I've been thinking about buying a La Cruz frame for touring the last 6 months. Cons are the slightly shorter chainstays (43cm vs 45cm), higher bottom bracket height (68mm vs 78mm) and shorter wheelbase (~4cm) compared to touring specific frames. The shorter chainstay I can live with as I don't have Shaq size feet but the bikes stability when loaded is my major concern especially when riding with a strong cross wind. Pros are cost of frame with fork and disc brake compatibility. To get an equivalent frame for touring I'd have to spend at least 3 times as much and perhaps go custom.
2014 Pivot Mach 5.7 MTB, 2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper
Originally Posted by matchy99
To get an equivalent frame for touring I'd have to spend at least 3 times as much and perhaps go custom.
I've been looking at the Salsa La Cruz lately too (In winter my thoughts turn to disc brakes). I think it has all the obvious advantages (good price, disc brakes) with some of the compromises noted about using a cross bike for touring.
One alternative is the Gunnar Rock Hound. It's $850 for frame only, so it's going to be less than 2x as much as the Salsa La Cruz by time you add a fork. As I read the geometry it's a bit more touring-oriented than the La Cruz.
Back to the La Cruz - I've seen a couple set up as wet-weather commuters (fenders, rear rack). I've also seen one set up as a winter "rain bike" (skinnier tires, fenders, no racks). Haven't seen one with a front rack or panniers, but you could make it work, though discs will make choosing and setting up the right racks more complex.
Personally, I don't see the allure of a tour bike with discs, as the disc mounts tend to impede the mounting of racks and fenders. Yes, there is hardware available to get around this, but such things lead to bending stuff and general "effing around", which doesn't appeal to me. Couple this with the fact that they don't make a dropbar hydro disc, and that you are stuck with just the avid shortpull cable discs OR wierd tektro longpull drop levers, and you're looking at even more headache. Of course, cable discs need constant tuning, as heat will warp the rotors. It ain't a lot of work, but it isn't something I'd want to do on tour. Perhaps your plan is to run some sort of "alt bars" or risers, which would allow for hydros to be fitted, but you're kinda "hosed" (sorry bout the pun) if your hydros fail on tour. I prefer the versatility of dropbars for a bike of this sort, anyway, but the world don't move to the beat of just one drum.
Anyway, I look at the la cruz, and i think it's kinda cool for what it is (jack-of-all-trades, master of none type of bike), but i think i'd sooner try the Fargo (which is designed to be a tourish thing) or an one-on with the slot dropouts (which solve the discs-with-racks-n-fenders problem, in the back at least) because it's cheap and you won't weep if you decide that a disc tour bike aint for you. Heck, it's a good mountain bike so you'll have that going for you. You could get a slot-drop inbred 29er, which would have braze-ons for carriers, and massive tire clearance, with a kona project2 29er fork, and you'd save $250. With that, you could afford to powdercoat it orange and still pocket $100 for something nice...
I guess, in a nutshell, i could see converting a la cruz to a tour-worthy bike, if you already had one in the shed and you felt a burning need to build a tourbike, but couldn't afford a new frame. But, at $600, and with so many compromises necessary, why would you buy a la cruz to make a touring rig out of it?
jandd does make a farkle for extending the threading for your rear rack out beyond the caliper, but i want no part of that for my ride. I've seen the fargo and the raleigh tour bike with the mech discs, and i guess everyone has their own preferences, but i'll stick to rim brakes on road/tour/commute bikes. Discs are overkill anywhere but the trail, imho.