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Stock or custom LHT?

Old 10-14-11, 02:32 PM
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conchrepubguy
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Stock or custom LHT?

I am about to sell my motorcycle, and with the money I am going to purchase a bicycle to go tour South America with. The entire continent, every country, for two years. I have settled on the Surly LHT, but I am not sure what the quality of the components are. I have read that the pedals, seatpost etc are no good, and should be replaced. I have also read that the wheels could be replaced. Should I just buy the frame/fork, and add all the other parts custom? I will have the funds to handle a custom version, but is it worth the money? Any suggestions on parts, or even a list to create a great custom LHT would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 10-14-11, 02:43 PM
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It's not custom if all you do is switch some parts on a mass produced
imported bike frame. it's parts swapping.

How about a Co Motion touring bike instead? they will add braze-ons for you
[maybe even change the tube lengths if you can explain the need , to the builders, ]
.. before the paint goes on, since they are in Oregon, made there , not warehousing imports.

NB: for rural SA, a 26" wheel bike is what you need ..

Bruce Gordon's Rock N Road X is another excellent 26" wheel adventure touring bike.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-14-11 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 10-14-11, 02:46 PM
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I have yet to go on my first tour (21 days away) so take my opinion as inexperienced but, I ordered my LHT stock and added the Surly racks. I threw on some extra bar tape, a new seat & some good pedals and I'm very happy with the components. The jury is out on the seat post as I'm still adjusting the seat to find my sweat spot.
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Old 10-14-11, 02:49 PM
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Have you done much touring already? Make sure whatever bike you get you've got some miles in on it and are really comfortable before you set off. Not to say you haven't thought it through, but occasionally we get some people here who want to start off across the country on a new bike and they've only been riding for a couple months. Not that they can't do it, but it is easier when prepared.
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Old 10-14-11, 03:17 PM
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1+ on the 26" wheels for SA. Find a lbs you can trust to stress relieve the spokes.

If you are an experienced rider and know what you need, build out the frame. Otherwise, buy the bike complete, ride it a lot, and change what isn't working for you. Mid level Shimano will likely give you the most bang for the buck and should be readily replaceable in SA.

Custom build would be worth the $$s only if your body geometry is such that a stock frame won't fit you without major modifications which would change the riding geometry too much. Mostly talking about effective top tube length.
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Old 10-14-11, 03:27 PM
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conchrepubguy
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I plan on touring with it a few times for 150 miles or so each before I head off to SA.
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Old 10-14-11, 04:00 PM
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there is a huge diference between a 150 mile tour and a 2 year tour in a diferent country. If you are planning on doing a 2 year tour build your bike from the frame up and make sure to learn everything you can about it. know the components you picked and why you got them, do the research. there is going to be times when you are going to need to wing repairs on the fly and bike repairs are not really technical but they sure can be alien the first time you do them.

