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Old 09-28-08, 01:14 PM   #1
Hasek
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LHT Front end issues

I am considering getting a LHT and recently I've spoken to two people independently of each other and they both stated that with a handlebar bag going downhill at a decent clip, the LHT was instable in the front end.

The first person who stated this is the director of my local co-op. He was in Arizona on a borrowed 58cm with only a handlebar bag. He said he was freaked out by how squirrelly the front end was. He has a LOT of miles on bicycles and goes with the flow, so if he was nervous with this I do truly believe it was more than a little bit squirrelly.

The second person was a cat who was riding from MN to NY to FL on a 56cm LHT. He was loaded on the rear rack/panniers and had a handle bar bag as well. He said his LHT was a squirrelly going down hill as well.

Has anyone else with a LHT experienced this?
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Old 09-28-08, 01:45 PM   #2
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Well.... I'd imagine that if you have a lot of weight in the handlebar bag, and no other bags at all, and the bars are set very high, it might get a little wonky.

Overall though the long wheelbase (and iirc fork geometry) are designed for stability. So I can't think of a reason why the LHT would be any different from other touring bikes in this respect, unless the bars are very high.

By the way, if you want squirrely, try descending at 30mph on a 20"-wheeled folding bike with a handlebar bag.
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Old 09-28-08, 01:49 PM   #3
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FWIW, I don't own a handlebar bag but the only thing I can add to your concern as far as stability goes is that I find my 26" wheeled LHT somewhat difficult to ride no-handed at slow speeds. I know the front end geometry has a lot to do with this as I have other bikes that I can ride in a straight line, no-handed, at very slow speeds, no problem.
I don't know if this has anything to do with the instability with use of handlebar bags. All I can add is that the bike is very stable during high speed descents, loaded (rear panniers) or unloaded, mostly due to its long wheelbase, for instance. Overall, my LHT is a very stable bike.

Last edited by roadfix; 09-28-08 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 09-28-08, 04:13 PM   #4
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I have a 52 LHT, and ride purely with an Acorn handlebar bag. I have experiened no problems, I tytpially carry; hand pump, 2 tubes, jacket, snack, multi-tool, irons, camera, cell phone, and sometimes a change of shoes.

This isn't that large of a load, but I still haven't had any issues with descents. I also thing that if you overpack or are carrying cans of beans it might get squirrely, but that's the same with any bike.
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Old 09-28-08, 04:50 PM   #5
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I have a 52cm LHT with a LonePeak H-100 handlebar bag. I've hit 48mph at least once and 35-40mph many times and have never had any front end instability.
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Old 09-28-08, 07:53 PM   #6
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I have a 52cm LHT with a LonePeak H-100 handlebar bag. I've hit 48mph at least once and 35-40mph many times and have never had any front end instability.
I too have a 52cm LHT and this summer I rode part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Several times I exceeded 40+ mph on long descents and never experienced any loss of control, wobble, or other stability issues and I carried a little more than 10 pounds in my handlebar bag.

While training for that ride, I frequently rode with front panniers and my handlebar bag and the combined weight I carried was 40+ pounds (15 each pannier plus the handlebar bag). Even with that load I was able to ride short distances without holding my handlebars.

Most likely there are small, random variations in alignment across LHT forks (this is probably true of most bikes) and one that is off a few mm can probably create less stability.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:57 AM   #7
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I have a 62cm LHT with an Ortlieb handlebar bag. I cram it full with a camera, my wallet, sandwiches, keys, Swiss Army Knife, etc. No wobble whatsoever.
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Old 09-29-08, 10:27 AM   #8
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I have noticed the LHT is MORE stable with my front panniers on, lowrider rack and both bags loaded. Other than that I can't comment
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Old 09-29-08, 10:57 AM   #9
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Among other permutations I do ride downhill fast on my 54cm LHT w/ loaded handlebar bag and no other load and it is perfectly stable. I think the bar bag improves stability actually. 54cm frame has one of the longest headtubes though, especially per overall frame size. More stable yet w/ more and more panniers and weight. Really designed as a pack animal.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:34 AM   #10
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I've toured on my LHT with and without front panniers, but always with a moderately heavy handlebar bag. I haven't experienced any issues. Front panniers will slow down your steering quite a bit - which once you are used to it - is a good thing on tour.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:57 AM   #11
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A lot of things can affect the front ride characteristics. Excessive control on handlebars; bad wheel build or bad tire; crash; ballance in load; stability of the bag frame system. LHTs have pretty standard geometry, but that doesn't mean they will be well built in every case.
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Old 09-29-08, 12:31 PM   #12
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I went to try out a 54cm LHT the other day, and the bike shop guy said it wasn't the right size for me... he said I made the bike look small, and I seemed to be too far forward (I also have long legs and a short torso, according to him). It wasn't clear exactly what I might need (except going to the 56cm, which I have already tried and didn't like because of the toe overlap), but what I did notice was that the front end steering seemed noticeably "twitchy". Since most people seem to find the LHT very stable, I can only surmise that this was caused by "bad fit", me being possibly too far forward or whatever. In any case, this is something to look at - bad handling could be caused by the bike simply not being a good fit for the rider in some way.

