Jonathan’s Surly Disc Trucker Light Tourer

This past weekend, some buddies and I went on a little camping trip. Some of us had to be back in town the following day, while others went on through Monday. The lucky bastards… One of the early returnees, along with me, was Jonathan. It was his first camping trip here in Austin, since recently relocating from Omaha, so we wanted it to be a good one.

There’s more to come on the ride itself (oh and it was a good one), but I thought I’d take a minute to feature his rather unique Surly Disc Trucker

Now, touring bikes, at least according to my opinion, can come in a variety of setups. I like to call the fat tire, wide gear range, mid-low trail bikes with racks and fenders “fully loaded” and the more stripped down bikes, “light tourer.”

Jonathan’s bike is certainly a light tourer. With a 1x setup more akin to a hardtail MTB than a tourer, upright riding position, low-riders only and platform pedals, this is a perfect Sub24 camper, or multi day bicycle camping rig. He fit everything he needed in two panniers and strapped his sleeping roll to his bars.

I’ve toured like that for days on end before, with no issues. The way I see it, the more the tour becomes about your “stuff” the less you focus on the ride. Or something like that.

This Disc Trucker is one of my favorite Surlys I’ve had the chance to photograph. See for yourself why in the Gallery!

  • Nelson Mouëllic

    The Chris King sticker is upside down… ;)

    • Ham Sandwich

      nuh uh he did that on purpose because hilarious and unique.

  • Clément ‘Karibou’ Malinski

    It’s on purpose…
    And this bike makes me want to go outside again right now.

  • D0rk

    So many Cambiums recently. I really need to get around to ordering one.

  • BBBB

    What tires are those?

    • Trevor H
      • Jamie McKeon

        so rad

    • John Watson

      Specialized Fatboys. I even shot the label for ya!

    • John Watson

      Specialized Fatboys… I shot a close up of the label for you and everything!

      • BBBB

        You did! Sorry I ran through all the photos trying to find it, had my face about 1″ from the computer screen trying to make out the writing on the full bike pics. Thanks!

      • Jamie McKeon

        waiting forever to get these in AUS, tempted to just proxy from usa…

        • John Watson


          • Jamie McKeon

            AusPost has a proxy system, if it fails me (probably will) I’ll get in touch xoxo

  • Tim Guarente

    What’s the story with so many Chris King headset cups being run upside down?

    • John Watson

      It’s just a joke… people being funny.

      • Ham Sandwich

        the same reason i never line up my valves with tire labels. because lol for fuckin days braj.

        • Chris Pollack

          Not cool man, not cool! Haha.

    • Trenton South

      It’s right side up wheh he’s rubber side up!!!

    • John Watson

      It’s just a joke. People being funny. No big deal.

    • Kerry Nordstrom

      To make people ask why they’re upside down.

    • Hope Cyclery

      been doing this for well over a decade… this isn’t an “all of a sudden thing”

      • Theodor Rzad

        yup. just b/c I’m punk rock doesn’t mean I don’t like good headsets.

  • mywynne

    I find it tough to get excited about Surlys, but this one has definitely piqued my interest, I really like it!

  • linnefaulk

    Love the colors and how the bell is mounted. I want a bell but am out of handlebar space.

  • stateofnonreturn

    I have the same Ergon and Paul Lever combo, the ride feels so better!

  • caliente

    Haha, love the sharpie treatment on the crankset. Heaven forbid it not match the rest of the drivetrain!
    I’m planning a similar build on my raleigh furley (because hills) and this will actually give me a good idea of what it might look like. Thanks for sharing, cool photoset!

    • Jonathan Neve

      Not sharpie, that’s how they came out of the box, which works in my favor :)

      • KT

        Hi Jonathan – love the build and actually just picked up an LHT that I plan to run a single ring up front too. Could I ask you what size bb you are using as clearly that doesnt look like the one the LHT comes with from the factory. Thanks!

        • Jonathan Neve

          It’s a SRAM GXP BB. Because the frame is 68mm and I used a mountain BB and crank I had to run one 2.5 mm spacer on each BB cup.

