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  1. #1
    Gutter Bunny Jonahhobbes's Avatar
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    Fargo vs LHT, tires and stuff.

    Going to go touring the South Island of New Zealand, (btw I live there anyhow). I already commute with a load on a Salsa la Cruz which I had for over a year and have done probably around 10000km with no issues. I run Conti Top Contacts 700x32mm on my 29er rims of my La Cruz also with no issues at all. I was advised by Salsa not not run a slimmer tire than 32mm. The Conti tires are slightly difficult to source over here but doable.


    I don't want to mess with my commuter, the Salsa la Cruz and I'm intending to buy a set of bikes for me and my wife set up for touring/long distance.

    I have looked at the posts here and I can't get my head round the preference for 26" rims rather than 700cc on road? Is there an issue with this? I prefer 700cc tires as the are better on road, does having to carry a bigger load effect this?


    Re: The Fargo vs LHT. I intend to be mostly on road, with light off road now and again, I want to be gone touring for around three weeks. I have a dealer who sold me the Salsa La Cruz which I love, he also sells Surly's which obviously have a a great rep.

    Wondering what people think are the pros and cons of both bikes. All I can see are the disc brakes are slight overkill on the Fargo, but I live with them on my Salsa la Cruz and actually quite like them.

    Really appreciate any thoughts, I mostly live on the commute forum.

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    1) 26" wheels are stronger than 700c (though not if the 700c rim is wider and more stout than the 26" rim your comparing it to)
    Also if it takes a physics book to prove then does it really matter in a real sense?
    2) 26" wheels are the most common size world wide so therefore easier to find in a pinch.
    Both of these reasons have some merit but if you never plan to ride in Indonesia and you ride on a stout 36~40 spoke 700c wheel set then both of these issues are a..... non-issue.

    I have an LHT but I really like the Fargo. My taste is more conservative for a touring bike and I'm not a fan of disc's. I can see if you ride in mud allot, disc's would be of benefit but if you ride on the road most of the time, rim brakes have a better purchase on the wheel to stop it when you want it to stop.

    In all of the posts I've read over the years, the bottom line is, ride what your comfortable with and enjoy riding. Many have ridden farther and happier on bikes that most of the experts say would never work.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    I like my 26" wheel LHT because I have so much toe clearence. Every 700c bike I test road hit my front toe during low speed turns, very annoying and my feet are not that big. I also prefer rim breaks. Salsa Fargo is a nice bike and all but not my taste.

    Sheldon Brown argues that 26" wheels are actually faster than 700c in some situations. Overall I think it comes down to frame geometry though. If you are a smaller rider then the frame geometry has to be compremised to fit 700c. Geomentry is more important that actual wheel size so dont worry about it at all, just buy what fits and be done.

    That said, I also tour in the third world so I love my 26s!

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    Are you going to run wide tires on the hypothetical fargo? I think wide vs skinny is more of an issue than diameter, aside from if you are sized for a smaller frame, compromises that go into jamming 700c wheels onto that frame.

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    I've had my Surly LHT, 54 w/26 inch wheels for 2 seasons now and I love it. I just can't get my head around the big issue many make of 700 vs 26 wheels. As other's have stated, the frame geometry is more important and having a wheel size that compliments that geometry is what is important. No sense squeezing a 700 wheel into a small frame and causing toelap and other issues. I can't believe that given the same tires, that a 700 is faster by any real world metric.

    That being said, I just purchased a Salsa Fargo 3 weeks ago to compliment the LHT. I wanted a bike for riding the Vermont dirt roads, forest service roads, and singletracks. I'm setting it up as a overnight tourer with a seatpost rack and front rack. Just enough to carry a sleeping bag, tent, and stove. I could have brought another set of wheels and tires for the LHT, but I really just fell for the Fargo and that trucking look it has.

    Given what I now know about the two bikes and your criteria, I would select the LHT. It is more then capable of handling the mix you described with ease. Its a very versatile bike.

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    The Fargo is really intended more for rough road riding.

    The Kona Sutra is a "LHT" like bike with disk brakes and priced like the LHT complete.

    The big thing about 26inch wheels is their world-wide availability. 700C wheels can be strong enough (they are used on 29'er mountain bikes).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 10-14-09 at 12:22 PM.

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    700c wheels are extremely dangerous under certain circumstances because they are larger in diameter than 26" wheels and therefore are much more susceptible to Coriolis torque. Thus, when plunging down hill at high speeds near the equator, 700c wheels can split right down the middle due to the little-known "Equatorial Coriolis Catastrophe Syndrome" which effects only 700c wheels.

