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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Considering LHT for all-purpose bike

    I have a Giant Cypress SX hybrid (heavy, 34+ lbs.) and a Specialized Roubaix Expert Triple (light, fast, 17+ lbs.). The hybrid is a great bike on shortish rides with few (short) hills and slower riders. The Roubaix zips up hills, accelerates fast from stops, and enables me to keep pace with stronger riders.

    The hybrid is a size too big (there is NO standover clearance ) so I am shopping for a replacement. I'm taking my time because I don't want to just swap it for another hybrid and then wish I'd consider other types of bikes.

    I love the Roubaix for its speed and weight. I can take on any hill the group rides and easily lift it into the back of the truck. However..... it would not be my bike of choice for commuting around town for errands or just to hop on for short distances, short night rides and the like. And to be completely honest, I am not crazy about the crackling sounds that come from the CF frame; at times I feel like I'm riding a fragile Waterford crystal glass frame. And, I sometimes wonder if it is "too much bike" for me but it challenges me to go out and ride.

    So, I'm looking for something in between these two extremes, an all-purpose bike with a comfortable geometry (not upright but not aggressive), durable, triple crank, light enough for hills, can handle light gravel or crushed stone trails (95% of our riding is road), can be used for touring, and priced around $1000.00. Steel would be nice.

    I've done a lot of reading and I'm seriously considering a LHT. I learned this past week that our favorite LBS can get Surlys (but doesn't keep them stocked).

    I'm wondering if the LHT would serve me well for group rides that include hills (10% grade or less) and for completing centuries in a reasonable time (< than 7 hours). I have conquered hills on the 34-lb. hybrid so a bike in the mid-20-lb. range may not seem heavy to me. I am not a heavy rider (<140 lbs.) but have been riding again for about 1-1/2 years and still getting my legs in shape. I'm not into speed or racing, only to keep pace with our group and not being the last to complete a long ride with a lot of fatigue.

    I'd like this bike to be a long-term, all-purpose bike, not a short-term replacement for the hybrid that I'd replace again in a year.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
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  2. #2
    ChooseVeg.com
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    A LHT would work fine, but unless you are planning on touring, regularly carry lots of weight, or are on the heavier side, I would consider a lighter bike such as a Surly Cross Check.

  3. #3
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by idegen View Post
    A LHT would work fine, but unless you are planning on touring, regularly carry lots of weight, or are on the heavier side, I would consider a lighter bike such as a Surly Cross Check.
    Actually I am... but it absolutely must have a triple.

    I just found a shop that has a 54cm LHT built up.
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  4. #4
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    You'll find a ton of threads started by people who love their LHT, and not very many who hate on it. If you think you may be interested in doing any single-speed, fixed gear or internal gear hub riding, get the Cross Check instead, (the LHT has vertical dropouts.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikeforums
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  5. #5
    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    You'll find a ton of threads started by people who love their LHT, and not very many who hate on it. If you think you may be interested in doing any single-speed, fixed gear or internal gear hub riding, get the Cross Check instead, (the LHT has vertical dropouts.)
    I don't plan on doing any. The Cross-Check is a consideration for its lighter weight, but I'd need a triple as we live around a lot of hills. I will not even consider a single or fixed, but thanks for the suggestion.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
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  6. #6
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    The LHT is a great all-around bike. Emphasis on all-around. It is heavy, but has a very smart build for the money (complete). It is not a whole lot heavier than the CC. It does just fine on wide trails/gravel.

    The CC is built more with Xcross in mind. The complete CC has different gearing and no rack mounts on the fork. Rims/Hubs are better on LHT. Rear Der is better on LHT. Crankset is better on LHT. If you want to ride the streets and paths, tires are better on LHT. Add up the cost of making the CC built like the LHT. It is significant (to me). If you really want a Xcross bike, the CC is fine. Most people never use it for that--I see lots of them built up like the LHT being used like a LHT. Be honest with yourself--how will you use it? If you want, put MTB bars/cruiser bars on it and pretend you are riding the Atlantis, which is lighter but similar in design.

