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Surly DT for hauling groceries and a fat man (rack and wheels question)

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Surly DT for hauling groceries and a fat man (rack and wheels question)

Old 09-03-19, 09:28 AM
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jwill226
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Surly DT for hauling groceries and a fat man (rack and wheels question)

I'm a long haul truck driver that has a couple year old Surly Disk Trucker (58cm, 700c) sitting at home. I'm planning on bringing it out on the road with me. It will be kept in my trailer and used for exercise (I'm a clyde, 340lbs, and slowly dropping with dieting), exploring towns, and grocery shopping. I'm also looking at options to be able to take my little dog (12lbs) with me at times

The DT is completely stock. I want to add racks and panniers so I can use it for getting groceries since most stores don't allow semi truck parking. Should normal touring racks work or should I look into something else. Money isn't an issue. I want what will work best.

With my weight (340lbs) and the weight of a grocery haul on the DT should I be looking at upgrading the wheels? I don't plan on doing anything crazy but with some cities roads being what they are potholes, curbs, and whatnot are not the smoothest. Again, money isn't an issue.

I know this isn't exactly a touring question but I figured you all would have a better understanding when it comes to hauling heavy weights on a bike. Thank you for your time.
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Old 09-03-19, 03:27 PM
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My buddy has a Surly Disc Trucker, has had it for years. He doesn't have a car, so it's his primary form of transportation around town/school/work/etc., so definitely a grocery hauler as well. The bike came with the Surly racks, all of which have been bombproof (though heavy). He changed the handlebars long ago, and recently switched to Tektro hydraulic brakes and finds them excellent (he used to work as a mechanic at a bike shop, so they helped him out with the switch). He's done some touring, and now we're both getting into 1-3 day bike packing/camping on gravel and forest dirt roads. He's not heavy himself, around 200lbs, but that bike seems to be built tough. He mounted Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 26 x 2" tires earlier this year. and loves them. The whole tubeless tire thing is something he hasn't delved into yet, though I run tubeless on my hardtail and gravel bike. How wide are your 700c tires?

I wouldn't skimp on racks. Buy good quality racks, Surly, or Tubus Logo Evo. I don't have them myself, but the Tubus get great reviews. He's been using Thule panniers for years, but wants to upgrade to Ortleibs. Mainly because it's time, they've been well-used.

Good luck on the dieting!!!Here's his Surly DT in Wawona/Yosemite on our ride yesterday. Plenty of Surly Trucker fans around here who should have more info for you.




eric/fresno, ca.

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Old 09-03-19, 04:20 PM
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Do you expect to also tour with this bicycle or is the primary use in getting groceries?

The reason I'm asking is depending on that answer another alternative might be a trailer like a Burley Travoy. I have one that I use as a grocery cart and can even wheel it inside the grocery store with me. I also have racks and panniers but find the Travoy a little more handy for my grocery runs. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to tour much with the Travoy.

As far as wheels go, it depends a bit on what wheels are currently on the bike. If it is a reasonable touring wheel/hub, I'd be inclined to wait until it comes time to replace it before proactively getting new wheels.
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Old 09-03-19, 04:31 PM
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one thing that can help the wheelsets is to put as large tires as you can. This allows you to run lower pressures, and will increase the "suspension effect" that will put a lot less stress into your spokes and rims. I'm a lightweight, so don't have specific suggestions of pressures, but probably in the "clyde" section, you'll find some good suggestions of both tires, widths and pressures.
I do know that even as a light guy, wider tires and lower pressures have made a real difference for my loaded up bikes wheels and spokes over rough roads, in my case 2in tires at pressures that work for me 135lbs and maybe up to 60lbs of stuff (somewhere in the area of 40-45psi, you'd need a fair amount more)

all the best with slowly increasing your riding, and do be careful of locking it up and where you lock it up, they are nice bikes that a good bike thief will notice.
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Old 09-03-19, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ericzamora View Post
............How wide are your 700c tires?

