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Surly LHT - groupset upgrade - help!

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Surly LHT - groupset upgrade - help!

Old 05-18-22, 12:59 PM
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Bes Boydie
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Surly LHT - groupset upgrade - help!

Hi - I have a Surly LHT with 26" wheels, flat bars and v brakes. I use it for commuting and general knocking-about, some hills (nothing mountainous) but very little 'proper' touring.

I'm very fond of the bike but in truth the groupset is horrible. So I'm looking to upgrade it and have about £750 ($900) max to spend. I'm a complete novice so does anyone have any recommendations?

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thx
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Old 05-18-22, 01:05 PM
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You might want to tell us what groupset is on the bike, and why you find it "horrible." Then we can give recommendations.
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Old 05-18-22, 02:11 PM
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Hi Koyote,

it has a Deore LX rear derailleur, shimano v-brake shift/brake levers and the rest of the components are no-name.

It works perfectly ok but feels pretty cheap Ďní nasty. I also think I could probably get by with fewer gears (it has 9 x 3) for the type of cycling I do.
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Old 05-18-22, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Bes Boydie View Post
Hi Koyote,

it has a Deore LX rear derailleur, shimano v-brake shift/brake levers and the rest of the components are no-name.

It works perfectly ok but feels pretty cheap Ďní nasty. I also think I could probably get by with fewer gears (it has 9 x 3) for the type of cycling I do.
Thanks for the additional info. I don't know what "feels pretty cheap n nasty" means...Specifics would help. But if it's not shifting well, it might just need some basic maintenance: new chain, perhaps a cassette, and certainly shift cables and housings.

If you can describe specific problems (or nastiness), we may be able to give better recommendations.

Reducing the number of gears is a bit of work and expense- you'd need a crankset with fewer chainrings, perhaps a new front derailleur and bottom bracket, perhaps even a shifter. The extra gears aren't really hurting anything, so I'd recommend leaving it as-is.
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Old 05-18-22, 04:59 PM
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Yeah. Why spend money to get rid of something that might prove useful down the road?
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Old 05-18-22, 05:54 PM
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Sounds like you need to spend money. How about new wheels and tires? Maybe different bars? Replace the outer chainring with a chain guard and adjust the middle and inner chainrings with a new cassette and chain.
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Old 05-18-22, 06:14 PM
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Nothing against LHT, But better Save that money for your next bike, I think and in my experience it might be better to spend your money on a whole new package that works all together much better as designed and put together by experiencd designers, instead of patchwork upgrades that may or may not give you the results you are looking for

Last edited by Eds0123; 05-19-22 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 05-18-22, 09:42 PM
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This past summer I built a gravel bike using a Straggler frame and an older Shimano 3 x 9 as new groupsets were in the stratosphere if available. The 3 x 9 groupset works flawlessly and parts are easily obtainable. You could upgrade your shifters if you have the old levers to a more modern set but your choices are limited buy bar and brake type. For example i wanted dropbars but finding modern shifters for a 3 x 9 with disk brakes is impossible so i chose a flatbar and mountain bike shifters, great combo.
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Old 05-18-22, 11:36 PM
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I would not switch away from a sensible square taper crank, if that's what it has.
The new CF/ alu laminate hollowtech crap is NOT made for touring.
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Old 05-19-22, 12:32 AM
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I run SRAM Rival on all my bikes, they all have different size cassettes one is 2x the rest are 1x but they all work great.
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Old 05-19-22, 01:56 AM
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Food for thought! Thanks everyone. Much appreciated.
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Old 05-19-22, 04:23 AM
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Make sure you know what is cross compatible. There are a lot of different pieces and parts that won't play well together. Our mechanics sub-forum here is a great place to ask questions about what works together.
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Old 05-19-22, 07:04 AM
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I have a LHT with a 3X10 set up. It has 26" wheels, which I think are great, and cantilever breaks. I shift with microshift bar end shifters in friction mode. I wouldn't change a thing on that bike. I have other bikes set up differently for different purposes. I have an 18 lb steel and carbon Lemond on the other end of the spectrum and quite a few other bikes in between.
The best advice I can give it to not change anything other than to make sure everything works properly until you know exactly what you want and why. Ride a bunch of other bikes with different qualities until you know what you want to change and why it needs to be changed. For instance, I wouldn't want or need to try to turn my touring LHT into a racing bike like the Lemond or try to tour on the Lemond. The LHT to bikes what a camper van is to automobiles. Sometimes you need a van, and they are fun to go places in, but sometimes a Ferrari is what you want. Don't try to turn a Ferrari into a van, or a van into a Ferrari.
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Old 05-19-22, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I would not switch away from a sensible square taper crank, if that's what it has.
The new CF/ alu laminate hollowtech crap is NOT made for touring.
I can’t speak to the carbon fiber part but several thousand miles of touring, mountain biking, and commuting on aluminum Hollowtech II cranks says that you are wrong. It’s a robust and simple system.