  7. #7
    1. get on 2. pedal
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    I think the Trucker would be a great choice. But you might want to look at a Surly Pacer as well. I think that would be a medium between the XC and LHT.

  8. #8
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    The LHT can be a very versatile bike. If you swap out the wheels/tires for something more sporty the bike can go from fast rides to touring in short order.
    safe riding - Vik
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    The Surly bikes have heavy steel frames and bar-end shifters. They are kind of heavy, clunky bikes, not road bikes. If kind of heavy clunky bikes are your thing, (I'm a fan) Surly is the ticket.

    You need to test ride one first.

    One final thought-- the Surly bikes are the strongest multi-speed bikes ever built. Buy one and you'll get your $1000 back many times over. It's very possible there's never been a better value in cycling.

  10. #10
    1. get on 2. pedal
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    This idea that Surlies are heavy and clunky, I don't know...yes, the average Surly frame is maybe a pound heavier than the pricey weight-weenie counterpart. But, in the context of the whole bike...it's one pound! Bear in mind the frame is only, what - one-fifth the total weight of a bike? Counting the rider and load: one-fiftieth? I think that pound of heaviness and clunkiness is largely psychosomatic. And I also think the extra pound of sturdiness in the frame helps produce a smoother ride, not a clunkier one. Felt smoother to me, anyway, compared to the competition when I was out shopping and test-riding.

    You can build a light Surly. For example, mine doesn't have those bar-end shifters. Or any shifters at all, or derailleur. That's four pounds off. It goes like a demon.

  11. #11
    Yen
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    Thanks everyone, your comments are very helpful. I found a comment somewhere in BF by an LHT owner saying that his bike weighs about 25 lbs w/ pump, water bottles, seat pack/tools (typical stuff most of us carry). He's also a LOT heavier than I am, and his bike is 10 pounds LESS than my hybrid. I rode my hybrid up hills when I was 20 pounds heavier (and out of shape) than I am now, so that's 30 lbs. more than his stated weight of his LHT.

    I'll also look into the Pacer. However, another thing I like about the LHT is the more comfort-oriented geometry than the others. I know the riding position can be adjusted with stems and/or bars, I'd prefer to be a little more upright than forward -- not as upright as on the hybrid, but not quite so stretched out as on the Roubaix. I may even put on completely different bars.

    I found a shop that's open today and has a 54cm LHT built up. We're heading over there this afternoon.
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  12. #12
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    The MSRP of a LHT just went up a hundred bucks too. It's over a thousand USD now for a LHT.

  13. #13
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    LHT is a great all around bike. I own one and as soon as I got it I stopped riding my road bike altogether. I use mine as an all around bike. I've toured, commuted, ridin hills, ridin organized day tours, pulled a trailer-bike, pulled a child trailer, and I think I bought some groceries one-time with it. Paved roads, crushed limestone, dirt roads, C&O trail, you name it no complaints.

    I really like mine and can recommend them. I did build mine instead of ordering a complete. I have buddy that bought a CC and he's done just about the same stuff as me with good luck. I don't think you can go wrong with either one.

    monkd

  14. #14
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I went with a Surly Cross-Check for the same purposes. (Note: I haven't done a full-blown tour on it yet.)

    I wouldn't worry about weight, especially frame weight. Unless you've made a ton of mods to your hybrid, the Roubaix isn't faster because it weighs less. The Roubaix is more aerodynamic, including the wheels; your position on it is more aero as well; the tires are significantly narrower and likely have a lower PSI and less tread. It probably doesn't help that the Cypress is the wrong size, too.

