Hello to all. I've been watching this forum for a while and enjoy all the info you've given to people in the past. I've learned alot just by reading. Here's my first post and I hope you can help.
Here's my problem and I can't fix it. I'm 5 ft 2in tall on a good day. I cannot seem to find a bike for loaded touring that will fit my really short legs (281/2 in inseam). I can't afford to go with a complete custom like a Miyata or Co-motion because I've got three kids, a house with a mortgage, and bills. I bet you can relate.
Anyway, two years ago I bought a Trek 1000c. It was in my price range and at the time I didn't really know what kind of riding I would be doing. I expected a trip around the block or weekends on a rail trail would be the most of my riding. Well, last summer, I did my first tour and I positively love it! I'm looking to do some more this summer. Maybe the C&O then around Washington DC or maybe around Grand Teton and Yellowstone.....
OK, OK back to the bike issues, the "c" in 1000c stands for compact but this bike wasn't "compact" enough. I've changed the headset and stem to make the bike as short as I can and the bike is comfortable but not "ride all day" fun. I also changed the crummy gearing to a Shimano XT 22/32/44 but when the front derailleur was installed the seat tube got bent. I'm just not comfortable travelling miles and miles on an aluminum frame with a big dent in it. There have been so many changes on this bike to try to make it fit the only thing that is original are the brakes. I would like to find a bike that I would really like to ride around on for the rest of my life. I've researched this for a long time and every large manufacturer of touring bikes make them way too big. I'm not interested in Terry-- I don't want to go through another component "changeathon" because the larger companies won't lower their gearing for loaded touring.
The two bikes that I have been able to find that should fit and work for loaded touring are Bruce Gordon's BLTx and the Surly LHT. First, how do I figure out if the components that are on my currrent bike will fit on the LHT? That would be my first choice. Second, how do I know if there will be enough clearance for my heels once the panniers are on? I used a trailer with the current bike and would like to have the option for bags or a trailer depending on the trip. If you have any other ideas, I would really like to hear them too!
I appreciate any info you all may have. Thanks for your time.