I wouldn't skimp on racks. Buy good quality racks, Surly, or Tubus Logo Evo. I don't have them myself, but the Tubus get great reviews. He's been using Thule panniers for years, but wants to upgrade to Ortleibs. Mainly because it's time, they've been well-used.
I'm a big believer in buy once cry once. I'd much rather have the best quality I can get upfront rather then be constantly replacing things as the break. I was leaning towards the Surly racks but I wanted to make sure that was a good choice first. I've read many times about the quality of Ortleib panniers so I was already looking in that direction but like the racks I wanted to make an informed decision. I'm about two thousand miles from home and can't remember what size the tires are. I want to say around 28mm. They are what ever came stock on it. I do have thoughts of going a little wider eventually and going more of a gravel bike route to give me more options on where to ride. I could see the need for a brake upgrade when hauling heavy loads but for now the stock ones are doing fine.

Originally Posted by mev View Post
Do you expect to also tour with this bicycle or is the primary use in getting groceries.
Most of its use will be recreational rides exploring the different areas I get to stop when I have down time while driving truck. I'm an amateur photographer and finding new things to photograph would be part of my rides. Hauling groceries and shopping in general would be one of the perks of having transportation that doesn't weight 80,000 pounds. Truck stop food is a big part of why I'm so over weight now. I know the DT isn't peoples first choice for a around town cruising bike but I was looking for something stout that would last me a long time. I was able to test ride one and fell in love.


Thanks for the responses so far. I've called back home and asked someone to take my DT to the LBS for a good looking over. Its sat for about a year and I want to make sure everything is good to go when I bring it out on the road with me.
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Old 09-03-19, 05:17 PM
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as for getting the bike looked over--if they can, make sure the person who takes it in, specifies that the rider is a big feller, so that they really check and tension the spokes properly. Hopefully the mechanic doing it is good, and that they really listen and do this. As for the rest of looking over the bike, Im sure its in fine shape, but getting the spokes tensioned really really well by an experienced wheel person is the most important thing (and checking the hubs for proper cone adjustment while they are at it).

oh, and on the subject of buying and crying once, thats a good expression, and good racks and really well made panniers are worth it in the long run. Ortlieb and Arkel and both top notch stuff, I got my first set of Ortliebs in 1993 or 4, and they are still alive and kicking and being used by members of my family, which to me was a good example of money well spent-even though at the time they were rather pricey for me. We have newer sets, but overall I find them to be good, solid, waterproof panniers that will last for many years, which given that I use them for commuting a lot, worth it.
Arkels are really well made also, and have a good rep also.

ps, I have toured for a while now, and have always seen the similarity between a heavy loaded touring bike and a 18 wheeler--they both accelerate and brake slowly, both slow down really darn fast on uphills, and we both have to row the gearbox to keep our engines in the right powerband and not lug down.....
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Old 09-03-19, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
....ps, I have toured for a while now, and have always seen the similarity between a heavy loaded touring bike and a 18 wheeler--they both accelerate and brake slowly, both slow down really darn fast on uphills, and we both have to row the gearbox to keep our engines in the right powerband and not lug down.....
This made me laugh. I haven't toured but I have lugged my own fat butt up some hills on bikes and you're right.

The guy my DT will be going to is a Trek dealer that's been in the community for decades. It's not a wealthy community so most of his money is made from servicing bikes instead of sales. He's good with a wrench. I actually tried to buy a 520 from him and keep my money local but he's been burned too many times and now refuses to do special orders. He's been left with very high end bikes on his floor in a small town that usually buys bikes at walmart. I was frustrated but I understand. Instead I drove several hours away to get my DT. As far as I know there is nothing wrong with it but I just want to make sure it's good to go. The company I work for now is just a few miles from the Surly dealer I bought it from so that's where she'll get serviced after this.
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Old 09-03-19, 08:16 PM
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I found this pic on my phone of my DT when I first brought it home. She still looks the same except I added cages and water bottles and has an under seat bag with some basic tools.
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Old 09-04-19, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jwill226 View Post

I found this pic on my phone of my DT when I first brought it home. She still looks the same except I added cages and water bottles and has an under seat bag with some basic tools.
If money is no object, take a look at this:

https://www.analogcycles.com/product...ack-large-33r/

I have had one on my LHT for 8 years. It's incredibly strong (and good looking). I have carried a large bundle of firewood on it several times. You can also get it from Rivendell, which designed the product, but it's $10 more.
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Old 09-04-19, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jwill226 View Post
I'm a long haul truck driver that has a couple year old Surly Disk Trucker (58cm, 700c) sitting at home. I'm planning on bringing it out on the road with me. It will be kept in my trailer and used for exercise (I'm a clyde, 340lbs, and slowly dropping with dieting), exploring towns, and grocery shopping. I'm also looking at options to be able to take my little dog (12lbs) with me at times

The DT is completely stock. I want to add racks and panniers so I can use it for getting groceries since most stores don't allow semi truck parking. Should normal touring racks work or should I look into something else. Money isn't an issue. I want what will work best.

