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  1. #1
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    looking for my next bike

    Iím in the market for a bike. New. Good. I have a road bike (Specialized Ruby Comp) that I like for local road rides. But I want a bike I can outfit for commuting (6+ miles one way minimum). And touring, Iíve been wanting to do some touring for a long time. Even some off pavement riding. Stuff that I canít do with my road bike.

    So a couple of months ago (maybe longer) I started to look around. After lurking on Bike Forums for a while, I became intrigued with the Surly LHT. Their website indicated that there was on LBS here that carried them. I went to that shop and the owner immediately dismissed my interest in the LHT. Itís too heavy, he said, and that Iíd do better with Jamis. He didnít have much in stock, so he gave me a Jamis catalogue and disappeared. When he came back, he really fast flipped through some pages telling me what he thought I should want, and left again. He didnít mark anything so I wasnít sure what he was trying to tell me and he kept disappearing. When he finally came back, he said that the 08 models of anything Iíd want were sold out, and that the 09 models wouldnít be out for a while. He didnít even let me take the catalogue.

    OK, I am overweight and Iím 60. I do have a history of bike riding, Iím not a newbie, which I told him, but Iím not wanting to go back to that shop. But I want to get my new bike before March is over (March is still winter and snowy around here, but there will be days when I could ride).

    OK, so my questions.

    1) Is the LHT a guy thing? Inappropriate for a woman? I certainly would not discount Jamis, but I may well be interested still in the LHT if appropriate.
    2) Since thereís not another LBS around here that carries Surly, and I would like a good selection to choose from, Iíd have to travel some to get that kind of selection. Since most of the options are around a 3 hour trip (NYC, Boston area, etc.), would it be good to try Harris Cyclery, which is a 3 star Surly dealer plus they have about anything else Iíd be interested in?
    3) If I go that route, should I call ahead and make an appointment, making sure Iíll see someone who will not laugh me off the face of the earth?
    4) If you were in my shoes and wanted a good all Ďround bike for commuting and touring &etc, what kind of bike would you recommend?

    I donít want to spend a fortune, but I would like to have a bike that fits well, is adaptable for what I want to do, and that I can outfit accordingly.

    Thanks, Phredette

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure why he talked you out of the LHT... it sounds like it is the bike that would fit most of your needs (I'm not sure how good it would be for offroading, but it can be done on an LHT.) The Jamis touring bike is called the "Aurora." It's also a fine bike - it has STI shifting that is similar to what you most likely have on your road bike. The LHT comes with bar-end shifters (i.e. the shifting is not integrated with your brake levers.) The smaller frame LHT's, 54cm and below, come with 26" wheels if that makes a difference. I have a touring bicycle that I use for commuting, touring, distance rides, and sometimes road rides. I'm very happy with it. It is a Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30 and it has STI shifting and 700c wheels. It is a steel frame just like the LHT and the Jamis Aurora.

    Another option to consider would be a cyclocross bicycle. The Specialized tri-cross comes to mind. I believe that it has the braze-ons that make it possible for you to attach a rack and panniers for commuting and light touring. It would also do a little bit better as an offroad bicycle than a touring bike. The tri-cross bikes come as aluminum or carbon frames.

    Prices?

    LHT about $1100
    Jamis Aurora about $900
    Rocky Mountain Sherpa about $1400
    Tri-cross $1450 - $5800

  3. #3
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    Yes, I would look at the Jamis Aurora. I falied to say that I think this guy wanted to steer me to comfort bikes. I definitely felt that he put me in a pigeon hole and didn't listen to what I thought I needed.

    I looked at the cyclocross bikes at some point, not sure that is what I really want and now I can't remember why. When I said off road, I didn't mean mountain biking but sometimes I come up on gravel paths that I don't like to take skinny tires on. And the occasional muddy patches and suchlike. I hold my breath taking my roadie through some of that.

    My budget is around $2000 including the stuff I want to outfit a bike with.

    Phredette

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by phredette View Post
    I falied to say that I think this guy wanted to steer me to comfort bikes. I definitely felt that he put me in a pigeon hole and didn't listen to what I thought I needed.
    Find a different bike shop. If he doesn't want to listen to what you are saying than take your business elsewhere. In the current economic environment, I'm sure there are plenty of other shops that would welcome you (& your checkbook) with open arms.
    You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. - Robin Williams

    Never be frightenend to walk out of step with others because you will walk on ground no one else touches

    Remember, hard work pays off later but procastination pays off now!

