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  1. #1
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    Cross Check vs. Pre LHT Bikes

    The Cross Check seems to always lose out in favor of the LHT for loaded touring, which makes sense considering the LHT is designed for loaded touring. However, people were touring long before the LHT came into existence. So, leaving the LHT out of the equation, how does the CC rate against touring bikes from 10, 15, 20 years ago? It seems like the CC gets automatically dismissed, even though it may be better than what was available not too long ago.

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    Senior Member adaminlc's Avatar
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    The CC is built to do a lot of things pretty well, but touring isn't necessarily one of them. My only experience with the other end of your question was a brief experience on a Fugi from sometimes in the 80's. There is a difference. The geometry is a bit different, more built for pushing rather than spinning. It seems like you want to decide which variety to acquire. This is more a question of how hard you want to work. Of necessity any old bike is going to be some work. A new bike isn't going to be nearly as much work. I have and will continue to tour on my CC, but what you buy will depend on your priorities.
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    The question seems to assume that there's near unanimity about which would be the best bike for touring. Looking at the wide variety of bikes used for touring, I don't think that's the case at all. I've got three very different bikes that I use for touring, all are over 15 years old, and I wouldn't be willing to trade any of them for an LHT.

    Decide on what characteristics you want and then see what's available to best meet them.

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    I wasn't assuming that, just going off of all LHT love on the forums. Plus, the frequent comparison of the CC and LHT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by divtag View Post
    So, leaving the LHT out of the equation, how does the CC rate against touring bikes from 10, 15, 20 years ago? It seems like the CC gets automatically dismissed, even though it may be better than what was available not too long ago.

    Not possible to give a useful answer comparing one bike to a broad category of bikes defined by time. There were touring bikes with geometry similar to the LHT 25ys ago. There were touring bikes with BB height similar to the Crosscheck now and 25yrs ago.

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    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Divtag,

    May be lots of love on BF for the LHT. That is true. I also will tell you that last summer riding across country I came across 1 or maybe 2 LHT's. Aside from those I also came across Cannondales, treks and many other bikes... There is BF and then the open road. Two different things in my opinion.

    20 years ago you could still get a Trek 520 I'm pretty sure..... Still a great bike. Touring bikes have changed little in 20 years. aside from the gearing you can get not much has changed.

    I think the biggest change in touring bikes in the last 20 years is the quality of the tires we get to ride. Flats are an after thought for the most part now.
    Last edited by kayakdiver; 06-27-09 at 11:53 PM.
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    I was thinking a little less on geometry of older bikes and more about eyelets, braze-ones, parts, etc. I am not familiar with the older bikes, did the have two eyelets in both the front and back for fenders and racks?

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    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divtag View Post
    I was thinking a little less on geometry of older bikes and more about eyelets, braze-ones, parts, etc. I am not familiar with the older bikes, did the have two eyelets in both the front and back for fenders and racks?

    Here is a brochure from 20 years ago for the Trek 520. It should give you an idea of how much/little things have changed in touring bikes.

    http://www.vintage-trek.com/TrekBrochure1989.htm
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    The Cross Check has too short of chainstays for most people if you want to clear your heels with panniers.

    Surly frames, all they have going for them is they are inexpensive and the Name. . . and these days if that's what it takes to get someone on the road, so be it.

    What has not changed over time is the attraction of a brand name. People don't seem to care what it's made of or how, they just want the brand name. . . . like people want Oreos or whatever. It's as if they're in a trance. I was that way too, I had a Trek 614 in the early 80's, I don't remember much about it, as it, and I were taken out by a car in '84.

    What people don't realize is there are custom frame builders all over this country. Some can be had for less than $1000 for a full custom frame. My last frame in '99 was a lugged custom Reynolds 531ST for a whopping $775. Long term, I'd say it was quite a bargain. But, amny people don't know what they want, or don't want to wait. . or don't want to make a custom bike. I understand that. So . . . go Oreo. . . yum yum


  10. #10
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Surly frames, all they have going for them is they are inexpensive and the Name
    Being inexpensive IS a big deal. But there's more than brand name. In fact, I couldn't stand the Surly hype myself but the complete bike hit a sweet spot. A lot of bikes had one or two points against like gearing that's too high, chainstays too shorts, tire clearance too tight, or lower components for more money. It's doesn't make them inadequate but the LHT gathers to a bigger pool for a decent price. Plus the decals peel off easily so there's no brand to advertise.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    It's worth mentioning that things have changed.

    Frames made with the newer steels combine ruggedness and reasonable weight.
    In general shifting is better, tires are a lot better, wheels are a lot better.

    Touring frames have long chainstays. The CC is 42.5 and the LHT is a 45. I have wondered about using a 44 length. That would give most people clearance, and
    a good builder could coax a bit of liveliness out of it.
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    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    It's worth mentioning that things have changed.

    Frames made with the newer steels combine ruggedness and reasonable weight.
    In general shifting is better, tires are a lot better, wheels are a lot better.

