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Surly LHT / Disc trucker handlebars uncomfortable

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Surly LHT / Disc trucker handlebars uncomfortable

Old 02-24-17, 09:43 PM
  #1  
bosco500
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Surly LHT / Disc trucker handlebars uncomfortable

I've only been cycling for a year or so, so I'm not exactly sure of the terms to use here, so I have a couple pictures below for reference. I have a Giant Defy that has very comfortable handlebars and shifters that I'm used to. I recently purchased a Disc Trucker and have put a few hundred miles on it, and top plastic part of the handlebars that you hold (circled in images) is not very comfortable on the DT. Is it possible to swap this part out, or even swap out the whole handlebar set for one like on the Defy (shifters and all)? Thanks for any help
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Old 02-24-17, 09:58 PM
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Yes. It is possible, and it is exactly what you should do. If what you have on the Giant works, get a second copy of those brake levers. They look like Shimano hydraulics with built-in shifters. They are very ergonomically well-thought out, and I find riding on the hoods (the plastic covers) extremely comfortable. What the LHT has looks inferior. If you can replace them with something resembling the Shimanos, you will be much more comfortable.

These are not integrated brake/shifters. The good news is they would be very inexpensive to replace. You could get a pair of these, which are almost as comfortable as the Shimano brakes:

https://www.amazon.com/Origin8-Force.../dp/B00R6RQ9GE



Or you could go for the nuclear option -- get rid of the bar-end shifters and the cable disc brake calipers, and replace with Shimano hydraulic brakes and integral shifting. That would be much more expensive, but would allow you to replicate the fit and feel of the other bike while at the same time giving you a significant brake upgrade. However, you may then wind up having to replace other stuff in the drive train, in order to match the shifters (I think the hydraulics only have 11-speed rear and double-front shifting options).

Last edited by wgscott; 02-24-17 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:08 PM
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Awesome thanks for the info. Yes if possible I would like to get rid of the bar end shifters and replace with the shimano paddle shifters on the brake lever, and keep the cable disc brakes. The brakes actually work fairly well.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:10 PM
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A bike shop should be able to advise you on the most cost-effective way to do this. It is well worth the price to be comfortable.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:11 PM
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Three issues:

Brakes:
Several larger (more comfortable) brake levers exist.
Origin8 (couple of models. I like Classique for vintage looks.
TRP RRL (one of the more expensive models)
Tektro (comes in 2 versions, RL340, short pull for typical road callipers. RL520 for long pull, linear pull apps).
Bars:
Compact and Ergo bars have a tight bend near the top. It helps facilitate mounting brake levers high up on the bars, and going flat from the tops of the bars to the lever hoods, without mounting the levers at some odd angle.
Brifters:
Your Giant, of course, uses Brifters. They can be retrofitted if you wish. See above with bars. You have to match speeds between brifters and your cassette.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Three issues:

Brakes:
Several larger (more comfortable) brake levers exist.
Origin8 (couple of models. I like Classique for vintage looks.
TRP RRL (one of the more expensive models)
Tektro (comes in 2 versions, RL340, short pull for typical road callipers. RL520 for long pull, linear pull apps).
Bars:
Compact and Ergo bars have a tight bend near the top. It helps facilitate mounting brake levers high up on the bars, and going flat from the tops of the bars to the lever hoods, without mounting the levers at some odd angle.
Brifters:
Your Giant, of course, uses Brifters. They can be retrofitted if you wish. See above with bars. You have to match speeds between brifters and your cassette.
Ahh Brifters is the term I was looking for, Thank you
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Old 02-24-17, 10:26 PM
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The LHT has more traditional drop bars and the Defy has compact drop bars. You might want to try just replacing the bars first and try out different positions of the existing brake levers. All you need to buy is the new bar (reuse the old tape while you're experimenting - when you get everything dialed in and adjusted then get new tape).

This is a much less expensive first step. You can always move on to new brifters later.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bosco500 View Post
Ahh Brifters is the term I was looking for, Thank you
I'd give your bar end shifters a fair shake down. They're relatively cheap and reliable. You may like them.

But the brifters (brake shifters) work well too.

I would still look at the Compact and Ergo bars to help with positioning.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'd give your bar end shifters a fair shake down. They're relatively cheap and reliable. You may like them.

But the brifters (brake shifters) work well too.

I would still look at the Compact and Ergo bars to help with positioning.
Yes I think I'm going to swap out the brake levers for a more comfortable pair first. I really don't mind the bar end shifting that much. The brake lever grips on the DT are horrid. Not much else about the bike to complain about though
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Old 02-24-17, 10:40 PM
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In that case, try the origin 8 ones. I have a pair laying around doing nothing if you want to try it out first.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
In that case, try the origin 8 ones. I have a pair laying around doing nothing if you want to try it out first.
Thanks for the offer, I just ordered the TRP's, will send them back to Amazon if they don't work out
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Old 02-24-17, 11:10 PM
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My only very minor quibble is they have a rattle. I think it is the little slider brake quick-release thingie. (The peg behind the 8 logo.)

I used them as a "proof of concept." I eventually replaced mine with some Campagnolo Athena-11 brifters. The Origin 8 levers were slightly more comfortable.
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Old 02-25-17, 04:46 AM
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experiment with positioning of the levers on the bars. it looks like the Trucker levers are higher up on the bar, so you don't have a nice flat transition from the ramps (bars) to the hoods (levers). maybe moving the levers down a bit will solve the problem.
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Old 02-25-17, 05:56 AM
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I'm also for moving the levers around a bit first to see if position is the issue. That is a big deal for me. I also have one arm a bit longer than the other, or are my shoulders uneven? My levers are not in the same position on either side.
Also personally I hate bar ends, brifters for me.
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Old 02-25-17, 10:30 AM
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I had the same issue as the op and switched to Sram levers that look similar to the origin 8's above. It was a world of difference. I couldn't stand the stock LHT levers but am generally happy with the LHT.

