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Old 07-16-14, 05:17 PM   #1
ze_zaskar
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LHT vs Cross Check........again

NOTE: this is a cross-post on the General Cycling forum

Hello,

Sorry for another LHT vs CC thread, but I would really like to know opinions for my personal situation.

I'm in the process of building a bike for:
- commuting (7miles each way)
- general roaming around b roads and country roads (lots of cobblestone here)
- off road trails (riding mtb rigid since 2008, my favourite rig was a drop bar Singular Swift)
- touring. Planed tours right now are the Camino de Santiago-Via de la Plata (end of the year), Iceland (2015) and UK (2015/2016? I tend to load light when solo, but when touring with my GF I end up carrying some of her kit (not going to change).

I am equipping the bike with a Tubus Cargo rack, cantis, and two sets of tires, a pair of CX 700x35c for road/commuting/paths and another of 700x45c for mtb trails.

Both frames seem to be tough enough, with the Cross Check (to my surprise) even sporting a thicker top tube (.9x.6x.9 vs .8x.5x.8mm).

My considerations:
- I know that the chainstays on the CC are not as short as advertised, they can be extended 1" for stability
- the CC horizontal dropouts are nice since I am quite paranoid about derailleur faillures
- I want to put the handlebars close to level with the saddle. Is that possible on the CC with the tiny HT? I don't want to end with a stupid amount of spacers
- With it's "unstable" geometry and low dropbar position I could assume on paper that the CC would be inferior to the LHT offroad/rough roads?
- I am a big fan of the Rivendell Atlantis and Hunqapillar, promoted as on/off road tourers, but with a 80mm BB drop. The LHT also sports a 78mm drop. Isn't this excessive for offroad trail riding with 175mm cranks?
- With exactly the same parts, would a LHT still be considered that slower than the CC? And that slowness, is it turning, climbing or going straight?

I would like to thank in advance for all the patience and help
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Old 07-17-14, 11:04 AM   #2
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look at your other post on same topic.
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Old 07-17-14, 02:29 PM   #3
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It appears 90% of your riding isn't loaded touring so I'd go for the Cross-Check. At the same time a lot of your riding appears to be off/rough road which makes the Troll or Ogre attractive.

The Cross-Check is a decent all purpose road bike/sport tourer/trail rider with upwards of 47mm tires. I would not load the rear wheel heavily as the frame can flex noticeably. I think of the Tubus Cargo as a sturdy platform and pannier rack but I wouldn't load it with big panniers since the bike doesn't ride well with them. If you are set on rear panniers use small ones and consider one of the very narrow racks with a larger load on front low riders or platform rack that can allow panniers to be placed closer to the fork blades and not high and forward.

regarding handling the 700c LHT, at least in 56cm, has slow handling or "wheel flop" that is objectionable to me at low speeds and not something I'd want on trails. I also find the front wheel overlap bothersome especially with fenders.

Moving the rear wheel back in the dropouts has little effect on the CC tendency for oscillation with heavy rear loads. I did discover that with medium sized rear pannier load a very narrow rack like the discontinued Axiom Streamliner DLX made for less frame oscillation than the wider Tubus Cargo.

Surprisingly the 26" LHT in 56cm is a little quicker steering than the CC but is much more tank like unloaded and a much, much better rear load carrier.

Last edited by LeeG; 07-17-14 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 07-17-14, 04:26 PM   #4
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Thank you very much, quite a complete answer.

Regarding the Troll/Ogre, right now I'm looking at a more classic bike, dropbars, cantis, etc. I had an Ogre a couple of years ago. Very nice bike, but quite uninspiring. There are pictures of it somewhere here in the forum. Sold it 8 months later.

I find quite intriguing all the reports of the CC being so much more flexy than the LHT under load. Surly says the the tubing is the same on both, except the CC TT which is of smaller diameter but thicker walls.

My normal solo touring load is a set of front panniers on the back, a drybag on top of the rack, a Tangle frame bag and a MULE backpack. Tent goes on the handlebar. Sometimes I carry a large amount of groceries, which my Ogre and Pugsley used to do without a blink.

