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Surly LHT 26'' or 700cc wheels

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Surly LHT 26'' or 700cc wheels

Old 12-17-07, 10:19 PM
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jhan
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Surly LHT 26'' or 700cc wheels

I am thinking about getting a Surly LHT but I am between sizes. I am 5'10'' with a 31 inch inseam. I can ride a 54 or a 56 road bike. I currently ride a 56 CAAD8, which is a hair too big, but the 54 felt a little too small.

I noticed that the Surly LHT 54 comes with 26'' wheels and the 56 comes with 700cc wheels. Is there an advantage or disadvantage between the two wheel sizes that would push my decision one way or the other? For touring bikes should I go big or small if I am between sizes? thanks
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Old 12-17-07, 10:28 PM
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For some people the real advantage to 26" is availability. If you plan on being in the boondocks a lot on your tour(s), you can find 26 inch tires at a Walmart in a pinch.
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Old 12-17-07, 11:14 PM
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For a touring bike, I would err on the larger size, but only if there's enough standover clearance and the reach isn't too far. For standover clearance, I would use the PBH (pubic bone height) as the measure of choice. I'm 5'6" and have a 30" pants inseam, but a 32" PBH. I'll be getting a 53cm Jamis Aurora next month.
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Old 12-17-07, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by theranman View Post
For a touring bike, I would err on the larger size...
why??!! Please explain.


jhan, buy the LHT that is closest to what you consider the ideal top-tube length.
(but get the 54cm )
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Old 12-18-07, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by RadioFlyer View Post
jhan, buy the LHT that is closest to what you consider the ideal top-tube length.
(but get the 54cm )

My vote, also. Can fudge top-tube between 54 and 56 pretty easily w/ setback seatpost, stem length/angle yadda yadda I imagine.

Long headtube and way increased clearance are big pluses of the 54 I think. (I can run 26x2.0 tires,full fenders, and still mount a pump *behind* the seatpost)
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Old 12-18-07, 05:51 PM
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I'd say give the 54 a try. I'm about 5'9" and my PBH is about 33.5", if I remember correctly (no tape measure here at work), 31-32" pants inseam. My road bike is a 55 cm Bianchi (measured C-T, like the LHT is).

I wanted the 26" wheels so I took a gamble and bought a 54 cm LHT online ($900 shipped can't be beat). I figured I could always sell it if it was too small. It fits fine and I'm glad I've got the 26" wheels (for re-using my previous hand built wheelset and for the reported ease of tire replacement in backwoods locales).
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Old 12-18-07, 06:25 PM
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I think people go overboard with the big frame thing. Rivendell would fit me two sizes bigger than I prefer (and try to sell me a hundred dollar hatchet ). I like to have the bars well below the saddle (3"-4"). Different strokes and all that though.

If the frame is a bit small you can always adjust the seatpost and stem. If it is too big you can't do much. So I say if in doubt at all go for the smaller size.
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Old 12-18-07, 07:55 PM
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i'm a 178cm tall

pretty average height ~

would i fit the 54cm Surly ?

I really wanna be able to fit 26" wheels, so going on the above advice, its not a drama if the frame size is a tad small for my size ?
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Old 12-18-07, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pauldaley View Post
i'm a 178cm tall

pretty average height ~

would i fit the 54cm Surly ?

I really wanna be able to fit 26" wheels, so going on the above advice, its not a drama if the frame size is a tad small for my size ?
Again... buy based on Top-Tube. If anyone actually gives you an answer, e-punch them as so-called online-experts are not.

For reference only cuz I know you people won't bother seeking professional help... I too am 178cm tall with an 88cm inseam. I love my 54cm LHT.
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Old 12-18-07, 10:55 PM
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Sometimes it seems like everyone who is too big for the 26" wheel sizes wants them because they think they'll be significantly more durable and everyone who is too small for the 700Cs wants them because they think they'll be faster. For the most part, it really doesn't matter (at least not for those reasons).

