Stuff That’s Gone, Stuff That’s Coming, People That Should Be Gone, and Glorious, Opiate Praise
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Last modified: Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
It is with no small sadness that I must announce officially the discontinuance of our Instigator model. This makes two models in the last year that we've had to axe, the Conundrum muni frame being the other. Neither had strong sales, but this didn't bother us too much. We have always tried to supply well designed stuff to niche markets. Overbuilt steel hardtails is by any measure definitely a niche market these days, and there are still a lot of people who ride, love and want the Instigator, big dudes who break everything else, huckers, and Bama among them. Unfortunately there are not enough of those people out there to justify keeping them around, so off they go into the dog poo bag of history. I had hoped by this time to have video of us blowing up the last Instigator frame but I never got around to blowing one up and now they're gone, so you’ll just have to imagine it.
Recently from the inbox:
"Ladies and Gents
A little over a year ago I purchased a Surly LHT with racks and panniers from Chain Reaction Bicycles in Gainesville, Florida and took off into the wild blue yonder. Or more like "lumbered." At 54 years old and after 27 years of riding a desk for IBM, I'd ballooned up to 345 lbs. a pack of smokes per day and a complete lack of energy or resolve to do anything about it.
Day one on the Surly amounted to a grand total of six miles before I pitched my tent and collapsed inside for ten hours of sleep. Day two - eleven miles. Day three - 15 miles. etc. etc.
4,200 miles and nine months later I was racking up 60-70 miles per day with fifty pounds of camping gear on the bike - EVERY DAY - and weighed 100 lbs. less than when I started in Florida. In the process I'd cycled from Key West, Florida to San Diego, CA and back to my home in Socorro, NM.
Through rain, hail, tornadoes, lightning, blistering heat and freezing cold the Surly never once broke down or had a problem. The only maintenance it required was standard wear items such as tires, tubes, brake pads and chain.
Although it may be a while before I embark on another trans-continental odyssey, I still do a minimum of 30 miles on my Surly each day and take frequent camping trips of 300-500 miles.
THANK YOU FOR BUILDING A KILLER BIKE!!! YOU SAVED MY LIFE AND MADE A LIFELONG CYCLIST OUT OF ME!!!
Now his praise for us is all well and good, but it's pretty clear that Randy is the badass in this situation. It doesn't sound to me like he'd fully exhausted his motivation to do something about his life. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you: Never get a job.
There is one part in his email that bothers me, though. It is the part where he talks about how little maintenance the bike required. Randy is realistic about the fact that bikes require certain attention. Sometimes bikes do break down in the middle of no where, at the least opportune time. Not everyone seems to understand this, as a spate of recent emails and phone calls attest, most of who do seem to believe that all bikes should cost $100 or less, weigh under 20 pounds, and last for 30 years with little or no maintenance. While this assessment is an amalgum of ideas people have, and therefore something of an exageration, it is nonetheless true that some people believe every one of these things. I bring it up because while there has been a noticeable uptick in bike sales in recent years (not just for us, but in general), and there seems to be a lot more people riding than ever before, this has come with a barrage from people who as far as I can tell believe the aforementioned amalgum of unrealistic things. Most of the noobs are just confused. That's understandable. Any time you get into something new there's a learning curve. It's the self-important jerks who get under my skin. Take this guy for example:
"Your LHT forks suck cock for a living. What a pile of fucking shit. I've had to get both the lower rack mount braze on's welded before even completing Europe. As soon as I got the frame set I could see theirs more spunk in a mouse than weld on those mounts. Why would I even bother with a warranty replacent when there this shit. You and your advertising guff suck."
Man, you’re going to have a heart attack. So have some more coffee and cigarettes. Look, I'm not saying stuff doesn't sometimes go wrong. It does, that's the way of the world, but why wouldn’t you have tried to contact us to talk about the situation? Anyway, it doesn’t much matter. Randy Clark, like thousands of other people, have used the LHT and loved it. And in fact a while ago Outside magazine saw fit to include the Long Haul Trucker in their Annual Best Of gear guide. So that’s nice. Thanks Outside.
And as if that wasn't enough, just today this comes in the email:
"Hi there I just want you to know I bought An LHT in Kalamazoo at Alfred E bike and took it back to Australia where I am from and at the moment I have nearly finished a ride from Cairns Queensland where I live to Mt Isa known as the reef to the outback 1300ks my brother is doing it with me also on a surly lht he is 66 I am 56 I am blogging for the radio station I work for at www.4ca.com.au
click on locco [me] and go to the blog feel free to use the material for your own use as we are so happy with surly'
Mike 'Locco' O'loughlin"
Hot dog, we have a weiner! My point, if I must have one, is that the LHT fork does not in fact suck cock for a living, though that charming colloquialism does paint quite a picture. Nor does the rest of the LHT. All the haters can suck donkeys. The rest of us will be out riding.
As long as I’m crowing about all the crowing, I’ll share this one too. We got an email from an entity called Bestcovery.com, which, according to their logo, helps people Discover The Best Of EverythingTM. Apparently their reviewer chose our Steamroller as their pick for best single speed commuter bike. I was pleasantly surprised to find this.
As usual, Simpson’s has a quote which sums all this up quite nicely for me:
Bart: I feel so full of...what’s the opposite of shame?
Bart: Not that far from shame.
Homer: Less shame?
Oh, and one more thing: we will soon have available some of our New hubs in 48 hole, which ought to make a lot of bike polo players happy. Soon (end of July) we'll have 48h front non disc, rear 135mm free/free, and rear 120mm in both free/free and fix/fix threading. Also coming with these will be non disc 36 hole fronts. All are black, and all have nutted axles. And yes, later (August?) we'll have 135mm fix/fix too. Remember to adjust those bearings.