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Old 02-01-12, 12:08 AM   #1
Digital Gee
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Back to the Surly Long Haul Trucker for a moment...

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?
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Old 02-01-12, 12:49 AM   #2
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good to see you are the same old you. 26 inch wheels are stronger, or can be, than 700c wheels. Shorter spokes bend less. Think of bending a 12 inch ruler compared to a yard stick.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:58 AM   #3
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good to see you are the same old you.
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Old 02-01-12, 05:52 AM   #4
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http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-581919.html

Pretty much all the arguments are covered here.
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Old 02-01-12, 06:47 AM   #5
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If I may interject (I'm not 50, but getting close.. ) I have a 26" LHT I used for commuting. I can sum that thread up for you pretty quickly:
The main argument against 26" wheels is they're slower, and they look funny. Argument for them is strength and tire availability out of the country.

My thoughts? Yes, it's slower. I can still average 15MPH on mine for short distances, even with racks, fenders, and lights. Anything more than that, no way. Does it look goofy? If the bike is stripped down, yes it looks funny. With fenders and racks, you can hardly tell.
Bonus: All my roadie friends keep asking me if those are 650B tires. Truth!

Bare bike:


With fred gear:


Last edited by FunkyStickman; 02-01-12 at 06:49 AM. Reason: Fixed a pic
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Old 02-01-12, 06:50 AM   #6
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Come over to the Dark Side and we will complete your training. Buy a recumbent.

Before you dismiss it out of hand, consider the benefits:
1) They're very vertebral column friendly.
2) You really get a much better view of the world.
3) They can be rigged like a pack mule if you need to.
4) They're babe magnets. Really.
5) If by chance you have a grey beard and an aero belly, you'd be a natural.
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Old 02-01-12, 07:28 AM   #7
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I like the LHT for a lot of the reasons DG mentions. My wife and I went with Specialized Tricross Comps for a compromise. We have rear racks and often carry trunk bags. If I was commuting and likely to ride in the rain frequently I would want fenders, maybe even the full Fred treatment in the photo above.
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Old 02-01-12, 07:41 AM   #8
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Funky: Is the intravenous drip bottle CO2 powered or do you have to stop and use a frame pump every now and then?
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Old 02-01-12, 07:50 AM   #9
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I'm thinking there is a LHT in my immediate future as well and have been debating wheel size. The only thing I can add is that the doomsday preppers say the LHT with the 26" wheels would make a great bug out bike in the event of a SHTF senario. Lots of 26" tires in North America from all the Walmart bikes that have been sold.
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Old 02-01-12, 08:09 AM   #10
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I enjoy my tank-like road bikes as much as my race-like road bikes. The LHT is one of the best of the breed. It has enough tire clearance for 26x2.1 inch knobby MTB tires and fenders. It has a huge gear range. It can be used for heavy touring or local trekking.

The 26 inch option is ideal for such a multi-use bike. The bike will accelerate well, if a lighter 26x1.25 tire is used. The bike will be easier to pack and ship.

However, there are better values available. The Nashbar steel touring bike has 3x10 Shimano 105 gearing with brifters for $700. A 20% coupon can be applied to these, when they become available.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_10000_202613

The frame will fit a 700x38 tire with fender and is lighter than the LHT.
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Old 02-01-12, 10:55 AM   #11
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Because I'm only 5'7", I ride a 52cm LHT. The smaller frames look proportional with 26" wheels.

Here's mine -
Attached Images
File Type: jpg The Old Mill - Rogues Hollow '09.jpg (99.6 KB, 44 views)
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Old 02-01-12, 11:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
To be outside and really SEE the world around me as I ride here and there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
Come over to the Dark Side and we will complete your training. Buy a recumbent.
You really get a much better view of the world.
Deege, I realize that you responded to the "R" topic in your last post, but your reasons for wanting to ride and Dude's list of recumbent pro's really do match up.
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Old 02-01-12, 11:41 AM   #13
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Funky: Is the intravenous drip bottle CO2 powered or do you have to stop and use a frame pump every now and then?
It's below me, so that would make it a catheter bottle... lets me ride for days without stopping!

Okay, that's just kind of gross.

Seriously, it's an airhorn tank. Airzound horns are awesome for commuting and scaring dogs.
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Old 02-01-12, 12:25 PM   #14
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LHT (58cm frame) during buildup test ride, without racks and fenders, just for illustration. 700c wheels, Dyad rims, XT 36 spoke hubs and Wheelsmith double butted spokes. Stronger than most stock 26" wheels. Depending on where we are going we will use eithr 28mm or 32 mm tires. However, as I get older the 32mm tires seem to be on our bikes most of the time. This is roughly equivalent to an 1.25' tire. On a fully loaded tour this summer, part of our route took us over more than 400 miles of unpaved and gravel roads and trails and over more than 500 miles of cobblestone roads and trails. Wheels were not a problem. However, if you plan on touring in.............. the 26" might be better. We've never had a problem getting 700c tires, but we have never toured in Mongolia either. If you get a LHT tell them not to cut the steerer tube until you get your fit dialed in. It will give you more options on bar height. I have been riding mine for over 2 years and still have not got around to cutting it

The 29'er(700c) mountain bikes are becoming more popular so wheel strength is not really the issue. This bike has a mountain bike drive train: 44/36/22 crankset with an 11-34 cassette. A little lower geared than a stock LHT.