Looking at actual geometry charts, the LHT runs a bit longer than the CAAD8 which has a pretty square geometry. So if you feel stretched out on your 56cm CAAD8, you might feel even more so on a 56cm LHT.

The reason for this is that the LHT has a slightly sloping top tube and is sized by actual C-T. That means that any particular size will fit like a larger bike with a traditional horizontal top tube which the CAAD8 has.

So a 56cm LHT is closer to a 57 or maybe even 58 CAAD8 depending on exactly what the top tube slope angle is.
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Old 12-18-07, 11:01 PM
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Oh, and I'm going under the assumption that when Surly says "center to top" they mean center of the bottom bracket to top of the top tube. Surly doesn't say anywhere obvious. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. YMMV.
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Old 12-18-07, 11:11 PM
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700cc wheels being significantly faster is largely theoretical, 26" wheels being more durable probably less theoretical. But as far as quality wheels at an affordable price, and availability, 26 inchers beat 700cc hands down in a very non-theoretical way. Mountain parts are cheaper than road parts because road bikes are still a fairly expensive niche market when compared to mountain bikes. Price for the wheel sizes is reflective of this.
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Old 12-18-07, 11:35 PM
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Oh and just FYI, wheel sizes are not measured in cubic centimeters. The correct nomenclature is "700C". See sheldonbrown.com/tire_sizing.html
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Old 12-19-07, 12:03 AM
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I would go for the 26" wheels if they offered a choice of wheel size in every frame size, or at least in the larger sizes also.

"700cc wheels being significantly faster is largely theoretical, 26" wheels being more durable probably less theoretical."

+1


"But as far as quality wheels at an affordable price, and availability, 26 inchers beat 700cc hands down in a very non-theoretical way. Mountain parts are cheaper than road parts because road bikes are still a fairly expensive niche market when compared to mountain bikes. Price for the wheel sizes is reflective of this."

-1 in the sense that if you build road wheels on 26" stock and touring bias them, then you are after some crazy weird and less available parts. I would say that was the logical extension of this frame since it is sorta a highway touring frame vs. an off road frame. So you might end up with 36 or more spokes, on your hubs and rims. Touring weight road rims, slicks, and lightweight tubes, possibly presta (if you live in my neighbourhood). That is pretty much a parts list designed to flunk fulfilment at any LBS in america. Of course it doesn't really cost all that bad...
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Old 12-19-07, 10:22 AM
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26" wheels accelerate faster, theoretically, so if you're doing any stop-start city riding or any climbing whatsoever, 26" wheels are overall faster.
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Old 12-19-07, 11:42 AM
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I have posted the following information before so please forgive the repetition.

I had the same choice between 54 and 56cm LHT's although the 54cm fit the best. I really agonized over the 26" vs 700c issue and in the end went with the better fitting bike--the 54cm with the 26" wheels.

There may be advantages to 26" wheels like strength, availability of parts... If there are disadvantages I have not experienced them.

One of the prejudices that I and others have had is that they are less comfortable...But, 26 x 1.75" wide tires provide enough cushion that there is really no issue here.

Another prejudice is that 26" wheels are slower. Recently I have started to accumulate some data comparing my LHS with my Specialized Roubaix over the same routes. My average speed varies from about 14 to 16 mph on both bikes over distances from 40 to over 100 miles. Sometimes the LHT is faster and sometimes not. It probably depends more on the day's wind pattern and also that I am no speed demon so aerodynamics is not a big deal. Still, I find this result surprising (these two bikes really are very different) since the reason I looked back at the data was to see how much slower the LHT was...And it's not.
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Old 12-19-07, 12:45 PM
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I just figure I'd chime in a little on the 700c vs 26" debate.

as far as strength goes-I've built up two 700c wheelsets that were very stiff and strong (delgado to surly hubs) and they were pretty much indestructible. They were built with right around $200. Tire size gives you a lot of the strength in your wheel. I have ran the same set of wheels with 23c tires, and 2.3inch exiwolfs and I have done plenty of riding in unideal conditions with no problems with trueness.