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Old 09-29-08, 12:48 PM   #13
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^^^ Actually, as stated in my eariler post, the front end of my 52 LHT is somewhat twitchy, but does not take away from the stability of the bike under normal riding conditions, loaded or unloaded.

The way I usually determine twitchiness is to ride no hands at say 3 mph. I have some trouble doing this with my LHT. Most all bikes can be ridden in a straight line, no handed, at higher speeds. My Surly Steamroller, otoh, can be ridden in a straight line, no handed, even at 3 mph.
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Old 09-29-08, 02:33 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies. It eases my mind quite a bit. Of the reading I've done about the LHT I haven't read anyhting about this issue and it was weird two people mentioned it in face to face conversations.

Thanks again.

Roadfix, I am just throwing this out there because I don't know about threadless stems which the LHT has. With the threaded stem on my mountain bike, the headset was too tight and I couldn't ride no handed at slow speeds. I adjusted the headset and all is well now.
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Old 09-29-08, 02:49 PM   #15
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Roadfix, I am just throwing this out there because I don't know about threadless stems which the LHT has. With the threaded stem on my mountain bike, the headset was too tight and I couldn't ride no handed at slow speeds. I adjusted the headset and all is well now.
Yes, too tight of a headset will definitely have an effect, this is very common with threaded headsets.
Threadless headsets on the other hand are so easy to preload and set it's almost impossible to load them too tight, although I guess it can happen.
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Old 09-30-08, 11:26 AM   #16
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I tried my LHT no-hands at <5mph this am, not much luck. In other news, I can ride it uphill no-hands (w/ handlebar bag and loaded panniers) while pulling a 3 yr old in a trailer, but have much more trouble w/ no-hands while pulling a trail-a-bike and wiggly 7 yr old.
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Old 09-30-08, 11:31 AM   #17
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Riding no-hands can be dangerous at any speed.
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Old 09-30-08, 11:48 AM   #18
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"One of the most basic skills of cycling is the ability to ride straight, without wobbling from side to side. It is not possible for most cyclists to do this until they reach a certain minimum speed, typically in the range of 5-8 miles per hour (8-13 kph). Learning correct starting technique will enable you to reach this critical maneuvering speed sooner, so you will spend less time with your bicycle under only partial control."
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Old 10-11-08, 09:38 PM   #19
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I rode down a hill @ 33 mph today in a 52 cm LHT that has a Topeak handlebar bag......solid as a rock. My favorite thing so far about the LHT is the way you can careen down hills and the ride/handling are very confidence-inspiring!
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Old 10-11-08, 10:27 PM   #20
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This is the first negative comment I've read about the LHT in all the weeks I've been reading about this bike, combing the net for reviews and comments. I'm surprised that a handlebar bag might be the culprit. Do you mean something as small as this one?
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Old 10-12-08, 05:14 AM   #21
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I have the 56cm LHT, 29er rims and 700x32 tires with a medium size HB bag. Loaded, I have hit high 40s with no problems at all. I also use this bike to commute with small panniers and the same HB bag with no problems at all. My LHT is a little harder to ride no hands than my road bike, but I have never had a shimmy or shake out of "The HULK" on any ride at any speed!

About the bike fit. I have noticed that many bikes ride "no hands" easier, the further back the weight is from the CG. Before I got the LHT I was ridding an old Trek 830 MT bike that was much too large for me. I had the seat post cocked forward with the saddle as far forward as it would go and a short stem. You didn't dare take a hand off the bars with this setup!
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Old 10-12-08, 09:30 AM   #22
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I wonder if no-handed riding on the LHT is any different than on any other tourer.
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Old 10-12-08, 09:49 AM   #23
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Never noticed this phenomenon with my LHT and handlebar bag. It feels solid as a rock going downhill.
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Old 10-12-08, 09:59 AM   #24
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Bottom line is my LHT rocks!
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Old 10-12-08, 10:21 AM   #25
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It's a cheap frame. There might haven been a problem with the frame or
fork a little out of alignment.
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