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Finally buying that touring bike...Trek520disc, Surly Disc Trucker or Kona Sutra

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Finally buying that touring bike...Trek520disc, Surly Disc Trucker or Kona Sutra

Old 09-07-15, 12:25 PM
  #1  
cyber.snow
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Finally buying that touring bike...Trek520disc, Surly Disc Trucker or Kona Sutra

Ok, things have finally advanced to the point where I can afford to go buy that touring bike and sell off my Felt V85. I have done a lot of research and found that three bikes seem to stand out as good possibilities and they are the Trek 520 Disc, the Surly Disc Trucker and the Kona Sutra. Any recommendations? Have I missed a great bike in the $1200-$1600 range? I am 5'9" and will need around a 54cm bike...so for Surly that means the 26" wheel set. Is there any huge difference between the three bikes? Fit seems to be close to the same.
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Old 09-07-15, 01:06 PM
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The REI novara randonee is nicely spec'd and runs at the low end of your price range.
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Old 09-07-15, 01:29 PM
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I've seen both the Trek and the Surly, both are premium quality.. still it's all about how does it Fit. stem swaps help..


I have a 54, 26" wheel touring/trekking Bike . it does a good job.. very overkill for my Grocery runs.

kona, No dealers here .. largely compare the component picks , the TIG welders in ROC are skilled .

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Old 09-07-15, 02:37 PM
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I'd be looking at a Salsa Vaya 3 as well.
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Old 09-07-15, 03:13 PM
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New 520 is awful tempting with disc brakes. The Surly always seemed like area choice if you plan to carry a outrageous (IMHO) amount of weight with you. I like Trek's frame, it is not so over built yet the bike is fun to ride even unloaded. It comes with a decent enough rack, standard.

Only downside is that you likely cannot go bigger than 38cm tires on the Trek, if that matters to you. Also they downgraded a few specs with the new one: last year was Deore hubs, now they're are lower end, the front derailuer was a Deore and now it is Acera.. but these things aside

If the 520 had a longer head tube, I would find it ideal. I am ordering one with a uncut fork so I can get the bars above the seat. I find most are set up a little too aggressive for me.

The Surly is the better choice for carrying 60 lbs or more, but if you are going lighter packing.. I would get the 520, personally.

Later, I would put better wheels on the 520, a few other parts would be upgraded, but the frame is the heart and it is a good one!

The Vaya is my 2nd fave, close margin. It also seems less heavy than the LHT. Better spec, but more $ than the Trek 520. I would ride both, see what you enjoy.
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Old 09-07-15, 04:38 PM
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Have you considered a Rivendell Sam Hillbourne or their new "Taiwan" tourer coming out soon, the JoeApplaosa. They use 650B wheels. About $1200 more than your price range through.
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Old 09-07-15, 04:50 PM
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I did see a blog from Salsa saying that in October they are bringing out a new touring bike. I think it is called the Marrakesh, since the season is just about done...is it worth it to wait for the 2016 models? I did ride the 520 and liked it but felt the handlebar was a little wide for me, also rode the Surly disc trucker, it felt ok but am not sure about the 26' tires.
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Old 09-07-15, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
The REI novara randonee is nicely spec'd and runs at the low end of your price range.
I did go check that bike out. You are right, it is nicely spec's and the only drawback I could see is that it has rim brakes. I ride in the mountains sometimes and I really would like disc brakes. Thanks though.
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Old 09-07-15, 08:27 PM
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JAMIS BICYCLES
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Old 09-07-15, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Flog00 View Post
+1 for Jamis Aurora Elite or Aurora (similar geometry, but really different bikes)

I did a ton of research before buying the Aurora Elite. I really liked the Salsa and the Surly LHT Disc or Rim. The Aurora Elite ticked off all my boxes with the exception of the saddle, which is more of a personal choice anyway. I have only had the bike for three weeks. Have not put as many miles on it as I would like due to just getting back into riding and the weather has been terribly hot for here. My first ride was 20 miles round trip. My longest ride last week was 20 miles with tons of hills. If it has one downside, which is a toe overlap if that bothers you and it is missing a third water bottle braze ons. I am riding with Crankbrothers platforms and finding that I like the flexibility and do not miss clipping in. I can wear whatever shoe fits my day.

I had the Novara Randonee about five years ago and really liked the bike, but it did not ride anywhere near as smooth as the Aurora Elite.

