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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 07-07-14, 05:54 PM   #1
TrekCommuter
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Dilemma

Good evening,

Here is my dilemma. My wife and I have been getting into longer rides and just completed a 32 mile ride on the 4th. It was great and we both really enjoyed it. We have been contemplating working up to a double century next year (TOSRV in Ohio). We currently have Trek 7.2 FXs with Trekking bars. They are good bikes and relatively comfortable, but it is hard to get into an "aero" position in headwinds. I also wonder about how well the lower end components would hold up with higher miles being put on them.

I have been thinking about trying out several of the bikes by Surly (Pacer, Cross Check and LHT). The primary use for these bikes would be the occasional century, recreational 30-50 mile rides and light touring (at some point we want to do the Ohio Erie Trail).

What do you all think? I know that centuries can be done and are often done on hybrids, but we both really enjoy biking and would like to get into it more. Two of the aforementioned Surlys would be pricey, but I can sort of see the need at this point. Also, which would you recommend for our intended uses?

Thanks!
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Old 07-07-14, 07:18 PM   #2
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As much as I like the LHT for touring, it's a heavy bike for occasional centuries and recreational 30-50 mile rides IMHO.

One other comment I have has to do with your saying it is hard to get into an "aero" position in headwinds on your current bikes. When I was riding DF's (rather than the recumbents I now ride), I found that trekking bars made for a fairly easy aero position IF I set the height up correctly - not at the same height I would have normal bars set at. That is, my trekking bars were set slightly higher than my drop bar with clip on aero bars. YMMV but I'd play with the height a bit and see if that works if you are otherwise happy with your current bikes. (Also, I reversed the trekking bars from the normal direction = maybe that was what made the difference for me...?? Sorry, I don't have pics any longer.)

Lastly, upgrading components might be cheaper than buying new bikes. I basically rebuilt/upgraded a bike for less than half the new price by patiently waiting for deals on eBay and Craigslist. Again, YMMV depending on your shade-tree mechanic skills and patience/desire to get it all done now.
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Old 07-07-14, 07:34 PM   #3
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Very valid points. I appreciate the feedback. I will definitely play around the the way the bars are set up. The trekking bars are great for varied hand positions and are a vast improvement over the flat bars the bikes came with.
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Old 07-08-14, 06:51 AM   #4
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Here's a consideration for you. Look at the position of the "mirror horns". Make them function as "aerobar grips/handles" by rotating/positioning them correctly. I've seen short stubby handles attached to trekking bars as well as long mirror stalks like this.

Flipping the trekking bars upside down, reversing them to put the openign further away from you (possibly coupled with a new stem), moving the add-ons in-out along the curved/straight part of of the trekking bars --- lots of possibilities.

Cost: A little bit of time/imagination and a whole lot cheaper than a new bike.
As always, YMMV

Last edited by dual650c; 07-08-14 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 07-08-14, 01:11 PM   #5
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I would tour (with a nicer rear wheel) and bust out an occasional century on a FX 7.2. Medium pace club ride or Double, no. If you are adding to the stable get something markedly different. The FX and the LHT overlap too much in function.

If you are in the sweet spot for bike sizing, 54-58cm, Craig's list is good resource.
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Old 07-08-14, 02:47 PM   #6
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I've checked out the LHT and the Crosscheck. You might save a pound or two on the Crosscheck, but you need to weigh (ahem!) that against the triple on the LHT -- if you find yourself on a steep hill at the end of the day, you'll love the granny gear on the LHT.

No input on the Pacer, except that the picture Surly has on its page shows the bars dropped well below the saddle. If you're coming from the Trek 7.2's, that'll be something extra to adjust to.

Best advice I can give you is to go to one or more bike shops and try them out. You'll likely find something you really, really like. The value of riding a bike you like at the end of a hard day is priceless. No amount of web surfing and couch analysis can compare.
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Old 07-08-14, 04:05 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the feedback. I think for now I will hold off on new bikes. Our Treks are very comfortable, if not terribly fast. But then again, we are relatively new to this long distance thing, so we are not terribly fast either. I think I will play around with bar setup and make it work.

I do have a few other questions though. Does anyone use Camelbaks for centuries? It would seem to be a very convenient way to stay hydrated, though I know many people do not like having anything on their back. My second question is what would you recommend for tires? I have Michelin Trackers (700x35c) and my wife has the stock Bontragers of the same dimension. What would be a relatively quick tire with decent punture resistance? Continental 28s or 32s?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-08-14, 05:26 PM   #8
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There is a category of bike called 'sport touring'.
This may be just what you need.
Also look at what Soma has to offer.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:38 PM   #9
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I had to go look up what that was. https://www.tosrv.org/14/index.htm Looks like it's a 105 miles out one day, 105 miles back the next.

With that in mind, if they let you take all day to do it, then just about anything will work. So the trick is to make it fun.

Drop bars do help in the wind. However, with a 105 mile out and 105 mile back, you're liable to wind up riding into the wind for 105 miles. I ride in the drops on occasion, but never for 105 miles straight, either. Riding into the wind, best approach is to just take your time, grind away at 12 mph or whatever you can manage, try not to get in a hurry, stop when you need to. On a road bike, you'd likely be a bit lower, have less wind resistance in your body and in the bike, so it'd be advantageous, but not just because of the drops. (If you have back problems or stomach-flab problems, riding in the drops may be difficult to begin with!)

Do you normally draft each other? If one is a stronger rider, put that person in front, let the other draft, off to whichever side helps the most with the wind. If you're similar strengths, try alternating. Main drawback to the drafting, for me, is I wind up riding with my hands in the same position instead of moving them around.

I would focus on bikes that are reasonably fast and fun for now, and worry about toting luggage later if that still looks like an option you wish to pursue.

On the componentry- it's hard to say. Expensive stuff can be lighter and not necessarily more durable or more functional. The bike experts I know seem to have considerably different opinions as to what is good and what isn't, too. Anyway, if you ride a bunch, you'll be wearing stuff out, whether cheap or expensive.
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Old 07-08-14, 09:02 PM   #10
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I was familiar with the ride, but I've never been tempted to ride it. Probably because of the overnight more than anything. I used to live in Dayton, it always seemed that the weather wasn't very good that weekend.
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