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Old 02-06-11, 07:42 AM   #1
trailz
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One bike, multi-purpose. Commuting/Utility/Cargo/Trailer-pulling/Touring.

Just finished a freelance project that left me with some 'slush' funds!
Enough to get a myself my first new bike in 30 years.

My needs are broad, as I'm living very car-lite these days. Grocery trips with 100lbs on a Burley Flatbed trailer is a weekly to-do. But often I'm not really loaded down at all. My trips are generally short (4-8 miles), but I often take weekend joy rides of between 20 and 40. 90% of my riding is on MUPS, both asphalt and crushed limestone. I'm also planning to do some limited touring this summer.

I guess I need (in order of priority):
Versatility
Durability
Beauty
Efficiency

Here is my short list:

LHT

KONA SUTRA

WINDSOR TOURIST

Am I crazy thinking that any of these bikes can do it all for me?
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Old 02-06-11, 07:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by trailz View Post
Grocery trips with 100lbs on a Burley Flatbed trailer is a weekly to-do. But often I'm not really loaded down at all. My trips are generally short (4-8 miles), but I often take weekend joy rides of between 20 and 40. 90% of my riding is on MUPS, both asphalt and crushed limestone. I'm also planning to do some limited touring this summer.

I guess I need (in order of priority):
Versatility
Durability
Beauty
Efficiency

Here is my short list:

LHT

KONA SUTRA

WINDSOR TOURIST

Am I crazy thinking that any of these bikes can do it all for me?
No, you are definitely not crazy. The LHT will do all of those things just fine. The others probably will, too, but I've no experience with them.
The LHT can take fat tires and fenders, easily carry loads on front and rear racks, and is fun to ride. The only complaint I have is that my trailer is meant to go on the left rear chainstay, where Surly put that stupid spoke holder thing. I just clamp it to the seat stay instead. I don't think this would be an issue with a Burley.
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Old 02-06-11, 09:04 AM   #3
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you could try one of these, fits to any bike, preferably 26inch wheels.
I use it for day to day stuff, hauling and shopping etc. The most I have carried on it is around 200lbs + me and even carried a 42in TV for a friend from a local electrical store. The face of the sales guy when I took it out and strapped it to the bike was priceless
It makes a great tourer and it gets a lot of use as a platform for my large format photography habit around the local are.
http://garibeet.wordpress.com/
http://www.xtracycle.com/
Forgot to mention I also have a trailer for if I really want to haul.
Cheers
Gari

Last edited by garri; 02-06-11 at 09:05 AM. Reason: bad memory!!
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Old 02-06-11, 09:47 AM   #4
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I only have one bike, an LHT and it fills all of my needs. Mine is a 26" wheeled version.
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Old 02-06-11, 10:08 AM   #5
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take a look at the surly troll?
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Old 02-06-11, 01:33 PM   #6
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Used ? 80s mountain bikes .. hard tail , regular fork.
change: bars stem saddle to suit.

Replace the worn parts , as needed.
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Old 02-06-11, 02:38 PM   #7
Gus Riley
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LHT is my vote and recommendation. But be warned once equipped with racks it is probably more expensive than your other two considerations.
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Old 02-06-11, 03:40 PM   #8
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Hi, This is a copy of my post on an older tread, but the idea seems to fit the situation here. The point here is that deciding what is the most important attribute (s), and what are you willing to trade off. I hope I never have to decide between the Volpe and LHT. It would be a difficult choice, and I'm not too sure of which way I'd go. You should do well with any of the three bikes you listed. Good luck

"This is a Bianchi Volpe which has gone across the US and and a lot of the Pacific Coast Route in this fully loaded configuration. It is used with a trailer to get groceries and a few weeks ago I took it on a club ride. It was a day for fenders. It is more than 3 lbs lighter than my LHT and a lot more nimble. The Volpe was OK, but my road bike would have been better suited for the type of riding--even with a brown stripe up my back. The point is: it can do an acceptable job of most things, but it is not really outstanding at any of them. Building a bike is always a compromise. Just determine what is important to you, build it that way, and learn to live with its other shortcomings. Good luck on your build.

I've run 2 different crank combinations which were geared toward touring. The first which I thought was too high for mountainous fully loaded riding was a 48/36/26 with an 11-34 rear cassette. The second was a 44/32/22 crankset with the same rear cassette. This is an excellent touring set up and allows a top end of 28 mph@ 90 RPM, and a low end of about 3.5 MPH @ 90 RPM. I've never had a problem with Shimao LX rear derrailleurs being "floppy". They shift well in a lot of different configurations."
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Old 02-06-11, 04:54 PM   #9
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When I saw "Commuting/Utility/Cargo/Trailer-pulling/Touring", the first bike that sprung to mind was the Surly Big Dummy. Have you looked at that already? A long bike would be great for carrying cargo, that's what it's made for... and reputedly good for touring too.

http://www.google.com/search?q=surly+big+dummy

Neil
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Old 02-06-11, 05:38 PM   #10
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For the price you can't be a tourist.