With my weight (340lbs) and the weight of a grocery haul on the DT should I be looking at upgrading the wheels? I don't plan on doing anything crazy but with some cities roads being what they are potholes, curbs, and whatnot are not the smoothest. Again, money isn't an issue.

I know this isn't exactly a touring question but I figured you all would have a better understanding when it comes to hauling heavy weights on a bike. Thank you for your time.
Take your wheels to a good shop, and have them de-tension, then re-tension the spokes. That will go a long way to making the wheels stronger, and reliable. I had mine done when I first bought it in 2011, and they are still true after thousands of loaded miles. The wheels that come with the LHT, are decent, but they are machine made, and benefit greatly from a human properly tensioning the spokes.
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Old 09-04-19, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
If money is no object, take a look at this:

https://www.analogcycles.com/product...ack-large-33r/
I wasn't thinking of spending that much on racks but those are beautiful.
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Old 09-04-19, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
Take your wheels to a good shop, and have them de-tension, then re-tension the spokes. That will go a long way to making the wheels stronger, and reliable. I had mine done when I first bought it in 2011, and they are still true after thousands of loaded miles. The wheels that come with the LHT, are decent, but they are machine made, and benefit greatly from a human properly tensioning the spokes.
The shop I bought it from told me they did this before I picked it up. Should I have it done again? It should have about 300 miles on it now. I changed jobs not long after I bought it and had to store it.
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Old 09-04-19, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jwill226 View Post
I wasn't thinking of spending that much on racks but those are beautiful.
I have both the front and rear models. I "grew up" with a front rack that had a platform. Custom stuff (racks and panniers) by a guy named Beckman. Sadly, my racks were stolen along with the LHT they were attached to. Wanted something to approximate what I had. The Nitto Big racks where the closest thing. I have downsized my load over the years so I don't use the front platform regularly. One time I stopped at a farm stand on the last day of a tour. Bought a pie and duct taped it to the platform. It made it home in perfect shape. I have also carried firewood bundles on the front rack when the source has been a ways from my campsite.

BTW...Unless it's been improved over the years, I would ditch that seatpost. The one on my first LHT lasted about a year before the teeth that keep it level wore out. When I bought my second one, the post was the first thing to go.
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Old 09-04-19, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jwill226 View Post
The shop I bought it from told me they did this before I picked it up. Should I have it done again? It should have about 300 miles on it now. I changed jobs not long after I bought it and had to store it.
Definitive answer: yes, no, maybe, or maybe not.

If the bike shop you bought it from checked tension and true, and did a good job, you don't need to do it again. If they didn't do a good job, you do. To make the situation worse, it's possible the first shop did a good job, got the wheels nice and tight, and if you take it to a different shop they'll de-tension the wheels, which is the quick way to a clyde wheel failure. (Best wheel man in town did that to my wheels once before I collected all the spoke sizes I've needed for the last 8 years.)

Do you play a musical instrument, or know someone who does? Read about musical wheel tensioning at https://www.sheldonbrown.com/spoke-pitch.html (or have a friend do it), then check what you've got. Do be aware that the front and drive-side rear spokes will be at a higher tension than the non-drive-side rear.
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Old 09-04-19, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jwill226 View Post
The shop I bought it from told me they did this before I picked it up. Should I have it done again? It should have about 300 miles on it now. I changed jobs not long after I bought it and had to store it.
as the others have said, there's not an easy black and white answer. I do know that my neighbour bought a bike last year and rode it sort of regularly, but not that much. Last month asked me about a strange noise and sure enough, he had two broken drive side spokes. Took the wheel to a shop and got it retensioned, and the next day, another broken spoke.
I explained to him that especially given that it was a 32 spoke wheel (yours are 36 spokes), lower quality materials than on your bike, the bike itself is a medium priced hybrid-so just so so wheels most likely not really properly tensioned--and he weighs probably 220 and I suspect is a "heavy rider", ie not unweighting bike when he goes over potholes--and the rear wheel spokes most certainly loosened up over time due to all the forementioned factors--so in the end, the spokes had been loose for a while, and getting over stressed for a long time, until they started breaking at the typical "J" bend at the hub flange.

