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Stock 2013 Surly LHT/Disc Trucker vs. Trek 520: Which one is better equipped?

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Stock 2013 Surly LHT/Disc Trucker vs. Trek 520: Which one is better equipped?

Old 10-18-12, 11:54 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
And some airlines (United) charge $100.
Which is why I don't fly the other airlines. I presented the information more as FYI...and a way to save the $500 of S&S couplers...than anything else.
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Old 10-18-12, 12:03 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
The genius of Surly is that they can take $20 of chro-moly tubing and somehow turn it into a $500+ frame, then bolt on a bunch of bottom-end components and sell the whole thing for a premium price. If you're willing to spend time shopping, you could probably buy a frame and components, bolt them together yourself and end up with a significantly nicer bike for not much additional money.

That's what I did! Started with a $99 Nashbar double-butted aluminum touring frame and ended up with a 23lb bike that cost only slightly more than a Long Haul Trucker and every piece on it was hand-picked to be exactly what I wanted! Looks like I spent around $1025 on the frame and components plus another $430 on wheels. Prices don't include tires, tubes, bottle cages, or rim strips nor the seat post and saddle I borrowed from another bike. They do include some extravagant upgrades (albeit purchased a fire sale prices): Shimano Ultegra triple brifters, Ultegra triple FD, Ultegra RD, a Nashbar carbon fiber cyclocross fork, and Shimano XTR hubs.
Sorry but this isn't a valid comparison. You can't really compare almost $1500 for a bike without tires, tubes, seatpost and saddle (add about $200 for those items) to a bike that is ready to ride and say that it's a better bike then the LHT complete at $1200. It wouldn't be difficult to add another $500 to the Surly to have an equivalent bike...especially if you could find the same deals on the upgrades.
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Old 10-18-12, 12:21 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Which is why I don't fly the other airlines. I presented the information more as FYI...and a way to save the $500 of S&S couplers...than anything else.
Kind of limits your options a lot.

Frontier should work for you fairly-well being in Denver (that's their home airport, I believe).

For where I fly out-of, using Frontier would cost more to get to the airport they use in the NY area (LGA, it seems).

The extra $500 (or so) increases one's options for not that much more money.

It is useful information to have (but doesn't get the OP to Brazil).

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
If you are flying domestic US, Frontier and Southwest allow you to check bikes...in a box or bag (the Performance travel bag is allowed)...as baggage for a $20 upcharge. I've done it twice this year without problems.
Describing it as an "upcharge" is confusing.

Frontier just treats it as a piece of luggage, for which there could be a $20 fee (depending on the class of ticket).

https://www.flyfrontier.com/customer-...hecked-baggage

https://media.frontierairlines.com/ar...rticle_id=5264

Frontier is removing the flat fee for checked bicycles and will now include them in the standard baggage allowance, meaning customers traveling on Classic or Classic Plus fares can include their bike as one of their two complimentary checked bags and Economy passengers would pay $20 if the bike is one of their first two checked bags. Bikes will be exempt from any oversize fees, but subject to overweight fees and excess bag fees, if applicable. This is similar to the carrier’s current policy for golf clubs and skis.
And Southwest's policy is different. It's $50 for a bike (in something larger than the standard limit for luggage).

https://www.southwest.com/html/custom...ggage-pol.html

Nonmotorized Bicycle (single seat) A $50 one-way charge applies to bicycles properly packed in a bicycle box or hardsided case that exceed the baggage size (62 inches, outside length plus height plus width) and weight limits (50 pounds). Pedals and handlebars must be removed and packaged in protective materials so as not to be damaged by or cause damage to other Baggage. Bicycles packaged in cardboard or softsided cases will be transported as conditionally accepted items. .

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-18-12 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 10-18-12, 12:27 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
Originally Posted by OldZephyr View Post
The Motobecane on Bikesdirect at $800 does have comparable components to the LHT, but again, that doesn't include the profit for the bike store, and if a person goes to the LBS for assistance and to swap out a stem, then the cost for the Motobecane is close to $1000.
If your LBS is charging you $200 to swap stems, you need to find a new one! Mine will sell you a stem for $30-40 and install it for free if the shop isn't busy...
Are you normally this dishonest? He's not talking about "$200 to swap stems". You just made that crap up.