The bottom line is that wheel and tire size comes down to personal preference! What ever you end up with, enjoy the ride.

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The LHT reminds me of my Toyota Avalon,
I still think it reminds me of a Ford 250 pickup. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little-- a Ford 150 pickup.



The dirt road was too muddy to ride on.



Yes, I believe this is actually a road.

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Old 02-01-12, 01:42 PM   #15
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The LHT can do about anything!



Sorry for all the pictures, but I thought some of you LHT fans might get a kick out of this.
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Old 02-01-12, 01:47 PM   #16
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DG - I think you're on the right track here.
I've got three bikes and if I HAD to thin the herd, the one I'd keep is steel, has fenders, a light rear rack, wide range (for me) gearing and a Brooks.
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Old 02-01-12, 03:43 PM   #17
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Fresh start and fresh bike. You need low gearing for the hills- your current fitness and the way you like to ride. You also need some assistance from the bike. Not going to knock the surly as it is right for the job--But I think you will need all the assistance from the bike you can get. Check out the bikes in your range and see how they feel-- Back OK- position right on the bike to make you want to pedal- can you actually get it working without too much effort. The Surly might be the bike for you- Or the Defy-Or a Roubaix. Only you can tell that. But after having ridden 26 and 700 wheels- I'd go for the 700's. Not because they are faster- although that does come into it eventually- but because they are easier to propel forward. But then use comes into it--Are you always going to be on smooth roads- are you going to be carrying some weight- will the bike take racks if that is what you want.
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Old 02-01-12, 04:02 PM   #18
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On one hand, we have John V's currently posted Colnago Ace....sleek, rockets away from a stop--sweet bike. Then there's the LHT......endless potential for Fredification (braze-ons for spare spokes, for a can of cheese-whiz, for a water purifier, etc.) In the end, it's your insight and honest-with-yourself sense of who you are as a cyclist that chooses the right bike. One rider's sleek is another's frippery, and another's vision of admirable functionality is another's picture of something the Joads might have ridden out of the dustbowl. The LHT invites lots of modification. Still, you can't successfully slip an Armani coat over a Fred who is wearing a utility belt and fool anyone. And, likewise, struggling to put fenders on the Colnago seems just sorta morally wrong , but then who wants mudstreak up their backside!? In short, know and rejoice in thyself.

DG, in the end, after all the soul-searching, you always seem a straight ahead guy who will make the most honest and therefore best choice of bike for himself. Ah, the sweet agony of the choosing!
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Old 02-01-12, 08:58 PM   #19
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The LHT is in my stable, but mostly comes out when it is time for a fully loaded tour ride. It handles a heavy load very well. Mine has the 700 wheels, and I am quite happy with them.
I will occasionally ride off road with my LHT. The problem with that is the ground clearance. In order to handle the heavy loads, the bottom bracket is lower than most other bikes. Still, I have enjoyed it off road occasionally, and on National Forest roads.
Someone mentioned cheaper models. I will just say that Surly absolutely nailed the geometry along with the build. I find the LHT to be a value in itself.
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Old 02-01-12, 09:51 PM   #20
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For the reasons you list, see if there's a Trek 520 in your area to test out, too.
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Old 02-01-12, 09:59 PM   #21
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Welcome back, DG!
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Old 02-01-12, 10:14 PM   #22
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For the reasons you list, see if there's a Trek 520 in your area to test out, too.
I did, and there isn't.
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Old 02-02-12, 12:29 AM   #23
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I have a LHT and I would say if you aren't going to tour, you should look at the Surly Cross Check. It's steel and is more agile.
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Old 02-02-12, 05:16 AM   #24
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I have a LHT and I would say if you aren't going to tour, you should look at the Surly Cross Check. It's steel and is more agile.
I agree you should look at the Surly Cross-Check as a tough, yet more nimble than LHT, do-all-bike. I too have an LHT (54cm/26") that I use for touring/heavy hauling and rarely for anything else. I use my Cross-Check for light & fast bike-camping and grocery getting. For a couple of hours of simple, pure, riding enjoyment I ride my fixed-speed. For outright speed I'm on my Trek 5000. N + 1 has a lot going for it. You can see all my bikes in my signature links.

Since touring is not currently your main reason for buying a new bike I'd get the Cross-Check or 700c LHT. With Surly bikes' flexibility, it's all about how they are setup, with the Cross-Check being the most flexible.
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Old 02-02-12, 06:51 PM   #25
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Not even getting a new bike is easy these days. Remember when there were only a few choices?
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