The first bike I put 13,000 miles on it.
The second bike is coming up on 10,000 miles.
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Old 02-06-11, 08:58 PM   #11
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I say look into cross bikes, they're basically designed to be versatile. Good for long rides, bad surfaces, touring, but won't feel quite as much like a truck as a touring-specific bike.

Surly Cross Check, Binachi Volpe, Jamis Aurora, Kona Sutra are a few good options.
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Old 02-07-11, 12:51 AM   #12
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Trek 520.
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Old 02-07-11, 03:31 AM   #13
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LHT if you looking for last long bike, this one made for it.
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Old 02-07-11, 09:22 AM   #14
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I'm swimming in the same stream. Plan on using a bike for local pickups, daily communting.. 30kms one way (starting in the spring on an everyother day cycle at first ). Furture plans on 2-3 day weekend rides.

With all the thought of what I plan on doing and countless hrs of researching .. I have choosen the 520.. and of course a Brooks will be replace the stock seat.
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Old 02-07-11, 10:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
I say look into cross bikes, they're basically designed to be versatile. Good for long rides, bad surfaces, touring, but won't feel quite as much like a truck as a touring-specific bike.

Surly Cross Check, Binachi Volpe, Jamis Aurora, Kona Sutra are a few good options.
I was going to say the same thing, I ride a Specialized Tricross and while I own a touring bike and a bash-around-town old mtn bike, I really like the idea of cross bikes as great versatile bikes. I chose the Tricross sport because of its lower gearing than other cross bikes I looked at (Canadian version has a 11-32 rear cassette and regular standard 50-39-30 front crank), has triple water bottle holders, can take wide tires, fenders, is lighter than a "touring" bike (is around 25 lbs) so is fun when not loaded, has longer chainstays etc so panniers fit with no problems.

is aluminium, which doesnt bother me but does some
carbon fork--we'll see how it is years down the road, doesnt bother me but does some
uses brifters, I love them, doesnt bother me but does some
isnt a true touring bike, but will be used as such infrequently compared to 90% of its life, so the fun factor of a lighter bike is worth this for me.


all the best with chosing, but I'd say some cross bikes are worth a look and a test ride--in fact, if you can test ride a whole bunch of bikes, all the better.

cheers
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Old 02-07-11, 10:10 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garri View Post
It makes a great tourer and it gets a lot of use as a platform for my large format photography habit around the local are.
well well, 4x5, 5x7, 8x10? I havent shot any 4x5 for 8 or 9 years probably. Still have a Crown Graphic kicking around. Don't see many people looking at a ground glass anymore over here. Seeing your post gives me lots of old memories of the darkroom and feeling for the top right corner notches....
cheers
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Old 02-07-11, 12:00 PM   #17
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5x4 for colour and half plate for black and White and wetplate. B&w is contact printed, colour is scanned and inkjet printed. Crowns are nice, had a couple of 'em myself. Bit of a resurgence in the past few years, lf is becoming quite cool again.
G
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Old 02-07-11, 12:14 PM   #18
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contact printing--ahh, the tonalities are so smooth arent they? You know, I spent half of my life in a darkroom so I don't miss it that much (did a lot of 35 and 2 1/4 processing for other photogs, plus a lot of printing of grin and grab press type stuff that I and others did) but I do miss the craft side of it, and contact printing was always a pleasure. I thought of getting a 5x7 or 8x10 at one point just for that, but never did.

also, the deliberate approach of large format was unique (now, even more so)

btw, I am not familiar with the terms "half plate" nor "Wetplate" (are you from the UK?) I've been in photography since the mid 80s and we dont use those terms here. (edit--I am then assuming you are putting on by hand an emulsion onto a glass plate, in that old tradition?--thats the only "wet" thing I am familiar with)

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Old 02-07-11, 12:38 PM   #19
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Troll!

I mean, Surly Troll
Or a Big Dummy or other Xtracycle?
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Old 02-07-11, 12:56 PM   #20
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DJB: Yeah, forgot about the Tricross, IMO it's a good option. The main thing is that up until a few years ago, cross bikes were used very frequently for touring; lots of people successfully crossed the US on Bianchi Volpes, for example. There are lots of cross bikes made more for general use than for racing.



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I mean, Surly Troll. Or a Big Dummy or other Xtracycle?
None of these would be my first choice for the OP's usage list.