    My Rides: '06 Giant OCR Limited & '95 GT OUTPOST

  5. #5
    Senior Member jgjulio's Avatar
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    +1
    Find a different bike shop. I have been treated just like you were. I will not give up my money and be treated like I really shouldn't be riding a bike.
    Julio (me)
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  6. #6
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    Go to a different shop I go to one every once in awhile that wouldn't give me the light of day till they found I was an executive in the local cycling club. To bad they treated me like crap before. Being a big guy they always sorta directed me to the mountain bike when I wasl ooking at roadbikes.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

  7. #7
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    Two things,well actually three,pop into the fifty plus forum and ask Yen about the Surly LHT,she wanted a bike for similar porposes and settled on the LHTand her reasons.Secondly definetly take the time to visit other shops especialy Harris and check out other bikes and shops.And lastly it's your money to spend on the bike that you want not what somebody else thinks you want,after you buy a new bike be sure to drop into the first shop and show them the sale that they missed because of their attitude.Not to rub salt into their wounds.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by phredette View Post
    OK, so my questions.

    1) Is the LHT a guy thing? Inappropriate for a woman? I certainly would not discount Jamis, but I may well be interested still in the LHT if appropriate.
    I personally don't understand the appeal of the LHT, but I can't see why it would be inappropriate for you...

    2) Since thereís not another LBS around here that carries Surly, and I would like a good selection to choose from, Iíd have to travel some to get that kind of selection. Since most of the options are around a 3 hour trip (NYC, Boston area, etc.), would it be good to try Harris Cyclery, which is a 3 star Surly dealer plus they have about anything else Iíd be interested in?
    3) If I go that route, should I call ahead and make an appointment, making sure Iíll see someone who will not laugh me off the face of the earth?
    If you're going to travel that far, I would definitely try to make an appointment. In addition, I would verify that the store you'll visit will have the models you want to test available in a size that is appropriate for you. Not many shops in my area will make actual appointments; they seem to assume that anyone can help any customer and you should just show up whenever you want. If the shop won't make an appointment, you might ask which employees are the most knowledgeable about touring or cyclocross bikes (or whatever type you decide you need) and find out when they're working.

    I don't know anything about Harris Cyclery, though I am a big fan of Sheldon Brown, so I can't say whether they're the best shop to visit or not. I will suggest that you might want to try multiple different bikes, so you might want to visit an area that has several shops carrying the brands you're interested in. I'd also look for shops where you can do test-rides in an environment similar to your own. If you live in a rural area, for example, test-riding bikes in Manhattan might not make sense.

    4) If you were in my shoes and wanted a good all Ďround bike for commuting and touring &etc, what kind of bike would you recommend?
    My current favorite in the "do anything" category is the Soma Double Cross DC. It works for cyclocross, all-weather commuting, and "light" touring.

    I think the most important thing is to decide what type of touring you're likely to do and how often you'll do it. Credit-card touring is very different from self-supported fully-loaded long-distance touring. A true touring bike will tend to have longer chainstays and a longer wheelbase than other bikes. The long chainstays mean you can mount large panniers and not have to worry about hitting them with your heels when pedaling. The longer wheelbase aids in stability when riding fully-loaded. The downside is that these bikes are typically heavier than road race, road endurance, or cyclocross bikes and the handling may feel slow in comparison.

    If you're not planning to do long, unsupported tours you may find that a cyclocross bike, like the Soma Double Cross or Surly CrossCheck, are a decent compromise. Handling will be similar to a "standard" road bike. You can mount racks and panniers, both front and rear, as long as the panniers aren't too large. And a cyclocross bike will have no problem with larger tires and fenders. Frames will tend to be a bit lighter than a pure touring rig, which might be nice when you're just riding around.

    If you plan to ride in foul weather, I would seriously consider a frame that can accept disc brakes. I've been doing some wet weather riding recently and found that rim brakes are pretty scary! Seems to take forever for the brakes to scrape all the dirt and water off the rims and actually start slowing the bike down. That's one of the things that initially got me interested in the Soma Double Cross DC...

  9. #9
    Senior Member knzn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phredette View Post
    I became intrigued with the Surly LHT.
    Thanks, Phredette
    My situation is very similar to yours. Speaking of Surly, how about the Cross Check as maybe a better choice for the off road part of your equasion?

  10. #10
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    Definetly find another bike shop. We have two local bike shops. So many people complain about one while the other is completely user friendly.
    I just picked up my LHT today. Love it so far. Got the rear Surly rack and hauled some stuff about 10 miles. Got the LHT to ride a century in May, my other most used bike is a Big Dummy, so I'm a Surly Fan. Read so much about the LHT being comfortable and stable which is more important to me than speed but compared to the Dummy this bike is fast,

  11. #11
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    1) Hit several bike shops. Try and find out ahead of time if they have expertise in touring. Most shops don't. Harris does. My favorite shop in the Greater Boston area is Belmont Wheelworks. They don't do much in the way of touring bikes, but
    they are very knowledgeable and the place is huge.

    2) A lot of women need a short top tube. The LHT has a longish top tube.
    May be why the guy tried to steer you away from it. Other than that it is a lot of bike for the buck.

