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Soma Saga, Salsa Vaya, or get the Surly Long Haul? little flex, lighter, upright

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Soma Saga, Salsa Vaya, or get the Surly Long Haul? little flex, lighter, upright

Old 07-25-15, 11:43 AM
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Soma Saga, Salsa Vaya, or get the Surly Long Haul? little flex, lighter, upright

In the market for a touring bike.

Always considered the LHT. However, I always felt it was just a wee but over built for my liking. So I considered the Cross Check too.. but decided to sit on it. Maybe someone else will release a bike worth consideration.

I am primarily looking for an upright geometry. I want to highest handlebar set up possible. Likely it will end up with Albatross or Bosco Bars. Considered some more upright drops, but I just don't do well at all leaning.

The Surly seems very popular for this configuration. Is it going to create the upright set up I want best?

The Salsa is a great spec. My co worker seemed convinced I would like one. It seems lighter. It seems like a possible better everyday rider if you want to get up with some oomph. Nice colors. I like that it comes with the pretty Sugino XD cranks. My co worker thought the Vaya was not really my Jam, go Salsa.

I probably should include the Randonneur version of the Salsa as well since it might be a good compromise between he Salsa and Surly? Upright, maybe a little nicer tubes on the frame?

I have noticed on my Bridgestone MB3 with Albatross bars I am a little more comfortable than on my GT Nomad hybrid bike with the same set up. I think it might be the longer top tube.

I can deal with a little weight in the end if the comfort is better. I want to carry loads on the back (mostly). Maybe 45 lbs of tents and other gear.
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Old 07-25-15, 12:23 PM
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It really all depends what you're planning on doing with the bike. I'm not a bike expert but I'm very happy with my LHT. It's a tank. The reason I got it is to handle heavy loads over very long distances with few major mechanical issues. Hence the heavy build. Also, I don't commute so the handling is less of a problem for me. If you are planning on shorter or lighter trips entirely over smooth surfaces the LHT might not be for you. One thing to keep in mind is that different bikes handle differently under different loads. I heard the LHT handles better when loaded and I, at least at 30lbs of gear, can say that is true. If you want a tourer that can double as a commuter you should test ride a few loaded and unloaded to find which one is a happy median.
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Old 07-25-15, 12:37 PM
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The geometry is quite a bit different for Surly LHTs compared to Soma Sagas and Salsa Vaya. The Saga and Vaya would allow for a more upright position in a given size due to longer head tubes and shorter tubes compared to the LHT. The geometry of the LHT is best for someone who likes to be stretched out with lower handlebars, unless you don't mind using a big stack of spacers between the headset and the stem. I looked at all three bikes and ended up buying a Saga because it's geometry suited me best, and I had no need or desire for disc brakes on the Vaya. I was swapping parts from another bike and it would have cost me a lot more buying a Vaya due to higher cost of the frame and needing to buy disc brakes and compatible wheels. See the photo of my Saga attached. It is a size 56 and I had no trouble raising the handlebar even with the saddle height without having to use too many spacers. I could have mostly avoided spacers by using a stem with more rise.

I am very happy with the Saga. I have used it for commuting, touring and riding on greenways and unpaved trails. It performed fantastic in a 380-mile loaded tour from Pittsburgh to Washington DC on the GAP-C&O Canal trails this spring.
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Old 07-25-15, 01:51 PM
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Thanks of the info. I REALLY love that green paint job. The spec is my fave of the 3.

I plan to raise the bars a inch or two "higher" than the seat.

Any flax from the back with a load? I like my GT hybrid a lot, but it just is hardly ideal for touring, and there is a big of flex.

56 cm, are you over 5'8? I am 5'8 so I am guessing I am a 54cm.

