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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 01-26-08, 09:56 AM   #1
Dellphinus
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LHT as an all around bike?

I know this has been discussed at various levels before, but I'm just about to pull the trigger on a custom build, and need some soothing...

I'm looking at the following as an all around bike. I like to do longer rides, 60-70 miles, and dream of doing a cross country. Don't know when I'll get to do it though. I do lots of supported rides, some centuries, MS150s, and am planning a 7 day supported ride this fallRide with a rear rack and trunk bag sometimes. Most of the rides around here involve mostly small hills (some steep), and on business trips, I've been doing Skyline drive 20 miles at a time (out and backs, since I'm alone). My current bike weighs 31 lbs unloaded, and has an 8 speed 20-104 GI range on 26x1.5s. Straight bar, twist shifts, aerobars. Average speed on the longer rides/centuries runs 14-15 mph, and I'd like to get that up to 16-18.
Some of the roads I ride are gravel, so I don't relaly want to go smaller than 1.5s on the tires.

The LHT build:
11x32 9 sp, 26/36/44
XT long cage RR rear-der
105 front-der
shimano bar ends on Pauls Thumbies on the bars
36 hole XT hubs f+r
B17 saddle
Split Second aerobars

What I'm after is yeas or nays on this as a bike for the type riding I mostly do- I really don't want to have to buy and get used to another bike when the x-country happens. Yet, if this is a bad idea for everything EXCEPT the X-country, then I'lll look for something else.

Thanks!
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Old 01-26-08, 10:11 AM   #2
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Sounds good. Enjoy.
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Old 01-26-08, 10:38 AM   #3
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Touring bikes make great all-around bikes. If all I could have was one bike (blasphemy!) my touring bike would be it.

That said, I'd consider a 48/36/26 for your crankset...it'll give you a little better top-end for lightly loaded rec/charity rides where you want to get your average speed up and you are riding with groups of road bikes.
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Old 01-26-08, 10:47 AM   #4
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this is a picture of my lht with 2.1" nobbies in the snow near baltimore, md. its a great all-around bike. i've taken in mountain biking and road riding. i have a post on RBR about it, if you've got a log-in there. if you have any specific questions, ask away

edit: i'm riding it from seaside, OR to fenwick island, DE this summer. just shy of 5000 miles.

Last edited by Fueled by Boh; 01-26-08 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 01-26-08, 10:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Touring bikes make great all-around bikes. If all I could have was one bike (blasphemy!) my touring bike would be it.

That said, I'd consider a 48/36/26 for your crankset...it'll give you a little better top-end for lightly loaded rec/charity rides where you want to get your average speed up and you are riding with groups of road bikes.
I fat fingered it, it is a 48/36/26.
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Old 01-26-08, 10:52 AM   #6
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Generally speaking, any touring bike will cover all of those uses.

Touring bikes are designed for stability while loaded. In the "plus" column, the LHT is stable when loaded, comfortable, is rugged, and can take full racks & fenders.

The biggest "minus" is that touring bikes are not particularly fast. The rider position is somewhat upright. Your tire and wheel choices will also affect speed.

My best guess, based on comparing my cross/touring bike to my road bike, is that if you use wide tires, heavy rims and sit upright (all good things for touring), you'd probably lose 2 mph on average compared to a standard road bike.

Frame weight has nothing to do with performance, by the way. My cross/touring and road bikes weigh the same, but the road is about 2mph faster than the cross -- maybe more when I use actual cross tires.

So if you're building from scratch, I'd consider a few options:

1) get one stem with tons of rise, and another with little or no rise. Use the upright position for any ride where comfort is more important than speed (e.g. touring)
2) consider using two wheelsets, one set for touring and one for speed.
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Old 01-26-08, 12:37 PM   #7
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About 99% of the riding I do on my LHT is "just riding around". Currently I have the bike set up with fenders and 35mm tires, and the bars are about 4cm above the saddle. This gives me a very nice "Cadillac" all day ride.

The biggest load I regularly have on it is a bannana bag with a lock, extra tube, CO2 pump and cartridge and a couple of all in one tools

When my 35mm tires are done I will probably get some 33.3333mm Jack Browns to put on it, as that is probably as big as I need for the type of riding I do.

I think "Touring" bikes are much better bikes for what people want out of a bike. Very few people actually race, yet they "just ride around" on race bikes. I think they would be a lot happier with the set up I have, yet they think it is overkill since the bikes are called "Touring".
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Old 01-26-08, 12:52 PM   #8
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Thats pretty much what I use my LHT for, and I am very happy with it. I mostly ride it unloaded, except when I am touring, and I have never found it to be slow. When I want to go fast on mine I ride mostly in the drops, when I am touring and/or taking it easy I tend to ride more on the hoods or the curves for a more upright position. It's a versatile bike. That being said you should see if there is an LBS near you where you can test ride one, even if you plan to go custom.

You could also try a cross check. I had one for a while that I used for all my rides, including loaded touring. I sold the frame for an LHT since it was a bit too small for me. It also would work well for your stated purposes, and it is a bit lighter.
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Old 01-26-08, 12:59 PM   #9
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There is no such thing as an all around bike in this day and age of extreme product specializatoin, there are just narrow cycling needs. Sounds like the LHT would work for what you have in mind really well, though your touring is on the light end, and the LHT is at least nominally a heftyish frame.

