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  1. #1
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    kona sutra vs raleigh sojourn?

    i am embarking on the Ride Well tour from San Diego to Seattle and i need a bike. from what i have found, the kona sutra 2010 and raleigh sojourn 2011 are up there at the top, so i would like to compare them. if anyone has any experience with either of these bikes pleas share your opinion. thank you.

  2. #2
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    I have a 2009 Raleigh Sojourn that I bought about ten months ago and have put around 3500 miles on so far. I also looked at the Sutra when I was shopping, and my reason for choosing the Raleigh largely had to do with the way the rear brake is mounted: the Sojourn has it on the chainstay where it is well out of the way of the rack, while the (2009) Sutra has the brake on the seatstay, which greatly limits your choice in racks. The 2010 model has changed this though, which means if I were making the choice again this year, it might be different.

    That being said, I am mostly happy with the Sojourn. It is very comfortable and does really well on dirt and poor-condition roads. The main reason I considered it (disc brakes) has turned out to be less of an advantage than I thought; the BB-5s go through pads very quickly (average about 1300 miles on one set of front pads; the rear pads last about twice as long) and the additional stopping power is not really necessary unless you are carrying a VERY heavy load. If I only used it for touring, I would prefer something with cantis or v-brakes. Since I also use it for general utility, and routinely tow a heavy trailer loaded with trash, groceries, other bikes, barbecue grills, tools, fertilizer, etc., the discs are nice to have.

    Other component notes: I decided to buy a second wheelset for a couple of reasons: first the hubs were a brand I hadn't heard of and couldn't find any reviews of their durability, and second the stock wheels are 32-spoke and are both dished because of the disc brakes. I probably would have bought a second wheelset anyway, because I like having extra wheels around in case I crash hard and taco one of them, but this is something for you to consider.

    That it comes stock with a Brooks is a big plus for me; I like Brooks. If you want a different kind of saddle, you can save money (or get better components elsewhere) by buying a bike that has a cheaper seat on it.

    The tires that came on the Sojourn (Vittoria Randonneur Cross, 700x35) are awesome. The rolling resistance is fairly low, especially for a tire that wide, the puncture resistance is great (one flat in 3500 miles), and they handle dirt roads well. The Sutra probably has tires of similar quality, so make of this what you will.

    The Sojourn is very heavy, even by the standards of touring bikes. I haven't weighed it, but feels comparable to an LHT, and several pounds heavier than a 520. I'm OK with this, but I really start to feel it when I go on long, hilly rides.

    Summary: I like the Sojourn, I think it is a good bike for its price, but if I were only using it for touring, I would want something with rim brakes.

  3. #3
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    There was a dude on BF with a Sutra and his rear rack eyelet on the dropout broke. Do a search for it. He took it to a framebuilder to have it repaired and the framebuilder told him that the weld was not strong at all. Don't know if this is just an isolated case or all Sutras are like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorshkov View Post

    The Sojourn is very heavy, even by the standards of touring bikes. I haven't weighed it, but feels comparable to an LHT, and several pounds heavier than a 520.
    I believe the Sojourn is heavier than a LHT, at about 42 lbs including racks. That is a heck of weight for a touring bike, and I can't really see any justification for it weighing that much; there are seriously tough bikes that are a lot lighter. I believe the new Sutra now has chainstay-mounted brakes and has sorted out the previous issue with the rear rack mount.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  5. #5
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    42 lbs is a lot heavier than I thought, so I googled it (don't have a scale, so I can't weight it), and got a number of different quotes (probably different sizes and model years), all of which were near 34lbs including the stock rear (but no front) rack. This is close to my estimate of 35lbs with front and rear racks.

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Sutra... better component kit, try to get a 2010. The Sutra has neater welds, higher component spec and is lighter(which is shocking considering neither is a light bicycle). AdamDZ and Ziemas are the users who broke their eyelets. It isn't clear if the rack was over-loaded... but the new, 2010 and on, sutra has a eyelets which are better and has the issues with disc brake sorted away. AdamDZ likes his Sutra, Ziemas doesn't. I also have one and have no complaints, other than the weight. Discs are nice, not required though and i haven't had issues with pad wear(bb7 on sutra) though that depends a lot on the soil in the area.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    I believe the Sojourn is heavier than a LHT, at about 42 lbs including racks. That is a heck of weight for a touring bike, and I can't really see any justification for it weighing that much; there are seriously tough bikes that are a lot lighter. I believe the new Sutra now has chainstay-mounted brakes and has sorted out the previous issue with the rear rack mount.
    Uh, no, my 2009 Sojourn fully outfitted is around 32 pounds. Still heavier than my wife's LHT, but not THAT much heavier.

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    you all have pointed out a few things that i hadn't thought of before. ive heard that the welding on the sojourn is an issue. and although it dosn't come standard, is a front rack mount possible? the tour is 1800mi but only partially-supported. im fine with pushing myself more but i would like the bike to hold up.

