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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 09-18-12, 01:22 PM   #1
RubeRad
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N+1 advice: LHT or Cross-Check?

Hey there fellow Clydes,

Right now I live 26mi from work, so I can't spend the time to cycle-commute to work (on an uninteresting mid-2000's Trek 1000) any more than about once a month.

But I dream of moving closer to work, selling the 2nd car, getting a bike that I can be proud of, and riding it to work every day, rain or shine. Well, down here in San Diego it's almost all shine, but I would ride in the rain anyways. Even if my clothes get wet, my body happens to be waterproof, and I have showers at work.

So I have some friends that are all crazy about their Rivendells, but even in my dreams I can't see spending that much money! So I'm setting my sights on Surly (seems like there are plenty good deals on eBay).

I'd like to hear what you all think of the LHT vs the Cross-Check? If I ever do any touring it will be pretty light -- overnight at most -- so the accessory-mounting options on the CC should be sufficient. So I guess the question is, would the CC give a more fun/sporty ride than a LHT? This is my dream, remember, I don't want to switch from driving a car to driving a bus...

FWIW I'm 6' 240#. I like to pretend I'm a fast rider, but San Diego is pretty hilly, so I think I'll need something geared at least as low as 34/28 or 34/30 at the bottom end. I assume any Surly frame would be pretty flexible in how the gearing can be set up.
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Old 09-18-12, 01:42 PM   #2
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I have an LHT and a cross bike, my LHT is a 26er. If you aren't going to load up the bike the Cross Check is probably a better fit. While I love my LHT my cross bike is faster and a more responsive bike. I do tour on the LHT and heavily load it with groceries quite often.
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Old 09-18-12, 01:53 PM   #3
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My company has its HQ in San Diego...Im always looking for an excuse to go there, I love it! You are lucky you get to cycle there every day!!
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Old 09-18-12, 02:34 PM   #4
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Well I would really get to cycle here every day if I could move close enough to work to cycommute, but for now...

And yes, the weather is ideal, but SD did not make Bicycling Magazine's 50 best cities. A few cyclists I've met that have moved here recently have told me that SD car drivers are much more impatient and angry with cyclists (than Oregon), and the infrastructure is basically nada.

iforgotmename: (if I ever find your name, I'll let you know...) thx for the feedback on LHT, sounds like my intuition matches your experience. Since I'm expecting an eBay purchase I wouldn't get a chance to test-drive, which is why I'm trying to get a feel for what to expect.
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Old 09-18-12, 02:38 PM   #5
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Yes, having ridden both bikes, I can tell you the Crosscheck is a "more fun/sporty ride than a LHT".
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Old 09-18-12, 04:05 PM   #6
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iforgotmename: (if I ever find your name, I'll let you know...) thx for the feedback on LHT, sounds like my intuition matches your experience. Since I'm expecting an eBay purchase I wouldn't get a chance to test-drive, which is why I'm trying to get a feel for what to expect.
The name is Dennis...I was only able to test a cross check (it was a 58 and the standover was a little tight) I bought the frame kind of on blind faith. We are about the same size and I bought a 56. Probably could of went with a 58 but I erred on the side of caution. A lot of helpful sizing info here https://groups.google.com/forum/?fro...forum/surlylht
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Old 09-18-12, 04:34 PM   #7
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I have a CC and I've ridden a LHT. The longer chainstay on the LHT puts more weight on the front which is a good thing if you have a bunch of gear in the back. The CC has a longer chainstay than a typical roadbike. So it's not as quick steering. One good thing about the CC is that the front fork will handle a rack. As you start hauling more stuff you'd want a front rack sooner on a CC than an LHT. The CC has really good clearance. I'm running a Sram Rival group on mine and I can run any rear sprocket on the 36 tooth crank. The 46 tooth I can get 6 sprockets without trimming so there's not a lot of shifting necessary on the front for me. I'm running 130mm spacing on the rear which explains why the small sprocket works on all the rear sprockets but not all the front. If I was running 135mm rear that might change. I think the CC is a better commuter unless you're really big.
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Old 09-18-12, 04:34 PM   #8
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Hey that's really cool! I can't get into the spreadsheet from work (internet filters) but I'll check tonight and maybe even find a kind local test-ride!