im building a bike for similar purposes and went with the LHT frame because its affordable, durable, and has 26 inch wheels. im going to tour america in 2 years and im going to spend most of next season training and taking all the survival classes i can take. (we have a campase here that offers free classes!!) Im planning on doing self sustained touring and want to be overly prepared before i end up 1500 miles from home with nothing to fall back on but myself.
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Old 10-14-11, 04:21 PM
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If you can wait until the new Surly :HT frame set comes out do.It will have disc setup for it.I want one now but they are not out until sometime in Feb 2012 that I have been told and as soon as they come in I am going to order ym self a frame set I need the 52cm frame set.And the color is going to be just to pretty I think.
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Old 10-14-11, 04:25 PM
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have you taught about a rohloff
hub take a look at the thorn range of bikes .fietsbob has a good point in going full custom.
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Old 10-14-11, 04:29 PM
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If you have the $$$ I would buy the frame and go from there. Custom wheels from Peter White and quality components will make you happy. I got the stock bike and replaced the brakes and cranks 1st. Working on the seatpost,handlebars and tires when funds become available. I'll see how the wheels hold up next year touring. (I will do a overnight this month to see how it rides!)
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Old 10-14-11, 04:42 PM
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I replaced the seat, post, bars, levers, brakes, and wheels (wanted wider rims) on my prebuilt LHT, but the first component that broke was the front derailluer. I replaced it with an XT that is not as sensitive to trim as the original.
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Old 10-14-11, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by conchrepubguy View Post
1. but I am not sure what the quality of the components are.
2. I have read that the pedals, seatpost etc are no good, and should be replaced.
3. I have also read that the wheels could be replaced.
4. Should I just buy the frame/fork, and add all the other parts custom?
5. but is it worth the money? Any suggestions on parts, or even a list to create a great custom LHT would be appreciated. Thanks.
1. Component quality is very good. You can spend more but that doesn't mean it'll be stronger or better. For the money I don't think you can do better.
2. Seat posts don't have to do much. The seat post is inexpensive and thick walled. That doesn't mean it's no good. It means the total bike price can be kept low and you'll never break it. You can change it if you want but it will have no practical consequences except reducing total bike weight by a couple oz. There are many other places I'd spend an extra $75 than a lighter seat post for a touring bike. Like not getting overly heavy racks or gear. Pretty sure bikes don't come with pedals or if they do they are cheap plastic ones just for test rides, so that's your choice anyway.
3. For the 26" wheel version you "could" change the wheels but that's more a matter of total weight, rider and gear. If you were 150lbs carrying 35lbs I don't see the need. If you're 200lbs carrying 40lbs I'd replace the rear wheel with a wider and heavier rim, maybe a RhynoLite rim or Velocity Cliffhanger. If you're 240 carrying 40lbs I"d replace both wheels and go to town with heavy rims, maybe RhynoLIte on the front and Velocy Psycho on the rear. Not because the rim is likely to fail but because you'll have lots of rim to grind away on descents over all that time. The stock wheels are good, you won't get "better" by spending more, you'll only get better if you're especially heavy. I'd go for bigger tires once you expect to head into bad road territory.
4. no
5. The bike is worth the money. Consider changing brakes, tires, etc. AFTER you've learned to adjust them and have ridden for awhile. I would consider other racks than Surly just because the weight isn't necessary. I"ve got an OldMan Mountain Sherpa front rack mounted w/o the lower rack hardware. Fits straight on the top eyelet just fine with mid-fork and cantilever attachments. Lots lighter than Surly and more than strong enough. Don't think you'll want low riders on 26" wheels on bad roads/off road.
Rear rack with lower rail attachment is worth it. If you aren't sure on models right off a Topeak Tourist DX works great. If after awhile you want to spend big bucks there's a range of Tubus racks.

Don't trip out on components right now. Just get the bike and ride it. Change stuff as NEEDED. I'm not a fan of leather seats, the stock one worked fine for me but a Specialized Avatar in 143 width was perfect. Whatever you get now without experience riding it you'll probably find out wasn't what needed changing after a few months of riding. Dialing in stem and seat position will be more important than any equipment swap, and that won't cost much at all.
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Old 10-14-11, 05:04 PM
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The stock surly lht has a great spec, if you don't know what you want, it is a fine starting point.

I would definitely change over to V brakes from cantilevers. I would get schwalbe tires of some kind, 2.0 xrs if you can get them.

Here's my build list, it was custom, but its similar to the stock build. I switched to V brakes mid trip.

https://awesomebiketour.tumblr.com/gear

Everything else worked out fairly well. Nothing broke. As I said in the other thread, I don't love traditional drop bars on bad dirt roads. Take a look at the salsa woodchipper handlebar. I'm trying them out on my lht this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Once you get your bike, ride it on as many rough dirt roads as you can. Make adjustments as needed to make it comfy, you are going to hit a lot of bone rattling roads in South America.
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Old 10-14-11, 06:15 PM
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