    My steel road bike weighs about 26 pounds, and I keep up just fine with people whose bikes are 5-8 pounds lighter (and at least $2000 more expensive ). My Surly Cross Check is 1-2 mph slower than the road bike.... and weighs the same. Even putting fenders and racks on the CC doesn't appear to have made much of a difference. Neither bike seems to get any slower when I switched to a Brooks saddle or carry an extra 5+ pounds of crap (or when I weigh 5 pounds more). Meanwhile, my old hybrid with a suspension fork, suspension seatpost, 700 x 32c semi-knobby 85psi tires was much slower than either the cross or road bike -- and only weighs 2-4 pounds more.

    I would, however, be a little nervous about crackling sounds coming from a CF frame. Maybe it's normal, but it doesn't seem like that should be the case. You might want to inspect it carefully or have the LBS check it, just in case.



    FYI, it's very easy to change a Cross-Check "complete" into a triple. The crank can take a 3rd chain ring and the shifter is friction. You'll need a different bottom bracket, a triple FD, and a 3rd ring. I had this done when I got the bike. (You could also go for a compact double setup if you wanted.)

    I'd recommend getting a wider cassette though. The triple helps but once you start putting luggage on, you'll want an 11-32 rather than the 12-25 or whatever the stock cassette is. That'll mean using a mountain rear derailleur as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by rejuvenator
    Add up the cost of making the CC built like the LHT. It is significant (to me).
    LBS's usually won't charge for swapping parts if you request the changes when you buy the bike, unless you request more expensive parts. So, it might add $100 to the cost of the bike.

    IMO the Cross-Check is a little faster and a little more of an "all-rounder" than most touring bikes. If you want a little more speed or want to be a tad readier for gravel, dirt and rough roads, the CC might be a better option. Otherwise I think you'd be fine with either bike.

  15. #15
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post

    I'll also look into the Pacer. However, another thing I like about the LHT is the more comfort-oriented geometry than the others. I know the riding position can be adjusted with stems and/or bars, I'd prefer to be a little more upright than forward -- not as upright as on the hybrid, but not quite so stretched out as on the Roubaix. I may even put on completely different bars.
    I have both a Pacer & an LHT. In my size (42cm) the fit is exactly the same on both, even though the Pacer has 700c wheels and the LHT has 26" wheels. Steer tubes were left long for higher bars. The LHT is slower and heavier, both are very comfortable.

    My Pacer is my road bike with 25mm tires, but I have a rack on it and sometimes I put my commuter panniers on it. It would be great for light touring. I could ride the Pacer all day, day after day.

    When in doubt, get both.
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  16. #16
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    Lht

    I have a 62cm LHT with front and rear racks and it weighs 35 pounds. I love the bike though.
    2008 Surly LHT, 2005 Cannondale T2000,
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    Something that I'm surprised no one has mentioned yet is that an unloaded LHT is a VERY stiff bike. I wouldn't really consider it that great of a bike to do centuries + on when it's unloaded. And as other have mentioned, you can do a lot better on the weight.

    It really seems like a Cross Check, or even a vintage steel bike would be a much better choice for you.

    If touring and hauling things around were your primary want, then yes, it's a fantastic bike- but it seems like loaded touring are low on the list of needs.

    Good luck with the choice!

  18. #18
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    My 58 lht weighs over 45 lbs. with fenders , both racks, pedals, b-67, air pump, 2 water cages, doberman lock.

  19. #19
    Yen
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    Thanks everyone.

    We drove 35 miles to the LBS which happens to have a built-up LHT in my size, 54cm. What a cutie! I absolutely loved it, not just the looks but also the fit and feel of the ride. It must have my name painted on it somewhere. The stock set-up on the LHT felt almost better than the Roubaix (which was modified when I bought it to get the bars higher and put me in a more upright position).

    The frame geometry of the Cross-Check is slightly different, the HT length being the greatest difference. I wonder if the LHT would need the fewest changes to make the fit just perfect.

    I've read comments that say the LHT can do anything I want it to, even centuries. Others say otherwise. It seems to me that if people say they can ride a century on it with ease, then it can be done.

    Our favorite LBS said it can get a Surly and they have a very reputable builder. Another contender is a Jamis Coda but I cannot seem to get one from an LBS within riding distance.

