Comotion vs. Long Haul Trucker
So I'm new at this, but is the comotion worth the price difference from the Long Haul Trucker? The reason I ask is I always tend to up grade after a year or two. Should I just get the Comotion and be done with it or get the LHT? Most I'll probably do is week long tours for now. Is the comotion "over the top" for this?
Well, what other bikes do you ride? I'm the type of guy who rides 20 year old MTBs and thinks they work fine, so for me personally-- a new Surly would be a dream bike.
Other folks, (the ones with more $$$) go for the higher end stuff.
It's all just personal choice.
I say try strapping your camping gear to a bike your currently own and hit the road. That will teach you what you personally want in your touring bike.
The Co-Motion is a custom frame and will last a life time. No need to upgrade that bike.
These are heavy duty bikes. I don't think it maters how long your are touring once you get to the week or more level, assuming you are loaded touring. Like if you are 500 miles from home and a long weekend from an open repair shop, and your wheel collapses, that's pretty inconvenient. On the other hand neither of these is the definition of a day tripping bike.
The Comotion is in a totaly different class than an LHT. It's custom fitted (essential if you don't fit off the rack or know how to fit yourself), and has top of the line components. You could add the latter to an LHT, but most people back off. It seems as though people will pay a custom package price who won't buy the same components for their DIY build. How many LHTs have all sealed bearings etc... Comotions bikes aren't really deluxe priced, you price any custom frame with those components and it will probably be close.
Other good bikes to look at are the Bruce Gordon, Sakkit, Waterford, Rivendell.
At this level of ride you have to look seriously at upper quality racks like the BG or the sakkit. And upper quality panniers.
Other good LHT frames, are the Urbane cyclist, Higher BB than the LHT and road parts for weight savings without lowering the durability.
If you have never owned a touring bike and fit off the rack, there is something to be said for getting a TIG frame like the Urbane, or the LHT. You will develop a lot of personal preferences when you tour for a while, and also some good info about fit.
I just finished a 3000 mile (700 on gravel) two month unsupported tour that included three Americanos and one LHT. All four bikes performed flawlessly, as did a Trek 520 and a Cannondale T2000. The non-touring specific mountain bikes and to our continuous amazement a well-equipt Waterford were constantly in need of major repairs.
If you build up the LHT with the same components that are stock on the Americano, I think you will pay about $1500 for frame and components. The Americano will cost twice this. However, the latter also gives you the options of frame customization, a wide variety of paint schemes, the alternatives of disk brakes and S&S couplings, and the labor required for assembly. You also get a different ride, which must be experienced, but likely cannot because you will not find a dealer with both (or either) model - especially in your size.
So your question is whether the Americano is worth it.....
Assuming identical functionality, is a $80 Hummer worth twice a similarly equipt $40,000 Jeep? A Hummer still turns heads, while a Jeep is not noticed. Is this cache worth the extra forty grand? To some people it is, otherwise no Hummers would be sold.
My Americano turns heads. It is so beautiful in its Prowler yellow paint scheme that international fashion models scratch each other's eyes out to drape their reclining figures over my bike to have their pictures taken for their portfolios. Its disk brakes, S&S couplers, and Race Face cranks cause MIT engineering professors to momentarily abandon their vacations to wax poetic about how these features act in concert to provide unsurpassed functionality and yet convey an otherwise elusive savor faire. My bike's overall impression is such that busloads of Japanese tourists surround it taking pictures, poke at it, and grill me with questions so that they can take its concept back to the motherland for immediate duplication and sale to the rest of the world as the "Japano".
So there is no answer to your question. When I saw the LHT at the beginning of my tour, I was envious of the money saved. No doubt about it, the LHT is a sweet ride. If I only thought with the brain in my head, the LHT would be the way to go......
Last edited by Cyclesafe; 09-20-06 at 12:45 PM.
"If I only thought with the brain on my head, the LHT would be the way to go......"
Not if it didn't fit.
One recent poster, who obviously likes his LHT, did sum it up well in his blog when he questioned the combination of low bottom bracket clearance and high standover. It's like any other frame it has it's pros and cons. It's hard to argue that it has as much cache for 350 dollars as any frame ever made. That tends to blind people to the fact that it has faults and limitations. If you buy another frame with some quirks you don't get the LHT fever aspect, you are stuck arguing it's merits on your own.
One point is that the LHT is a 26"/700C frame, while the americano is all 700c as far as I know. Anyway, it's worth deciding which one prefers, and which frame offers what in what sizes. Then you can consider Thorn, Gordon, Rivendell, LHT etc... based on you wheel size preference. There are reasonable claims for all 700C, all 26, or based on frame size.
If I understand you, you are wondering if you should buy a great touring bike because in the future you might want to get one of a different color?
The LHT is a good touring bike. Are you the sort of person that buys a Ford Explorer and then a year later trades it in for a Cadillac Escalade?
I don't know, have they fixed the hood latch, the cup holder, the lumbar support adjuster, and all the other crap that blows while the engine and major components just tick over for ever (mixed review).
