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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 04-29-08, 01:00 AM   #1
kao
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A bike to do it all?

I am thinking about these three bikes:

1. surly cross check
2. soma double cross
3. surly LHT

I am looking for a bike that would be best for:

1. working as a guide on road and off-road (trans-canada trail, not technical but not paved)
2. touring in china, loaded
3. some randonneuring and long training rides with friends (who ride road bikes)
4. a triathlon or two (least important)
5. and of course riding around town on a fun bike, some lighter overnight trips

I am 6'4, have long legs.

Any advice welcome,
Thanks
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Old 04-29-08, 03:17 AM   #2
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I think you have chosen three very good bikes. While the LHT may be more suited to a fully loaded tour in China, I believe you could also do it with one of the other two. Since the China tour may be a one time adventure and you want to use the bike for what will probably be the bulk of your riding -randonneuring, long training rides and around town, I might opt for one of the cross bikes if they are lighter in weight. BTW, I am no expert, just an observation.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:24 AM   #3
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Surly Long Haul Trucker can serve all those needs in more than adequate fashion except the triathlon...it will struggle mightly as a tri bike...but so will the other two.

Get the LHT!
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Old 04-29-08, 09:20 AM   #4
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If those two cross bikes are like the Tricross, my experience is that they will handle 1,3 and 5 very well. Obviously if the tri races are serious you'd want a real tri bike, but with the right wheels, it would be ok. For heavy loaded touring in exotic countries, obviously a real touring bike is best, but I wouldn't be too afraid of taking a cross bike. My main concerns would be stuff like brifters or carbon fibre breaking, compared to the no nonsense solidity of something like the LHT.

Having test ridden the LHT, Tricross and Jake the Snake (another cross bike), the cross bikes are *much* more fun. Up to you whether you want to buy a two seater sportscar or a minivan for your tour.

Steve
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Old 04-29-08, 09:47 AM   #5
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Looking at the OPs address, touring in China looks like it might not be as infrequent as for a North American...
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Old 04-29-08, 10:11 AM   #6
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Thanks guys. Yeah, the triathlon thing is just an idea - not really part of the question.

"Touring in China" or touring other places with a heavy load - I think you can use front racks on the LHT but not the cross check?

Is the LHT a fun bike to ride around everyday?

I have been leaning towards the cross check for awhile, I just want to make sure it can carry the load needed for a month or two of touring with camping gear.

Thanks
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Old 04-29-08, 10:39 AM   #7
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Buy two sets of wheels what ever bike you get to maximize versatility.
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Old 04-29-08, 11:14 AM   #8
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As much as I believe that a touring bike is about as close as one gets to an all round machine, there is one requirement on the list that makes me hesitate to recommend a touring bicycle: loaded touring in China. I have no personal experience riding in a developing country, but if the accounts that I have read of others who have are an indication, I think the best option is a mountain bike.

You need one tough bicycle when dealing with muddy tracks instead of roads, sand, mountain passes, and so on. But if you choose to forego the mountain bike option, forget about the cross check. You need comfort and durability and carrying capacity and maintainability. A mountain bike will give you that.

If you opt for a touring bike, you will probably end up with the same wheels/tires as you would on a mountain bike. Just make sure to get a heavy-duty touring bike, as opposed to a "sport touring" model.
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Old 04-29-08, 11:49 AM   #9
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get a thorn bike with suspension: http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/index.html
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Old 04-29-08, 01:39 PM   #10
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I think that all of the bikes will satisfy your needs. The only thing that crossed my mind is that since you have long legs and presumably feet, the bike with the longest chainstays (LHT I believe) would be best for carrying rear panniers.

However, I would probably go with the least expensive one ...
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Old 04-29-08, 05:16 PM   #11
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Is the LHT a fun bike to ride around everyday?
I took delivery of mine last friday and I am quite pleased with it. The bike is real smooth and stable. I used to have a hybrid and I like this ride much better. Almost feels like it's on rails.

Make sure you change that saddle though, especially if you're planning a two month trip!

