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LHT disc or no disc

Old 04-05-17, 05:13 AM
  #1  
rperkins146
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LHT disc or no disc

I spent the last week driving all over (about 450 miles) and test riding bicycles. I am going to buy a Surly LHT. I know I will use the bike for a commuter and multi day trips (4-10 days) basically self supported with eating one meal at a restaurant daily. I do plan on camping. I will only be riding paved roads and will not be leaving the country with it. I still plan on eventually buying a vintage bike and upgrading it to be a nice rider, just not for the first tourer.


The question is do I pull the trigger on a LHT soon, or wait a few weeks for more funds to buy the disc trucker?


Pro's and Con's based on your experiences . . .
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Old 04-05-17, 08:09 AM
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Mr IGH
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I'm a fan of mechanical discs, I have them on my MTB, my commuter/tourer and now my road bike. Disc brakes are ubiquitous for MTBs, there's a reason why they're becoming more common for road/touring. Better heat shedding, better braking when conditions are poor or the rim is damaged/un-true.

When one is getting a new bike, why not include the brake upgrade? I use disc brakes and indexed shifting 9 speed triple drivetrain because I really like those modern technologies.

All I have are pros, any cons are offset by similar issues with rim brakes. It does require the rider to updates his skills to include disc brakes maintenance but that's not difficult.
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Old 04-05-17, 09:18 AM
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Discs are nice in foul weather riding and on long mountain descents. But rim brakes work in either situation as well.

Not that it matters on a bike like a LHT but a disc setup will add a pound or two to the bike (heavier than rim brakes, plus sturdier frame build to support them).
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Old 04-05-17, 09:35 AM
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If you're paying retail for a new bike, its definitely worth it to get disc brakes. If you're buying used equipment, then take what you can get.

The only reason I can think to avoid disc brakes is if you plan on extended overseas touring in remote areas where replacement disc brake parts will be exceptionally difficult to source.
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Old 04-05-17, 10:04 AM
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rperkins146, The most mentioned advantages to use disc brakes are for speed control on long descents and wet weather braking.

Forks meant for disc brakes are generally heavier duty to resist braking torque and lately are also of a through-axle design to keep the wheel where it should be under heavy braking, though there are other retention devices commonly employed.

Whether a bike is equipped with, or without disc brakes wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.

Brad
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Old 04-05-17, 10:12 AM
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If you are touring in your own country, go for the disc because parts and repairs will be readily available. If you plan on going to other places like Africa, middle east, Asia, I would stay with rim brakes just for the simplicity of repair and spare part availability
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Old 04-05-17, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jmeb View Post
...Not that it matters on a bike like a LHT but a disc setup will add a pound or two to the bike (heavier than rim brakes, plus sturdier frame build to support them).
Long Hual Trucker disc and canti forks and frames weight the same. These frames are already very heavy...
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Old 04-05-17, 11:54 AM
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a wrench in the plans. The trucker disc is not available until May 8th (projected, maybe later). The LBS says the LHT rim brake for $1275 or the Trek 520 for $1350 - 520 has disc and $100 bontrager accessories.


Now I'm debating and waffling. In the realm of things to be pondering, at least this is a good thing.
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Old 04-05-17, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rperkins146 View Post
Now I'm debating and waffling. In the realm of things to be pondering, at least this is a good thing.
It's difficult work, but someone has to do it.
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Old 04-05-17, 12:18 PM
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Mr IGH
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Specialized AWOL is pretty nice too.
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Old 04-05-17, 02:17 PM
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AWOL is a cool bike. So is the 520 and LHT.

Not that I would expect to break any of the frames, but Specialized does have a lifetime frame warranty.
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Old 04-05-17, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rperkins146 View Post
a wrench in the plans. The trucker disc is not available until May 8th (projected, maybe later). The LBS says the LHT rim brake for $1275 or the Trek 520 for $1350 - 520 has disc and $100 bontrager accessories.
You're missing prime springtime riding. Rim brakes are fine, unless you're riding through a downpour or wet grass you'll never notice the difference. Buy the rim brake LHT and take it for a couple rides this weekend!
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Old 04-05-17, 03:28 PM
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Have you tested the 520? I have tried both the Disk Trucker and the (rim brake) 520 and would have bought the 520 if the LBS were not so greedy (initially they wanted more money for the 2014 520 rim brake than Trek quoted the 2016 520 Disk, I walked away laughing) then, on the 2016 Spring sale they wanted $1150 for the 2014, although I told them that the Randonee on sale would come below $1000.

So I got the Randonee.

But between the Disk Trucker and the 520 Disk, hands down I would go for the 520. Of course, YMMV...
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Old 04-05-17, 04:24 PM
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Almost all the new multi speed bikes in China are 650b mtbs with disc brakes. Coins in your pocket weigh more than 4 pads and a spare clip.
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Old 04-05-17, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rperkins146 View Post
a wrench in the plans. The trucker disc is not available until May 8th (projected, maybe later). The LBS says the LHT rim brake for $1275 or the Trek 520 for $1350 - 520 has disc and $100 bontrager accessories.


