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Old 06-26-09, 11:28 AM   #1
divtag
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Randonee Geometry - Crosscheck or LHT?

Since nobody has a Surly to test ride, my only comparison is the Randonee at REI. I will be getting ~50 cm frame. After only riding flat bar MTBs and BMX as a kid, the drops, shifting, etc. were definitely weird. Anyhow, is the geometry more like the LHT or the Crosscheck? I don't like to be down kissing the handlebars like on the racing bikes.

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Old 06-26-09, 05:08 PM   #2
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All three bikes are very similar -- in superficial geometry. It's when you get down to chainstay length, wheelbase, standover height, etc, where a cm or two can make a big difference.

If what you're concerned about is stem reach/height and how you fit in the cockpit, all of this can be dialed in (assuming you get the right size bike to begin with). Move the seat up/down, back/forward, get a new stem, raise it/lower it -- voila, different fit.

Check out all the specs for the bikes at the manufacturers' sites. A few measurements will pop out. For example, chainstay length, which is important for loaded touring. There are other features which could influence your decision (e.g, horizontal dropout on the CrossCheck). But according to your comments, if you're only interested in "cockpit fit", get some help from your LBS and any one will fit fine.

CrossCheck: http://www.surlybikes.com/files/Cross_Check2010.pdf
LHT: http://www.surlybikes.com/files/SURLYLongHaul.pdf
Randonee: http://www.rei.com/product/776887# (click on "Size Chart")

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Old 06-26-09, 05:46 PM   #3
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Cockpit fit was important. I just didn't want to be hunched over too much like the road racers that I see. I was basically trying to gauge the fit/comfort of the CC and LHT in comparison to the Randonee since it was the only bike available to ride that was similar. Otherwise it is order sight unseen and hope for the best.

I was leaning towards the LHT, but then I saw on the Fully Loaded Touring Bike Photo Gallery somebody had a CC loaded down in the front and rear. It got me to thinking maybe the CC could work well as an extended tourer, but good for regular rides and maybe even basic off-road/MTB type riding. Orange County has several dirt trails that I thought might be cool to check.
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Old 06-26-09, 06:03 PM   #4
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They are all fine bikes.... but only the Randonee has the REI return policy if you don't like the fit. The way it rides... the paint or whatever in 6 months or in 12 you can bring it back for a full refund. Well I suppose a few bike shops might take a return but they would be in the minority.

Just something to consider maybe?
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Old 06-26-09, 07:56 PM   #5
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I hate the Randonee paint, that is why I was looking at Surly. Even though the Randonee may be a better deal because it has 105 that everybody talks about, brifters instead of barends, and a rack. All that for the same as the LHT. I don't like barends, so how expensive is the change going to be? I like the idea of the CC because maybe I can do some of the beginning/intermediate MTB trails in Orange County with it, in addition to commuting, long distance, and touring.
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Old 06-26-09, 08:16 PM   #6
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I hate the Randonee paint, that is why I was looking at Surly. Even though the Randonee may be a better deal because it has 105 that everybody talks about, brifters instead of barends, and a rack. All that for the same as the LHT. I don't like barends, so how expensive is the change going to be? I like the idea of the CC because maybe I can do some of the beginning/intermediate MTB trails in Orange County with it, in addition to commuting, long distance, and touring.
Sounds like a good plan
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Old 06-26-09, 10:31 PM   #7
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I think you need to focus your question. You have quite a few things here:

- Touring bike, sorta guessing cause I'm not sure you mention this is actually your primary need.

- Everyday. Lots of people prefer LHT for comuting etc... so should be fine

- Off road. LHT is set up for highway use, but one can certainly ride all kinds of off road on a touring, even a road, bike. But if you want to get into a lot of mud you need to have stuff like lots of clearance, disc brakes etc... For decent trails great. Are you in the 26" wheel size for the LHT? All the better.

- Fit, hard to do over the net, but your bike shop should help. Start from known reference points, your seat to pedal position in your MTB, and your handlebar reach requirements. Go look up one of the frame fit programs. Google french fit, and you will get a useable reference. Are you a fit off the rack kinda guy or do you have non-norm relationships like short legs or torso.

- MTBs will hit most of these points also, so that is another possible point of entry.

