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Old 05-06-14, 03:59 PM
  #24  
raqball
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I'd really emphasize test riding the LHT if you are going to go that route. I have 5 bikes all 58 cm frames, including a LHT. The LHT has a really long top tube, which is a stretch if you have a short torso like I do. I think a 56 would have fit me better. I realize this now, even though I test rode a 58 before I ordered a bare frame. On the plus side of the LHT, the steering tube comes uncut. It is easier to fine tune bar height. That was one of the reasons that I did not go with a 520;when my seat was at the right height, the bars were too low for me.

I've am lucky enough to have several great LBSs in the area. I have been able to test ride the 520, LHT, and Cannondales when they were made.

I have not taken the opportunity to test ride a Randonee, but I look at the them pretty hard when I visit our local REI, which is often. IMO it is equal to the LHT,and I would not be surprised if they were if they were not made in the same plant. The forks are identical as far as I can tell. It is the only stock touring bike that even comes close to having low enough gearing for loaded touring. However, it suffers from the same malady as the 520--the steering tubes come precut.
Thanks! Yes that is what I was thinking as well as I've read that the LHT has a long top tube..

Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
It strikes me that if you know your road bike geometry, you have a pretty good idea of which touring bike geometry will work well for you as well. Most shops aren't going to make you buy the bike if it really doesn't fit but you will have to decide up front which of the three models to go with. There isn't a ton of difference between the major touring bikes.

One factor to consider is whether you want to go with 26 inch wheels on a touring bike. I probably would but that is endlessly debatable and will push you towards the Surly. Another thing the Surly has going for it is that it comes in sizes (at 2 cm intervals). I can't fit the REI Randonees very well because the jump is too big between the sizes. YMMV obviously. I think the Soma has good sizes as well (if memory serves me well) but the Surly comes as a complete bike for less than you can build the Soma frame up for (Soma comes as a complete bike now as well but it runs $400 more than the Surly).
I won't be touring outside of the US so I really don't have a need or interest in 26" wheels..

If all things are pretty equal and assuming the Randonee (Large) fits me, then I am probably going to go with it.. REI is having their yearly sale on the 16th of this month (I think) so I may be able to knock another 20% off the Randonees price.. If that's the case, then I can score it for $960 which is quite a bit less than the LHT or the Trek 520..

Since I am starting from nothing in regards to touring I will still need to buy much.. Panniers (front and rear), front rack, lights, fenders, and more than likely a Brooks saddle...
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