    Thank you for listening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    700c wheels are extremely dangerous under certain circumstances because they are larger in diameter than 26" wheels and therefore are much more susceptible to Coriolis torque. Thus, when plunging down hill at high speeds near the equator, 700c wheels can split right down the middle due to the little-known "Equatorial Coriolis Catastrophe Syndrome" which effects only 700c wheels.

    Thank you for listening.


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    If you're going to be riding mostly on roads, I assume you'll be using a slimmer tire than a true 29x2.0 knobby. One thing I find when I put skinnier tires (35mm) on my 29er (which is a Surly Karate monkey) is I experience more pedal strike on corners and uneven terrian. I assume this has to do with the bottom bracket height being set for fat tires. I don't know the exact specs on the Fargo, but I assume it's designed with 29er tires in mind.

  10. #10
    Senior Member adaminlc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    700c wheels are extremely dangerous under certain circumstances because they are larger in diameter than 26" wheels and therefore are much more susceptible to Coriolis torque. Thus, when plunging down hill at high speeds near the equator, 700c wheels can split right down the middle due to the little-known "Equatorial Coriolis Catastrophe Syndrome" which effects only 700c wheels.

    Thank you for listening.


    While silly, that post really sums it up. Try out both bikes, and buy the one you like better. That is really all there is to it. If one size of tire is hard to find in NZ (never been) then take that into consideration. At the end of the day, though, what feels best to you will always be better than a bike that doesn't.
    I like fat tires and I cannot lie...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    700c wheels are extremely dangerous under certain circumstances because they are larger in diameter than 26" wheels and therefore are much more susceptible to Coriolis torque. Thus, when plunging down hill at high speeds near the equator, 700c wheels can split right down the middle due to the little-known "Equatorial Coriolis Catastrophe Syndrome" which effects only 700c wheels.

    Thank you for listening.
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    Gutter Bunny Jonahhobbes's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, I've always intended to get a LHT at some point. However the wife has sort of fallen in love with the Fargo I'm quite happy with this as my La Cruz is wonderful so I can imagine the Fargo is too. When it comes to toe strike, I've not had any issues with 29er rims, I did have to move my Candy cleats back slightly on the shoes with the La Cruz when I got it after I switched from the mountain bike. If anything it made it more comfortable.


    It may be overkill getting the Fargo as we have several MTB's but I like the idea of being able to do different things, good stuff about the tire sizes though, as a purely Commuter I'd like to thank my brother Tourers for the info you have provided.

    Smokester - cheers mate

  13. #13
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    Theoretically all things equal, a 26" rim should be stronger than an equivalent 700c rim. Lighter too as there is less rim and shorter spokes.....

    Course, that's all theoretical -it really depends on the quality of your wheelset rather than the size. I think the more commonly held beliefs are that i. you are more likely to find 26" tyres and rims available in a store than 700c (even a Walmart usually has a supply of 26
    tyres -not great tyres admittedly, but good enough to get you going - and tubes), and ii. depending on your frame geometry, you are less likely to suffer from overlap with 26" wheels.

    Even that isn't that clear cut though; if you carry a spare 700c tyre and tubes (and who doesn't carry at least one spare inner tube anyway?) or only go touring where 700c spares are readily available it certainly doesn't become a big deal. Add in the fact that many people also ride bikes that have overlap as well, and I believe the conclusion is both are perfectly acceptable, and it's what you prefer.

    I should also add that some people think 700c wheels roll faster, but I suspect the tyre configuration and setup will have much more to do with that than the difference in wheel sizes. And even if you could generalize and say a 700c is faster, I wonder by how much anyway? I also think with the 700c wheel size you get a better choice of road tyre, though again, that doesn't mean to say that means better for touring (I personally love my 26x1.5 Schwalbe Marathons for example).

    FWIW, I only have tourers with 26" wheels -more a product of really disliking overlap given my bike fit. If I was taller, I'm sure I'd be using 700c wheels......or 26" -I just don't think it would matter that much to me given the touring I do.

    So... LHT or Fargo? It might depend more on you which one you like. If you are going truly off road, and assuming the LHT fits you (apparently newer ones in bigger frame sizes can be 26" wheels) I'd opt for the LHT with 26" just because it seems you can get good off road 26" tyres. Mind you having said that, I'm sure there are some great 29er tyres too.....
    Last edited by Nigeyy; 10-15-09 at 06:34 AM.

  14. #14
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    i was hoping to do a bike trip on south island earlier this year, but since i could only get 2 weeks off it ended up being a drive & kayak trip. i was amazed at how steeply graded many of the roads are--i would have probably had to walk a few of them even with a 20" low gear. so even as an LHT owner, if i were going to bike it, i'd pick the fargo for the disc brakes to better control your speed on the downhills. i wouldn't worry about trying to get 26" wheels unless you're going to be riding in the boonies for an extended period of time.