- LHT is not designed to have handlebars lower than seat height, so your concerns about position should be fine. Flat bars like on MTBs really have minimal claim to practicality, the main idea being control in difficult terrain. But for decent terrain they have terrible ergo, and aero. Even if you didn't want drops something other than flat bars would be the best bet. As others have said, while it is normal to feel put off at the outset, you will adapt to new bars.
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Old 06-27-09, 12:29 AM   #8
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I want the drop bars, though trekking bars looked kind of cool. I am at the 26" size on the LHT. Seems like a big difference between the CC and LHT at my size 50/52 cm is that the CC has 700 vs 26". I hear a lot of people on here complain about 26", but I don't know enough about bikes to know why one is better than the other. Seems the 700s are more popular.
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Old 06-27-09, 09:46 AM   #9
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I hear a lot of people on here complain about 26", but I don't know enough about bikes to know why one is better than the other. Seems the 700s are more popular.
Please don't open that can of worms

I'm sure you've read complaints about [take your pick: wheelsize/shifters/paint/cantilevers], but that's what keeps boards like this alive. I don't get that sense at all, about 26" vs 700c, at least in the touring forum. If the argument is about speed, at the end of a 2000-mile ride the 47 seconds just don't make much difference. It's OK to have a preference, but 26" has just as many advantages as 700c (or vice versa) for touring.

But in your case, it looks like "touring" isn't your primary purpose. If trail riding is high on your list, you might put priority on fat tire capability (and a fork/frame that have good tire clearance). This might point to 26" wheels. Other factors like bottom bracket height are important for trail riding.

Any one of these bikes can be set up so that you're not hunched over in a racing position. It's a non-issue. In your case, I'd focus on what you like/don't like: bar-ends vs brifters, 105 vs Tiagra, paint color. As Peterpan says, sort out your priorities. If you have conflicting purposes, any one bike will be a compromise.

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Old 06-27-09, 09:57 AM   #10
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Cockpit fit was important. I just didn't want to be hunched over too much like the road racers that I see. I was basically trying to gauge the fit/comfort of the CC and LHT in comparison to the Randonee since it was the only bike available to ride that was similar. Otherwise it is order sight unseen and hope for the best.

I was leaning towards the LHT, but then I saw on the Fully Loaded Touring Bike Photo Gallery somebody had a CC loaded down in the front and rear. It got me to thinking maybe the CC could work well as an extended tourer, but good for regular rides and maybe even basic off-road/MTB type riding. Orange County has several dirt trails that I thought might be cool to check.
The hunching issue is important, but its mainly a matter of cockpit fit, once your saddle has the proper (for you) fore/aft and height placements. If the reach is good and the handlebar is about the same height as or up to an inch lower than the saddle top, I'm usually comfortable, and not hunched.

What you do is lean forward from the hips keeping your back reasonably straight, rather than bend your back to reach forward to the handlebars. Your body should become in fore-aft balance when you do lean this way.

Trekking bars can be tricky to set up. The lower hand positions end up much closer to the rider's body than with more common straight bars, randonneur bars, moustache bars, or North Roads. Is that really a useful position? Plus the outboard hand positions are much wider spaced than on many other bar types, again I'm not sure their useful. My wife tried some trekkers, and the result is neither of us like them in the least. Just opinion, but I think they can be a challenge.

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Old 06-27-09, 10:06 AM   #11
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Yeah, I am not worried about speed. I am no lycra racer. I'd see being called a Fred as a compliment. I am just fairly new to biking since I was a kid (16 years ago) and don't know much about parts, tires, etc. Bikes have a changed a lot. Plus, when I was a kid I just went out and rode in the dirt and hopped around.

I saw people touring last year when I was camping (never seen anybody do it before) and got very interested even though I didn't own a bike at the time. Most of my friends (who I played basketball with) have moved out of SoCal, so I lost my main source of exercise. (I wish I could move out, too. Back to NorCal or up to WA, but the stinking economy and jobs!)

I figured riding a bike that I didn't "other players", so that and seeing the people touring, got me interested. As a teacher, I figure that I have the time to be able to tour, unlike a lot of other people. Now to find a female teacher GF to go with me.

However, my old dirt riding days and the plethora of dirt trails in the area, got thinking about that. Nothing major, no downhill racing or anything. And we have a long river trail and the PCH, so that I can do long rides. I also want to get into shape to ride to San Diego.

So, I a have a lot of interests. In the last months I have really gotten into it and ride ~12-15 miles per day (5 days a week). I started out only able to do ~5, but I am increasing pretty fast. I have an interest in commuting, groceries, long distance, touring, and easy dirt riding.
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Old 06-27-09, 02:13 PM   #12
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You're covering a huge range of uses. Being "hunched over" is a consequence of power output and efficiency, not just aerodynamics. If you're riding a mtn. bike the most efficient position for the bars for up hill riding won't be much different than the tops of a road bike and you will be "hunched over" to get the most out of your body. Not all riding is out of the saddle and dling the equivalent of climbing stairs with the pedals. Like road fan mentions the position isn't one of being hunched over but a relatively straight back with enough bend to the arms for shock absorption as some weight is sitting on the handlebars. That requires developement of a dynamic posture so that muscle groups in the upper body that don't go through a large range of motion don't develop fatigue and overuse injuries.

