don’t feel the LHT is so traily to prohibit considering front weight if that’s what the rider prefers. I personally cannot stand the effect rear weight has on balance, as well as the delayed response to countering rear balance issues, which I presume would be made worse by the frame’s touring geometry. I like to stand up in the saddle a lot while navigating through city traffic, and for that I vastly prefer front weight, and my bike has what’s considered too much front trail too.

  23. Sean says:

    +1 for a sprung saddle like a Brooks or VO. Also needs some leather grips – Portland Design Works ones are pretty nice :-)

    I like the fenders, though I prefer the hammered ones from VO.

  24. BluesCat says:

    Pretty soon, I’m going to start touching up the paint on my 1986 Batavus Course. Yeah, and a fellow bike nut of mine suggested Nitto Mustache handlebars and a Brooks saddle.

    Going to try to find some cream colored 700c tires, too. (Don’t have any snow OR rain problems in Phoenix to contend with as far as messing them up.)

    The goal is have a Batavus Pashley Guv’nor.

  25. John B. says:

    dukkie – good point. I did say it was the conventional wisdom and the LHT IS designed for a rear-biased load. BSG was solicating thoughts, so I thought I’d be a smarty pants and point that out. But I’m sure there are plenty of LHT owners happily using front baskets. Effects on handling are very personal anyway – some are more sensative than others. And even if handling suffers, I could see that the convenience of a front basket might override that. I still prefer the weight in the back.

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