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  1. #1
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    Narrowed it Down to 3 Touring Bikes. LHT, Trek 520, or Raleigh Sojourn

    I would like to get a touring bike and have narrowed it down to three:

    Surley Long Haul Trucker: http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker

    Trek 520 Touring Bike: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ouring/520/520

    Raleigh Sojourn: http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/stee...ng/sojourn-13/

    Would love to know what you all think. Or of you have one of these, what are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    I own and tour on a LHT with 26" wheels. I just finished an east to west TransAm tour on it...it is a great bike! I put racks, fenders, and a smaller "Granny Gear (ring)" 26 to a 24 tooth, and a Brooks Flyer on it. I had a partner for the first 1,500 miles (he became seriously ill and had to abandon the trip), he had purchased a Kona Sutra...it cost about the same as my LHT, but racks and fenders were included with the purchase. The Sutra components were nearly identical to my LHT's. He had to install a 24 tooth granny and change his cassette from a 32 to a 34. I was very impressed with his bike. My LHT effortlessly made the trip, I have no doubts that his Sutra would have done the same. I know you have narrowed your search to three, but have you taken a look at the Kona Sutra?
    2012 TransAm Tour journal link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Threeisacharm

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    They're all capable touring bikes - get whatever you like. There are slight differences in frame geometry and gearing. Cost differences aside, I rank them in order of preference as:

    1. LHT
    2. 520
    3. Sojourn.

    LHT and 520 are close, Sojourn trailing a bit. The gearing on the Sojourn is a little too tall for many loaded tourists (30-39-50 x 11-25t= 32-123 gear-inch). Raleigh appears to have changed the Sojourn's rear dropouts and rack mounting point for the worse over previous models. Wheels are perhaps better now than the original 32h.

    If the Sojourn's disc brakes appeal to you, then I recommend that you investigate the Surly Disc Trucker:

    http://surlybikes.com/bikes/disc_trucker
    Last edited by seeker333; 08-21-12 at 06:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    I own and tour on a LHT with 26" wheels. I just finished an east to west TransAm tour on it...it is a great bike! I put racks, fenders, and a smaller "Granny Gear (ring)" 26 to a 24 tooth, and a Brooks Flyer on it. I had a partner for the first 1,500 miles (he became seriously ill and had to abandon the trip), he had purchased a Kona Sutra...it cost about the same as my LHT, but racks and fenders were included with the purchase. The Sutra components were nearly identical to my LHT's. He had to install a 24 tooth granny and change his cassette from a 32 to a 34. I was very impressed with his bike. My LHT effortlessly made the trip, I have no doubts that his Sutra would have done the same. I know you have narrowed your search to three, but have you taken a look at the Kona Sutra?
    I am finding the LHT at about $1200 and the Sutra at $1600. Maybe I am wrong?

  5. #5
    Bike rider alexaschwanden's Avatar
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    I vote trek 520, a great bike.
    2013 Felt 960 29er MTB. 1,090.4 miles
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexaschwanden View Post
    I vote trek 520, a great bike.
    +1

  7. #7
    Kip
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexaschwanden View Post
    I vote trek 520, a great bike.
    +1

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Add any 26" rugged on-lesser paved road wheels?..

    Peter White in NH bringing the Tout Terrain SilkRoad adventure travel frames and forks
    over from Germany . fork designed to be extra strong in the left blade,
    where the disc brake fits, and the rear rack (stainless) welded on the frame Chromo,

    and the EBB with the IGH frame option is tops..
    [they make a frame for the derailleur drivetrain consumers too ]

    wiring for Dyno-hub and rack mounted taillight are planned in.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-22-12 at 01:07 AM.

  9. #9
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Add any 26" rugged on-lesser paved road wheels?..

    Peter White in NH bringing the Tout Terrain SilkRoad adventure travel frames and forks
    over from Germany . fork designed to be extra strong in the left blade,
    where the disc brake fits, and the rear rack (stainless) welded on the frame Chromo,

    and the EBB with the IGH frame option is tops..
    [they make a frame for the derailleur drivetrain consumers too ]

    wiring for Dyno-hub and rack mounted taillight are planned in.
    +1

    better than the 3 at the top, by far, for serious long-distance touring.

    would go with Rohloff if price isn't an issue or the Alfine/Nexus if price is an issue. the slight increase in cost (500€ extra for an Rohloff vs. XT components) will pay for itself after a few years (especially if your time has value). the Alfine/Nexus route is nice as well, but those units have a much, much higher failure rate, although they are 500€ less than the Rohloff or similar in price to XT components.

    also, this selection eliminates the most common failure points on a serious long-distance expedition-style bike.

    link: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/tout-terrain.asp
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  10. #10
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    the original company webpage is here in English:

    http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/bicycles/

    and they have a bicycle configuratior that you might find interesting
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
    Rohloffs seen on the commute: 3

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexaschwanden View Post
    I vote trek 520, a great bike.
    Can you please tell me what you like/dislike about it? Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kip View Post
    +1
    Can you please tell me what you like/dislike about it? Thank you!

