On Friday, I paid a deposit on N+1. Since it's not mine yet, it's still N+1/4.
Some of you may already know from reading my posts in the Touring forum. I chose a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I viewed them on-line earlier this year before I bought the Roubaix, but the LHT is a touring bike, and I wasn't planning to tour.
I've been looking, shopping, comparing, and researching replacements for my hybrid (the Giant Cypress SX which is too big). I enjoy riding it when speed and keeping up with a group are not part of the ride. I love the casual uprightness and sure-footedness. But, alas, it's too big. And heavy.
So I've been looking around for a replacement. This time, I knew what I didn't want (excess weight, suspension fork and seat post), but not quite everything I did want. At first, I focused on flat-bar road bikes and light weight hybrids where I could find them in my size. I knew I wanted a go-anywhere bike, mostly for roads but able to handle occasional gravel or crushed stone paths. Not bolt upright, but not too stretched out. Casual and sure-footed like my hybrid. Ready for commuting/errands, and maybe a tour someday (we talk about it after I retire). A nice ride, dependable, within my budget........... and, if I'm lucky................ blue.
I read great things about the Jamis Coda but could not find a shop that had one in my size. I rode some Treks, a Felt, and Konas. Some of you recommended a Cross-Check or touring bikes in my "shopping for a new hybrid" thread. So, I looked again at the Surlys. A touring bike? I kept an open mind. The LHT stood out -- but where is a shop that sells Surlys? One of the LBSs said he could get them but my size wasn't available. I decided to save a touring bike for N+2 or 3 and returned to looking at hybrids. But I kept going back to the LHT. I found a shop that had one -- imagine that -- already built in my size!!! We drove down that afternoon to see it.
What a cutie! I rode it, I liked it, and it fit. So I went home to think about it, study the geometry, and think some more. We drove back on Friday to ride it again, this time longer. It has the relaxed, sure-footed ride I love on my hybrid. And, it's blue! They offered 20% off the price on the tag, a deal that I could not pass up for a bike I really, really like.
I now know that a touring bike like the LHT can be the all-around bike I was looking for. It's the blending of my hybrid and my Roubaix. Going from the hybrid to the Roubaix was like going from a VW Bus to a Porsche; the LHT is the steadfast Honda Civic somewhere in the middle.
The only thing I'll have them change this week is the pedals (I want SPDs on one side, platforms on the other probably A530 or 324), and probably the saddle. I'm not sure about the saddle because I haven't decided on the bars (either trekking, bullhorn, H-bar, or ???). I may keep everything as it is, ride it a while, then decide. What changes would you make, if any, before bringing it home?
There is still a special place in my heart for my Giant. It is a great bike, very reliable, no problems. It got me back into cycling. I may keep it around as an extra bike, or a loaner, or sell it to a good home.
Here she is.... my N+1/4: