Questions Potential Surly Long Haul Trucker Owners Ask: Will Your 42cm LHT Fit Me? by Tamia Nelson

I ride a 2008 42cm Surly Long Haul Trucker, or LHT, bought from stock and modified to suit my body. This is the smallest of the LHT frames Surly makes, and I’ve often written about my bike. As a result, I get a lot of letters from folks who want to know something more of my vital measurements. What’s my height? My standover measure? My reach? All this is in aid of wondering if the 42cm LHT would fit them, or their girlfriend or wife, or boyfriend or husband. So this is for all of you shorter folks who all wonder the same thing. I’ll begin with a photograph of my bike just before a short tour:

42cm Surly LHT Standover Heights

You can open an enlargement in a new window by clicking this link. The top tube of my LHT slopes down from head tube to seat tube, meaning that the standover measure differs along its length. The red line shows the standover height just ahead of the saddle nose, and the blue line shows the height near the head tube.

The photo above also shows the measure between the center of my bike’s seat post to the middle of the clamp on my 42 cm Nitto Noodle handlebars. This magenta line shows the horizontal measure, also called the “reach,” and it’s 20½ inches or 52 cm on my bike. Why show the reach? Because to my mind, finding a good fit depends more on reach than standover height. I’ll quote myself from an earlier article:

My main goal in choosing the size was to get a bike with the reach which would minimize shoulder and neck strain, and reduce the potential for numb, tingling hands. I’ve ridden a 46 cm LHT and can manage, but the top tube (or TT) on the 42 cm frame is shorter, making the reach just right for me. I can stand over both the 42 cm and the 46 cm frames, but don’t care if I have lots of air between the TT and my bod. I wanted comfort over the long haul, and I got it.

Keep in mind that these measures will differ from one 42cm LHT to the next. Different model years, stem angle and length, handlebar design, tire and wheel measures can all change actual measures.

So, will the 42 cm LHT fit you? That depends on any number of factors which I addressed in earlier articles, which are linked below. Of course, it’s best to try before you buy. But many (most?) bike shops stocking Surly LHTs won’t have the shortest (or tallest) models on the showroom floor when you stop by. A quality shop with helpful staff will happily order one without expecting a commitment to buy. Hopefully what I’ve had to say will help you make your bike size decision.

Further Reading


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For half a century, Tamia Nelson has been ranging far and wide by bike, boat, and on foot. A geologist by training, an artist since she could hold a pencil, a photographer since her uncle gave her a twin-lens reflex camera when she was 10, she's made her living as a writer and novelist for two decades. Avocationally her interests span natural history, social history, cooking, art, and self-powered outdoor pursuits, and she has broad experience in mountaineering, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, snowshoeing and skiing.