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Trying to decide between LHT, Fuji Touring and Specialized AWOL.

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Trying to decide between LHT, Fuji Touring and Specialized AWOL.

Old 05-25-16, 07:52 PM
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i_am_you
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Trying to decide between LHT, Fuji Touring and Specialized AWOL.

My budget is flexible up to, say $1,500, that's the most I'd be willing to spend.

I've done some touring, rode across my home state, that took three weeks. I enjoy my current bike, but it cannot do a front rack and also is missing its rear brake (long story don't ask).

I like the Fuji because it's cheap, and I've heard good things. I have always considered a LHT to be my dream bike, so there's that. And just today I went to a local bike shop to see about some touring bikes and the guy there said that the AWOL would be good for me since I told him I prefer to be very upright when riding, as being hunched over I will get neck pain. Like I just can't do road bikes. My bike right now is a hybrid and I love it. But... no front rack, so can't do it.

Long Haul Trucker | Bikes | Surly Bikes

Fuji Bikes | LIFESTYLE | CROSS TERRAIN | TOURING

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bi...re/awol/106553

It does look like the AWOL has a headtube length that is 2cm longer than the surly or the fuji, so that would make it more upright, right?

Thanks, I love you guys.
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Old 05-25-16, 08:05 PM
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if you REALLY like your current bike, you have options: https://goo.gl/photos/ATGfYb1RJf5S1wzp6
- I have a THULE' rack on the front of my Rock Hopper for longish trips. You can learn more here: TheTouringStore.com, Ortlieb Panniers & Packs, Tubus Racks, Lone Peak Packs - Wayne at the Touring Store rocks.

If you really have a new bike bug, I think I'd give the AWOL a go. The female half of this couple rode an AWOL: Trans-America (off-road) Trail, TAT - BIKEPACKING.com
I understand the LHT. Lots of people use them, like them, have had lots of success considering the relative low price. Got an uncle who road one across the USA. I don't think that'd be a bad choice.

If it was my $1500, I'd probably go with a Rivendell. At $1500, that's pretty much only the Clem Smith Jr. Clem Smith Jr.

- although for a while I was eyeballing a GIANT Tough Road - https://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us...1/22192/84012/ - Al with a carbon fork, so not what you're after at all, of course..... and I'm back to still wanting a Rivendell.

Choose wisely, padwan.
Cheers!
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Old 05-25-16, 08:14 PM
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Between the LHT and the Fuji Touring is the REI Novara Randonee. You may wish to consider it...
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Old 05-25-16, 08:15 PM
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If you like your current bike, there are racks that will work for it even if there are no braze-ons for racks. For example, Old Man Mountain type racks.

Longer head tube does not make it more upright for threadless forks. The key is fork steerer length. Longer head tubes were more important with quill stems and are more important with carbon fiber forks, but with current steel threadless forks, it is not important unless aesthetics is important to you. Some folks dislike, strongly, long, uncut steerers. See which bike offers the longest steerer tube uncut - likely will be the Surly. With steel steerers, there is little to worry about adding lots of spacers if needed. I have two uncut Surly LHT forks and have my stems at the top of both.

For deciding which to get, best to ride each if you can. Adjust each to fit you and then test them.

Some deciding factors might be:

type of brake - I think disc brakes are better for several non-stopping reasons (e.g., no brake cables or brakes to interfere with accessories like front racks or rear racks, don't have to open or adjust brakes to remove fat tires, no concern with possible tire wear or rim wear from brake pads, very easy to adjust);

wide tire preference - if you want wide tires, Surly can allow 2.15" 26" tires if you go the 26" route, not sure width of tires for AWOL or Fuji, but likely less;

components - for example, Surly and Fuji cranks are better suited for tough climbs (low chainring of 26 vs 30 for AWOL), but Fuji has better granny ring on cassette (34 vs 32 for Surly and AWOL); shifters, I like shifters that can be switched to friction mode when shifting gets out of alignment while on the road, and it seems only Surly offers this option but maybe Fuji does too

I like wide tires and disc brakes, so that would lead me toward the Surly.
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Old 05-25-16, 08:36 PM
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If you have test ridden the LHT, and it's your dream bike, go for it! It's tour ready and is a proven workhorse amongst tourists.

I own a 2016 Fuji Touring after looking at several options (including the LHT which was my #1 choice). The Fuji was far cheaper, a better ride to me, and was clearly a capable tourer as well. It cannot hit the tire clearance of the LHT but does have friction mode on the shifters. For the money saved, I was able to get fenders and panniers to complete the bike. I am still left with about 300-400 I would've spent on an LHT that I saved for any repairs or parts swaps down the road. This is really kinda lame, but I don't like decals on bikes the same way I don't like branding on t-shirts and such so that also swayed me.

