Author Topic: Any experience with Surly LHT forks  (Read 6653 times)

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Offline MTNGator

Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« on: August 28, 2009, 07:54:35 pm »
Hello - I'm thinking about buying a Surly Long Haul Trucker fork for my Cannondale T2000 (2005 model year) bike - I'm not too impressed with the "Ultra Fatty" stock fork as far as comfort/stability is concerned - I liked the 1987 Cannondale steel fork much better. Any thoughts/comments???? Thanks, Ed.

Offline GeorgeC

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2009, 08:56:32 am »
Hi Ed,

I don't know how the LHT fork will work on your Cannondale, but they work great on a Surly LHT. I just got home from a three day ride and the bike (and fork) were very, very comfortable. I have a bad wrist and about this time of year, it is usually starting to be sore from the miles riding on the brake hoods. Not now, after 150 miles, I feel great. Ready to go again. Good luck,

GeorgeC

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2009, 11:53:36 am »
I think Waterford will sell their fork.  Independent Fab might also.  You might need to find a dealer who could confirm what angles and rakes are appropriate.  The Waterford fork is $350, I think.

There may be cheaper sources for other steel forks.  I would look at Harris Cyclery and Rivendell.
Danno

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 02:25:05 pm »
The LHT fork should work just fine on the Cannondale T2000.  The LHT fork has a bit more rake than the Cannondale fork, so you'll have a slightly wider wheelbase for a smooth ride, and at around $80, it's hard to beat the price.  The LHT fork will also hold up to a good deal of abuse, as I've been using it for a lot of off-road/gravel tours this season.

Offline MTNGator

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 01:51:53 am »
I went ahead an picked one up from a guy on eBay who bought it for a touring build project he never completed. It is new with an uncut steerer and I got it for $80 delivered. Maybe it is just in my head but I preferred the steel fork on my old Cannondale (1987) touring bike compared to the aluminum "Ultra Fatty" that came with the T2000.

The Surly LHT fork specs are very close to the Cannondale so I expect this to work out - I'll report on the results once my bike is back together and I have a chance to take it on a long test ride.

Thanks again to all who continue to offer comments and suggestions! 

Offline MTNGator

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 06:41:38 am »
I think Waterford will sell their fork.  Independent Fab might also.  You might need to find a dealer who could confirm what angles and rakes are appropriate.  The Waterford fork is $350, I think.

There may be cheaper sources for other steel forks.  I would look at Harris Cyclery and Rivendell.

I checked on the Waterford fork, as well as Vicious Cycles, Steelman, and a few others, but was not willing to spend quite that much money right now. Did not check with Indy Fab but I assumed that they were in the same price range. As far as I know, Rivendell's bikes only come with 1" threaded steerer tubes and as long as I have been reading Grant's webpage I don't think I ever saw it mentioned that any of their forks were available individually. I did intend to order the LHT fork from Harris but their price was $25 more (delivered) than what I paid to get it from a private seller.

Thanks.

Offline DaveB

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2009, 09:39:39 am »
The LHT fork has a bit more rake than the Cannondale fork, so you'll have a slightly wider wheelbase for a smooth ride....
The difference in rake will have a completely negligible influence on wheelbase.  It will, however, effect the handling and responsiveness of the bike.  More rake equates to less trail which will "quicken" the bikes handling, that is the bike will turn a bit more eagerly and be a bit less stable in a straight line.

Small differences in rake, say 2 or 3 mm, won't make a major change in responsiveness so it shouldn't be a problem.  I've replaced a fork with 40 mm of rake with one with 43 mm on a road bike and the handling change was minor.

Offline MTNGator

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2009, 04:47:01 pm »
The LHT fork has a bit more rake than the Cannondale fork, so you'll have a slightly wider wheelbase for a smooth ride....
The difference in rake will have a completely negligible influence on wheelbase.  It will, however, effect the handling and responsiveness of the bike.  More rake equates to less trail which will "quicken" the bikes handling, that is the bike will turn a bit more eagerly and be a bit less stable in a straight line.

Small differences in rake, say 2 or 3 mm, won't make a major change in responsiveness so it shouldn't be a problem.  I've replaced a fork with 40 mm of rake with one with 43 mm on a road bike and the handling change was minor.

Actually, the Cannondale fork rake is 53 mm, the Surly is listed as 45 mm, so if I go through with this project the result will be more sluggish handling and more stability in a straight line - correct? Is 8 mm difference between stock and the Surly enough to make this project a no-go?