Regarding wheelsize, I'll go with 700c
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Old 07-17-14, 04:55 PM   #5
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I think you'll appreciate the CC more so with the criteria that you have listed. It's a fine loaded touring bike for most, just not quite as touring-specific as the LHT. Have two friends that regularly load it down front and back and tour everywhere with theirs.
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Old 07-19-14, 08:30 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help
Never imagined it would be so hard to chose between two frames
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Old 07-20-14, 07:31 PM   #7
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Personally I buy for the higher end use, not the every day, for you to decide which falls into which. I remember my tours well, I only have a hazy sense of excitement as regards years of commuting. I did a lot of commuting on an MTB, it was not a good choice for the task, but I never lost any sleep over it. I have detailed memories of the offroad touring I did on that bike.

So while just about anything will work, for touring I would bias towards the touring bike. If Surly knows what it is doing in a cross bike, I am not sure why that would be a good choice for touring, unless you run uphill with the bike on your shoulder a lot. Always possible they don't know what they are doing.

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Old 07-23-14, 02:57 PM   #8
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Personally I buy for the higher end use, not the every day
That's why my only car is a Land Rover Defender. I can't afford a second car, and I couldn't care less about how it drives on the day to day as long as it takes me there. When the fun starts it makes the difference
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Old 07-28-14, 09:46 AM   #9
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I'd go Cross Check. I toured with mine from Shanghai to Singapore with a full expedition load over some of the worst roads in the world. No problems.
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Old 07-28-14, 11:41 AM   #10
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I think you'll appreciate the CC more so with the criteria that you have listed. It's a fine loaded touring bike for most, just not quite as touring-specific as the LHT. Have two friends that regularly load it down front and back and tour everywhere with theirs.
+ 1 - I am just selling my last LHT and building up a Straggler. My riding needs have shifted to lighter loads and longer distances. The LHT is a tank in both the good and bad uses of the word. When heavily loaded it rides best and gets the job done. Riding with lighter loads/unloaded and trying to cover longer distances efficiently it is not a fun bike to ride.

I kept it as long as could for sentimental reasons, but sanity prevailed and I realized how little I enjoyed riding it unloaded and decided to get a more appropriate bike.

Although my touring these days is largely ultralight mountain biking based I have no fears that the Straggler will take a moderate touring load comfortably should I decide to do a road tour again.
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Old 07-29-14, 06:50 AM   #11
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I've owned both and if I were trying to accomplish what you are I'd choose the CC.
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Old 07-29-14, 07:23 AM   #12
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Have you limited yourself to Surley options? I have a Soma Saga which is billed as a loaded touring bike but is more agile than an LHT. It may be a good compromise between an LHT and a CC.
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Old 07-29-14, 08:34 AM   #13
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Are you building up a frame or buying complete? My CC complete was geared too high for me. If I would have kept it, I would have changed to a cassette with a 32 tooth cog and a triple crank.
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Old 07-31-14, 02:26 PM   #14
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I've owned both and if I were trying to accomplish what you are I'd choose the CC.
How would you compare them?

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Have you limited yourself to Surley options? I have a Soma Saga which is billed as a loaded touring bike but is more agile than an LHT. It may be a good compromise between an LHT and a CC.
Surly frames are much cheaper here (EU)

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I'd go Cross Check. I toured with mine from Shanghai to Singapore with a full expedition load over some of the worst roads in the world. No problems.
Yan, do you have any pics of your setup?

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Are you building up a frame or buying complete? My CC complete was geared too high for me. If I would have kept it, I would have changed to a cassette with a 32 tooth cog and a triple crank.
I'm building from a frame up. 44-32-22 cranks, 11-34 cassette, Salsa Cowbell bars, Mavic A119 36h rims with XT hubs, Thomson stem and post, canti brakes, Dura Ace bar ends and XT derailleurs
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Old 07-31-14, 02:47 PM   #15
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Cross Check.


I recommend v-brakes. I used them on my current touring build and the difference between them and cantilevers is day and night. Tektro makes a v-brake compatible drop bar lever.

Edit: image attachment fixed!
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File Type: jpg 2010-06-08-Guangxi-578.jpg (99.9 KB, 76 views)
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Old 08-01-14, 03:51 PM   #16
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Yan, I think your image link is broken
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Old 08-01-14, 11:26 PM   #17
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I have a Disc Trucker and a Traveler's Check, and if both bikes were stolen, I would rush to replace the Traveler's Check, not the trucker.