The nice thing about bikes is that I can't afford a car made to the standard of the better bikes, if indeed there is such a car. Top components on a bike are not really that expensive, they are not all necesarry, but if you think you will really use the bike, and when one considers the fit issues that really don't apply in a car, it's reasonable to buy an expensive one. You can buy a comotion for what the cheapest Harley evo engine cost, well maybe you could get a crate motor for 3000. Folks who live in trailers have those things.
On the practicality side of things it comes down to having either high expectation or fit needs for a custom frame, and wanting to select the components that are most likely to have the highest degree of reliability and performance. We all know that there are some lower order choices that do fine most of the time, but we also know there is better stuff.
Buy the LHT frame for $450 and build it up the way you want. If you don't like the bike. buy an Americano frame for $1600, transfer the components you bought to it, and sell the LHT frame on Ebay.
How was the Waterford performing poorly? With the exception of frame issues (e.g. cracks or poor finishing on threads or interfaces to bearings or paintwork) it would seem to be all to do with components -the maintenance, condition and setup. Was it because of poor cheaper components, or the mechanic who put it together poorly or bad maintenance? Or were there frame issues?
So true. The Waterford frame bent at the right chainstay and was 95% repaired in the field with a acetylene blow torch and great hand-eye coordination, as the proper alignment tools were lacking. After a new rear derailleur was installed, shifting remained rough.
The frame bent because the rider tended to downshift while pedalling with great force.
Yikes! Though I still don't think a frame should bend -particularly a tourer at that -even if someone is a bit rough on shifting. That's put me off Waterfords a bit.
Don't buy the LHT for 450, go here and get it for 350:
If they don't have your size it's just because they sold through. LHTs can be hard to get at this time of year.
Also I agree with the buy an LHT then move the components strategy, except the rear wheel is built on a 145 mm wide hub, not sure if that is negotiable, it probably is.
The Waterford problems sound more mechanical "rough shifting" - and yes I own a Waterford Addventure Cycle, but a number of other touring bikes as well. If you've seen the Waterford chain stays I have a difficult time imagining it bending or breaking unless being very abused. Components and the fit make a big difference and to that point I just got done puchasing a new 1989 Koga Miyata mountain frame off ebay for $100 amd building it up with the same components on my Waterford - Hugi Hubs/Mavic 217's, Schwalbe tires, Durace Barends, xt der, Surly nice racks, Sugino Cranks, etc - total price $600. Doesn't have the nice paint as my Waterford, or the Henery James stainless dropouts, but a bike worth taking any place in the world.
Peter, good catch. The Americano has 145 rather than 135mm drop outs. I think you'd need to sell at least your LHT rear wheel on Ebay too.
I don't know which Waterford frame it was. I am sure that the problems were such that the owner would be justified in sending the frame back to the factory to request a free alignment and paint job. Being the fine company it is, Waterford would likely comply gladly with such a request.
More Energy than Sense
Maybe it was stated, but the Americano also comes w/ 145 spacing on the hubs. While strong, it limits you. I bought a Thorn w/ BTCs, saved about 600 over a comparable Americano and couldn't be happier. The Thorn is also brazed.
for your replys. The thing I don't like about the LHT, is the shorter headtube. I like the fact that on the Comotion, I can have a taller head tube, plus, I am the type of person to buy something and then upgrade a year later realizing I should've bought what I really wanted the first time. I'm gonna look into the LHT some more and probably give it a whirl, it is the most econimical thing to do for now. I just really like the comotion.
Can you guys with the Comotions post some pics and tell me about your experience with them. It think I could pretty much buy a standard geo. model, but would like a taller headtube.
Peter said it above. If you cannot afford the Porshe of cars, maybe you can afford the Americano (or Waterford, or Gordon, or Sakkit etc) of touring bikes. Since you want one, dig deep and buy an Americano.
My 60 cm has a 2 cm larger head tube, Ultegra STI brifters, road disk brakes with 203 mm rotors, S&S couplers, 50mm SKS fenders, and (not shown) Tubus Logo and Tara racks.
Last edited by Cyclesafe; 09-20-06 at 12:42 PM.
Interesting comments about the rear spacing of the Americano - isn't this just a spacer issue. To this point I wanted 40 hole wheels for my Waterford which is spaced 135 and I found some HUgi's spaced 140 and I just ordered a new shorter spacer from Hugi. Prior to that I built Ultegra's with a 135 spacer and my friends build Phils with a number differennt spacer widths?
If you always upgrade than just get the Comotion or whatever high end bike makes you happy.
Originally Posted by mosovich
The LHT is a decent frame, but I have had quality issues with two so far. They still work fine - you would just expect better welding and alignment for the money. The only problem I have encountered is that the low BB height on the LHT has resulted in a lot of pedal contact with the ground when off the asphalt. On road it is fine and handles well. I just wouldn't take a LHT on a tour that featured a lot of uneven or off road terrain.
For the $$$ I think the best value in a steel touring bike is the REI Randonee.