As usual, everything seems to be a compromise. I'm always trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. For example, I agree with both of the above posts even though they are in somewhat disagreement. I think I need to provide a little more background:
I've never toured or even camped on a bicycle. It's posssible I never will. I have, however, done plenty of motorcycle camping/touring so I have an idea about what I'm getting into. My choices in motorcycles were also a compromise. I wanted basic transportation, a fun commuter under a variety of weather conditions, something that could handle loaded touring on and off road, and something that was dead simple. I never have been much for group/club rides and don't need the latest technology. I suppose this is also what I'm looking for in a bicycle. And for the record I'm not a newbie bicyclist. I've been commuting off and on since the early nineties racking up about 18K miles. My two vehicles are a 1983 Nishiki that's been upgraded to fit my aging body (i.e. Nitto Technomic stem, Salsa Bell Lap bars, Triple Crankset, etc) and a rigid 1997 Trek 950 Singletrac Mountain bike, also modified for comfort; primarily with a Nitto Dirt Drop handlebar stem. Both of these bikes, with the steering modifications I've made, are on the edge of bad handling. So in consideration of this I'm leary of trying to "make" a bike fit. But I really liked that 520!
This will probably be another case of paralysis-through-analysis. I agree with Neil that I should test both these bikes fully loaded, but that is unlikely to happen. I'd hoped that the proven track records of both the Surly and the 520 would be enough. I've sent a question to Trek asking about the uncut steering tube but my hopes were squashed when I found the following on the internet last night:
"No, unfortunately the steer tubes are not able to be ordered uncut. There is a maximum amount of steer tube that can be showing above the headset, so for liability reasons we cannot recommend a longer one than what comes stock on the bike."
Trek HQ Waterloo, WI
Answered at 1:35 PM on Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Can anybody vouch for the viability of using a steering tube extension? Is this just wrong?