$250 doesn't seem that far-off if it includes having the LBS put the BD bike together.

Originally Posted by OldZephyr View Post
A person who can build up their own bike won't be put off by purchasing something like the Windsor from Bikesdirect, but many purchasers will want to go to their bike shop for assistance, getting the wheels right, changing out at least a chainring (and maybe swapping out the crankset), and that could easily add $150-250 to the cost. The Motobecane on Bikesdirect at $800 does have comparable components to the LHT, but again, that doesn't include the profit for the bike store, and if a person goes to the LBS for assistance and to swap out a stem, then the cost for the Motobecane is close to $1000.
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Old 10-18-12, 01:06 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
If your LBS is charging you $200 to swap stems, you need to find a new one! Mine will sell you a stem for $30-40 and install it for free if the shop isn't busy...

If you feel that your LBS is providing $475-676 of service before and after the sale, then by all means: skip BikesDirect and buy yourself an LHT. I simply couldn't stomach the thought of paying $1300 for a bike and ending up with a Sora FD, Andel crank, and bar-end shifters so I shopped around for components and built my own bike. $1500 later I have a touring bike where every component is several notches better than what Surly includes on the LHT. Because of that, I can't help but think the LHT is vastly over-priced. Sorry, if that offends you!
The bike shop wouldn't be charging $200 to swap out a stem. I know that. I thought it was pretty clear I was referring to the process of assembly, wheels, etc. And the differential between a Bikesdirect Motobecane *built up by a bike shop* and a LHT is probably around $275, not $475+. I like my bike shops and for me, the service provided by the shop is well worth it. Clearly that service is not worth it to you.

If it's important to *you* to have higher grade components other than the stock ones on the LHT, then by all means your choices will bring *you* more satisfaction, and building up the bike from the frame up would be a good choice for *you* (and anyone else who likes that process). But because a lot of people search threads like this for information, I have taken issue with your assertion that the LHT has "bottom-end" components, and your assertion that the LHT is "overpriced". The components as a whole may not be to your standard, but they work well, are durable, and are not bottom end (unless "bottom end" is defined as anything under Ultegra/XT level, which I submit would be an unreasonable definition). And while a build up clearly provides *you* with a better sense of value and satisfaction, most people do not build up bikes like that. They just want to buy a bike. And compared with other complete touring bikes sold by bike shops, the LHT is right in the ballpark with respect to price/value. It works well as a touring bike even if the components are not of a grade that is high enough for you.

PS I'm not "offended" by your comments -- I don't even ride a LHT and I have no plans to buy one as long as my Trek 720 keeps on rolling.

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Old 10-18-12, 07:24 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Are you normally this dishonest? He's not talking about "$200 to swap stems". You just made that crap up.
OldZephyr said, and I quote, "if a person goes to the LBS for assistance and to swap out a stem". Unfortunately, I couldn't imagine that any assistance was necessary to pull a pre-assembled bike out of a box. Now that you've informed me that there are tourists who can't operate a box cutter, I see that my assumption was incorrect. Sorry for the mistake
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Old 10-19-12, 06:51 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
OldZephyr said, and I quote, "if a person goes to the LBS for assistance and to swap out a stem".
You are being dishonest, again. He said much, much more than that.

Originally Posted by OldZephyr View Post
A person who can build up their own bike won't be put off by purchasing something like the Windsor from Bikesdirect, but many purchasers will want to go to their bike shop for assistance, getting the wheels right, changing out at least a chainring (and maybe swapping out the crankset), and that could easily add $150-250 to the cost. The Motobecane on Bikesdirect at $800 does have comparable components to the LHT, but again, that doesn't include the profit for the bike store, and if a person goes to the LBS for assistance and to swap out a stem, then the cost for the Motobecane is close to $1000.
Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
Unfortunately, I couldn't imagine that any assistance was necessary to pull a pre-assembled bike out of a box.
Have the decency, to not put words in people's mouth. He didn't say that!

Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
Unfortunately, I couldn't imagine that any assistance was necessary to pull a pre-assembled bike out of a box. Now that you've informed me that there are tourists who can't operate a box cutter, I see that my assumption was incorrect. Sorry for the mistake
You really like to put words in people's mouths!
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Old 10-19-12, 09:00 AM
  #58  
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Thanks, njkayaker. I thought my meaning was clear and I appreciate you pointing that out.
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Old 10-19-12, 09:24 AM
  #59  
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Yah, I don't know if there's a noticeable difference between Sora and Tiagra front derailleurs. Or even between them and 105, Ultegra or D/A. Maybe a couple of grams of weight and better polishing on the upper ranges. Get the derailleur that is spec'ed to work with the crank- there is a min tooth difference for the modern 3-speed front derailleurs.
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Old 10-19-12, 10:00 AM
  #60  
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imho: If going out on a tour and you don't have spare brake pads (2 sets), a cable set, 3 tubes, a folding tire, grease, a zip bag with two of each tiny-bit on your bike, and the necessary tools to do maintenance already on you pack list, then not really ready to pedal off yet. Also recommend a laminated cheatsheet with 800 numbers and addresses for reliable sources of parts and materials you might, but aren't really expecting to, need. Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail, generally speaking.
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Old 10-19-12, 10:14 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You are being dishonest, again. He said much, much more than that.
I'm not being dishonest, you stupid jerk, I just have a different interpretation of what was written. Not sure why you need to turn this minor point into a big argument, since it has no real bearing on the rest of the discussion... but have at it!
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Old 10-19-12, 01:01 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by ksisler View Post
imho: If going out on a tour and you don't have spare brake pads (2 sets), a cable set, 3 tubes, a folding tire, grease, a zip bag with two of each tiny-bit on your bike, and the necessary tools to do maintenance already on you pack list, then not really ready to pedal off yet. Also recommend a laminated cheatsheet with 800 numbers and addresses for reliable sources of parts and materials you might, but aren't really expecting to, need. Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail, generally speaking.
That's a bit over the top. If you were planning on touring in Siberia, your parts list might make sense but in most of the rest of the world, it doesn't. If you are touring in the US, there are going to be few places where you would need to carry that many spare parts. Brake pads? I can go for years without wearing out brake pads. Change the worn ones before you leave and you'll not need to worry about them for a few thousand miles. Same with cables. Just make sure they aren't frayed before you leave and you'll not have any problems. Taking extra tubes are a good idea but tires are unnecessary.
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Old 10-19-12, 01:03 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by BRAZUCA View Post
OK folks, I really appreciate your comments. Here is a quick update: I did not get the call today from my LBS regarding the availability of the 60cm Trek 520 for me to ride, today is the day the transfer from the warehouse was going to happen, therefore, I believe it will be tomorrow or Thursday for me to ride it, I'm looking forward to it. I started to get more educated on components and found an interesting comparison chart and this got me concerned: the price for the LHT went up and the components quality went signficantly down, like Shimano LX vs. XT and the front derailleur is Sora. The Trek 520 is not much better, but in the paper at least, it looks a little bit better with Deore LX and Dura-Ace shifters. There is a +$100 price premium for the Trek but the components seems a bit better and it was not like that when I look some years back into the LHT specs., maybe I should look for a used one in decent shape but not a lot of used LHTs or Trek 520s for sale out there. I'm kinda of disappointed for the price of the bikes and what I'm getting, this is making me really think this well before spending the money. E.g.: I found an used LHT that by the pictures it looks very good and the owner claims it has only 900 miles on it, all the components are XT and the asking price is $1,000 (still high for an used bike).
Regarding wheels and tires (26"vs. 700cc) and this info. may be used for everyone here. I exchange a few e-mails with a biker friend in Brazil and he has done a few centuries down there, interestingly enough, he told me that the majority of low end bikes and mountain bikes have 26" tires, nevertheless, he mentioned that the high end bikes are much more common and I should not worry to get 700cc tires down there, it is not as common as 26" but they are available and without any problems on larger cities and more upscale bike shops. He was more concerned about the disk brakes than the tires and he highly recommended the V-brakes which can be easily repaired even in the remote areas of Brazil.
Anyway, as soon as I have an update on my test ride I will let you know. I will ride again the LHT as well, I only rode the 60cm and I will try the 58cm with canti on the LHT (I have a LBS that is a stock dealer for Surly in Indianapolis) and this is great. Again, kinda of feeling unfair that I would be paying more for a LHT with lower components that someone did in 2009-2010, at least with the Trek 520, this would be the same.
All XT, a true 900 miles, right size, no damage, properly stored and cared for... -- if I were in your shoes I'd probably go for (/jump on) something like that.
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Old 10-19-12, 01:11 PM
  #64  
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FWIW -- Bruce Gordon BLT frame and fork, $500; Soma Saga frame and fork $499.99; and LHT frame and fork $475.
The above frames and fork sets are all comparable in quality, and very close to being the same price. This could lead me to believe that the manufacturers are all in collusion, or that this is about what a frame of this material and quality sells for. I think the later is true, and believe that to some extent you get what you pay for when purchasing a frame. I would choose one of the above frames if I was going to put the time and resources into building up a reasonably priced touring bike. I would tend to use good reliable mid-range components that are complimentary to the frame. I have built up bikes on framesets ranging in cost from $500 to $3000 using essentially the same components. It is not because "better" components were not affordable, but because the chosen components have proved reliable over many miles/years of actual touring. Also, the owner is a very experience rider and knew exactly what she wanted. And yes, the high priced frameset was worth the investment to her.

