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Surly disc trucker 700c vs 26"

Old 05-17-19, 06:18 AM
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Surly disc trucker 700c vs 26"

Anyone willing to explain the advantages/disadvantages of the Surly Disc Trucker in 700c vs. 26" wheel set up?

Is it as simple as the 26" being more ideal for non-paved terrain and the 700c better on paved?

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Old 05-17-19, 07:17 AM
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the advantage to the 26" is that the bike fits short people better. Wheel size for LHT's is based on bike size. I would recommend getting the size bike that fits you and take whatever tire that comes on it. If you need to get a tube from another rider on a brevet, 700c is the most commonly used size. It's harder to get good tires in 26", although Rene Herse has some.

Everyone I know that did rando on a LHT has another bike now or quit randonneuring, if that tells you anything. I'm sure there are people out there using them.
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Old 05-17-19, 09:31 AM
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The LHT is a slogger, designed for loads. I would not want to use it on a rando either, but it is a good design for its purpose.

But as to the wheel size, don’t worry about it. I have Touring bikes with both wheel sizes and they both work well. Some people feel that the 26” size is best for touring in less developed areas, on the thought that it will be easier to find a suitable tire or tube if necessary. But unless you plan to ride across Africa or Central Asia, that is not likely to be an issue.
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Old 05-17-19, 09:32 AM
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The touring forum has a lot more LHT users than this forum. That is a topic that is often mentioned on that forum. I suggest you ask there.

I used to have a 2004 LHT that I got rid of later. Thus I know some of the history.

The smaller sizes are only available in 26 inch. Initially the LHT in larger sizes was only available in 700c. Some people that should have bought a size 56 instead bought a 54 so they could get 26 inch instead. Later Surly added 26 inch choice in the larger sizes. And after that they added the disc option where initially the LHT only was available in rim brakes.

Years ago people that went to S American and some other far off corners of the globe reported that only 26 inch tires were available, but I think that is less important now. But back then it was pretty much taken for granted that if you were going to a place like Patagonia you needed 26 inch. Thus back then a lot of touring bikes were built in 26 inch. That was before 650b became popular again.

I have touring bikes with both sizes 26 inch and 700c and I find with fenders that all of my 700c bikes have toe overlap, the 26 inch bikes with fenders do not have toe overlap. For a road bike or a rando bike, that is not a critical factor but a touring bike with a heavy load accelerates much slower and with panniers on the front has slower steering, thus toe overlap is more critical for touring bikes at slower speeds. Also climbing up a steep hill at 3 mph with a load of camping gear on the bike, toe overlap with fenders becomes a bigger deal than a road bike.

Over a decade ago, LHT in 700c could not take a tire wider than about 45mm, with fenders that was even narrower. The 26 inch variety could take much wider.

They re-designed their frames and forks at least twice since I had a LHT so I am not sure now what the tire size and fender size limits are now on newer bikes.
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Old 05-17-19, 10:21 AM
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the choice is if you want a good bike for heavily loaded touring, or a bike that will work with bikepacking bags and be a competent randonneur. I would choose the latter, and avoid these truck-like touring bikes altogether. But that's something that can be somewhat controversial in the touring forum. My current frame build is going to have front low riders. That works out pretty well for a lot of people for light touring. Some all-road bikes have that option, but you have to do some shopping
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Old 05-19-19, 03:56 PM
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Seems like I remember reading on their website that they make the coupled version with 26" so the wheels will fit the suitcase better (more specifically, I think inflated tires will fit).
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Old 07-10-19, 11:20 PM
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In 2015 I completed the entire Super Randonneur series in a touring bike similar to the 26" Disc Trucker. I took the same bike to the 2015 PBP and finished. Although mine is a touring frameset, my bike is well-equipped with a light wheelset and tires, dynamo hub/lights, Brooks saddle, front rack/bag and more. Fully loaded at the start of PBP it was around 40 lb., so definitely not light. A long 1,200 Km randonnée like PBP is not too dissimilar to credit card touring, however. Some things I appreciate about 26"-wheeled touring frames for randonneuring:

1. Relaxed geometry for long distance - you can even raise the handlebar above the saddle, if needed.
2. Come with many eyelets for racks, fenders, third water bottle cage, etc.
3. Can fit wide and more comfortable (slick!) tires that do well in rougher asphalt (chip seal) and potholes
4. No toe overlap with fenders

I personally wouldn't hesitate at all to use my touring bike again for randonneuring. YMMV.
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Old 07-16-19, 10:42 AM
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I've got the Surly Disc Trucker and, as others noted, the 26" vs 700c tire size comes with the bike based on the frame size. I'm short (5' 4") so I have a smaller frame with 26" tires. I've ended up not doing any loaded self-supporting tours yet (ended up doing a couple of week-long tours but my wife drove support so didn't need to carry everything).

I have used it as a back-up road bike and did a couple of century rides on it. Over the last few years, I've also gotten into gravel riding so I pulled the Surly into service for that. No doubt, it's a tank and may not be the best bike for those kinds of rides, but it has served me well enough. While heavy, it does have the lower gearing which I think helps offset the added weight.

Having said all that, I don't think I would get the Surly Trucker if my goal was long-distance road riding (vs loaded touring). Probably would look for something more targeted to long-distance riding where you didn't need to carry a big load. But, if you want to get just one bike, and you know you want to do self-supported tours along with gravel rides and long-distance rides, IMO, the Surly wouldn't be a bad choice.

On the 26" vs 700c decision, as a recreational cyclist, I don't think I can tell much of a difference. The thing I have noticed, especially with regards to using the bike for gravel rides, is there does seem to be a smaller range of tire choices in the 26" size,
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