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Old 12-10-12, 07:23 PM
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Troll owner here. It's a fantastic bike. Great as a mountain bike and commuter and tourer. I'm sure there are other bikes that do those things better than it, but not that do ALL those things as well as it does - that's the price of versatility.

If you were doing a lot of touring in the third world, I'd say go for the Troll due to the 26 inch wheel thing. But since you say you will be mostly touring in the US except for a supported tour in Africa, I don't think you need to feel restricted to 26". Both sizes will work fine.

I got the Troll rather than some other possible bikes because of its wheel size, but I may well have gotten an LHT, or a Novara Safari, or Fargo, or another bike instead if it weren't for that. I'm really happy I went for the Troll because of its capability as a mountain bike, which while bike shopping I'd just viewed as icing on the cake. But off-road, bigger wheels do make a difference, apparently: I've heard they roll over stuff better, ride smoother, that kind of thing. I personally think I'd be inclined to use them if I were buying a new bike. On the other hand some bikes, like the Troll, can take both 26 and 650b (otherwise known as 27.5"), assuming you're using disc brakes which I highly recommend.

Anyway, pick your wheel size and go with it, but you do have more options with the 29er, assuming you're average height or tall rather than short. Since you want to ride singletrack, I'd be inclined more towards the mountain-bike oriented rides like the Fargo or Ogre/Troll than the more road/mixed ones like LHT or Vaya. I think they're more versatile, although my inclination to avoid carrying heavy loads also means a full-on touring bike might be overkill for me anyway. The Fargo is supposed to have more of a touring geometry though, whereas Troll/Ogre are just straight up mountain bike geometry. On the other hand the Troll/Ogre have the awesome dropouts which make attaching all kinds of crap easier.
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