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Not another 520 vs. LHT thread, please read

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Not another 520 vs. LHT thread, please read

Old 03-20-08, 07:39 PM
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grantman18
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Not another 520 vs. LHT thread, please read

Hey Everyone,

Judging by all of my other bike's sizes, I thought that I would need a 54 cm LHT or a 21" Trek 520. I decided to go with the 520 because I can EP it, whereas I cannot EP the Surly. But more importantly (to me), the LHT would have 26" wheels because it would be a 54 cm, and I really wanted the 700c's.

I tried out the 520 today before ordering it, and it felt fine in the length, but the head tube was too short. I felt like it was to "racey" of a geometry, with a lot of drop, and for long days in the saddle, I don't think that's the way to go.

I figured I had two choices, get the larger 520 or the LHT. The geometries of both bikes are very similar, with the LHT having a taller head tube. My first choice always was the LHT, but the 26" wheels turned me off. But after trying out a friends 56 cm LHT (700c wheels!), I think I'll go with the Surly. First, I'd like your opinion on the fit.

My buddy's LHT has a thomson setback post, a 100 (maybe 110) mm stem, and bars with a very deep drop. I felt a bit stretched out when I rode his bike, but my I figured that I would be ok with a normal seatpost, a shorter stem, and bars with a deeper drop. In your opinion, how short is too short for a stem? And do you think that the regular post, shorter stem, and regular bars will be enough to bring the "cockpit" closer together?

Thanks,
Andrew
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Old 03-20-08, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by grantman18 View Post
I decided to go with the 520 because I can EP it...
"EP"...?
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Old 03-20-08, 07:46 PM
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valygrl
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If the handlebar height is the only consideration on the 520, maybe you could take a look at a different stem, or since you are ordering, specifying not to cut the steer-tube?

Just a thought.
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Old 03-20-08, 07:49 PM
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Try a longer stem that is angled up. Long legs?
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Old 03-20-08, 07:54 PM
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grantman18
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EP = employee purchase (pro deal)

I actually have short legs haha. There is already about 3" of spacers under the stem, which has a very steep angle.
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Old 03-20-08, 08:04 PM
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The shorter the stem, the less leverage you have on the handlebars to move the front wheel left and right. It might not seem an issue in normal riding, but if you fit a large handlebar bag with some heavier stuff in it, and have a front rack with loaded panniers as well, this becomes a significant issue in close-quarters maneouvring, especially in town and city traffic.

Personally, I wouldn't think of riding anything shorter than around 80mm. 50mm would be far too short in my estimation. My preference is for between 100 and 110mm.

The need for a short stem means the bike overall doesn't fit you properly. The top tube is too long, especially if the seat has to be moved forward on the mount. I would suggest you consider expanding your search for other bikes with similar dimensions but with a shorter top tube. Or, ask Surly if they can build a frame with the shorter TT without compromising the other dimensions too much.
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Old 03-20-08, 08:34 PM
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ricohman
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I've toured on my Nishiki for years with a stubby 40mm stem. The older I got the shorter that stem got.
I have had no problems steering the bike under any conditions.
My LBs offered to lend me an adjustable LOOK stem to try out. Maybe you should try this on the 520. BTW one of the reasons I'm not on a new 520 is the "racy" position you described. The Sherpa fit me best so I bought it.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:05 AM
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I have a 62cm LHT. That means I can't have 26" wheels. I wouldn't mind having the smaller wheels to help prevent spoke breakage. I've had a tour spoiled by broken spokes so I'm a bit paranoid. Anyway, I wouldn't consider the 26" wheels to be a deal breaker, or even a negative. I think the positives balance out the negatives.

Anyway, I built my LHT up from a frame. The first stem I put on had me feeling really stretched out. I replaced it with a Profile Boa that has a really steep angle - 130 degrees I think. It brought the handlebars back and up. Now the fit feels perfect. I don't notice any loss of control. I've ridden with a full handlebar bag, but haven't toured with full front panniers yet, so I can't comment on any possible loss of control with a bigger load, but I'll be surprised if there is any. I've never heard of anyone suggesting a loss of control with a short stem before. I say comfort first.

If you get a frame that's the right size, you can tweak the fit with different stems, spacers, sliding the saddle back and forth, raising or lowering the seatpost, etc. You should be able to get it dialed in perfectly.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:40 AM
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Even the 56 LHT (short head tube for frame size) has a substantially longer head tube than 23" 520 (15 vs 12 cm though the 54 is at 18; gotta love the hands-free ride!). 56 has teeny bit longer effective top tube than 23" trek though, but 4mm doesn't sound like an outlandish difference.

Does EP bring 520 price below sticker on lht complete?

Last edited by HardyWeinberg; 03-21-08 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:49 AM
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The EP price for the Trek is about 10% less than what I'd pay for the LHT. This is very frustrating because I've done a lot of a research and spent a lot of time figuring out what bikes would be best for me, and it came down to these two. The 21" trek fit pretty well but it was a bit aggressive. I am not sure if the steerer tube was ever cut. I know the surly forks come very long, perhaps the bike builder cut a lot off of the trek steerer also?

Also, the trek website says the bontrager stem has a 17 degree rise. Is this comparable to saying it is a 107 degree stem? (90 + 17)? If so, would putting a 130 degree stem on the trek help to put me more upright?
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Old 03-21-08, 06:22 PM
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+1 on not cutting the steerer tube. I ordered a 520 three years ago and specified leaving the ST alone. No problem with HB height.

If the bike you tried was already assembled before you showed up, almost a guarantee that the tube had been modified to the race like geometry most shops are familiar with. Unfortunately, most LBS don't get it when it comes to touring geometry
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Old 03-21-08, 06:32 PM
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hey, i got an EP on the trek too, which was the reason i didn't go with a surly. (kind of tongue in cheeck) your not my unknown cousin are you? to be honest, i liked the way the surly rode a bit better. but, we are pretty spoiled with our options.
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Old 03-21-08, 07:35 PM
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I called trek up today. They said the steerer tube is 221 mm long, and the head tube on the 21" is 90 mm. This means that there is the potential to have 131 mm (give or take) of steerer tube above the headset. I would obviously never have that much rise above the headset, but this made me realize that the bike builder (or Trek) must have cut it.

Can I ask trek to send the bike without cutting it? And how many spacers are too many? I'm thinking I'd need about 2" or 3" above the head tube.
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Old 03-21-08, 09:49 PM
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The difference in price is about $150? That seems to me a paltry amount, when you consider that you may own this bike for many years . It would seem more wise to go with the best fit and forget the few extra dollars
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Old 03-21-08, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by grantman18 View Post
I actually have short legs haha. There is already about 3" of spacers under the stem, which has a very steep angle.
I have short legs too. Bet mine are shorter. I have to shorten a 28 inch inseam...

I was hoping you had long legs because then your torso would be short enough for
the 54. I have same damn problem and it drives me nuts. You need to go larger than that.

I think you were right, go with the Surly. I don't imagine you are in a Waterford
or Gunnar shop ( one of my fantasies is custom ).
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Old 03-22-08, 08:23 PM
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26" wheels are better in every way... stronger, more efficient acceleration, more options, more fun.

700c sucks balls.
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Old 03-22-08, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by RadioFlyer View Post
26" wheels are better in every way... stronger, more efficient acceleration, more options, more fun.

700c sucks balls.
Your right.
All my kids bikes have those little 26 inch wheels.
Their always laughing and having a good time!
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