With the 2016's coming out you might find a good buy on an 2015 or even 14 in the bike of your choice. One of the biggest problems I had was finding a shop that had a bike in stock that fit and could be taken for a test ride. I would not shy away from the 26" wheels on the Surly.
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Old 09-08-15, 01:37 PM
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Surly are the most popular and thus best chance of finding one used.
Save a few hundred and buy whatever you can find on Craigslist or eBay
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Old 09-08-15, 01:38 PM
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Also, my favorite touring bike has always been the Bianchi Volpe for what its' worth.
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Old 09-14-15, 05:32 PM
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I didn't notice if you are doing supported or unsupported, or how much weight you think you will carry. If I was buying again, (I purchased a 520 last year) I would pick a lighter bike. Rim brakes I found were fine in the mountains. West coast I hardly used them on the downs. East coast hair pin turns I was on them pretty hard. Double walled rims, I wouldn't hesitate on rim brakes. But you have made your choice I'm sure on Discs. Just giving my opinion : ) If you are touring loaded, you will still want double wall eyelet rims, but I would still go with a lighter/lightest frame
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Old 09-14-15, 06:29 PM
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The Novara Safari; if you would consider trekking/butterfly bars.

+1 for discs.
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Old 09-15-15, 07:35 AM
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I have the Surly Disc Trucker, 26" wheels and am very pleased with it.
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Old 09-15-15, 07:38 AM
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Please Get the right size bike..

Too small or too large will hamper you riding.
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Old 09-15-15, 08:58 AM
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You'll find the effective top tube on the LHT abut 1.5 cm longer than the trek 520 at a size 54 so that might be taken into consideration if you are of my dimensions where my legs are relatively longer than my upper torso. I agree with 10 wheels, it's all about fit and can you get it right without going overboard on stem length and such.
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Old 09-15-15, 09:48 PM
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I love my DT, and talked with a lot of folks before I bought mine who liked their LHT or DT. I would say it is a good solid build and quite durable that is why so many people have them, ride them and love them.


The Sutra is ok but there are things I wouldn't have gone with and certainly am never a fan of companies putting high end saddles or racks on bikes when they could put that towards improving the bike in other ways such as with better brakes (Avid BB7s or TRP Spyre or HY/RDs are a better option) and I would probably stick with Cane Creek for headsets unless I was going for bling bling Chris King. I am also not really into non-square taper cranks so that is another reason I wouldn't go Sutra or Jamis Aurora Elite (though I do dig Reynolds tubing).
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Old 09-16-15, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by djkenny View Post
If the 520 had a longer head tube, I would find it ideal.
Are you referring to the current 520 geometry, or that of years past? The 520's frame geometry has actually been tweaked for the current run, with a longer head tube included (it's two cm taller than the one on my 2013 520 in the 54cm size).
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Old 09-21-15, 04:00 PM
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Aurora Elite vs Aurora = Lesson learned

I like everything about the Aurora Elite except for the gearing. The Aurora Elite gearing is not set up for touring like the Aurora. Just visit Jamis and you will see what I am talking about. To gear down the Aurora Elite one is looking at replacing cassette, crankset and the Front and Rear Derailleur plus new chain. Easily adding lots of bucks to the cost of the bike.

I am kicking myself for not really paying attention to what I was getting.

Specs

Aurora Elite vs. Aurora
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Old 09-21-15, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fthomas View Post
I like everything about the Aurora Elite except for the gearing. The Aurora Elite gearing is not set up for touring like the Aurora. Just visit Jamis and you will see what I am talking about. To gear down the Aurora Elite one is looking at replacing cassette, crankset and the Front and Rear Derailleur plus new chain. Easily adding lots of bucks to the cost of the bike.

I am kicking myself for not really paying attention to what I was getting.

Specs

Aurora Elite vs. Aurora
That's tough but you won't need to change that much to get lower gearing. Just get a shimano deore trekking crank (not too expensive if you buy from the UK) and the other parts should work (including the brifters).

I picked up a used 2009 fuji touring with a 110/74 bcd crank and I'll be changing out the crank to get better touring gears. But I won't be changing out the other parts.
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Old 09-21-15, 05:47 PM
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If you are looking in that price range there is also the Specialized AWOL. I don't know much about it's details but I did a lot of window shopping comparisons between it and the DT and it looked solid.
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