Troll is more for offroad, and the OP is mostly discussing asphalt and gravel. BD/Extracycle is great for utility cycling, but isn't anywhere near as versatile as a standard bike plus a trailer.
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Old 02-07-11, 12:59 PM   #21
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I love my Bianchi Volpe for multi purpose roles. It's been a grocery hauler and doubles as my tourer when riding through Europe. One of the nice features of the recent Volpe's has been the flat spot underneath the top tube. This is really handy on those occasions when you have to portage the bike, such as up stairs.
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Old 02-07-11, 02:04 PM   #22
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None of these would be my first choice for the OP's usage list.

Troll is more for offroad, and the OP is mostly discussing asphalt and gravel. BD/Extracycle is great for utility cycling, but isn't anywhere near as versatile as a standard bike plus a trailer.
How is Troll more off road than Kona Sutra for example?!? I mean the frame itself. You can make Troll road worthy just like the Sutra or make Sutra an off-road bike. I have, well I had, 2009 Sutra and it's an OK frame with horribly weak rear rack eyelets.

Bike with a trailer more versatile than a longtail?!? Well... 3-4 wheels instead of two plus an extra point of failure: the hitch? I'll take a longtail over a standard bike with a trailer.
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Old 02-07-11, 03:45 PM   #23
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everyday use though Adam, would be less versatile just cuz of the size (getting into house, appartement, car etc) I suspect that what he meant by that-or at least how I would see it and recommend. Ya, I guess a Troll type bike would be a very good option, as I am sure you can put narrow tires so it would be a good road bike too (like your Sutra) Ive seen a Sutra in a store and they certainly look beefy. there was one on sale for $1000 Can here in Mtl and that would be a great value for someone, seems like a really nice bike. Im surprised by your eyelet story, I recall reading about it. YOu sure the bolt didnt loosen and work back and forth causing hte failure?

anyway, I think for lots of people a Sutra Troll like bike would make a great choice, i personally opted for a cross type bike for being lighter and closer to a road bike in riding feel, mostly due to the weight (perhaps Sutra-Trolls are geared a bit lower, better for touring and "stuff" carrying, but mine is very capable for hills--but would need lower stuff for truly loaded in mountains, but can be done.)
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Old 02-07-11, 04:57 PM   #24
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I vote for the surly cross-check. Since your primary focus is not loaded touring the cross-check's lighter weight and road orientation will serve you better than the LHT or the Troll. I'd start with the cross-check complete and make adjustments as you go.
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Old 02-07-11, 05:31 PM   #25
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everyday use though Adam, would be less versatile just cuz of the size (getting into house, appartement, car etc) I suspect that what he meant by that-or at least how I would see it and recommend. Ya, I guess a Troll type bike would be a very good option, as I am sure you can put narrow tires so it would be a good road bike too (like your Sutra) Ive seen a Sutra in a store and they certainly look beefy. there was one on sale for $1000 Can here in Mtl and that would be a great value for someone, seems like a really nice bike. Im surprised by your eyelet story, I recall reading about it. YOu sure the bolt didnt loosen and work back and forth causing hte failure?

anyway, I think for lots of people a Sutra Troll like bike would make a great choice, i personally opted for a cross type bike for being lighter and closer to a road bike in riding feel, mostly due to the weight (perhaps Sutra-Trolls are geared a bit lower, better for touring and "stuff" carrying, but mine is very capable for hills--but would need lower stuff for truly loaded in mountains, but can be done.)
I have a DIY trailer and while I do enjoy riding with it, it's often a pain in the neck to maneuver with it and to store it. Bike + trailer take a lot of space, probably more than a single longtail bike. Now I'm building a Big Dummy and I hope to get the Troll too and I'll repaint and rebuild my Kona Sutra into a road bike for light club rides. But I would never consider Sutra to be do-it-all bike.

There was a similar thread once in the Utility Cycling forum and most people agreed that it's nearly impossible to have one bike that will do it all, but other than that everybody had a different idea. Most eventually agreed to disagree and the thread died off.

I know the Big Dummy's size can be a problem, but I was serious about the Troll: it is seriously starting to look like the closest it can get to a do-it-all bike. Although, I'm biased towards 26" bikes, I like the ride better (the lower center of gravity I guess). With two sets of wheels: one light with narrow tires and one heavy-duty with fat tires Troll would be able to do almost anything. Although, the chainstays are not long enough to make it a serious touring machine for taller people.

Speaking of 26" bikes being road worthy. With decent components and 1.5 slick tires a rigid 26" bike can be quite a zippy road machine, and at the same time stronger. Not as fast as a real, light road bike, but definitely capable.
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