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Old 09-29-06, 11:38 AM   #1
slk
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Cross-check versus Long Haul Trucker

I'm looking for a bike for a 35-40 mile round trip commute, plus weekend rides where I'm generally towing a child trailer. Right now I'm riding something that's really not appropriate for the job (street-ified mountain bike). I have a pretty good idea of what I want component wise (wheels, gearing, bars, etc), but I keep getting stuck deciding between the two frames.

Also, I'm a clydesdale (6'4", 265 heading towards 225), and I tend to carry various items (groceries, locks, misc) in a rack trunk or panniers. I don't need super-stuff-hauling capabilities (that's what the trunk of the kid-trailer is for), but I do need something that won't have problems hauling me.

So far, from what I can tell, the Trucker is:
- more comfortable
- stiffer
- better at hauling lots of stuff
- more stable

The Cross-Check is:
- faster
- more nimble
- higher BB for long cranks + offroad (I don't do much offroad)

I will be riding in most weather on paved surfaces of widely varying quality. I'll be using regular sturdy 36-spoke wheels (good quality doublewall rims, handbuilt by somebody decent - Harris, Peter White, or maybe a LBS) and wide (35-40) tires.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? experiences?

Thanks!
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Old 09-29-06, 12:02 PM   #2
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Looks like your on target. That sounds like a very fun commute plus the cool thing about the LHT is the extra spoke holder that is down right cool, and handy.
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Old 09-29-06, 12:02 PM   #3
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I have been looking at both as well... I rode a Cross Check set up for single speed cyclocross(liked it pretty well)...with the horizontal stays you can run it ss or fixed gear...that may be something to consider. I'm looking to build a serious tourer and will probably go with the LHT.

Last edited by littlefoot; 09-29-06 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 09-29-06, 12:10 PM   #4
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I've test ridden both. The LHT rides like it's on rails which is not quite what I want unloaded in a city traffic situation. I have a Cross Check now (built as singlespeed).
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Old 09-29-06, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlefoot
I have been looking at both as well... I road a Cross Check set up for single speed cyclocross(liked it pretty well)...with the horizontal stays you can run it ss or fixed gear...that may be something to consider. I'm looking to build a serious tourer and will probably go with the LHT.
Singlespeed or fixed gear is not something I'm interested in for this bike. I'm towing the kid-trailer up 7% grades - I want gears! I considered an internal gear hub, but it looks like the choice is only a 300% range (Nexus) or $1000 for the hub (Rolhoff).
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Old 09-29-06, 12:39 PM   #6
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A couple of other comments in your XC vs LHT:
The XC is slightly lighter and can run single speed. It also looks to be able to fit slightly wider tires.
The LHT should provide better heel clearance for panniers and will be slightly easier to change the rear wheel (verticle dropouts).

It sounds like you know a good deal about the two frames so you just need to decide which tradeoffs best meet your needs.
Also the Trek 520 may be what you need for less total cost than your custom configured Surly.

Craig
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Old 09-29-06, 12:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marqueemoon
I've test ridden both. The LHT rides like it's on rails which is not quite what I want unloaded in a city traffic situation. I have a Cross Check now (built as singlespeed).
That's an interesting point - I should describe the roads.

We're mostly talking what used to be country roads that are more built up than they used to be. This is much more a suburban commute - long stretches of relatively straight and moderately curved road. Mix of 2-lane and 4-lane, some BL or WOL and some not. Not much car-dodging and curb-jumping - lots of steady cruising. The last few miles are bicycle-lanes through a university.

And VERY hilly - people talk about riding on flats. I haven't ridden on many flats. You're either climbing or descending towards the next climb.

There are sections though where you're passing long lines of stopped traffic (in WOLs and such).
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Old 09-29-06, 12:44 PM   #8
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I have a cross check, Im also a clyde!!

the Cross check is a very versatile bike and a fun ride BUT,

If I had to do it again at least for my commute bike I think I would go with the LHT.

the horizontal dropout on the XC is nice if you want to play around with different drives or on the off chance you trash a RD a long ways from home.



I have no interest in making My XC a SS, My road bike is one now.

I bought the XC frame when My road bike didnt work out for a commute machine thus thinking I could use my 700C wheels off my road bike to save on the build up cost at first.