Thanks again all! Ed

Offline DaveB

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2009, 07:28:37 pm »
Actually, the Cannondale fork rake is 53 mm, the Surly is listed as 45 mm, so if I go through with this project the result will be more sluggish handling and more stability in a straight line - correct? Is 8 mm difference between stock and the Surly enough to make this project a no-go?

Thanks again all! Ed
A difference of 8 mm will certainly make a noticable difference in handling response.  If the Cannondale's stock fork has a rake of 53 mm as you say, that implies the headtube angle must be quite shallow as the high rake value is needed to keep the trail measurement in the normal range.  Reducing the rake will give a lot more trail and will slow the handling and improve high speed stability but may also lead to some "wheel flop" tendencies at very low speeds.   Any way to try before you buy?

Offline MTNGator

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2009, 08:25:31 pm »
No - can't get a trial run on this - the fork is on the bike, I cut the steerer yesterday, got the star nut and crown race installed today and put everything back together. Very short ride seemed okay but weather and other issues will prevent a reasonably long test ride for a few days.

Thanks, Ed
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 06:59:52 am by MTNGator »

Offline DaveB

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2009, 08:25:58 am »
No - can't get a trial run on this - the fork is on the bike, I cut the steerer yesterday, got the star nut and crown race installed today and put everything back together. Very short ride seemed okay but weather and other issues will prevent a reasonably long test ride for a few days.

Thanks, Ed
Please report back after you get an adequately long test ride as I'm interested in knowing how the fork change works out.   Also, see how the bikes handles with your touring load.  It will interesting to see how really noticable a major increase in trail like this is. 

Offline MTNGator

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2009, 02:25:25 pm »
Will do - also, it is interesting to note (at least I think so) that the 2005 C'Dale T2000 specs, with the fork change, will match exactly the specs of the Vicious Cycles Casual Agent Touring as far as Head tube angle, fork rake and seat tube angle. The VC top tube is 2 mm shorter than the C'Dale and the VC standover is 19 mm more (higher bottom bracket?).

Another touring bike that comes very close to the altered C'Dale is Rivendell's Atlantis - although the Atlantis has has HT and ST angles of 72-degrees with the 45 mm rake while the altered C'Dale has a HT angle of 72.5-degrees and a ST angle of 73-degrees. Rivendell's Legolas "sport/touring" frame/fork (recently discontinued, I believe) had the exact same HT and ST angles as my T2000 and the same 45 mm rake as the replacement fork - so I'm otimistic that the change just might work.

Stay tuned... Ed

Offline DaveB

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2009, 08:25:54 pm »
Given those endorsements, your conversion sounds very do-able.  I'm tuned.

Offline MTNGator

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2009, 03:31:47 pm »
Okay - it will be a bit longer before I can report on how the bike handles during a 50-mile+ ride. Due to the rain/flooding north Georgia has experienced this past week, I will not be able to visit my favorite test track (The Silver Comet Trail) until mid-October. Also, a test under loaded-touring conditions will not be forthcoming because the only tours I have planned until 2011 are fully supported.

That said, I was able to get two ten-mile rides in between the downpours on our community's bike/walking trail. The route consists of a 3.9 mile+/- figure eight loop that (given I live in the mountains) is very steep in several places with more uphill switchbacks than I care to remember. During those rides, the Cannondale handled as well as or better than any bike I have ever owned - and much better than this bike with the original Cannondale fork. I tried climbing while standing with my hands on the "hoods", climbing while seated with my hands on the "tops", going downhill "no-hands" (couldn't do that before), slow turns, fast turns, tight turns, and so on - all without a hitch.

I'm not ready to endorse this change as an option for anyone else - again, I don't know how it will handle with a loaded handlebar bag and 30 pounds strapped to a front low rider rack, but it works for me. If I have any additional information to pass on in the future, I will be sure to post it here. Take care all.

Offline briwasson

Re: Any experience with Surly LHT forks
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2009, 12:21:26 am »
A bit off-topic from the original question, but I put a LHT 26" fork on a Co-Motion OR Co-Pilot S&S frame (MTB) in place of the original Rock Shox Judy suspension fork when I built the frame into a touring bike. I was a bit concerned about it being a good replacement for the suspension fork's geometry, but it has worked out well so far. For the price I think it is a well-made fork, with the canti studs and low-rider rack mounts. The only color I could find at the time was the drab green color, but I was able to paint it red to match my frame.