I haven't ridden the Randonee but it looks like it's inbetween the LHT and Crosscheck, btw I don't see a 50cm Randonee, only 47 or 53.

Actually bikes haven't changed a lot,,there were bmx bikes then, their are bmx bikes now. Touring bikes then, touring bikes now. Etc. The randonee looks like a good pick for what you want.
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Old 06-27-09, 03:24 PM   #13
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Randonee paint is indeed awful, main concern for fit is the stem, which I think is too long stock. I have a 32" inseam and am 5'11," so not terribly short torso, and I am accustomed to a more agressive position than most tourists, but the 120 stock stem that came with my Randonee (I think a 54cm) is too long. Stock size should be 100mm, some folks might even prefer 80. It's not hard to sell the adjustable Ritchey stem, though, so get saddle fore-aft dialed in and then figure out what stem is right.
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Old 06-27-09, 06:17 PM   #14
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I selected a Cross Check for essentially the same purposes. I don't really do MTB, it's more a matter of being prepared for rough roads, dirt paths and gravel.

The bonuses of the CC over the LHT and Randonee is that as a cross bike, it will feel a little zippier and it's a little more versatile. It won't excel at a specific task (e.g. LHT for touring), but is more than sufficient for just about any tour you've got in mind. Cross geometry is very commonly used for touring.

The plus of the touring bikes is that they already come with low gearing. It's easy to configure a CC with low gearing -- e.g. the stock crank can be used as a standard double, compact double or a triple -- but you do have to set that up with your LBS or do it yourself.

The CC doesn't have a very aggressive handlebar height, but it will be lower than the touring bikes. You can partially remedy that with a high-rise stem, but only so much.

Also keep in mind that with cross bikes, the higher BB throws off the sizing compared to most standard bikes. E.g. if you normally use a 52cm road bike, you will need a 50cm cross bike.

You will likely do just fine with either bike, really. The main thing is that the LHT will ride like a tank, will be a little more upright, and already have low gears; the CC is a little zippier and a tad better for the offroad stuff.
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Old 06-27-09, 06:46 PM   #15
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I selected a Cross Check for essentially the same purposes. I don't really do MTB, it's more a matter of being prepared for rough roads, dirt paths and gravel.
How much have you loaded it down? Have you rode with a front rack and panniers?
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Old 06-27-09, 07:47 PM   #16
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I haven't had the chance to tour extensively on it, just did a few quick tests. It balances better when there's weight on both the front and back; trailer might be in the works though. Other folks have used it and similar bikes (e.g. Bianchi Volpe, Jamis Aurora) for touring; might want to check in the Touring forum.
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Old 06-27-09, 11:14 PM   #17
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How much have you loaded it down? Have you rode with a front rack and panniers?
something worth mentioning about the difference between a cyclo-cross bike and a touring bike is that the cyclocross bike really isn't designed to carry weight and the touring bike is.,,yes the cyclocross is usually built strong and capable of carrying weight with plenty of tire clearance but the cyclo cross bike has more weight on the rear than the touring bike. The touring bike has longer chainstays so that the front end isn't significantly lightened with only a rear load whereas the cyclocross bike will be with only a rear load. Also the chainstays may be short enough that panniers need to be moved further back for heel clearance on the cyclo cross bike exacerbating a rear weight bias to begin with. The other thing is the randonee forks have mid fork attachments for low riders and the Crosscheck doesn't so if you plan on carrying a heavy load with the crosscheck putting front racks/lowriders on is a good idea instead of just a rear rack.

One thing I don't understand about the Randonee is that the standover height appears to be an inch higher than the LHT of the same size and even higher than the CrossCheck. That is kind of curious, I wonder if it's a typo or the Randonee has a particularly high bb. If you have short legs there is something nice about coming to a stop in a heavily loaded bike and being able to get a purchase on the ground with a pointed foot which isn't as easy with a high bb. bike where you may have to get off the seat.
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Old 06-27-09, 11:40 PM   #18
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I have really short legs (makes finding pants a pain!!!). I am 5'7 but with 26" - 27" inseam. I always have standover issues.

Here is the one fully loaded cross check that I have found, but no contact info: http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/image/99908656.
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