And so far, I've ridden it every day (except yesterday, it was amost freezing and poured all day) and it was fun!
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Old 04-29-08, 05:58 PM   #12
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As much as I believe that a touring bike is about as close as one gets to an all round machine, there is one requirement on the list that makes me hesitate to recommend a touring bicycle: loaded touring in China. I have no personal experience riding in a developing country, but if the accounts that I have read of others who have are an indication, I think the best option is a mountain bike.

You need one tough bicycle when dealing with muddy tracks instead of roads, sand, mountain passes, and so on. But if you choose to forego the mountain bike option, forget about the cross check. You need comfort and durability and carrying capacity and maintainability. A mountain bike will give you that.

If you opt for a touring bike, you will probably end up with the same wheels/tires as you would on a mountain bike. Just make sure to get a heavy-duty touring bike, as opposed to a "sport touring" model.
Heh. Most Chinese city roads are better than Toronto's sorry collection of pothole tracks.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:26 PM   #13
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This forum is getting ridiculous....are there any threads not discussing simply which bikes and/or drivetrain to buy?
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Old 04-29-08, 06:33 PM   #14
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You can put a front rack on a Cross Check, there's one on mine right now. It handles great loaded as long as you have the weight divided between the front and back. The wheels may go slightly out of true if you go crazy at bunnyhopping catttlegaurds while loaded down with all your camping gear though.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:39 PM   #15
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This forum is getting ridiculous....are there any threads not discussing simply which bikes and/or drivetrain to buy?
most 'hobby' boards get used primarily for advice...what bike, what wheels, what energy bar, what training paradigm, etc etc etc...it is what it is...
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Old 04-29-08, 06:43 PM   #16
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Fair enough, I suppose...
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Old 04-29-08, 07:31 PM   #17
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Heh. Most Chinese city roads are better than Toronto's sorry collection of pothole tracks.
Yes, road conditions in Toronto are deplorable. See the attached photo of a typical Toronto street! (And this photo was taken AFTER city work crews had repaired the potholes!)



Quote from www.bikechina.com/drr2002-3.html:

"Good roads in China are smooth, swept, free of holes and a pleasure to ride along. Bad roads in China are dirt ruts full of rocks, dust and mud. I never saw a good road that didn’t look brand new, and the bad roads look like they have been there for three thousand years. My bike was a hybrid without front suspension, but I would have worried less and been more confident with a more rugged mountain bike fitted with tires with deep tread. Road bikes and touring bikes will not do, unless you are positive that there will be only high quality roads. Given the fast pace of construction in China, there is almost no way you can predict what road surfaces you might find, so the mountain bike is the safe choice."
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Old 04-29-08, 08:34 PM   #18
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The LHT and Crosscheck accept wider tires than the Soma, so they are at a definite advantage. And if you compare stock bikes, the Crosscheck comes with a double only. So the LHT is a winner:
- longer stays
- low gears (though I would even replace the 26 by a 24 granny)
- very steady ride when loaded.

As for the "fun factor", a lot depends on your taste, but I'm sure that if you install 700x28-30 tires you'll get a fairly nimble bike.
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Old 04-29-08, 10:07 PM   #19
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This forum is getting ridiculous....are there any threads not discussing simply which bikes and/or drivetrain to buy?
Well, the season is getting started and some people are changing bikes. It's to be expected.

And what better place to ask those questions? I asked my share and found lots of knowledgeable people.

Some people such as myself, and you, seeing you live in Quebec too, just came out of winter! Hell, I even saw snow on Mont-Royal while I was riding this afternoon!

I'm sure as the temperature gets warmer (it's about 5ºc here tonight), we'll see more "ride" questions, but the new stuff came out and the bike shops just opened so for now, it's normal to see gear-oriented questions...

My 0.02$.

JP
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Old 04-30-08, 01:00 AM   #20
kao
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Thanks guys. This is a really great forum, very helpful. I also post on the lonely planet thorn tree at times, also helpful but with a smaller user base I think.
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