I don't know much about the AWOL - sorry.

All 3, like most any bike, can be toured on. Including the bike you own. Test ride, look at cost, and have a blast! I'd be more than happy to answer any specific questions about the Fuji.

Last edited by NoShiftSherlock; 05-25-16 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 05-25-16, 09:02 PM
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I ride a LHT and like it. If you like your current bike, as others have said you do have options . Most of us can get by without a front rack, in fact not having one would force you to avoid carrying too much . There are small bags that hang from the top tube that may give you the increased volume you may or may not need .
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Old 05-25-16, 09:26 PM
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Yeah I did try having a front rack that just clamped onto the fork and it ended up rusting and failing after a couple months. Another issue with my bike is that it does not have rear brakes and I'm not looking to fix that. Another thing is that it has twist shifters and they always give me a blister which is kinda annoying. Another thing is that I've always felt like my bike is too big for me by just a little bit.

I have only ridden the AWOL so far and really liked it, though I don't like gunmetal gray, like a lot. Can't stand it, so that's a problem. I don't even know how to ride a LHT, no one has them in stock.
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Old 05-25-16, 09:57 PM
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Go to rei. Buy a novara randonee. Have fun.


Seriously though, if road bikes dont work for fit, then go with a flat bar or upright drop bar.
If its a flat bar, perhaps butterfly bars would help woth more hand positions.
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Old 05-26-16, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by i_am_you View Post
Yeah I did try having a front rack that just clamped onto the fork and it ended up rusting and failing after a couple months. Another issue with my bike is that it does not have rear brakes and I'm not looking to fix that. Another thing is that it has twist shifters and they always give me a blister which is kinda annoying. Another thing is that I've always felt like my bike is too big for me by just a little bit.

I have only ridden the AWOL so far and really liked it, though I don't like gunmetal gray, like a lot. Can't stand it, so that's a problem. I don't even know how to ride a LHT, no one has them in stock.
OK - ditch the old bike, for sure. Sounds like you've got ample reasons not to like it.
Colour - yea, my main touring bike (26in wheeled RockHopper circa 1990) is a mostly purple fade to blue. It being a an ancient dinosaur bike, and purple, picked up the name "Barney Bike". So if you're really hating the AWOL color, if you get it, you're not going to start liking it. Then you'll start looking for stuff you don't like about it!

Here's a thought - post here on the boards in the regional section and see if anyone has a LHT in your size you can test ride. Meet at a coffee shop, treat the owner to whatever they like, go for a test spin. I think people who like them are proponents of them, so most likely they will let you take a spin. Just a thought. Regional Discussions

Cheers!

ps: or start a thread "LHTs SUCK!" - and you'll get all the LHT riders posting how great they are, and they will likely bring you a LHT to try! ha!

Last edited by mrv; 05-26-16 at 06:24 AM. Reason: ps
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Old 05-26-16, 06:52 AM
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one thing to consider is how a given bike rides without lots of stuff on it, ie, the "fun factor". If you are like most of us, your bike will be used unloaded or lightly loaded a big percentage of its life, so take that into consideration of how you like riding each bike.
Ideally riding each one soon after riding the others is the best way to remember how a bike feels, but that may be hard or impossible for you to do....but it really is the best way to really know how a bike feels, and for me, the hands on, tactile "feel" of a bike is a big part of the pleasure of riding.

yes, you want a bike that can take a touring load properly, but do take into account the "fun" factor that will be there for years and years, so if you find a given bike kinda boring feeling unloaded, that isnt going to change.
*all this depends on how much riding you do and if you will notice differences, but again, like comparing cars, riding one after another with little time in between is the best way to notice the differences.
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Old 05-26-16, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
one thing to consider is how a given bike rides without lots of stuff on it, ie, the "fun factor". If you are like most of us, your bike will be used unloaded or lightly loaded a big percentage of its life, so take that into consideration of how you like riding each bike.
Ideally riding each one soon after riding the others is the best way to remember how a bike feels, but that may be hard or impossible for you to do....but it really is the best way to really know how a bike feels, and for me, the hands on, tactile "feel" of a bike is a big part of the pleasure of riding.

yes, you want a bike that can take a touring load properly, but do take into account the "fun" factor that will be there for years and years, so if you find a given bike kinda boring feeling unloaded, that isnt going to change.
*all this depends on how much riding you do and if you will notice differences, but again, like comparing cars, riding one after another with little time in between is the best way to notice the differences.
Sound advice here, and one of the the reasons I didn't go for the LHT. I didn't have a ton of fun riding it. OTOH, I know PLENTY that just enjoy the heck out of it. The feel of a bike is hard to change for sure.
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Old 05-26-16, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by i_am_you View Post
My budget is flexible up to, say $1,500, that's the most I'd be willing to spend.

