I'm still trying to figure out what bike to get for an upcoming Great Divide trip and for other all-around touring. I'd been thinking of getting a Surly LHT built up though it would seem that I need a 56cm frame, not letting me run mountain bike tires. I could fit some 44mm knobbies on there, though, and it has all the rack mounts I would ever need. No suspension, of course. Then there is a nice mountain bike I've been offered which is a Litespeed Ocoee with all top-of-the-line components (XTR, etc). It's similar price-wise (used) to a brand new Surly. I'm a little worried, though, that the ultra-light components on the Litespeed, such as the Rockshox "Sid" fork and Mavic 517 wheels wouldn't be up to carrying extra weight, and if the titanium might be too flexy for the extra load, but I don't really know about all of this being a relative newby myself. It's a beautifull bike, though, and would likely be better suited for the Great Divide route. I could use a little advice from you more knowledgable folks out there... Thanks.
Mavic X517 are racing rims and IMO shouldn't be considered up for the job of carrying heavy loads. My rear rim has just began to develop some cracks around the nipple holes and this wheelset was never used for more than commuting or light touring.
Macha, I too want to know if I can or should use my Hardrock on a Europe tour. I run high pressure road type tires and love the stability of my bike. My other option is my old (20+ years) Yakota, co-mo, will take 28 wide tires, but not nearly as stable. My HR has the dbl. wall rims and decent front suspension. looking forward to Macha's answers to help guide me too.
I did some reasearch about the great divide trail and all the advise I got was that a mountain bike was needed. The reasons given were the rocky roads, washboarded roads, and there is some single track in there too. If those are your only two options, why not concider a new but cheaper mountian bike. Note that I have never seen the great divide trail, just a little bit of research into it. There is a Yahoo group devoted to the gdmbt...