    Touring frames have long chainstays. The CC is 42.5 and the LHT is a 45. I have wondered about using a 44 length. That would give most people clearance, and
    a good builder could coax a bit of liveliness out of it.
    Above I gave an example of the 520 from Trek 20 years ago. How is the steel different now?
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    Price is quite important to me. I walked into my first bike shop after I saw people touring on my camping trip last summer and looked around. A salesman walked up and I told him, "I just got back into biking since I was kid (over a dozen years) and I am looking for an entry-level bike. I don't want to spend much in case I lose interest." Or something to that affect. He starts showing me $2,000 bikes. I am like dude, most of my cars haven't cost me $2,000, where is the cheap stuff. The cheapest they had was like $900. I can go out and buy a Volvo 240 for a $1,000 that will last another 200,000 miles.

    Anyhow, long story short, I figured out bicycling was VERY expensive (between the bike, the gear, the funny clothes, etc.). I bought a used Specialized MTB off of CL for $260 and it has been very nice, but now I want to get something better suited for longer rides and steel frame. $1,000 is going about as far as I want to, even then it is giving me ulcers and isn't living much left for racks, fenders, and bags. Not to mention the shaky budget situation here in CA as a teacher (already a pay cut for next year and possibly more with a potential for 5 day shorter school year) and other shaky aspects of the economy.

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
    Above I gave an example of the 520 from Trek 20 years ago. How is the steel different now?
    I go back further than 20 years. More than 30, actually. The new steels are lighter.
    I don't think there would have been any interest in something as strong as the Waterford Discovery simply because what it would have weighed. So essentially
    there is a new generation of bikes taking it to the next level.

    But my real purpose in posting was that I was wondering about a touring bike that
    used the new steels, but wasn't designed as an expedition bike. Something like the 520, but a bit more fun to ride while still having the ability to tour.
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    I think you're greatly exaggerating the advances in steel metallurgy. There isn't any magic steel alloy available today that would reduce the weight of a frame by more than a few ounces compared to the 531 that was introduced in 1935. I don't see that people are that concerned about an extra half pound when considering a touring bike.

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    I won't pretend to know all about the physics of steel but I have built three vintage touring bikes over the last three years chasing after this idea that "nothing has changed in steel bikes over the last 30 years so why spend the extra money." In each case I have sold the frame and got another one looking for a decent ride. Each bike had WAY too much flex for my "modern" taste. The first was an 84 Trek 520. After riding that bike and feeling like I was riding a noodle I figured a top end frame would be more sturdy. Next i got a top of the line dedicated Nishiki touring frame from the mid-80s, and again, this one was even worse. Next I got a hold of a miyata-built univega. This one is stiffer (very similar to a miyata 1000) and has really long lugs that I think help, but still not comfortable.

    I'm not a kid (38) but I didn't tour in the 80s and grew up on stiff racing bikes so maybe some people like the feel of older bikes, but for me a cross check is like heaven. So stable, and very little bb flex. I know a couple of guys who have gone through similar things and ended up with a modern bike. I think the difference could be in the oversized tubing. It may be the same steel but it is larger in diameter and many frames now come with tubing specific to taller or shorter riders and differences in weight.

    I have a Rivendell Quickbeam with oversized tubing that is designed for my size (60cm) and weight (200lbs), it still has that steel feel and flex but it is solid as a rock and doesn't make be worry that the chain stay is going to pop out of the bb!

    Maybe it is the influence mountain bikes, but super stiff steel frames really do "feel" better to me and I have not found a vintage frame that has that stiffness.
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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I think you're greatly exaggerating the advances in steel metallurgy. There isn't any magic steel alloy available today that would reduce the weight of a frame by more than a few ounces compared to the 531 that was introduced in 1935. I don't see that people are that concerned about an extra half pound when considering a touring bike.
    You don't need lugs. But you're right, we've saved a lot of weight in the wheels and other places. It all adds up.

    Maybe I'm weird, but but I like the idea of a bike made for recreational touring that
    was a bit more lively than a typical tourer. That really appeals to me. Perhaps something like this with a 44 chainstay

    I'd also lose the disc brakes to save weight, but you get the idea.
    http://www.gunnarbikes.com/fastlane.php
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post

    Maybe I'm weird, but but I like the idea of a bike made for recreational touring that
    was a bit more lively than a typical tourer.
    Possibilities:

    Jamis Aurora Elite
    Co-Motion Nor'Wester Tour - even lighter, the Co-Motion Nor'Wester
    Rodriguez Rainier
    Salsa Casserroll
    Specialized Tricross
    Gunnar Sport
    Soma Smoothie ES

    I've been mildly shopping for a bike like that - mainly for commuting w/a light load, w/possibility for light touring. If you're willing to consider using a trailer for touring (so you are not concerned about long chainstays), there are a lot of possibilities.

    With a little work you can get a bike that will work for some touring that is 5 to 7 pounds lighter than a Surly LHT, without going into excessive weight-saving compromises.