          • KT

            Roger that. Thank you so much for the fast reply!

  • Morgan Taylor

    In my opinion that’s still a fairly aggressive saddle to bar drop for a touring bike. The zero setback post is at least a partial factor there. Everyone fits different of course and John I know your bikes are often set up with a huge drop due to your giraffe legs. Eventually it is a call for longer head tubes and potentially sloping top tubes, especially on bigger frames. Beautiful build with lots of great details, though!

    • John Watson

      His legs are longer than mine. I’m a 78cm center of BB to top of saddle, he’s like 81cm…

      • Morgan Taylor

        Yeah I figured. Tall people need taller head tubes if we’re going to stick to aesthetic ideals like flat stems. What size is the bike anyway? Proportions look good.

        • boomforeal

          agreed on proportions, even with those 18″ (!) chainstays it just looks right

          my pnw lizard brain can’t help wondering how (good) it would look with fenders

          gearing looks light for touring tho – how many teeth on that front ring?

      • Jonathan Neve

        81cm on the nose, in fact!

        • John Watson

          Woah! HA! I run 79cm and thought to myself “this is 2cm higher than my bikes”

          • Powell

            get a room guys

          • John Watson

            Wanna join us? It’s hot in here…

          • Powell

            don’t mind if i do ;)

  • Flammpunkt

    Thanks for sharing this one. It’s given me loads of ideas! It’s always an inspiration to see other peoples interpretations/flavours of build.

  • blatzfromthepabst

    What’s your opinion on 26 vs 700c wheels when it comes to touring bikes such as this? I’m currently in the process of getting one of these, but I’m not particularly adamant about one or the other, and I know they offer both options. I guess I’m up for some aggressive riding out west this coming Summer but I don’t to want lack gnarly road speed either.

    • Nick Wood

      Take the middle way. 650s on a 26″ frame. BB ends up a little high but the Trucker is so dang stable to begin with…

    • thebennonite

      I’ve always thought that a bike should have the traditional/practical wheel size for the job. Therefore touring bikes should have 26″ wheels for strength, fender/tire clearance, and international compatibility. A racing bike should have 700c wheels for efficiency and aesthetics. Things get fuzzy when it comes to these modern fenderless rough road “light touring bikes” – I can see advantages to bigger wheels..

      • John Watson

        My touring bike has 700c with 40c tires and room for fenders. There no “rules” for wheel sizes. Go back and look at touring bikes from the 70’s and 80’s. All 700c – 26″ wheels are used when you’re going to remote regions of the world where 26″ wheels are the only size available.

  • Lucas

    Always so cool to see Bunyan Velo stickers out there on bikes. Thanks Jonathan!

    • Jonathan Neve

      Heck yeah man! Love from Austin.

  • Hugothedog

    Looks like the cross check build I’m doing! I really dig this! I’m not sure about touring on a 1x though.. for my purposes anyways.

  • Alex Steadman

    I hope I didn’t just skip over it, but what is that front rack?

    • John Watson

      Salsa Down Under

  • Aaron Giannobile

    Wondering what type of bars those are? They look like Salsa Bend 2, but wondering about the sweep?

  • Tommy Everstone

    that’s the best looking Surly I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe I’ll see it in person in January…

  • Chris Pollack

    Wow, i love this!!

  • Philip

    Hi, What is the chainring size and cassette range? Was this the best ratio for light touring? Thanks

  • Philip

    Hi, amazing looking bike. What is the chainring size and cassette range – is this a good ration for light touring?

    • Jonathan Neve

      32t front ring, 11-36 cassette in back. We recently did 3 days of camping and loaded riding and even with 5k of elevation gain per day it felt like enough gears.

  • Taylor

    Is this frame custom? How did Jonathan get the rear wheel so close? I was in a shop the other day and their trucker’s wheel was miles away… I can’t stop looking at this thing, it’s driving me crazy !

    • John Watson

      700c wheels, 45c tires.

  • Elias Rochette

    Which hubs are those ?

  • One Eyed z

    Did even notice until today how similar my Straggler set up is to this. Sweet build Jonathan!