We are getting a new bike for my wife--either a Novara Safari or a Surly LHT. Light touring is intended at some point, but mostly the bike will run around town (running errands/getting groceries), on bike paths, shorter charity rides, and hopefully on some trails. I'm curious if anyone has taken their LHT off-road. I'm not talking about technical trails, but dirt roads verging into light singletrack. The bike will see similar use to my Cross-check, but we think the LHT or Safari (with the 26" wheels) will fit her 5ft.1 frame better. She doesn't care about going fast.
Any experience on rough roads or trails with your LHT? Would the longer wheelbase made climbing on dirt incredibly difficult (hard to get traction)? Any sense of why one bike would be better than the other?
I know they are pretty different in price; we could afford the LHT, but if the Safari is just as good or better for what she will do then we would just as soon save the money.