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Sherpa 30 vs Trek 520 vs LHT

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View Poll Results: Which would you pick for fully loaded touring
Rocky Mountain Sherpa 30
9
16.67%
Custom Surly Long Haul Trucker
28
51.85%
Trek 520 with crankset upgrade/gearing changed
17
31.48%
Voters: 54. You may not vote on this poll

Sherpa 30 vs Trek 520 vs LHT

Old 12-15-06, 03:13 AM
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Sherpa 30 vs Trek 520 vs LHT

I've narrowed my search to these three bikes. I can get these three bikes for about the same amount, the LHT built using better parts than what comes with the 520.

I like the Sherpa because of the Disc Brake option as well as generator tab, the extra wide tire clearance, decent parts and handbuilt wheels.

The LHT would be a custom build using better components than what the 520 comes with stock, handbuilt by a very reputable shop using quality parts.

The 520 would be stock except better cranks and gearing will be changed out.

I'm a Clyde at 240 lbs and it's going to be loaded for unsupported touring. I want to be able to switch out to bigger tires for gravel roads and rainy/muddy conditions. I plan to do a US Perimeter tour so I need it to hold up.

Which bike would you pick?
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Old 12-15-06, 07:43 AM
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Given that every bike was at the same (or relative price), I'd go with the one that can offer the best components: The LHT in this case.

I was looking at the RM Sherpa line, and I see that the Sherpa 10 has disc brakes, but I didn't see that as an option for the Sherpa 30. Did I overlook something, or does it just have the mounts?
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Old 12-15-06, 08:13 AM
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The LHT has room for wide tires--up to 45 or so. I have 37's on mine and ride road/dirt/gravel all the time. Does the Sherpa have room for racks? That has to be the biggest problem for bikes with disk brakes--you usually have to go with Old Man Mountain or get creative with clamps. I vote LHT--you wont regret it. Im a clyde too and have had zero problems or concerns--loaded or unloaded.
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Old 12-15-06, 08:57 AM
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It comes down to personal preference because the bottom line is that all three of the bikes will probably do what you ask of it. Ride what you can before you decide.

I've ridden all three and have a good friend with a LHT. The Sherpa is on a higher quality level and I have high hopes for these wheels. Wheels can be more than a PITA. The 520 had a rash of issues with theirs machine built wheels a few years ago. Many people had no problems, others so bad that they'll never buy a Trek again kinda thing. I'd hope that they got a handle on that. The LHT is a custom kit up so that has its advantages.

The Sherpa 30 and 10 are two different bikes. One is Reynolds 853 and the other is 7005 aluminum. It's pretty cool that RMB offers you the choice.

*No problem* on the Sherpa/Sherpa 30 taking racks. I have two Tubus and two Blackburn rear racks here and they'll mount to the Sherpa just like they would if it didn't have the disc brake mount. I'll take some photos this weekend with the Sherpa after I permanently install racks and fenders for it.


Cheers,
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Old 12-15-06, 09:08 AM
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The Sherpa 30 has the 853 frame with centerpull cantilever brakes.
The Sherpa 10 has the alloy frame with disc brakes.

They are all fine bikes. If possible, I would let test rides determine which bike to purchase. If you have the time to build a bike up, then I agree with the earlier post pointing to the Surly.
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Old 12-15-06, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert_in_ca
Which bike would you pick?
I picked a Surly LHT in September, got it built out by the LBS in October & have been commuting on it steadily for the past 6 weeks. It actually rides better when I've got the rear pannier loaded with books,etc at around 25 lbs. Have not taken it touring yet but look forward to that. Run 32 700's on it & it is great. Very solid on our s***y streets that buckle and yaw from the highly-expansive clays of the river valley. Expansive joints in asphalt & concrete stick up a half to 2 inches all over town. The gravel roads in the countryside are actually smoother!

Since my favorite LBS doesn't carry Trek and I've never seen the other bike anywhere, the LHT was a logical choice for me ( 6'5", 225 lbs) and I've not been disappointed at all. The LBS was so pleased with my buildout specs that they ordered a 56 cm LHT frame and built it up for sale as a 'spec' bike on the showroom floor.
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Old 12-16-06, 07:23 PM
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I'm currently looking at the same bikes myself. My intention was to pick the Sherpa (06), but was waiting for the '07. At the time, Sherpa had a better spec sheet than the 520. Unfortunately, RM raised the price of the Sherpa (30) and dropped the transmission components and hubs from LX to plain Deore. Very dissapointing. At this point, my money will probably go towards a 520 since it now has the better spec sheet and is cheaper ($1350CDN vs $1599CDN). I like the idea of building an LHT to my desired specs, but I belive that I'm already getting it with the 520 at a lower cost.
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Old 12-16-06, 08:52 PM
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Well, I said the LHT, but of course I just bought onea week or two ago. I've put just over 50 miles on it so far, plus a fair bit of time on my trainer. I'm 6'0", 215, and I'm pleased as can be.


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Old 12-17-06, 01:05 AM
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don't know much about the rocky mountain sherpa bikes ...

i have had a trek 520 for many years now, and i do really like it, but i have had to modify it quite a lot to get to where i really do like it ...

with the LHT you can get to that point right from the start and for less money overall, plus they are ereally nice bikes which weren't around when i got my trek 520 ...

if i had to do it over again, i would go the LHT way ... but then i know what i want and what works for me [more or less] ...
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Old 12-17-06, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by GJD
I'm currently looking at the same bikes myself. My intention was to pick the Sherpa (06), but was waiting for the '07. At the time, Sherpa had a better spec sheet than the 520. Unfortunately, RM raised the price of the Sherpa (30) and dropped the transmission components and hubs from LX to plain Deore. Very dissapointing. At this point, my money will probably go towards a 520 since it now has the better spec sheet and is cheaper ($1350CDN vs $1599CDN). I like the idea of building an LHT to my desired specs, but I belive that I'm already getting it with the 520 at a lower cost.
FYI: As measured by my calipers, the Sherpa frame has clearance at the tires of 60mm in the back (top and bottom) and 75mm up front.

I see the slight additional cost of the Sherpa easily justified.

To me a spec sheet starts with the frame tubing, includes the build quality and paint. The Sherpa is hand built to include the wheels. That alone should make it more costly than similar product offerings from high volume producers. It doesn't stop there though. The paint quality on my wife's Sherpa reminds me of the finish on my custom painted Waterford 1900. Also, it's the only frame being discussed here made of 853 which is more costly and has some very compelling selling points. Reynolds 853

The LHT uses 4130 steel, which has a strength of roughly 80,000 -100,000 psi and weakens at heated joints. 853 tubes start at a strength of 210,000 psi and strengthen at heated joints. I'm not sure what Trek uses in the 520 these days but I'm betting that if they where paying top dollar for Reynolds 853 tubes they'd mention it on the bike's specs page. I'm not saying you can't have a nice touring bike with 4130 steel. I've had them. 853 is a better tube for touring use though and this further justifies the cost above that of a Trek 520.

Regardless of what bike we're talking about, I like Deore componentry and have never been able to tell a difference between it and Shimano LX with regard to durability and function. Deore bits are found on my Thorn Nomad and are the hubs on my wife's mountain bike, which are still trouble free after ten years of abuse.

Cheers,
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Last edited by Miles2go; 12-17-06 at 02:28 PM.
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