I got used to the bar ends. Love that I can "dump" a bunch of gears at once, know what gear I am in based on the lever position, and be able to trim the shift with the front derailleur.
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Old 02-25-17, 11:54 AM
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I also think a good first step, if you can afford it, is to get a set drop bars with a flat transition to the hood like are on your Giant.
Just be careful to get bars with the correct clamp area diameter. My 2016 Disc Trucker has a 26mm bar whereas most road bikes now-a-days have 31.8mm.
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Old 02-25-17, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Brett A View Post
I also think a good first step, if you can afford it, is to get a set drop bars with a flat transition to the hood like are on your Giant.
good tip. i have a WTB Dirt Drop on the commuter, that bar has a nice ergo bend. VO sells the Dajia Far Bar, which is a copy of the WTB, i have this on my Fargo.
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Old 02-25-17, 09:13 PM
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What I did on my DT and subsequent other drop bar bikes is use a flat top bar and nicer levers. In my case they have been the Zipp Service Course SL-70 Ergo but if you are into money saving and don't care about weight the Dimension flat top bars will be similar. Both are compact bars or at least I am fairly sure the Dimension is and 100% on the ZIPPs.

The levers were SRAM S-500s which are now on my SS/FG RandoCross bike (with similar bars) and the current levers on my touring bike happen to be Gevenalle Audax which are based on Tektro levers but not quite as pointed though not as comfortable as the S-500s. Another good set of levers is the Cane Creek SCR-5 or TRP RRL. One day I will figure out a way to make the S-500s work with the Gevenalle system.

If you change your set up you will need a different stem and in my case I went shorter and 31.8 to match my bars. Several years ago Bontrager did a flat top bar in 26mm but I am doubtful you can find them easily.
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Old 02-26-17, 11:43 AM
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Me too...

I could not tolerate the bars/hoods on my Disc Trucker either. The bars ramp down to the hoods, and the hoods are short and narrow. I tried repositioning them, but could not make it work. I thought I would want to get rid of the bar end shifters, but have found that I really like them a lot. I would never switch them out out for delicate integrated shifters on this bike. You will need a new stem too if you change bars, as the Surly bars are an old, different diameter. This gives you an opportunity to alter the height and reach to your liking.

If you replace only the brake levers/hoods, be sure to get linear pull levers, because your calipers are BB7 "Mountain", not BB7 "Road". There are very few road style levers that are designed to work with mountain style calipers. It has to do with how much cable is pulled with lever actuation, and the amount of force applied. Get it wrong, and you could get brakes that are too weak, or too grabby and hard to modulate. Different types of brake pads make a big difference too. I like organic. They have more bite.

I did not love the mechanical disc brakes anyway, and decided to go hydraulic. The TRP Hylex brakes are a huge upgrade. They are the only hyrdraulics out there that don't have the shifting built in. I put on a more modern, compact drop bar that allows a flat transition from the "tops" to the hoods. The hoods on the Hylex levers are long, flat, and wide. The brake action is smooth and powerful. It was a bit of expense and effort, especially since the brake hoses were too short for the rear, and too long for the front. I had to buy extra hoses and fittings and tools to cut, bleed, etc... But well worth it for me. And I learned how to do it all, so I feel more confident out on long tours. I love the function and feel of my Disc Trucker now.

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Old 02-26-17, 04:15 PM
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Brand and era of the drive train Match , You have to get the reach , saddle to bars distance to match
maybe the stem makes the DT not the same as your road bike ,

retape the bars and move the levers up the curve a Bit..

Yea Brifter are long in the body to have space for the clockworks inside.. then you needa Short ramp Bar to go with them.

fatten up the bars with another layer of padded tape and you may not feel like you have to hold onto the lever hoods the whole time..




...
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Old 02-27-17, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
I had the same issue as the op and switched to Sram levers that look similar to the origin 8's above. It was a world of difference. I couldn't stand the stock LHT levers but am generally happy with the LHT.

I got used to the bar ends. Love that I can "dump" a bunch of gears at once, know what gear I am in based on the lever position, and be able to trim the shift with the front derailleur.
That was the first thing I did when I got my LHT, I swapped the levers out for SRAMs, keeping the bar ends. The original hoods were very uncomfortable OEM levers.
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Old 02-27-17, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
That was the first thing I did when I got my LHT, I swapped the levers out for SRAMs, keeping the bar ends. The original hoods were very uncomfortable OEM levers.
Glad to know I am not the only one. Many people seem to do OK with the stock levers but I hated them... I also swapped the handlebars to 31.8 mm flat top drop bars w/gel pads and Cinelli gel cork tape.
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Old 02-28-17, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
Glad to know I am not the only one. Many people seem to do OK with the stock levers but I hated them... I also swapped the handlebars to 31.8 mm flat top drop bars w/gel pads and Cinelli gel cork tape.
Which flat top bars did you get?
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Old 03-01-17, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bosco500 View Post
Which flat top bars did you get?
It was about 5 years ago and they were not a recognizable brand so I don't remember. They were $20-$25 on Amazon IIRC, look fine, and completely meet my needs. They are almost identical to the stock bars that came with my 2011 Specialized Secteur road bike, which was what I was trying to replicate. Very comfy on the bar tops, especially with gel pads and gel cork tape. After having these on my Secteur I couldn't stand the feel of the small diameter round bars.
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