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    Mtn bikes and large diameter aluminum bikes (Cannondale 1983 touring bike) exposed folks to solid load carrying bicycles with long chainstays. When the Cannondale touring bike came out in '83 it was a mind blower regarding a solid load carrying touring bike. Noticably stiffer than Specialized Expedition.
    Most custom bikes from that era refrained from very long chainstays as competing demands for light weight (for a touring bike?) and stiffness discouraged it. Not that many custom bikes or any production steel bikes back then had larger diameter tubes like the Surly LHT. I had a Lippy touring bike that I road from Utah to Colorado, 40.5" wheelbase, etc. Horrible shimmy at high speed if I didn't have my weight planted on the front end and knees on the top tube. But it had all the requisite eyelets and custom rack attachments. In 1980 I visited the fellow who made Bullseye pulleys and hubs and he showed me his custom aluminum touring bike,,44" wheelbase and big tubes.

    Divtag: don't compare used cars to new bicycles. Inflation adjusted bikes are a better value than they were 20 and 30 yrs ago given Chinas production of high end goods. If you had no money your $260 specialized mtn. bike would get you from point A to B in the same time as 2009 custom made frame made of titanium sprinkled with diamond dust once you loaded it down with the same amount of touring gear.

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    Ok, I want to clear up the fact that a Cross Check maybe not a good idea for touring. I've toured over 3000k fully loaded on my CrossCheck (I know, it's not THAT much, but still a proper distance to get an idea about the bike) and all I can say is that it is a mighty fine tourer!

    The short chainstay myth is BS. If you push the wheel all the way back in the dropouts, it makes for a 45cm chainstay lenght, which is more than acceptable. I never get hell strike even with akwardly designed Arkel Dauphin panniers.

    The handling is spot on, even with a front load (I mean you are riding on the road... it's not a downhill race with wet roots and huge boulders...) and like SWEN0171 said, it's pretty stiff.

    I would highly recommend the Cross Check as a touring bike, and the only drawback I found was that the front fork isn't drilled for a low rider rack (again, that would not be a wise move from Surly since they have a dedicated touring frameset in their lineup)

  21. #21
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    How were the chainstays on the older bikes used for touring? Were they long like the LHT or more like a CC?

    The rockhopper I have isn't bad. It is an entry level MTB with aluminum frame, front shock, and no eyelets to be found anywhere. The fit is a little off, but it is ok. However, on longer rides it isn't the most comfortable and the wheels and shocks in front seem to eat up some efficiency.

  22. #22
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divtag View Post
    I was thinking a little less on geometry of older bikes and more about eyelets, braze-ones, parts, etc. I am not familiar with the older bikes, did the have two eyelets in both the front and back for fenders and racks?
    The average bike sold 30 years ago is more suited to touring than the average bike today. I can fit touring tires and fenders on the majority of older bikes, that is not the case today with most "road" bikes. Many bikes sold 30 years ago came with racks as OEM equipment. The scarcity of good steel framed bikes today is another issue. It's no wonder to me that the LHT is so popular with touring cyclist and other riders including commuters.

    For comparison, consider the 1988 Miyata 1000. Sheldon Brown praises the Miyata 1000 as a great touring bike from this period. See the following links from the 1988 Miyata catalog
    > an image
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_whtVpXkKwl...0-h/img168.jpg
    > specs
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_whtVpXkKwl...0-h/img169.jpg
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 06-28-09 at 12:24 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoro View Post
    Ok, I want to clear up the fact that a Cross Check maybe not a good idea for touring. I've toured over 3000k fully loaded on my CrossCheck (I know, it's not THAT much, but still a proper distance to get an idea about the bike) and all I can say is that it is a mighty fine tourer!

    The short chainstay myth is BS. If you push the wheel all the way back in the dropouts, it makes for a 45cm chainstay lenght, which is more than acceptable. I never get hell strike even with akwardly designed Arkel Dauphin panniers.

    The handling is spot on, even with a front load (I mean you are riding on the road... it's not a downhill race with wet roots and huge boulders...) and like SWEN0171 said, it's pretty stiff.

    I would highly recommend the Cross Check as a touring bike, and the only drawback I found was that the front fork isn't drilled for a low rider rack (again, that would not be a wise move from Surly since they have a dedicated touring frameset in their lineup)
    So, do you have a front rack and panniers? Most of the time I would just have rear with my laptop, lunch, clothes, etc. for work and maybe a couple of groceries on the way home. On the weekends I'd just have a small bag for tire repair, snacks, whatever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoro View Post
    Ok, I want to clear up the fact that a Cross Check maybe not a good idea for touring.

    it's a great bike and more adaptable to touring than a lot of "sport tour" bikes sold with triple crankset, light wheels and a frame that can't take more than 28-30mm tires. For folks looking at total bike use from unloaded riding, commuting, recreation to loaded touring it's a very good combo. I can ride a Crosscheck hands off a lot easier than a LHT for some reason.

    Conversationally when people are talking about 100% loaded touring bikes like the LHT begin to make more sense because of the frame and total package. I think the problem is comparing apples to oranges, having the "do-all" bike as opposed to a bike specifically designed to ride like a bus and carry stuff, which is what the LHT rides like, that doesn't mean the Cross-check isn't a good idea. For some people some parts of the total package make one bike a better choice than the other.

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