    If I want this bike I need to act soon before the 2008 frames are gone, and the 2009 prices take effect.
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  20. #20
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    There's only 120g weight difference between a LHT and a CC according to surly, and that's for a 58. This difference would be even less for a 54cm. The extra 120 g goes into the stays and headtube, basically. No surly is particularly lightweight anyway.

    Yen, the biggest differences are:

    1. 1.5" longer chainstays on the LHT (so your heels won't hit bags, plus more room for carrying stuff),
    2. 26" wheels on <54cm LHT to minimize toe overlap when turning, plus slightly stronger wheels to carry load,
    3. long headtube on LHT to provide higher handlebar position, and as already mentioned,
    4. dropouts are vertical (LHT) vs horizontal (CC). To allow derailler rear hub vs. derailler, fixed or internal gear hub, which provides capability to manually adjust chain tension (done automatically on a derailler bike by pulleys/cage).
    Last edited by seeker333; 09-21-08 at 10:38 PM.

  21. #21
    Slowpoach
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    I recently had a look at a 54cm LHT and test rode a Salsa casseroll built up as a road bike (double up front, 23mm tyres on lightweight Shimano wheelset). The casseroll is marketed as a light tourer or all-round road bike.

    The salsa was very comfortable even with 23mm tyres (can take up to 32mm). The front mudguard just brushed against my toes when I checked for overlap, but no problems pedaling through tight corners on the test ride. It takes a rear rack, but not designed for a front rack. It was definitely zippier than my Cannondale tourer, also more comfortable unloaded; I wonder if it would be a bit flexy carrying panniers (didn't test this). It didn't flex laterally when I stood up to pedal hard. It was one of those bikes that is just fun to ride, but apparently it can still carry a moderate load if you put a decent set of wheels on it; I would have thought that if you're 140lb. you'd have no troubles at all (I'm 95kg / 210 lb).

    The LHT wasn't fully built up so I couldn't ride it, but I sat on it to check sizing and toe clearance. The surly LHT frame was chunkier. There was no toe overlap. The top tube is flat, so there is a little less standover clearance for the same top tube length. The frame and fork is about 1 kg heavier. Can't comment on ride quality or how it accelerates. The finish is not quite as nice as the salsa, if that sort of thing matters to you.

    I'm leaning towards the salsa if I replace my tourer, because nowdays I'm not doing loaded tours - just commuting, day trips, overnighters. It is more comfortable than my Cannondale, despite the thin tyres, presumably because the frame and fork are less stiff. It is also easier to accelerate, maybe because of the lighter wheels as much as the overall weight.

  22. #22
    Slowpoach
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    Just another thought - you presumably have a fast wheelset on your Roubaix - if your other bike was also 700c you might be able to swap in the stronger wheels in for commuting / training and the faster wheels in for long or fast rides.

  23. #23
    1. get on 2. pedal
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    Go get the LHT, Yen. It can totally do centuries. It's your bike.

  24. #24
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Yen,

    The LHT is a great bike.

    Another bike to consider in that price range / class is the Novara Randonee, available only at REI. The most significant difference is that you get STI shifters instead of bar ends (which is what the LHT comes with stock).

  25. #25
    Yen
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    Thank you for the additional comments.

    About LHT sizing: I've read quite a few comments saying that the LHT runs large. I ride a 54cm Roubaix. The LHT I rode this afternoon was 54cm. I doubt I could go smaller than that, as it seemed to fit me to a T.

    In addition, here are the numbers I'm comparing with respect to fit, which seems to confirm the way the bike felt today:

    Roubaix:
    TT length (horizontal): 548mm
    SO Height: 780mm*
    Head Tube length: 165mm

    LHT:
    TT (C-C): 549.5mm
    SO Height: 793.1mm*
    Head Tube length: 182mm

    * The TT on the Roubaix is sloped. I had at least 2" clearance standing over the LHT.

    The LHT seems to have quite a following.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
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