It rides better unloaded, and being afraid of overloading the frame for touring actually seems like an asset to me. Take less stuff. Death to all panniers and overbuilt german racks, hooray for rackless bikepacking bags, etc... etc...

Both frames have relatively short head tubes, so you're going to end up with a big stack of spacers if you want to get the handlebars up high on either frame. Being only 5'6", the short head tube and flat top tube thing is my only real beef with either frame.
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Old 08-04-14, 07:30 AM   #18
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How would you compare them?
It's to your benefit to ride both and see which one you like better - I can't describe how they compared in words that will probably mean anything to you. For a period of 3 years I owned both a CC and LHT at the same time. Here come the meaningless words:

The CC just felt more responsive. Like every pedal stroke was deliverying all of my energy to the road. It was fun to sprint off the line at a traffic light. It felt fast; responded to inputs quickly. I could bunny-hop if necessary. It wasn't comfortable to ride all day, and if I needed to carry a ton of stuff it just didn't work for me. At least at the time the CC didn't come with front rack braze-ons, so cargo capacity was limited. I just used a messenger bag.

The LHT on the other hand is just comfortable. Riding it is like taking a long walk with your grandpa - whether I give 100% or 10% I feel like I'm going the same speed. I end up sticking towards 10% effort and thus don't even feel like I've ridden very much at the end of the day. All those sprints from the traffic light... gone. When you stand up and hammer on the LHT it just feels wrong, like you're wasting time and energy. I hardly ever stand and sprint on it. Also, it actually rides better with a ton of cargo on it.

Because most of my miles as an adult have been commuting or city riding, I just gravitated to the LHT. I have a freeradical on it now and it lets us as a family take my son, a stroller, a picnic basket, a couple of blankets and a bunch of other stuff across town without issue. I could probably gain a more versatile bike out of a CC + xtracycle but the LHT is just so comfortable. I don't ride to win, or even to smile. I just ride to get where I'm going and not feel bad about using a car for the 5 mile trip.

The main difference I found owning the two is trail riding (or CX). The CC was much better at that stuff, probably owed to the good feedback. As this was one of the most important criteria for you, I think the CC would probably meet your needs better in time.
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Old 08-11-14, 05:54 AM   #19
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Made my decision, I'm going for the LHT.
Now trying to decide between 700c and 26" (size 58cm)
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Old 08-11-14, 08:13 AM   #20
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Made my decision, I'm going for the LHT.
Now trying to decide between 700c and 26" (size 58cm)
I just got done with my first tour: San Antonio to New York State - 2,000 miles.

Already had the bike; an '89 Schwinn Voyageur redone with new components.

Probably most of the time I was on two lane roads with narrow or no shoulders, the asphalt frequently being rough and broken. Over much of the country too the highway infrastructure is way overloaded, bearing levels of traffic it was never designed for, especially trucks.

I was watching my mirrors constantly and numerous times bailed completely off of the asphalt onto the roadside dirt and grass rather than endure a near-miss from passing traffic, especially trucks.

I was on 700c x 32 Gatorskins; fine touring tires for the pavement, in the dirt; not so much.

I decided that if I ever did buy a new touring bicycle, 26" tires would be a must, and that I'd run those tires that are slick on the tread center but with cleats on the side of the thread, maybe in a 26x1.75 size. The difference in rolling resistance, especially at touring speeds, would be slight, but such a set-up would be a whole lot surer-footed on those occasions I had to run off of the pavement.

Mike
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Old 08-11-14, 10:45 AM   #21
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the Continental Travel Contact is what you are describing Continental Bicycle -Travel CONTACT
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Old 08-11-14, 11:58 AM   #22
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My doubts are between 700x47 and 26x2.0 tires.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:17 PM   #23
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My doubts are between 700x47 and 26x2.0 tires.
Not how the bike rides?
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Old 08-11-14, 02:27 PM   #24
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Not how the bike rides?
Obviously, how the bike rides with each of the options is the core question
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Old 08-11-14, 02:37 PM   #25
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No brainer. 700c.

No reason to buy 26" unless you are too short for 700c frame.
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