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Old 03-30-02, 08:03 PM   #1
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Bruce Gordon BLT / BLTX

Has anyone had experience with the BLT vs. the BLT X. It appears that the X would be a mountain bike like touring bike vs. a more traditional touring bike. I am looking for a commuter bike with the option of touring. If I ever decided to do off road touring (old jeep roads not single track) how would a standard BLT work out.

Thanks for any and all help
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Old 03-31-02, 01:02 AM   #2
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26 inch wheels can take more abuse than 700c. From reading Bruce's website I got the impression that the BLT-X 26 is for seriously bad roads where your wheels are likely to take a pounding. The kind of roads you might find in Mexico or South America - where what passes for roads would barely qualify as goat paths here in the U.S.

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Old 11-02-03, 07:21 PM   #3
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I don't own a BLT, but I've done a lot of research. The nice thing about Bruce Gordons bikes is that they all have the same frame. The BLT would probably be fine for light off road touring. If you go to Sheldon Brown's web site, he has some great info:

His take is that tires (and wheels) actually have more of an impact on ride quality than any other factor. Tires are a relatively inexpensive why to have a huge impact on ride quality and durability. The BLT would probably work fine for what your intent is, and if you want to use it on rougher terrain, you can consider getting a more durable tire.
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Old 11-02-03, 09:23 PM   #4
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The 26" bike (-X) offer slightly stonger wheels, but its main advantages are:
- wider tires fit on it;
- it's easier to design a small frame on 26" wheels.

From my readings, the geometry of the 26" and 700c bikes is similar. And there are a few narrow tires available in 26" -- which should be good for touring or commuting.

Conversely, the BLT is said to fit 700x47 tires, but that's before fenders. If you believe in fenders as I do, it means you could fit 700x35 or 700x37 without any problems. 700x37 makes for a very comfortable ride, even when loaded, and it also means you will be able to find knobbies if you ride in muddy terrain -- not thick mud, however.

In short, for your intended uses, I would suggest to go with the 26" if you are on the small size, or with the 700 if you are taller, with the cutoff point being more or less around 5' 4". But in spite of that, it's usually easier to find mid-width 700c tires (700x32 or 700x37) than it is to find the equivalent width in 26" (26" x 1 1/4 to 1 3/8")

BTW, my tourer has 700x32 front (real width 29 mm) and 700x37 rear (rear width 36 mm) and I find it comfortable for our city's potholes and for touring. It originally had 700x32 front and rear, but I found the ride too harsh. Howver, I weight 165 lb, tow a trailercycle and usually tour with the kitchen sink. BTW, I do the occasional rail trail and a few gravel roads also.

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Old 11-03-03, 06:23 AM   #5
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Personally, I would go with semislick 26"s or if it's definitely all asphalt, you can get touring 1.5" 26" tires. Every single tour I've been on, I've been glad to have the option of going on the many dirt or unimproved roads in the NE, say in VT, MA, NY, etc. Every tour I've gone on, I've encountered roads that were gravel, crushed stone, or just plain bad.. There are alot of backroads in VT, for instance that are simply dirt and some of it isn't that hard packed. But if you want to cover super long distances (120miles+) on the asphalt then perhaps the BLT is the better choice. I've done a few touring centuries before on my MTB tourer, enough to know that a MTB with semislicks is comfortable enough for me with the reassurance that I can go anywhere a bike can take me without worrying about my wheels or the ride.

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Old 11-03-03, 07:26 AM   #6
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Also for some serious 26 inch wheeled tourers you may want to check out... and their Nomad and eXp models.
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