I've done some touring, rode across my home state, that took three weeks. I enjoy my current bike, but it cannot do a front rack and also is missing its rear brake (long story don't ask).

I like the Fuji because it's cheap, and I've heard good things. I have always considered a LHT to be my dream bike, so there's that. And just today I went to a local bike shop to see about some touring bikes and the guy there said that the AWOL would be good for me since I told him I prefer to be very upright when riding, as being hunched over I will get neck pain. Like I just can't do road bikes. My bike right now is a hybrid and I love it. But... no front rack, so can't do it.

Long Haul Trucker | Bikes | Surly Bikes

Fuji Bikes | LIFESTYLE | CROSS TERRAIN | TOURING

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bi...re/awol/106553

It does look like the AWOL has a headtube length that is 2cm longer than the surly or the fuji, so that would make it more upright, right?

Thanks, I love you guys.
If the LHT is your dream bike, then go with the Surly. The AWOL looks like a nice all rounder. Don't know much about the Fuji The price looks like, but you get what you pay for.
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Old 05-26-16, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by i_am_you View Post
Yeah I did try having a front rack that just clamped onto the fork and it ended up rusting and failing after a couple months. Another issue with my bike is that it does not have rear brakes and I'm not looking to fix that. Another thing is that it has twist shifters and they always give me a blister which is kinda annoying. Another thing is that I've always felt like my bike is too big for me by just a little bit.

I have only ridden the AWOL so far and really liked it, though I don't like gunmetal gray, like a lot. Can't stand it, so that's a problem. I don't even know how to ride a LHT, no one has them in stock.
That could be a problem. A few years ago when I was shopping for a bike, I seriously considered the LHT, along with the Trek 520. I liked both, but ultimately decided to go a different direction because I didn't need a true Touring bike. That said, I wouldn't go cheap when it comes to purchasing a Touring bike. There is something nice about a classic touring bike, like the LHT, but you really need to ride one to decide if it is for you. Otherwise, there is no shortage of light Touring or Touring Adventure bikes on the market for the person who likes to ride on the road, but occasionally wants to go off road or tour, like the AWOL.

Last edited by MRT2; 05-26-16 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 05-26-16, 03:34 PM
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I too originally wanted a touring type bike and purchased Randonee. After a year I decided I wanted something a little more nimble but that could still handle lighter touring. I ended up with the AWOL and though it wasn't available when I first purchased the Randonee it is the type of bike I should have purchased in the first place. I'll likely never do a "carry the kitchen sink" type of a tour and if I do go on a big tour I'll follow the light as fiscally possible philosophy my son and I used in prepping for his Philmont trek. I find the AWOL and Vaya I own to be a bit more fun to ride and would still like something a little more sporty that is also capable of hauling gear. If I were looking for a new bike today the AWOL would be at the top of my list but I wouldn't purchase it until I rode a few other bikes that fit the bill with the top of my test ride bikes being the Kona Rove ST and the Sutra LTD. I'd really like to test ride a couple of Lynskey bikes as well but that doesn't seem likely.
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Old 05-26-16, 03:50 PM
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Old 05-27-16, 06:43 AM
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I love my Disc Trucker, which I built primarily for commuting. That said, the AWOL is really cool and I would have bought one if they made one small enough for me. Mine has something like 50mm of spacers on top of the head tube. I did cut the steerer tube, but not a lot.
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Old 05-27-16, 08:13 AM
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Touring is what you do with the bike, any of them is fine.
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Old 05-27-16, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by i_am_you View Post
My budget is flexible up to, say $1,500, that's the most I'd be willing to spend.

I've done some touring, rode across my home state, that took three weeks. I enjoy my current bike, but it cannot do a front rack and also is missing its rear brake (long story don't ask).

I like the Fuji because it's cheap, and I've heard good things. I have always considered a LHT to be my dream bike, so there's that. And just today I went to a local bike shop to see about some touring bikes and the guy there said that the AWOL would be good for me since I told him I prefer to be very upright when riding, as being hunched over I will get neck pain. Like I just can't do road bikes. My bike right now is a hybrid and I love it. But... no front rack, so can't do it.

Long Haul Trucker | Bikes | Surly Bikes

Fuji Bikes | LIFESTYLE | CROSS TERRAIN | TOURING

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bi...re/awol/106553

It does look like the AWOL has a headtube length that is 2cm longer than the surly or the fuji, so that would make it more upright, right?