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  15. #15
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nigeyy View Post
    Theoretically all things equal, a 26" rim should be stronger than an equivalent 700c rim. Lighter too as there is less rim and shorter spokes.....

    Course, that's all theoretical -it really depends on the quality of your wheelset rather than the size. I think the more commonly held beliefs are that i. you are more likely to find 26" tyres and rims available in a store than 700c (even a Walmart usually has a supply of 26
    tyres -not great tyres admittedly, but good enough to get you going - and tubes), and ii. depending on your frame geometry, you are less likely to suffer from overlap with 26" wheels.

    Even that isn't that clear cut though; if you carry a spare 700c tyre and tubes (and who doesn't carry at least one spare inner tube anyway?) or only go touring where 700c spares are readily available it certainly doesn't become a big deal. Add in the fact that many people also ride bikes that have overlap as well, and I believe the conclusion is both are perfectly acceptable, and it's what you prefer.

    I should also add that some people think 700c wheels roll faster, but I suspect the tyre configuration and setup will have much more to do with that than the difference in wheel sizes. And even if you could generalize and say a 700c is faster, I wonder by how much anyway? I also think with the 700c wheel size you get a better choice of road tyre, though again, that doesn't mean to say that means better for touring (I personally love my 26x1.5 Schwalbe Marathons for example).

    FWIW, I only have tourers with 26" wheels -more a product of really disliking overlap given my bike fit. If I was taller, I'm sure I'd be using 700c wheels......or 26" -I just don't think it would matter that much to me given the touring I do.

    So... LHT or Fargo? It might depend more on you which one you like. If you are going truly off road, and assuming the LHT fits you (apparently newer ones in bigger frame sizes can be 26" wheels) I'd opt for the LHT with 26" just because it seems you can get good off road 26" tyres. Mind you having said that, I'm sure there are some great 29er tyres too.....
    Yeah 700C is so much faster, on a 100 mile ride, it will mean that instead of taking a whole 6:37:14 it will take only 6:37:13.8 It really depends on the gear inches, a 26" wheel with 86 gear inches, will be faster then a 700C wheel with 85 gear inches. With a frame like the LHT which can accommodate a wide tire, it's much easier to find tires wider then 30mm in 26" and it's easier to find tires under 30mm in 700C. 29" tires are available, wider, but the selection is smaller, they may be impossible to find in many countries.

  16. #16
    Gutter Bunny Jonahhobbes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlavallee View Post
    i was hoping to do a bike trip on south island earlier this year, but since i could only get 2 weeks off it ended up being a drive & kayak trip. i was amazed at how steeply graded many of the roads are--i would have probably had to walk a few of them even with a 20" low gear. so even as an LHT owner, if i were going to bike it, i'd pick the fargo for the disc brakes to better control your speed on the downhills. i wouldn't worry about trying to get 26" wheels unless you're going to be riding in the boonies for an extended period of time.
    I've been around the south Island a few times in a car, which areas were really steep?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonahhobbes View Post
    I've been around the south Island a few times in a car, which areas were really steep?
    My memory is a little cloudy, but the coastal road between Rarangi and Kaikawa, I think there was a pretty steep section between Picton and Nelson, on the west coast SW of the glaciers, and on Haast pass. The exact locations aren't burned into my memory quite as well as if I'd actually biked them, unfortunately.

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  18. #18
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    Banks Penninsula, bloody steep, Dunedin has thesteepest street in the world.

  19. #19
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonahhobbes View Post
    Re: The Fargo vs LHT. I intend to be mostly on road, with light off road now and again, ... Wondering what people think are the pros and cons of both bikes. All I can see are the disc brakes are slight overkill on the Fargo, but I live with them on my Salsa la Cruz and actually quite like them.
    I ride a Fargo. Have never ridden an LHT, but I've seen some up close. Both are designed to haul loads. Both should work for touring. The Fargo will accept wider tires. I currently run 2.3" Big Apples on mine.

    The Fargo is almost certainly the more off-road capable. If you're going to be riding singletrack part of the time, then I'd lean a bit towards the Fargo for that reason. I take mine out on trails all the time.

    The Fargo is designed around disc brakes. That matters to me. It may not matter to you. The LHT takes only rim-brakes, which is pretty much a deal-breaker for me.

    My only thought on wheelsize is that I actually think it's quite clever of Surly to vary the wheelsize on the LHT along with the frame size. I'm sure they did it for the sake of geometry, but I also feel that a bike is more pleasing to look at when wheels in frame size are in proportion to each other. Plus, I give Surly credit for taking a path with their LHT design that is a little bit different from the norm.

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