My frame size in a LHT uses 26" wheels.

I #$%##@$ forgot about my mountain bike /wheels (I would have used them at first )

the cross check is all new now (wheels included) but I would have opted for the longer stiffer steadier beast in the LHT.

Besides I like the 26" wheels for the comfort, bad weather and curb hopping properties.

Your frame in an LHT will Be 700C im sure??

"John"

Last edited by JOHN J; 09-29-06 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 09-29-06, 12:47 PM   #9
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slk, my own bike is an early 80s touring frame made of premium Ishiwata tubing, with the exact same geometry and braze-ons as the LHT It's a very classic design!

I couldn't be happier with it! I also have an aluminum road bike for club rides and racing, to compare it to. My LHT-like bike is nearly as fast as my aluminum bike, and more stable and much more comfortable. The steering is not as responsive, but you probably won't miss that for commuting use.

I really like all the nice touches on the LHT frame: the extra water bottle holder, the front rack mounts, the plentiful clearance for wide tires and fenders, and the spare spoke holder (I have refilled mine several times ). I think both the Cross Check and LHT frames look great, but I have to say that you don't lose a lot of fun or speed by going to a touring frame, and you gain some comfort and convenience.

EDIT- The one difference between my frame and the LHT is the dropouts. Mine has horizontal dropouts, which I like because I could go singlespeed if I busted the derailer or something.

Last edited by moxfyre; 09-29-06 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 09-29-06, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slk
Singlespeed or fixed gear is not something I'm interested in for this bike. I'm towing the kid-trailer up 7% grades - I want gears! I considered an internal gear hub, but it looks like the choice is only a 300% range (Nexus) or $1000 for the hub (Rolhoff).
The new SRAM/Sachs 9-speed hub is supposed to be a wider range than the Nexus 8-speeds.
Still it sounds like you may be best off with a traditional drive train.
For your comute I'd probably go LHT or Trek 520.
Craig
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Old 09-29-06, 12:55 PM   #11
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Sounds like the LHT has vertical dropouts. No internal hubs for you with that frame then, right?
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Old 09-29-06, 12:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN J
Your frame in an LHT will Be 700C im sure??
"John"
Definitely 700C. I'm looking at the 62cm frame.
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Old 09-29-06, 12:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
Sounds like the LHT has vertical dropouts. No internal hubs for you with that frame then, right?
You could still do an internal hub with a chain tensioner and no hub brake, or with an eccentric BB. But that isn't any real issue, because there are no internal gear hubs that do what I want for anything close to a reasonable price.

(I'm ignoring the about-to-be-released Sachs/SRAM 9-speed hub - I'm not looking to beta-test hardware here, and I'm not going to base frame choice on a piece of equipment that might be proven reliable 3 or 4 years down the road)
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Old 09-29-06, 01:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBBaron
Also the Trek 520 may be what you need for less total cost than your custom configured Surly.
Craig
I have looked at the 520, and it's pretty close - BUT - the price doesn't come out to that much less than the Surly when you swap a few parts (i.e. crank), and I really don't like the local Trek dealers. (there are two - one tends to get very simple mechanical things wrong. The other doesn't really want to talk to you unless you're buying/riding a $2000+ carbon fiber racing bike, and doesn't stock so much as a rack or fender touring/commuting wise)
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Old 09-29-06, 01:10 PM   #15
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Just throwing this out there: why not find a used old steel frame w/some strong tubing (Ishiwata or 501) and go w/that? I looked at building up a XC and a LHT and found that even w/used parts, I was looking at $1000. I found a nice used lugged steel frame (Miele) in good condition that was my size (I'm a little shorter/lighter than you, but not by much) and it's worked out great. And I paid $200 total.
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Old 09-29-06, 01:15 PM   #16
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How about a used mid 80's Trek 720 series touring rig? Could probably get one cheaper than a new bike, could easily upgrade drive train if need be and you would have all the braze on's you need. 531 reynolds steel and classic good looks.
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Old 09-29-06, 01:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fender1
How about a used mid 80's Trek 720 series touring rig? Could probably get one cheaper than a new bike, could easily upgrade drive train if need be and you would have all the braze on's you need. 531 reynolds steel and classic good looks.
+1

I got my mid-80s Ishiwata touring frameset for $100 with seatpost and headset. As I said above, it has the same geometry and braze-ons as the LHT. The differences are mine has a 1" head tube, and horizontal dropouts. I built the whole thing up for less than the cost of the LHT frameset
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Old 09-29-06, 02:42 PM   #18
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I'm curious why a LHT would be more comfortable than a Cross Check. Wouldn't this be a question of how the bike is set up in the first place? I would think that, components and setup being equal, the Cross Check would be a more comfy ride by virtue of the somewhat slightly lighter and therefor slightly more compliant frame.