Thanks, I love you guys.
if you like flatbar/hybrid style look at

Introducing Marrakesh | Salsa Cycles
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Old 05-27-16, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Touring is what you do with the bike, any of them is fine.
Hah. Great point! I think there are some differences though that would become noticeable at really long distances, though. Things like shifters, brakes, bars, overall geometry and feel of the bike. But yeah you're right.
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Old 05-27-16, 10:06 AM
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component parts are Quite interchangeable .. You are not stuck with what the parts manager picked for you, you can substitute something you like better.
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Old 05-27-16, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by i_am_you View Post

And just today I went to a local bike shop to see about some touring bikes and the guy there said that the AWOL would be good for me since I told him I prefer to be very upright when riding, as being hunched over I will get neck pain.
Are you sure you want to be "very upright" when belting out the miles day after day? That would give me rear end pain. You might want to try and find a balance or with the proper bars have your cake and eat it too. I'm fairly upright when I'm on top of my dropbars but I'm kind of balanced when on the hoods. I like it when I have some weight on my hands/arms and my rear. Dropbars offer 3-4 very different hand positions I can use to keep my old body happy.

Changing out bars can get expensive depending upon what your doing. They all can be modified with different stems, spacers, etc. They'll probably give you a funny look at the bike shop; they did at mine. They couldn't understand why I wanted to look out at the trees, mountains and sky instead of my front tire and the pavement.

It's hard to tell in the pic because the front tire is in a hole and the ground is sloping...the tops of the bars are about 2" above the seat. I had to purchase another fork with longer steerer tube to do this.


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Old 05-27-16, 10:29 AM
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They couldn't understand why I wanted to look out at the trees, mountains and sky instead of my front tire and the pavement.
Yes! I wish I had those words the other day at my own bikeshop when the guy straight up asked me why I liked having such an upright stance. I was at a loss, I thought it was obvious, but I couldn't put it into words. I find it so much more comfortable and I can look at my surroundings. I've never been concerned about my speed when touring, but I still end up covering 50-60 miles a day.

I love your bike, it's gorgeous. Is that a custom thing you put together? And yeah I can see your fork allows your bars to be a lot higher, I would probably look into that if need be. Was it hard to find the right fork for what you were trying to do?
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Old 05-27-16, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by i_am_you View Post
Yes! I wish I had those words the other day at my own bikeshop when the guy straight up asked me why I liked having such an upright stance. I was at a loss, I thought it was obvious, but I couldn't put it into words. I find it so much more comfortable and I can look at my surroundings. I've never been concerned about my speed when touring, but I still end up covering 50-60 miles a day.

I love your bike, it's gorgeous. Is that a custom thing you put together? And yeah I can see your fork allows your bars to be a lot higher, I would probably look into that if need be. Was it hard to find the right fork for what you were trying to do?
It's was a LHT right off the LBS floor. I removed the ugly decals, couldn't stand them. I have changed out the seat, stem, tires, pedals (well, the bike doesn't come with them), seatpost, seatpost clamp, fork, small chainring on the triple (gives me a lower gear), bartape and rear brake (stuck out too much and hit the bags). I have added front and rear racks, 3 bottle cages (King Cage...they have a classy look).

If I were to do it again, I would start out with just a frame and pick my components.

Here is a pretty good shot of the bike fit while I am on the hoods, pic is cropped and blown up some...I'm unsure if this fit is a 100% comfortable. It's pretty close. I'm no expert and I'm unsure of who is. Yes, I know, you think my hat looks great!

One more thing...hold out your hand like your going to shake someones hand. Thats the same position you'll have your hand in while on the hoods. For me, very natural and comfortable.

This bike has 26" wheels.

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Old 05-27-16, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jonc123 View Post
I removed the ugly decals, couldn't stand them.
First thing I would do as well. Also, fit looks pretty good. Your back could probably be a touch forward but if it works, it works! Great looking bike!
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Old 05-27-16, 01:20 PM
  #25  
tarwheel 
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If you are concerned about low handlebars, the LHT has a relatively short head tube and long top tube. You can add a bunch of spacers to steerer tube and use a riser stem to compensate, but a bike with a more appropriate geometry is worth considering. The Soma Saga is priced about the same as the LHT and has longer head tubes and shorter top tubes in given sizes. This is an excellent tourer, and can be bought as a complete bike or frame and fork. Also available in disc or canti brake versions. Soma is selling the Sagas at reduced prices because they are replacing it with another model, jumping on the gravel bike - adventure touring bandwagon. I've ridden my Saga on the roads as well as trails, and it is very capable at both, with clearance for tires at least 40 mm and fenders.

The LHT is a very capable bike and I'm not trying to trash it. However, it's geometry is not ideal for cyclists who prefer a more upright position. The Saga is equally capable with a differing geometry.
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