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naters View Post
    you all have pointed out a few things that i hadn't thought of before. ive heard that the welding on the sojourn is an issue. and although it dosn't come standard, is a front rack mount possible? the tour is 1800mi but only partially-supported. im fine with pushing myself more but i would like the bike to hold up.
    Should be.. I see the mid-mounts for a rack though no brake post mounts... Now that i'm back i'll also say i'm also not a fan of the joytech hubs(questionable sealing) and wellgo pedals on the sojourn.

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    Just curious: about 2 things:

    1. Why did you narrow your choices down to those two?

    Or, in other words, why did you not consider the Official Favorite Touring Bike of BikeForums (the Surly LHT)?


    2. Why is the Ridewell Tour riding the Pacific Cost from South to North, when the Official Favorite Pacific Coast Tour Riding Direction is North to South?

    Or, in other words, why did you sign up to ride the Pacific Coast tour the "wrong" way?

  11. #11
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naters View Post
    you all have pointed out a few things that i hadn't thought of before. ive heard that the welding on the sojourn is an issue. and although it dosn't come standard, is a front rack mount possible? the tour is 1800mi but only partially-supported. im fine with pushing myself more but i would like the bike to hold up.
    What about them is an issue? The welds are not the prettiest on my Sojourn, but on the other hand, I ride my bike to get from one place to another, not to hold it up as a pristine example of the welders art. It's a really, really comfortable bike to ride for long distances.

    And yes, you can put all sorts of front racks on it. I use a Tubus Tara, which even include mounting points for the front fender so that you don't have to share eyelets.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    Just curious: about 2 things:

    1. Why did you narrow your choices down to those two?

    Or, in other words, why did you not consider the Official Favorite Touring Bike of BikeForums (the Surly LHT)?
    As a household with both a Sojourn and an LHT, I honestly don't get the love for the LHT. To outfit it with equivalent racks/fenders/etc as the Sojourn, we ended up paying more for the LHT ( and that's keeping the stock LHT saddle and bar tape, ). I find the Sojourn to be a much more comfortable ride, especially when loaded.

    Don't get me wrong - the LHT is a great bike, but it's not the unbeatable touring machine that so many seem to think.

  13. #13
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    What about them is an issue? The welds are not the prettiest on my Sojourn, but on the other hand, I ride my bike to get from one place to another, not to hold it up as a pristine example of the welders art. It's a really, really comfortable bike to ride for long distances.

    And yes, you can put all sorts of front racks on it. I use a Tubus Tara, which even include mounting points for the front fender so that you don't have to share eyelets.
    Sure, but are crappy welds something somebody else would want to spend money on? Maybe it doesn't bother you, but it bothered me.

    Congrats on the NANLHT(Not another long haul trucker) attitude

  14. #14
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Sure, but are crappy welds something somebody else would want to spend money on? Maybe it doesn't bother you, but it bothered me.

    Congrats on the NANLHT(Not another long haul trucker) attitude

    The question is, are the welds any less strong and functional? I don't have any reason to think so. I suspect the difference is akin to my reaction to someone's post over in the road forum - they had a microscopic scratch on their bike, and were getting all bent out of shape about it. From my perspective - why in the world would you possibly care? I cannot fathom a mindset that turns a tool into a fashion statement or values appearance over function

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    The question is, are the welds any less strong and functional? I don't have any reason to think so. I suspect the difference is akin to my reaction to someone's post over in the road forum - they had a microscopic scratch on their bike, and were getting all bent out of shape about it. From my perspective - why in the world would you possibly care? I cannot fathom a mindset that turns a tool into a fashion statement or values appearance over function
    This isn't the place for that discussion anyways. The welds are crappy, maybe they're strong, but their appearance isn't inspiring.

  16. #16
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Naters, I just googled "Ride well Tour". Looks like a terrific journey. It should draw an interesting mix of participants... different backgrounds and biking, camping experience.
    Pick your bike, then put some miles on it. You need to have the saddle and general bike fit dialed in before you start. Don't know if you live where you can ride outside this winter. If not, get to a fitness center where you can ride a stationary bike, or better still, ride your own bike on a trainer. Final advice, learn basic bike maintenance and you will be an asset on the journey.
    Best wishes as you prepare, and for your journey.

  17. #17
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    Uh, no, my 2009 Sojourn fully outfitted is around 32 pounds. Still heavier than my wife's LHT, but not THAT much heavier.
    Interesting. I was taking my information from a guy who rcently sold one in the marketplace here - he gave the weight as 42 pounds and complained about the bike's weight. Maybe it was a typo. 32 lbs is a perfectly reasonable weight for a tourer, I agree.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  18. #18
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Interesting. I was taking my information from a guy who rcently sold one in the marketplace here - he gave the weight as 42 pounds and complained about the bike's weight. Maybe it was a typo. 32 lbs is a perfectly reasonable weight for a tourer, I agree.

    If it's the same guy I'm thinking of, I believe he also said his wife's LHT was in the upper 30's. which is also way off base. I think he needs a new scale. ;-)

  19. #19
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    I just picked up a 2010 Sojourn Friday August 27 that I will be riding from San Jose to San Diego starting Aug 31. I ordered the bike and had it shipped to the LBS way back in February.

