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Fargo vs Safari vs LHT

Old 12-30-08, 11:44 AM
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tate65
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Fargo vs Safari vs LHT

I want a bike that I can ride to MTB trail then dump the load and ride the trails, or to do some off road touring. The only 3 bikes I know of that would handle that are the Salso Fargo(not out yet) the REI Safari, and the Surly LHT. But I think the fargo has the lead for off road use, but having never ridden and of the 3 I have no idea how they would preform off road. Any comments, or other bikes you know of?
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Old 12-30-08, 12:43 PM
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The Fargo is out but on back order until January.

So, I don't have any in-person experience, but there are a couple of lengthly threads on MTBR.com about it and everyone says it performs quite well on the trails, even singletrack.

After reading Guitar Ted and others' opinions of it, and of the performance it's capable of on singletrack, I pulled the trigger with my LBS.
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Old 12-30-08, 01:04 PM
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I would say forget about the LHT there are some other touring bikes that would be better for offroad, the REI Safari is definitely one of them. I would definately lean more toward the Fargo and Safari. For some reason I feel like the Kona Sutra would be one of the better touring bikes for offroad. Idk if its the disk brakes or compact geometry or what. Both of those might be a plus for off road, but aren't really essential. I can't put my finger on why I feel like that would be better that the LHT, but it is another bike to consider.
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Old 12-30-08, 02:57 PM
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The LHT has a way low bottom bracket and doesn't do well off road. I've bottomed out on a rutted gravel road.
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Old 12-30-08, 04:03 PM
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How about a MTB with a lock out fork and a BoB Ibex trailer? Just go with two sets of folding tires one for touring and one set for the trails.
 
Old 12-30-08, 08:10 PM
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I have a Safari but I am not a hard core off road MTBer. The most I have had it on were hard pack rail trails but there is not really anything bad I can say about it. I would not hesitate to take it on some rougher trails. It is a sturdy bike but not as slow and heavy as some would make you think. I have used it for two seasons of commuting and it handles the wear and tear of commuting well along with pot holes and gutters. I have had it on tour and it handled 55 lbs of weight on long down grades at speeds up to 40 mph very well. I do not have heal strike problems although I am a small guy, size 8 shoe. My previous bike was a Marin Palisades Trail, which I did have out on some fire roads. I think the Safari is every bit as good as the Marin.
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Old 12-31-08, 07:42 AM
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Safaris are on clearance at REI right now. If you are considering one, this is the time to get one!

Randonee is also deeply discounted.
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Old 12-31-08, 10:22 PM
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I've ridden my LHT on dirt roads throughout Baja without a problem. However, in serious ruts, it does have a tendency to ground out. As noted above, the bottom bracket is pretty low. I did some single track on it (unintentionally) and found it to be adequate, but only barely so. It's a great bike for the road, even if the road is not paved, but it is not suited for anything beyond that.
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Old 01-01-09, 01:18 PM
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How about a cross bike like the Specialized Tricross or Surly Cross Check? Cross bike can be ok touring bikes and can also be ok on trails. Probably better off road than touring bikes simply because of their higher bottom bracket. Touring bike would be better on road because of the lower bottom bracket.
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Old 01-02-09, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Gordon P View Post
How about a MTB with a lock out fork and a BoB Ibex trailer? Just go with two sets of folding tires one for touring and one set for the trails.
+1

That makes the most sense to me. If you want something truly off-road capable, why not tour with a mtb? Hardtail mtbs have durable components and with a lock-out fork it would only be marginally less efficient than a rigid bike with 26" wheels like the safari.

There are plenty of worth hardtails out there in the $600-700 range. If you want something truly off-road capable forget the safari, LHT, etc and just get hardtail mtb.
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Old 01-02-09, 08:41 AM
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The problem with a MTB is it's uprite seating. I manily ride MTBS, and a 29 would be a good choice except for that upright seating.
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Old 01-04-09, 02:45 PM
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i've taken my lht off road, but i think for serious mountain biking you'd need more that a 2.1" nobbie tire, which is all it fits (with almost zero clearance). This would be a limiting factor above and beyond the bb height. hitting ring on unloaded trail rides could be avoided with a little technique modification. it will never be a trials bike, but you should be able to keep the big ring off of stuff.

As far as off road touring is concerned, you won't need a very large big ring (or one at all) which should help to eliminate the low bb issue. the 26" wheels will give you some great rim options for something more durable. keep in mind the safari is no longer a 26" bike.
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