Also, as far as wheel sizes go, the larger wheel, while accelerating slower (in theory) will also (in theory) hold momentum better. So once you get going it will be able to keep going. Not to mention a 700c wheel, with a larger tire provides more surface area for traction, and better rolling over rough ground. This will make the ride more pleasant, i guess.

The availability of tires, I don't really get that. You can buy fairly lightweight, foldable tires. Couldn't you just bring those along if you're traveling through the middle of nowhere?

I like 700c. But get whatever floats your boat. And fits you.
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Old 12-19-07, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by sprintcarblue View Post
Also, as far as wheel sizes go, the larger wheel, while accelerating slower (in theory) will also (in theory) hold momentum better. So once you get going it will be able to keep going. Not to mention a 700c wheel, with a larger tire provides more surface area for traction, and better rolling over rough ground. This will make the ride more pleasant, i guess...
Agree in in theory if you scale with wheel diameter keeping everything else constant then you might come to the above conclusions. However, as a practical matter, all the effects mentioned above also dependent on tire size, type and inflation pressure and so I am betting that tradeoffs can be made with both 26" and 700c to get (probably) virtually the same performance from both (in a fully-loaded touring context).
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Old 12-19-07, 08:12 PM
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The single best reason for choosing one size over the other is that smaller frames should use 26" wheels because it means the builder doesn't have to bork the geometry to fit the wheels. Any other reason is mostly rationalization and vanity.
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Old 12-19-07, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
The single best reason for choosing one size over the other is that smaller frames should use 26" wheels because it means the builder doesn't have to bork the geometry to fit the wheels. Any other reason is mostly rationalization and vanity.
+cost+availability.
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Old 12-22-07, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
The single best reason for choosing one size over the other is that smaller frames should use 26" wheels because it means the builder doesn't have to bork the geometry to fit the wheels. Any other reason is mostly rationalization and vanity.
Shhhh...keep trade secrets to yourself.

Btw, 700c wheels do have less rolling resistance than 26" wheels. The reason for this is because the contact patch of a 700c tire is longer and thinner than that of a 26" tire. Yes, the total contact area of both tires will be the same, but the 700c will roll a tiny bit faster.

On the flip side, simple physics will also tell you that the 26" wheel will be marginally stronger.

As has been said, buy a bike based on fit and usage, not on tire size. Since I'm not doing fully loaded touring, the marginally faster 700c wheels are more attractive to me.
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Old 12-22-07, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by theranman View Post
Shhhh...keep trade secrets to yourself.

Btw, 700c wheels do have less rolling resistance than 26" wheels. The reason for this is because the contact patch of a 700c tire is longer and thinner than that of a 26" tire. Yes, the total contact area of both tires will be the same, but the 700c will roll a tiny bit faster.

On the flip side, simple physics will also tell you that the 26" wheel will be marginally stronger.

As has been said, buy a bike based on fit and usage, not on tire size. Since I'm not doing fully loaded touring, the marginally faster 700c wheels are more attractive to me.
For bicycle touring "mariginal" is of so little import as to be irrelevant in practice. Plus, for speed, there are other issues like the aerodynamic profile and weight of smaller wheels. And larger wheels can be 'marginally' more comfortable. But again, in practice it makes little difference. The discussion starts to get somewhat interesting from a practical standpoint when you bring in folders and their small wheels.
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Old 12-23-07, 11:40 PM
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I am also 5' 10" with a 31" inseam. I ride a 56cm LHT and it is perfect. For me. Maybe not you...
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Old 12-25-07, 10:01 AM
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Here's a large(er than me) person's apparently successful stab at getting a 54cm LHT to work for him (may need to register at mtbr.com to view the pix, bikecad output is pretty cool though):

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=332319
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=347662
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Old 12-28-07, 12:38 PM
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In the mtb world there is a trend to 700c (29er) wheels. Of course, as in anything new, they all love them. There is a theoretical advantage in smoothing out the bumps a little. It seems that this would translate to an advantage on a touring bike on a rough road also. Is it really just tradition that keeps the roadies on 700c wheels?
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