In fact, the technology is ideal for touring. I had a chainwheel issue in Canada that required a change of the inner chain wheel. With the Hollowtech crank, the chainwheel change was trivial. The same couldn’t have been said of a square taper. I don’t carry crank pullers while on tour.
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Old 05-19-22, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bes Boydie View Post
Hi - I have a Surly LHT with 26" wheels, flat bars and v brakes. I use it for commuting and general knocking-about, some hills (nothing mountainous) but very little 'proper' touring.

I'm very fond of the bike but in truth the groupset is horrible. So I'm looking to upgrade it and have about £750 ($900) max to spend. I'm a complete novice so does anyone have any recommendations?

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thx
I would say take the bike to a good shop for a complete tune up. spend the rest on beer or something.
Originally Posted by Bes Boydie View Post
Hi Koyote,

it has a Deore LX rear derailleur, shimano v-brake shift/brake levers and the rest of the components are no-name.

It works perfectly ok but feels pretty cheap Ďní nasty. I also think I could probably get by with fewer gears (it has 9 x 3) for the type of cycling I do.
what you describe is a excellent "knock around" group set.
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Old 05-19-22, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I canít speak to the carbon fiber part but several thousand miles of touring, mountain biking, and commuting on aluminum Hollowtech II cranks says that you are wrong. Itís a robust and simple system.

In fact, the technology is ideal for touring. I had a chainwheel issue in Canada that required a change of the inner chain wheel. With the Hollowtech crank, the chainwheel change was trivial. The same couldnít have been said of a square taper. I donít carry crank pullers while on tour.
A lot of truth in that. Though I use square taper, and like the simplicity of it, Hollowtech does have some advantages, your example being one.
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Old 05-19-22, 11:25 AM
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I have self extractors on my SS/ Rohloff crank. They will do for a 100 uses no problem, on several bikes if needed. I need to carry a 8 mm bolt key anyway.
They are strangely hard to get and seldom used, bizzare to me.
Go search for crank creaks/ broken on YT and BF, few will be sq taper.

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Old 05-19-22, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Bes Boydie View Post
Hi Koyote,

it has a Deore LX rear derailleur, shimano v-brake shift/brake levers and the rest of the components are no-name.

It works perfectly ok but feels pretty cheap Ďní nasty. I also think I could probably get by with fewer gears (it has 9 x 3) for the type of cycling I do.
"shimano v-brake shift/brake levers"- are these drop bar integrated shift-brake levers? I don't think these will work well with longer v-brakes. Will work with short (85mm) v-brakes.

The cheap and nasty feel could be due to a worn chain or worn chainrings or cassette.
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Old 05-19-22, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
The cheap and nasty feel could be due to a worn chain or worn chainrings or cassette.
Or worn bar tape. A new roll of tape isn't pricey.
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Old 05-19-22, 01:03 PM
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A Surly Disc Trucker was my main means of transportation for many years, and I agree that the Microshift 3x9 shifters it comes with feel really cheap in addition to being rather high maintenance. I have yet to find a compatible replacement for them.

The main issue is that the Microshift shifters just don't maintain the cable tension well at all whether in indexed or friction mode. Compared to friction shifters made in the 1970s, the levers on these Microshift shifters need a lot more force when intentionally shifting gears yet they also get bumped out of position over rough pavement with far greater frequency.

Ideally, I'd find some 3x9 brifters from 20 years ago at an LBS in good condition, but I'm afraid my Surly is just going to rust in storage for the rest of my life.
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Old 05-19-22, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I have self extractors on my SS/ Rohloff crank. They will do for a 100 uses no problem, on several bikes if needed. I need to carry a 8 mm bolt key anyway.
The Hollowtech cranks need a 5mm to remove and slides out without the need for force required for square taper. An external bottom bracket bearing set can also be removed from the frame if needed with a adjustable pliers. You canít do that with square taper bottom bracket.


Go search for crank creaks/ broken on YT and BF, few will be sq taper.
I was not born at night nor last night. In close to 50 years of bicycling (and doing my own mechanical work) Iíve had plenty of creaking square taper bottom brackets. Creaking is more a function of how the bottom bracket interacts with the frame than what kind of bottom bracket it is. You find creaking external bottom brackets in greater number now because they are used in greater number.
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Old 05-19-22, 07:29 PM
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Get a Jagwire Pro or elite cable kit for both brakes and shifting, Then get some good stiff shoes with replaceable pads Kool-Stop Tectonics would be a good option as would the SwissStop pads as well. If your chain and cassette are worn replace those as well and clean your drivetrain before you add new parts and get all the grit and grime off of it. That will improve things quite a bit.

Deore LX is now SLX which is the mountain equivalent of 105 so it is decent quality stuff nothing super high end but nothing really that I would replace for no real reason. Upgrades are always fun, I love upgrading but SLX is solid stuff.
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