Now I'm debating and waffling. In the realm of things to be pondering, at least this is a good thing.
discs, not discs......rims, not rims.........
matters not to the universe.
you wanna ride NOW.
buy whatever fits you the bestest.

and....check the 520. wasn't that one involved in the recall
on those cheap-azz 28-spoke bontrager wheels?
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Old 04-05-17, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
discs, not discs......rims, not rims.........
matters not to the universe.
you wanna ride NOW.
buy whatever fits you the bestest.

and....check the 520. wasn't that one involved in the recall
on those cheap-azz 28-spoke bontrager wheels?
That was for one of the adventure bikes, not the 520.

Brad
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Old 04-05-17, 08:04 PM
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I have Paul cantis on my LHT. Great brakes, but wish they were disc.
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Old 04-05-17, 09:32 PM
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I am not a member of either the pro- or anti- disc brake religions, which can get a bit fundamentalist and fanatical at times. But my tourer/commuter is one of the bikes that I really appreciate having disc brakes.
When I have the bike weighted down, when the weather is nasty, when I want to make a sudden stop - or moreso any combination of these - the discs really perform.
Commuting means I am usually carrying significant cargo weight, and liable to need an emergency stop whenever someone's car or dog or kid does something random (which is way too often). I've got Shimano 5800 hydraulic disc brake group on my touring/commuting bike and I would not trade it for anything. Awesome combination of durable, reliable, sweet-shifting, and fast stopping - and the cost is fairly reasonable for what you get. If I was thinking LHT, I'd get the frame and build it up with that group set and never look back.
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Old 04-05-17, 11:00 PM
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I have two LHTs, one rim and the other disc brake. Buying new I would go with disc for these reasons:

1. no rim damage from brake pads so wheels may last longer
2. easier to remove wheels if using wide tires since wide tires may not fit through opening of rim brakes (I experience this often with 2.15 tires)
3. also easier to remove wheels in general
4. no canti- or v-brakes, cables, or housing to interfere with installing racks, lights, etc. at fork and seat stays
5. replacement brake pads smaller so less room and weight to carry spare (more room and weight if one carries spare rotor)
6. disc seem to handle loads better on downhills than rim brakes (which is why I bought disc LHT)
7. if rim out of true, does not affect braking
8. adjustment of brake pads seem a bit easier with bb7 than with canti- or v-brakes

Some possible drawbacks I have noticed

1. installing wheels sometimes requires adjustment of disc brakes especially in front wheel - slight difference in wheel placement can lead to rubbing of disc pad
2. disc version of bike usually heavier due to extra material needed to support fork, brakes, rotor, etc.
3. rotors can be bent or out of true
4. if going remote, disc components may not be available in some areas whereas rim brakes are commonplace
5. if packing bike for travel, may need to remove rotors to protect them from damage
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Old 04-05-17, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by alathIN View Post
I've got Shimano 5800 hydraulic disc brake group on my touring/commuting bike and I would not trade it for anything. Awesome combination of durable, reliable, sweet-shifting, and fast stopping - and the cost is fairly reasonable for what you get. If I was thinking LHT, I'd get the frame and build it up with that group set and never look back.
5800 only comes as a 2x11, so what is your drivetrain gearing setup? Just curious how you mix and matched to turn the 5800 group into a setup with a wide enough range to tour on.
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Old 04-06-17, 12:20 AM
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Wait for the Disc Trucker. Vast majority of folks say they prefer discs...added safety is totally worth the extra cost IMO. All heavy-duty touring bikes should be disc-equipped but manufacturers are happy to saddle tourists with out-dated tech at high prices.
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Old 04-06-17, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
5800 only comes as a 2x11, so what is your drivetrain gearing setup? Just curious how you mix and matched to turn the 5800 group into a setup with a wide enough range to tour on.
Good question. I haven't gone anywhere mountainous, so maybe this is just blissful ignorance.
I've got a compact chainset 50-34 and an 11-34 cassette. Long cage RD, so I could go 36 I believe. The 34-34 combination is pretty granny, plenty for steepish climbs by my standards anyway in Michigan dune country. But if I went to the Andes or Himalayas I might be in for a nasty surprise.
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Old 04-06-17, 02:03 AM
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I am not a fan of discs but I found the cantis on my LHT needed a lot of pressure on the lever although I never had a problem in locking the rear wheel if I wanted to. the discs woild be less strain on your wrists and forearms.

I converted my LHT to V brakes which require much less effort to use.

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Old 04-06-17, 07:04 AM
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My vote is for disc, but whatever, it's not a big deal.
Only the Trek 720 had bad spokes. So take a big look at the 520.
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Old 04-06-17, 12:23 PM
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I would vote disc brakes and against the 520 or any Treks. The AWOL is nice but am personally not a fan of STI levers though the Comp is decently spec'd for touring minus maybe the cranks which could use some different gearing. It has a Tubus rack at the rear, Supernova lights and charger and Shimano Dynamo as well as some other great stuff.

Getting an old bike and fixing it up can be fun but I would rather go for a modern touring bike and put money into that and make it mine. If you want to build something a little nicer check out someone like Co-Motion or maybe Tout-Terrain or one of the multitudes of custom builders out there. They can build something to your exacting specifications or at least you can buy something off the peg that is pretty nice.
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