    I only have 20 miles on it (visiting son until I start my tour), but just picking up the bike by hand, it did not feel heavy to me, less than 35 lb. Probably 32 lb for a 59 cm frame size. This from a guy that commutes on a CF bike.

    The welds on this 2010 frame are neat (not crappy as described above). I assume that may be a difference between 2009 and 2010. The 2010 also has 36 spoke wheels.

    I special ordered a JANDD extreme front rack for it. I knew that the rack would take some work mounting with the disk brake and expected the LBS to leave that for me to accomplish. I even brought expected hardware for the job with me. My surprise, the LBS was finishing up mounting the rack when I walked in. They had gone to the trouble of getting hardware to make it work. The LBS also gladly pulled the leather bar tape, plus packaged it for me (to be used on a different bike at home) and wrapped cork/gel tape special ordered for me before I got there. They got to keep the stock pedals for even cost exchange on the bar tape. They installed the peddles and saddle I brought with me while I waited (Brooks saddle also goes on a bike at home - no way am I breaking a Brooks in while on tour). The mechanic that assemled my bike, also owns a Sojourn and says he loves his. He did a great job setting the bike up the way an experience rider would likely want it (all I had to do was adjust saddle height and tilt the saddle nose down a couple degress).

    For anyone living in San Jose/Bay Area, and naters if you can make it up to San Jose. The LBS is: http://www.bicycleexpress.net/
    They gave me a great price on the bike at $900. All my odering and discussions were by phone or e-mail (with Karen) until the day I picked up the bike.

    Good luck

    I was warned here in BFs that this LBS mostly dealt with college kids cruiser and mountain bikes but they did have great mechanics and were friendly (even loaning tools). Not the LBS to look for a touring bike. Since I already knew which bike and size I wanted, the mechanic info and price were the key to me.
    Last edited by CB HI; 08-29-10 at 10:34 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    As a household with both a Sojourn and an LHT, I honestly don't get the love for the LHT. To outfit it with equivalent racks/fenders/etc as the Sojourn, we ended up paying more for the LHT ( and that's keeping the stock LHT saddle and bar tape, ). I find the Sojourn to be a much more comfortable ride, especially when loaded.

    Don't get me wrong - the LHT is a great bike, but it's not the unbeatable touring machine that so many seem to think.
    I was just surprised to see a thread where the Surly LHT was not even under consideration. I thought all threads had to begin: "What SIZE LHT should I get," "I'm waiting for my Surly LHT," "I just got a Surly LHT," or - on rare occasions - "Why I'm NOT getting a Surly LHT." The fact that someone would consider touring without even thinking of a Surly LHT violates some kind of BF rule.

    (Actually, I figured out later that the OP must have just been considering touring bikes with disc brakes).

    However, I am still wondering why an organized tour wants to travel the Pacific Coast from South to North. There should be a warning on their website, "We're doing this for charity, but we're traveling the wrong way."

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by naters View Post
    you all have pointed out a few things that i hadn't thought of before. ive heard that the welding on the sojourn is an issue. and although it dosn't come standard, is a front rack mount possible? the tour is 1800mi but only partially-supported. im fine with pushing myself more but i would like the bike to hold up.
    I have a Tubus Tara lowrider rack on the front. The rack mounts just fine. However, in order to attach a rack and a fender, some duct tape was necessary.

    Don't worry about the bike falling apart. The welds aren't super pretty, but they will hold up fine.

  22. #22
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorshkov View Post
    I have a Tubus Tara lowrider rack on the front. The rack mounts just fine. However, in order to attach a rack and a fender, some duct tape was necessary.

    Don't worry about the bike falling apart. The welds aren't super pretty, but they will hold up fine.
    What was the problem you had? On my Sojourn, the stock fender mounts right to my Tara's fender eyelets without a problem. I'm presuming you're mounting it the same way as I am - with the "lowest-lower" eyelets on the tara being used to mount to the fork with the barrel spacer, and the "upper-lower" eyelets for the fender stay.

    I'll have to get some shots of my 2009 Sojourn's welds. After comparing it to my wife's 2010 LHT, the Sojourn's are actually noticeably cleaner and better filed...
    Last edited by mulveyr; 08-29-10 at 05:14 PM.

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    1. Why did you narrow your choices down to those two?
    the reason i chose the sutra and the sojourn is because im a novus and they come decked out with the most bells and whistles. i didn't consider the LHT simply because "everyone else had it", perhaps im stubborn that way.
    2. Why is the Ridewell Tour riding the Pacific Cost from South to North, when the Official Favorite Pacific Coast Tour Riding Direction is North to South?
    its funny, everyone asks "why are you going up the cost?" is it really that different? its not like it climbs hundreds of feet...its the cost, right?

    skilsaw- thanks for the encouragement and the advice. i live in the rocky mountains, but im planning to visit friends in florida during the heart of winter, both to raise money and to stay in shape.

    the welds can look like wadds of gum for all i care, just as long as they hold together.

    as for the bikes, im leaning towards the Raleigh Sojourn. i like the look better, it comes with the brooks saddle, and the "issues" don't seem to be all that problematic. being that the tour is not until next year ill have plenty of time to modify it to my liking.

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