Does anyone use a Surly Straggler for light touring?
Does anyone use a Surly Straggler for light touring?
Its ok for credit card and light sports touring. If you want to do full on touring, the Surly LHT Disc would be more suitable.
The question is why not? If you use a trailer, absolutely.
If you want to mount panniers, the main problem is that the chain stays are not as long as a conventional touring bike. That's not a problem if you do light touring camping with bags mounted on the frame. If you do full panniers and a rack, then I'd think about getting a little longer rack and rear bags that are not too wide so you don't have heel strike issues.
That's typically (but not always) the issue on touring on a bike that is not designed for touring. The advantage of a somewhat shorter wheelbase is that the bike is a bit more responsive when it is not loaded.
Certainly the clearance for generous tires is a plus on the Straggler.
The biggest problem you will have is that the stock gearing is less than ideal with a 46/36 crank. Not a problem if you build the bike from a frame. Or you could replace that crank with a double that goes really low like 46/30 crank from velo orange. The 30 inner is not ideal but it is better than the stock 36 tooth inner. Another possibility would be to go with a salsa vaya. It doesn't have the best triple for touring either. The shimano 130/74 triple Salsa uses plays nicely with shimano brifters but it is not, IMHO, low enough for fully loaded touring). But if you don't mind the expense of building a bike from a frame, this could work. Soma makes a monster cross; the Velo Orange Camargue is another possibility.
Last edited by bikemig; 08-15-14 at 07:15 PM.
Just remember for the most part it is simply a disc brake Cross Check and lots of people have toured on a CC. I would not want to do a very long and heavily loaded tour on one but would absolutely do shorter or paved tours on one!
Touring is what you do, not the bike you have to own,
It will work fine.*
What makes a touring bike? What are your needs? The frame is solid and dependable, has rack mounts, has good brakes, is reasonably longish with sufficient chain-stay clearance for panniers (depending on foot size and how you angle the panniers as well as the rack choice), tallish head-tube... what could you gain from a dedicated tourer like the LHT? You might get more rake in the fork for better toe clearance which may or may not be an issue, or for better handling with a front pannier which may or may not be an issue. You might get stronger wheels, but I'm sure the straggler's wheels would hold up under most conditions. The gearing, of course, but the gearing is fine if you are just riding on the C&O and GAP... would be a problem riding across the country? Or maybe not, that depends on your weight, physical condition, and how much weight you are carrying in gear as much as anything. It's not an easy question to answer without knowing more specifics. Where are you riding, how much weight, rider size and proportions, etc.
I use a Cross Check for short to mid-range touring with moderate loads. It's been great for me. I'm now using 4 small panniers to spread the load out, and because they are small, I don't have heel strike issues. I've completed a couple tours with a double crankset by installing the smallest inner ring that would fit (34 tooth) coupled with an 11-34 cassette. However, I recently converted to a triple to make climbs that much easier. The best part is the Cross Check provides a livelier ride than the Trucker for general purpose use, which is how it gets used most often.
I just did a self-supported TransAm on a 56 cm CC. Four panniers (Ortlieb classics rollers in back) and a tent. 85-90#s bike and load. I put a nice triple and some 36-hole Dyads on and it performed flawlessly. No heel strike for me or flexing at 150#.
a large variety of bikes are under people riding the Pacific Coast every Summer .
I just took my Crosscheck out for its first real, even if it was short, trip and it worked great for me with just two small Ortliebs up front, a small frame pack, a handlebar bag, and the rest of the stuff strapped directly to the frame. We only did 5 days out but aside from adding some cool weather clothes and a sleeping bag (4+ lbs), and a couple more tools and a spare (2+ lbs) I'd say the rig is totally cross country capable.
Bike and all was about 70lbs fully loaded for an unsupported urban to back-country style trip with 3 days worth of food and over 2 1/2 L of water. I don't know how well it would do with a bigger load but I wouldn't want to carry more anyways. The bike did great on paved roads, graded limestone, fireroads, and a bit of overgrown muddy FL singletrtack. The steering was a little slow but the bike felt super stable and the the load was not very noticeable.
I might have bought a Straggler if it was available when I ordered my CC. The slightly more relaxed geo will be a plus, the disc brakes will be a wash, and the only downside I can see is that I've read that it can be tougher to mount fenders and racks on the bad beast but I bet that can be managed.
EDIT: The complete build CC is easier to convert to a triple than the Straggler. I'd also price out a piecemeal build with bar end shifters or Gevenalle/Retroshift levers.
Last edited by Nick The Beard; 08-16-14 at 11:29 PM.
I just built up ^^^ this Straggler to replace my LHT as a commuter.
I mostly tour on a MTB these days, but my rear hub can be converted to a geared setup for an easy 1x for light touring.
Over the years I've been touring with a bike it's become abundantly clear to me that light is right for me and heavy does nothing for me so I don't see any problem loading this bike up for a week+ of touring should a road tour appeal to me.