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    I am hoping to get a fully built bike for $1300 tops for the bike.

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    Only had experience with Disk Trucker and 520(2012).
    voted for 520.
    i tour only once or twice a year, the rest of time the "touring" bike serves as a commuter/utility bike or a weekend "speedy" bike. 520 fits in this. i just did a tour from Ottawa, Ontario to Algonquin, 520+gear are about 110 pound, solid. yet prety nimble/speedy when its unloaded, while the LHT or theDisk Trucker is a bit on heavy/slow side. i tested them side by side.

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    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Ideally you should base your decision on bike fit. There are significant differences in geometry among the frames you listed. Surly LHTs get a lot of love on this forum but their fit is less than ideal for everyone. For my purposes, their top tubes are too long and head tubes too short. I would also add the Soma Saga to the list of touring bikes to consider. It costs a little more than the LHT, but has a geometry much more favorable to cyclists who prefer a more upright position relative to the LHT. You would also have to get it built up as Soma only sells frames/forks, but any bike shop should be thrilled to do that for you. If you don't mind spending more money, the Gunnar Grand Tour is another nice option and you could get it painted just about any color.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    I own and tour on a LHT with 26" wheels. I just finished an east to west TransAm tour on it...it is a great bike! I put racks, fenders, and a smaller "Granny Gear (ring)" 26 to a 24 tooth,
    I thought you had gone a bit daft when you wrote you replaced the 26 with a 24, but then I looked it up. Surly is now selling the LHT with a 26. It used to be a 24.

    OP: I would recommend doing this swap. The 520 also has a small ring of 26.

    I bought my first LHT in '08. When it was stolen in late '10, I bought another one. As a big guy, one thing I have been impressed with is the wheelset. I crossed the country in '99 on a Cannondale T-700 with wheels that were not up to the task of carrying the heavy load I had, which included a lot of photo equipment. I can tell you first hand that constant wheel problems on tour suck big time. By the time I got to OH, a shop found cracks around almost every eyelet of the rear rim. Before I went to Spain the follwing winter, I discovered similar crack in the front rim.


    My LHT wheels have performed flawlessly. In addition to serving as my daily commuter on the crappy streets of Philly, my current LHT has been on at least three 3-day tours and one 10-day tour in MT which included 60 miles of unpaved roads, some of them rough. The wheels have never needed truing. I just rode it on the rugged roads of d2r2. They are as true as ever.

    With all that said, fit is the paramount concern.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Would love to know what you all think. Or of you have one of these, what are your thoughts?
    I know everyone loves the LHT, but it's always seemed a bit over-priced to me; too many low-end components for a bike which costs that much. The Trek 520 seems to have the best component mix though, again, you pay for it. The Raleigh Sojourn is a bit of an odd duck: it's got some great touring components (Brooks B17, disc brakes) and some not so great (30/39/50 crank, 11-25 cassette, Sora & Alivio derailleurs). I'd be tempted to go with the Sojourn, mostly because I like the all-weather stopping consistency of disc brakes, but I'd probably end up tossing the crank, cassette, tires, and possibly derailleurs before my first long tour...

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    The Raleigh Sojourn is a bit of an odd duck: it's got some great touring components (Brooks B17, disc brakes) and some not so great (30/39/50 crank, 11-25 cassette, Sora & Alivio derailleurs). I'd be tempted to go with the Sojourn, mostly because I like the all-weather stopping consistency of disc brakes, but I'd probably end up tossing the crank, cassette, tires, and possibly derailleurs before my first long tour...
    I'd agree with the "odd duck" label, but the "great touring components" you mention are both things I'd rather not have, so they are not even a plus for everyone. The original incarnation of this bike was a POS in my opinion, but I admit the spec looks better these days, at least these days they are using 36 spoke wheels. Especially before , but even now to a lesser extent I think of the Brooks saddle, Brooks bar tape, and disc brakes as "lipstick on a pig".