I probably wouldn't have 9 speed on a touring, bike, but you might use it since much of your use is unloaded.
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Old 01-26-08, 01:05 PM   #10
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I think the LHT will work great. I got to admit that I was gritting my teeth a bit today, though. I got pretty much toasted by everyone else in rock creeck (DC). My LHT is loaded down w/ front and back racks, back panniers, and a handlebar bag, and the folks out today are a self-selected crowd, so I have excuses, but still...
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Old 01-26-08, 04:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Generally speaking, any touring bike will cover all of those uses.

Touring bikes are designed for stability while loaded. In the "plus" column, the LHT is stable when loaded, comfortable, is rugged, and can take full racks & fenders.

The biggest "minus" is that touring bikes are not particularly fast. The rider position is somewhat upright. Your tire and wheel choices will also affect speed.

My best guess, based on comparing my cross/touring bike to my road bike, is that if you use wide tires, heavy rims and sit upright (all good things for touring), you'd probably lose 2 mph on average compared to a standard road bike.

Frame weight has nothing to do with performance, by the way. My cross/touring and road bikes weigh the same, but the road is about 2mph faster than the cross -- maybe more when I use actual cross tires.

So if you're building from scratch, I'd consider a few options:

1) get one stem with tons of rise, and another with little or no rise. Use the upright position for any ride where comfort is more important than speed (e.g. touring)
2) consider using two wheelsets, one set for touring and one for speed.

I've been considering having them leave the steerer long enough to mount two stems, so I can use a HB bag with the aeros on tours. If I did that, I could also raise and lower the stem at will... hmmm...
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Old 01-26-08, 07:11 PM   #12
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It will work great for just about anything except screaming up hills and leading the pack on fast group rides but then again if you've got the motor, even that won't be a problem.
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Old 01-26-08, 07:28 PM   #13
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If the aim is to increase speed I don't think this is the way to go - look at something like a Soma smoothie ES or a Crosscheck. Apparently good for anything on-road short of heavily-laden touring, including riding fast. Comparable price. The crosscheck will go to 45mm tyres I believe. I think the soma road frame limits you to 32mm so maybe not for you.

If the aim is to get a bike for your cross-continent road trip, go for it.
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Old 01-27-08, 12:49 AM   #14
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i waffled over the crosscheck/ lht decision for a while. i was looking for a bike that i could take on my upcoming tour. if your looking for a touring bike, make your life easier and get a touring bike -- thats what i decided. the increasing specialization of products in the cycling industry is nauseating at times, but when it comes down to it, having the best tool for the job is really very nice.
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Old 01-27-08, 11:12 AM   #15
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Dellphinus: I don't think the double stem will work with the cantis. If you look at Boh's photo, you will see several spacers, but also a guide for the brakes. That guide (or the cable) will bump into an auxiliary stem and/or a large handlebar bag.


Peterpan1: Odd, it seems to me that unless you're actually doing something specialized, you don't need a highly specialized bike. E.g. if you're racing, doing a time trial or a 10-week tour, the otherwise minor differences will become more important or noticeable.

More to the point is that a lot of general-purpose riders will likely end up with a hybrid rather than a road bike. I don't see why you can't use a touring or good hybrid for commuting, utility, recreation, touring, and long distance rides -- and that's a pretty wide range of uses, no?


Cave / Boh: FYI the "Complete" Cross-Check (i.e. the stock model) is slower and feels more stable/sluggish than a standard road bike, even with 700 x 25c slick tires at 110psi.

My guess is the LHT isn't be any slower than the CC if both bikes use the same tires and rider position.
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Old 01-27-08, 11:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dellphinus View Post
I know this has been discussed at various levels before, but I'm just about to pull the trigger on a custom build, and need some soothing...

...I'm looking at the following as an all around bike. I like to do longer rides, 60-70 miles, and dream of doing a cross country...I do lots of supported rides, some centuries, MS150s, and am planning a 7 day supported ride this fallRide with a rear rack and trunk bag sometimes. Most of the rides around here involve mostly small hills (some steep), and on business trips, I've been doing Skyline drive 20 miles at a time (out and backs, since I'm alone). My current bike weighs 31 lbs unloaded, and has an 8 speed 20-104 GI range on 26x1.5s...
I have three bikes, but the most miles go on the LHT, especially during the winter. I use it for commuting, long distance, touring and fun.

Yesterday I did my century ride for January on it because it was stormy here in Northern California and this is the only bike with fenders. It also has big tires which I needed for some of the washouts I rode through. During the ride I managed to snag onto the back of a fancy carbon road bike who towed me about 10 miles at speeds between 20 and 30 mph...If you can negate the aerodynamics by drafting, the LHT (with big tires, racks, bags, lights, fenders) can really move.

My LHT is a 54 cm so it has 26" wheels. I am using Continental Travel Contacts 26 x 1.75" which are a good all-around tire both on pavement and gravel. My gearing is 46/36/26 with 11-32 on the back...22 to 108 gear-inches. If you want I can email you my build.
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