Assuming I ever buy a CC someday, I should sign up as a test-ride-giver myself!
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Old 09-18-12, 04:35 PM   #9
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Good info Jethro, more confirmation that CC is probably better for me.
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Old 09-18-12, 07:04 PM   #10
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I vote cross check as well
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Old 09-19-12, 06:46 AM   #11
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I ride an LHT. I love it, though I've never tried the cross check.

I've got mine set up with 48/36/22 and 12-30 gearing; enough gears for everything imo.
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Old 09-19-12, 07:11 AM   #12
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If communting and light touring is all you will do, definitely go for the CC. It will give you a more sporty ride than the LHT, which I use for commuting and fully loaded touring. As one poster once put it, when you get out of the saddle on an LHT it tells you to sit back down. It's meant to be loaded, and I, along with some others who have them, believe it actually rides better when it is.

Note that you can add a third chainring to the CC if the need arises. However, you will need a new FD to do so. Don't know if it comes with eyelets on the front fork, but the lack thereof is not a big deal. There are plenty of racks out there that attach with p-clamps. I have a Rivendell "Big" front rack (made by Nitto) that attaches via p-clamps and it works fine.
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Old 09-19-12, 08:37 AM   #13
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Mithrandir: 22/30 low-end gear, that's amazing! You're approaching this guy's 7.5 gear inches:

indy, the Surly website indicates that the fork does indeed have eyelets. As for a third chainring, I hadn't even thought about that. I was planning on buying from eBay, and it seems most of those that I see are built up from just frames, so there is a variety of component setups. And yes, swapping things out is part of the fun of it!
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Old 09-19-12, 12:49 PM   #14
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I'd get the CC. One thing I like about it is the higher BB compared to the LHT.

As for that video, it's refreshing to finally see something good come out of a Performance/Scattante frame.
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Old 09-19-12, 02:54 PM   #15
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I'd get the CC. One thing I like about it is the higher BB compared to the LHT.
+1
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Old 09-19-12, 10:34 PM   #16
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As for that video, it's refreshing to finally see something good come out of a Performance/Scattante frame.
That's funny! I've wondered if Scattante bikes are any good; obviously 105 is 105, so it's just about frame/fork, and how bad can it really be? But mostly I would never buy a Scattante because I think it's despicable to make a bike in China and give it a name that will make the unsuspecting think it's Italian.
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Old 09-20-12, 03:56 AM   #17
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If you're thinking about a new complete bike, I'd take a look at a Salsa Casserole though it appears they have replaced it with the Colossal for 2013.
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Old 09-20-12, 09:04 AM   #18
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I actually just picked up a 26" LHT after test-riding both a CC and a LHT for a day each (good friends with the LBS). For me the choice was definitely LHT, but I can also understand why some people might prefer the CC. You've probably heard most of these points already, but some random observations riding both of them back-to-back

- I really liked the stock triple crank on the LHT. I think you could sit on that middle cog for 80-90% of your riding, which would be the smaller cog on the CC think. I think the 3rd front cog on the LHT is basically an "ultra-granny" / "oh god i'm carrying 150 pounds of gear and I need low-end torque" option, so if you're attacking a lot of hills, that extra cog might come in handy, and you wouldn't need to swap anything.
- The LHT feels a bit more stable, the CC feels a bit more responsive. But it's not a massive difference; the LHT doesn't feel like a beach cruiser or anything. But turning felt a bit snappier on the CC, while the LHT seemed to sort of "steer itself" if you were going straight.
- The LHT feels slightly more "spread out", the CC feels a bit more tight-in / traditional road/race feel
- If you get the 26" wheel version of the LHT, you can fit some stupid fat tires on that thing down the road, even with fenders. 2" balloon wheels? No problem.

They both seemed like great bikes; I'd definitely try them both out if you can find them locally. Also, see if they have any slightly older complete builds. Apparently Surly has been keeping the price constant on them by slightly downgrading the part selection over time. For example, I was able to take a 2010 LHT off my LBS's hands and it had slightly better bits (better hubs, etc) plus they gave me a healthy discount since it was old stock and they were starting to get their 2013 bikes in and needed the space. You might be able to get a discount too.
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Old 09-21-12, 08:15 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=AbundantChoice;14754148]I actually just picked up a 26" LHT after test-riding both a CC and a LHT for a day each (good friends with the LBS). For me the choice was definitely LHT, but I can also understand why some people might prefer the CC. You've probably heard most of these points already, but some random observations riding both of them back-to-back

- I really liked the stock triple crank on the LHT. I think you could sit on that middle cog for 80-90% of your riding, which would be the smaller cog on the CC think. I think the 3rd front cog on the LHT is basically an "ultra-granny" / "oh god i'm carrying 150 pounds of gear and I need low-end torque" option, so if you're attacking a lot of hills, that extra cog might come in handy, and you wouldn't need to swap anything.
- The LHT feels a bit more stable, the CC feels a bit more responsive. But it's not a massive difference; the LHT doesn't feel like a beach cruiser or anything. But turning felt a bit snappier on the CC, while the LHT seemed to sort of "steer itself" if you were going straight.
- The LHT feels slightly more "spread out", the CC feels a bit more tight-in / traditional road/race feel

Not quite a an ultra granny. The new models are fitted with a 26t small ring according to Surly's web site. I had an older model ('08 I think) that was stolen. I think it came with a 24t small ring. It can accept up to a 22t small ring. With 150 lbs of gear (which is an extreme amount), you would want a 22t.

The LHT feels more spread out because of it's relatively long top tube. It feels less responsive because of it's longer wheel base. It's more like driving a truck than a smaller vehicle. I definitely notice the larger turning radious when I need to make a gith turn. When you load it up properly, it rides like it's on a rail, especially on descents. It may seem counterintutive that a bike with a lot of weight attached to it would perform like that, but it does.
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Old 09-25-12, 01:54 AM   #20
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I have some experience with steel framed bikes and dropping some weight by riding them over time.

I suggest you get the LHT. Then ride it awhile, drop some weight. Then get the CC. The ride it awhile drop some more weight and get a Surly Pacer. Meanwhile as you have time and inclination keep looking at craigslist and look for the good 1980s and 1990s steel framed bikes that are sport touring and touring models with triple cranks and when you find them in your frame size in good shape, try to buy these too.

Btw, the CC comesas a double crank but you can add the 3rd chainring to it, the FD can handle it, I read.
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Old 09-25-12, 07:41 AM   #21
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LHT for loaded touring or long slow distance, CC for light touring/fitness/group rides etc.
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Old 09-25-12, 08:12 AM   #22
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The cross check will do just about anything, and will be more fun to ride than the LHT.

Marc
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Old 09-25-12, 09:19 AM   #23
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Gary, I actually already have my N+2 steel-frame bike. See here about the 1970 Falcon San Remo I got from my Dad. I need to get a bigger freewheel and a smaller (and more authentic) crankset, but I'm hoping to make it an enjoyable vintage ride.

Last edited by RubeRad; 09-25-12 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 09-25-12, 09:33 AM   #24
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Had a CrossCheck. Did not love it - was heavy and a little uncomfortable.

I have a Soma San Marcos and it is much lighter, even with second top tube, and capable of light touring.

have a look maybe
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Old 09-25-12, 10:02 AM   #25
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Well the San Marcos is essentially a Rivendell, and like I said, "even in my dreams I can't see spending that much money!" I see framesets going for $800 on eBay though, so maybe a $1500 total buildup? I'll keep that option in mind.
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