    Not sure what the current incarnation weighs, but the original ones reportedly weighed in at 34.5 pounds. I know that for me that is too much. My ultralight setup has come it at less than that including bike, racks, bags, tools, spares, clothing, and gear. Not everyone wants to go that light, but 34.5 pounds for just the bike seems a bit much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    I would like to get a touring bike and have narrowed it down to three:

    Surley Long Haul Trucker: http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker

    Trek 520 Touring Bike: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ouring/520/520

    Raleigh Sojourn: http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/stee...ng/sojourn-13/

    Would love to know what you all think. Or of you have one of these, what are your thoughts?
    You leave out your weight and intended load. Once you've narrowed it down to three bikes it'll be your impression riding them. Personally I'd pick the 520 for general use and touring but if you're especially heavy or intend on carrying a heavy load the LHT is great. I don't particularly like how the 700c LHT handles but the 26" wheel version is great.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Especially before , but even now to a lesser extent I think of the Brooks saddle, Brooks bar tape, and disc brakes as "lipstick on a pig".
    Not clear to me why you think the Sojourn is the lipstick-wearing pig of this bunch. On paper, it looks significantly better than the LHT. Not quite as nice as the Trek 520, component-wise, but quite a bit cheaper from what I could find...

    Not sure what the current incarnation weighs, but the original ones reportedly weighed in at 34.5 pounds. I know that for me that is too much. My ultralight setup has come it at less than that including bike, racks, bags, tools, spares, clothing, and gear. Not everyone wants to go that light, but 34.5 pounds for just the bike seems a bit much.
    Most owners of the forum-praised LHT report their bikes as weighing 32-33lbs, from what I can recall. Not sure that 1-2lbs of additional weight is going to make a whole lot of difference on a bike designed for loaded touring.

  21. #21
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post

    Most owners of the forum-praised LHT report their bikes as weighing 32-33lbs, from what I can recall. Not sure that 1-2lbs of additional weight is going to make a whole lot of difference on a bike designed for loaded touring.
    I don't think weight is an issue to consider. I had an LHT and thought it was a great bike. When you load a touring bike, look at the end of the process and decide if it is manageable. I liked the LHT but later upgraded the frame to a Riv Hunqapillar. The Hunq is more versatile, (doubles as a good 29er) and is more responsive handling the roads and off road trails. I always felt I was "steering" the LHT rather than just leaning through the turns.


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  22. #22
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
    They're all capable touring bikes - get whatever you like. There are slight differences in frame geometry and gearing. Cost differences aside, I rank them in order of preference as:

    1. LHT
    2. 520
    3. Sojourn.

    LHT and 520 are close, Sojourn trailing a bit. The gearing on the Sojourn is a little too tall for many loaded tourists (30-39-50 x 11-25t= 32-123 gear-inch). Raleigh appears to have changed the Sojourn's rear dropouts and rack mounting point for the worse over previous models. Wheels are perhaps better now than the original 32h.
    [/URL]
    I'd go this route too. The LHT has the Trek in frame dimensions, i.e. it's a longer frame, while the Trek has a slightly better parts pick. If you have big feet, the LHT is going to keep your feet from hitting the bags. The Trek has a crank that will let you lower the gear to almost stupid levels...you can find 20 tooth inners for that BCD pretty easily.

    The Sojourn is a very distant 3rd in my book. The gearing is fine if you are young, strong, stupid and virile. But if you are old, strongish, wise and still virile, a drivetrain that is geared much, much lower is better. Depends on how much you want to ride your bike vs walking your bike on steep hills. A 30/25 low gear is going to mean a lot of walking...even if you are young and strong. Plus that rack mount is just goofy.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Not clear to me why you think the Sojourn is the lipstick-wearing pig of this bunch. On paper, it looks significantly better than the LHT. Not quite as nice as the Trek 520, component-wise, but quite a bit cheaper from what I could find...
    Well I guess it depends on how you view the specs. To be honest I am not crazy about either bike, but I like the spec on the LHT components better. I guess that if I valued the brooks saddle, disc brakes, and brooks bar tape, it would help my view of the Sojourn, but I do not especially want any of those items. I'd take the brooks off and sell it. I'd probably keep the bar tape until I shredded it. I guess I'd keep the the disc brakes but would never have chosen them and don't especially want them.

    The derailleurs on the LHT are nicer IMO. The crank choice on the LHT makes more sense. I'd rather have the LX stuff than the Alvio when it comes to the other components.

  24. #24
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    I really like the Raleigh, but not as a loaded expedition level tourer. Seems a good choice for someone wanting a more versatile road bike (which could include light-medium touring), a rando bike or a commuter. Still I'd swap the rear cassette to get GIs into the twentys first thing.

    Brad

  25. #25
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    Still I'd swap the rear cassette to get GIs into the twentys first thing.
    Since it already has an 11-34 cassette, you would need to change rings to get much lower gearing. Also I think you can fit a 24T ring on the inner, but I think the middle will not accept anything smaller than 39T

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