I'm having fun trying to figure out my next bike. Really.
Today I got to test the Giant Defy series. I rode all the aluminum models, and really enjoyed the (white ) Defy 1 with 105 components. I even eye-balled some carbon models, which (seem to) have come down in price from several years ago. For well under $2,000 I can get one of those.
But, I haven't let go of and have to acknowledge my attraction to the Surly LHT. Yes, I get that it's a tank. But when I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that speed isn't that high on my list of requirements for the bike.
What is? Well, I want to ride for these reasons: 1. It's the most fun you can have in lycra. 2. To restore, and maintain, my fitness. 3. To be outside and really SEE the world around me as I ride here and there.
I ride alone; I don't ride in a club or with some buddies. I "compete" occasionally against myself, but not that often. I do set mileage goals, which have nothing to do with speed.
What attracts me to the LHT is the steel frame, the retro bar-end shifting, and the fact that I can rig it to do almost anything in terms of racks, panniers, etc.
The low gearing should actually be helpful as I get used to these east county long, rolling hills, right? Is that a good assumption?
So, IF I choose the LHT, I'm wondering about whether to go with 700c or 26 inch tires. At first I thought 700c, believing I'd be a bit faster. Then I realized - I'm not buying this bike for speed, so if that's the only advantage (if it's true) then I might enjoy the 26" tires more - thinking about potholes, going off road, etc.
Perhaps someone could give me some things to think about with regard to this question: do you think I'd be happier with the 700c or the 26" tires? (I already know if I choose to tour South America or something, I'd want the 26" because they're more widely available world-wide. But for the foreseeable future, my touring will be very American based (if at all).
Mostly, I think I'm looking for a good commuter bike, without having a commute to make (since I work from home). I do want to haul stuff occasionally, but not primarily.
The LHT reminds me of my Toyota Avalon, which is comfy and reliable, and my former Roubaix reminds me of my friend's Mustang, with some really fun performance qualities to it.
Anyway... tire thoughts?