I have a Cross CHeck that I built with components from my '03 520 that I could never get setup quite right for me. I find the Cross Check more comfy than the 520 was. The main reasons I went with a XC instead of the LHT were that I don't carry more than what fits in a pair of mid-sized panniers and I wanted just a tad more sporty geometry. I use mine for commuting (38 mile round trip) and weekend rides. I'm a clyde at 6' 275lbs and the bike is holding up great with good 36 spoke wheels and 700x35 tires for a bit of cush in the ride.

If I was hauling more stuff or a trailer I would think that LHTs slightly burlier build would be a good thing.
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Old 09-29-06, 02:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fender1
How about a used mid 80's Trek 720 series touring rig? Could probably get one cheaper than a new bike, could easily upgrade drive train if need be and you would have all the braze on's you need. 531 reynolds steel and classic good looks.

This is what I commute on, a 1984 Trek 720. Rides great.
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Old 09-29-06, 03:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Fart
I'm curious why a LHT would be more comfortable than a Cross Check. Wouldn't this be a question of how the bike is set up in the first place? I would think that, components and setup being equal, the Cross Check would be a more comfy ride by virtue of the somewhat slightly lighter and therefor slightly more compliant frame.
The LHT has longer chainstays. I find that I feel small bumps on the road much more with shorter chainstays, personally.
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Old 10-01-06, 09:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Fart
The main reasons I went with a XC instead of the LHT were that I don't carry more than what fits in a pair of mid-sized panniers and I wanted just a tad more sporty geometry. I use mine for commuting (38 mile round trip) and weekend rides. I'm a clyde at 6' 275lbs and the bike is holding up great with good 36 spoke wheels and 700x35 tires for a bit of cush in the ride.
But for a coupla details, that's my story. I actually went with x28 tires to limit rolling resistance. I've always ridden touring geometry... I have an oversized steel Nishiki Seral with a wheelbase out over 109. It's been a great ride, but for the new bike, I wanted a more sporty geometry.

I ended up picking up a second XC Complete as a backup cuz I got a price I couldn't refuse... I would have rebuilt the Nishiki but for the fact that it really is just too big.
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Old 10-01-06, 10:25 PM   #22
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The LHT sounds better for what you want. I have a XC which I am very happy with overall. I commute with 2 pretty full large panniers with no problems. I'm a bit lighter at 195lbs. I think the LHT will do better with heavier loads though, the XC can feel a bit wobbly with 40-50 lbs of groceries.
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Old 10-02-06, 04:37 PM   #23
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I've had a cross-chec for the past couple years now, and my commute is a long one (for the next year or so). If I had it to do over, I would have gone with the LHT.

The frame is designed for more relaxed geometry, which you'll really come to appreciate on long rides. It also allows toe clearance with fenders: That ain't so great on the XC. The other thing I missed out on was the 3rd water bottle mount. (i added a seatpost-mounted bottle cage to mine.) On long rides, I could easily go through 2 water bottles...and I still needed a place to put the battery for my headlight. I also use a water bottle to hold my trail mix (granola and cranberries, add M&M's when it's cooler)...that 3rd bottle cage really comes in handy.

I'm about to sell my XC. My rides/commute have gotten long enough that I really need that comfortable-oriented geometry touring frame instead of the tighter-stiffer-aggressive geometry cyclocross frame.
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Old 10-02-06, 04:59 PM   #24
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I too had the same dilemma at one point and I ended getting the LHT because of the stability w/ the longer stays. If you have the need to do some flat backcountry adventures you can also do this to your LHT.

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Old 10-02-06, 05:09 PM   #25
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I imagine that's a little hard to trail ride without pedals, though.
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