With only 300 miles ish on your bike, thats a small amount, but certainly enough to warrant getting the spoke tensions checked and put at the right tension for those spokes and rim--I certainly dont know proper tensions, I can take a bike and hubs totally apart and back together, but I never learned how to do wheel spokes properly, so I leave it to a good mechanic.

Seems to me that getting the spoke tensions properly checked out, and if possible putting wider tires on with lower pressures for the suspension effect, then yoiu are at least putting as much stuff on the side of the existing wheelset to tough it out.

your tires are probably 32 or 35 ish? and I believe the max tire width for the DT is 45 or 50mm
A great cost/value tire is the Schwalbe Greenguard HS 420 Marathon. They come in 700x47 and are reasonably priced. I have a pair that lived for eons on my commuter bike, in great shape with probably 10,000kms 6000mi on them, but again, being light helps a lot with this too.

any tire that is pumped up too hard puts more shocks etc into the spokes, and doesnt make you roll faster, just bangs you up more.

oh, is your DT with 700 or 26in wheels? I can't tell from the photo. 26in wheels are a bit stronger due to the shorter spokes, but if yoiu have 700, then it is what it is.
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Old 09-04-19, 02:53 PM
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this tried and true top notch Tubus rear rack can be had for about 100 U.S bucks ish.

https://www.amazon.com/Tubus-Cargo-C...4L8?th=1&psc=1

an aside--buying groceries has often ended up being with my rear panniers being waaaaaaay waaaaaaay heavier than my rear panniers on a touring trip.
Groceries can get pretty darn heavy pretty quickly, milk, fruit, veggies, cans of stuff.....

also, when touring, we tend to have front panniers also that spreads the weight out, and also are pretty careful of not bringing the kitchen sink.

Last edited by djb; 09-04-19 at 03:11 PM. Reason: added in link as example of price
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Old 09-04-19, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jwill226 View Post
I'm a long ...
For a rear rack, I second the recommendation of Tubus Cargo. I had a Tubus Cargo Classic on my Disc Trucker (DT), it fit perfectly in minutes. I'm not sure the more-widely-available-in-USA Ergo version will fit the dropouts the same - I know there is a fitment issue with Cargo Ergo on the LHT. Euro bike shops still sell the Classic version. Also know that the Cargo comes in 700c and 26" heights. I used the 26" height Cargo Classic on my DT, mounted in the top dropout holes, it fit fine with VO fenders and tires up to 42mm (max spec for fenders).

https://www.tubus.com/en/products/

It's hard to beat Tubus Tara or Duo for front racks to fit smaller panniers. You'd need a high-rider design for full size rear panniers.

It's worth mentioning that Surly specifies 300 pounds for maximum load (user + gear) on DT. A trailer would be helpful in distributing load to more frame/wheels. Bob Yak and Burly Travoy, Nomad and Flatbed are excellent cargo trailers. Nomad or Flatbed would likely accommodate a dog too. Nomad or Flatbed will accommodate more weight & volume than a set of front and rear Ortlieb Roller panniers, and cost less than Tubus racks+Ortlieb bags. If the trailer doesn't work out you can sell them on eBay in good used condition for more than half the original cost.

A tandem grade (48h) rear wheel is a very good option in this case, with or without trailer. The rear wheel will be the first component casualty of an overloaded bike.
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Old 09-05-19, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jwill226 View Post
The shop I bought it from told me they did this before I picked it up. Should I have it done again? It should have about 300 miles on it now. I changed jobs not long after I bought it and had to store it.
No, if it has already been done, you are fine, especially since it was done recently. Ride and enjoy.
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Old 09-05-19, 04:40 PM
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A nice thing about front racks is bringing your buddy along. Sunlite Pet Friendly Basket

PS @seeker333, I like your avatar.
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Old 09-08-19, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
A nice thing about front racks is bringing your buddy along. Sunlite Pet Friendly Basket

PS @seeker333, I like your avatar.
I was literally planning on making a post about this tonight. Perfect timing. I'll check this out. Thanks.
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