Last edited by djkenny; 07-25-15 at 01:52 PM. Reason: needed to add my height and size of bike
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Old 07-25-15, 01:54 PM
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I CAN get a new Trek 520 for a great price. However, the only thing I am concerned about is my need for a more upright bike, the head tube is low, and it has always seemed aggressive (would it even make sense to modify one? I see LHTs and Sagas all Albatrossed-Out.. but not many 520s). They added disc brakes as an option and I would likely not bother with them.
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Old 07-25-15, 02:05 PM
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I can't really offer a comparison between frames, but I can say that I use Albatross bars on my LHT and like them. I started out with the bars as high as possible, but they have gradually lowered to where they're about even with the seat. It is a slow, heavy bike, but that doesn't bother me as I am slow and heavy on or off the bike. I do plan on switching to a Troll in the near future as I think it will open up more riding possibilities to me and will address a couple of things I haven't been crazy about with the LHT, but those things are minor and more personal preference than failings of the frame. On the whole it's been a great bike, and running it with a-bars has not been an issue. Caveat is that I chose the larger of two frame options (riding a 58 when many people my size ride a 56) and still have a longish stem (100 mm or larger, I forget) to get the bars where I want them.
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Old 07-25-15, 02:45 PM
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My Saga has no frame flex whatsoever, and it is designed to handle rear loads. I am 5'11" tall and ride bikes with 56-57 cm top tubes, depending on the seat tube angle. The 56 Saga has a 56.5 cm top tube. If you are 5'8" tall, the 54 frame would probably be a better fit, and I think it's available with 700c or 26" wheels.
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Old 07-25-15, 07:36 PM
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How soon do you want to purchase that bike? There are some interesting touring bikes coming on the market in October.

Also have you taken a close look at the Jones' Bar? I have seen it on a Trek touring bike and it looks really comfortable and while it gives the advantages of the Albatross, it has a lot more space to put your hands on a long ride.

https://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bar-jone...aluminium-710/

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Old 07-25-15, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel
The geometry is quite a bit different for Surly LHTs compared to Soma Sagas and Salsa Vaya. The Saga and Vaya would allow for a more upright position in a given size due to longer head tubes and shorter tubes compared to the LHT. The geometry of the LHT is best for someone who likes to be stretched out with lower handlebars, unless you don't mind using a big stack of spacers between the headset and the stem. I looked at all three bikes and ended up buying a Saga because it's geometry suited me best, and I had no need or desire for disc brakes on the Vaya. I was swapping parts from another bike and it would have cost me a lot more buying a Vaya due to higher cost of the frame and needing to buy disc brakes and compatible wheels. See the photo of my Saga attached. It is a size 56 and I had no trouble raising the handlebar even with the saddle height without having to use too many spacers. I could have mostly avoided spacers by using a stem with more rise.

I am very happy with the Saga. I have used it for commuting, touring and riding on greenways and unpaved trails. It performed fantastic in a 380-mile loaded tour from Pittsburgh to Washington DC on the GAP-C&O Canal trails this spring.
What drop bar is on the Saga? Not much distance on the ramps and the drops are long. Interesting
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Old 07-25-15, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
What drop bar is on the Saga? Not much distance on the ramps and the drops are long. Interesting
Soma Highway 1 bars, shallow drop
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Old 07-27-15, 03:22 PM
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Buy whichever one you can get a deal on. Or whichever looks the best.
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Old 07-27-15, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by max5480
Buy whichever one you can get a deal on. Or whichever looks the best.
Tough to beat this advice.
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Old 07-27-15, 04:28 PM
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They all come across the Pacific on a Big Container Ship, Salsa and Surly QBP; Soma Is a Merry Sales Import .

Taiwan is very good at Making bikes for their Client Importers ..
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Old 07-27-15, 11:25 PM
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I am split. I like the looks of the more expensive bikes. The 520 is such a good deal, basically an as new model for like half the price of new. My question is will I be able to make it just as comfy and upright as the other bikes in question? The head tube is lower, but perhaps the uncut fork could compensate? Just stack the stem?
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Old 07-28-15, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by djkenny
I am split. I like the looks of the more expensive bikes. The 520 is such a good deal, basically an as new model for like half the price of new. My question is will I be able to make it just as comfy and upright as the other bikes in question? The head tube is lower, but perhaps the uncut fork could compensate? Just stack the stem?
It's going to be impossible to say what will or won't be comfortable to you. I have a big stack of spacers on my Long Haul Trucker, and I don't mind it a bit. It's mostly an appearance thing. But you're about to spend a decent amount of money on a new bike. If the question is, "Do I buy the bike I actually want, or do I make the cheaper one work?" I would say buy the bike you actually want. If you're going to drop that much money on a bike, you might as well end up with the bike you like best. But if it's still possible that the cheaper one will also be the better one, then who knows?

For me, unless the price ranges are extreme, I would rather wait and save up for what I really want, then compromise and just have to repeat the process down the road.
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