    3) There are 3 kinds of touring. One is supported trips. They are expensive, but it's nice to have someone else take care of the luggage. Then there is credit card touring. This is what I do now. You carry clothes, a repair kit, a book. I weigh the panniers and set a 20 pound limit for most trips. Then, of course, there is loaded touring.

    4) I used to bring a tent. But it's nice knowing there's a comfy bed, a shower, and a hot meal waiting. Not to mention carrying 20 pounds less.

    5) Between touring and performance bikes are sport bikes. My bike is a Gunnar Sport. It can take a rack, but it's not as heavy or slow as a touring
    bike. I commute with it, and it is a great 'all around' bike.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  12. #12
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    Further to my post,Lady Yen did most of her musing about which bicycle to get in the touring forum,search for threads/strings started under her name "Yen" in touring within the last 6 months to find a bunch.
    Last edited by overthehillmedi; 01-17-09 at 06:35 PM. Reason: spelling

  13. #13
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    phredette - I would go back to the LBS and ask to ride the oops I mean tell them you want to ride the LHT and any other bike they have in stock. Since it is close ride the bikes you interested in, then when you travel you can try other bikes.

    I know longarmbiker, who posts here and is female rides a LHT. I know she has taken the LHT on tours. She also commutes to work, but I'm not sure if she uses the LHT. Just in case you want another reference from someone who actually rides the LHT. I do like the Jamis line of bikes too.

  14. #14
    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phredette View Post
    I’m in the market for a bike. New. Good. I have a road bike (Specialized Ruby Comp) that I like for local road rides. But I want a bike I can outfit for commuting (6+ miles one way minimum). And touring, I’ve been wanting to do some touring for a long time.
    How about a bike that is very comfortable and very fast...how about a faired Tour Easy, medium frame, used, for $1200? Ad is at: http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...ad.php?t=46184

    Link to pic: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3218/...86c07877_b.jpg

    I am in no way affiliated with this sale, it's just a damn nice bike at a good price!
    old steel Specialized Hardrock

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cod.peace View Post
    How about a bike that is very comfortable and very fast...how about a faired Tour Easy, medium frame, used, for $1200? Ad is at: http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...ad.php?t=46184

    Link to pic: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3218/...86c07877_b.jpg

    I am in no way affiliated with this sale, it's just a damn nice bike at a good price!
    Thanks for the lead, I have had no interest in bents. I love regular bikes so much.

    Phredette

  16. #16
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    There are many bikes you should try.

    My concern is "FIT" and getting the right bicycle for you.
    Many Touring style bicycles will have a longer top tube as well as a longer wheelbase so that they can accept racks and panniers. If you have never ridden a fully loaded touring bike, try and do so BEFORE you make a purchase. A loaded bike handles different than when it's unloaded.

    One of my Favorite Touring Bikes is the Trek 520. Same bike that has been around for well over a decade with little change.

    The LHT is a great frame, while a little heavy.

    Have you ever thought of a custom Frame like a SEVEN?

    Chris
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  17. #17
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Surly is distributed through QBP, so just about any bike shop can get them. The only catch is you won't be able to test ride it, so you need to know what size you will need. Sounds like you have pretty well decided you want one, so start studying the frame geometry charts and comparing to bikes you have rode and figure out what size to order. I don't know how tall you are, but if you will be on a 54cm or smaller frame, the 26 inch wheels on the LHT make it a better choice than any of the cyclocross bikes or the Jamis Aurora. Don't let the shop owner scare you off about the weight of the bike, an extra 5 pounds doesn't mean much if you aren't racing.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  18. #18
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Lots of good touring bikes out there. Myself, I prefer a vintage bike, and there were a lot of good touring bikes made in the 1980s: Fuji, Trek, Univega, Miyata, etc. Right now, I have three out of those four brands!

  19. #19
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    I tried to reply to some of these this week from my hotel room, but I got an error message about not having a security chip.

    So here's a reply to cover a couple of posts:

    Yes, fit is uppermost on my bike buying agenda. I've had bikes that don't fit well and it was painful to go more than about 25 miles at a time. The first time, the lbs guy saw me coming. I didn't know much about buying a bike. The second time I had done some research but I lived in a small town. The lbs was great, but the owner really believed that the standover measurement was the only one worth doing. He was wonderful about trying to adjust, but nothing could hide the fact that the bike just didn't fit me well.

    This is one reason why I'm considering going to a large shop with lots of proven technical expertise and will really help me find the right bike with a fit that will take me over the long haul (oops, no pun intended).

    About the vintage bikes: fit is the issue why I'm not really in the used market here. I look a couple of times a week on Craigslist, and I've been to a couple of lbs's, but they are larger bikes. I'm very leery of going to ebay without the ability to really test it out.

    I won't be able to go for another couple of weeks anyhow, due to a really crazy travel schedule this month.

    Phredette

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