If I wanted a complete bike and my budget dictated that I stay in the $1000-$1500 there are several good touring bikes in that range. As the rider uses the bike, components that do not meet expectations can be changed and tweaked to get the desired performance, e.g., change the 48/36/26 crankset to a
44/32/22, bars that better fit the owners build and riding style, or better wheels.

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Old 10-19-12, 01:16 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
I'm not being dishonest, you stupid jerk, I just have a different interpretation of what was written. Not sure why you need to turn this minor point into a big argument, since it has no real bearing on the rest of the discussion...
Exactly. Glad you articulated those points. I would only add that he all too often brings these sorts of elements, which lower the level of the discussions considerably.
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Old 10-19-12, 01:29 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
FWIW -- Bruce Gordon BLT frame and fork, $500; Soma Saga frame and fork $499.99; and LHT frame and fork $475.
The above frames and fork sets are all comparable in quality, and very close to being the same price. This could lead me to believe that the manufacturers are all in collusion, or that this is about what a frame of this material and quality sells for. I think the later is true, and believe that to some extent you get what you pay for when purchasing a frame. I would choose one of the above frames if I was going to put the time and resources into building up a reasonably priced touring bike. I would tend to use good reliable mid-range components that are complimentary to the frame. I have built up bikes on framesets ranging in cost from $500 to $3000 using essentially the same components. It is not because "better" components were not affordable, but because the chosen components have proved reliable over many miles/years of actual touring. And yes, the high priced frameset was worth the investment to the owner.

If I wanted a complete bike and my budget dictated that I stay in the $1000-$1500 there are several good touring bikes in that range.
Doug64,

It would be very interesting to me (and probably to others reading this thread) to learn more about, or perhaps see a list of, (along with any comments you might have on), the components you have found to be reliable and reasonably priced.
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Old 10-19-12, 03:19 PM
  #67  
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Niles H.

It would be very interesting to me (and probably to others reading this thread) to learn more about, or perhaps see a list of, (along with any comments you might have on), the components you have found to be reliable and reasonably priced.
These are just my preferences. There are many more combinations that are equal or better. However, this drive train and shifter combination work really well together.

Build List

Shimano Tiagra 4503 STI Shifters (Shims available for small hands)
Tiagra 4503 Front derailleur
Shimano LX rear derailleur
Shimano XT cassette 11-34 (LX are also good, just a little heavier)
Sram 971 chain (quick link rather than new pins like Shimano)
XT, LX, Ultegra, 105 hubs (depends on rear drop out width) If my budget dictated, I would not hesitate to use Tiagra hubs. I rode across the country on wheels equipped with Tiagra hubs.
Dyad rims -36 spoke(there are other good rims. Dyads are generally a little lighter)
Wheelsmith DB spokes
Avid Single digit 7 linear pull brakes
Adjustable Travel Agents
Cane Creek SCX-5 Cantilever brakes
Kool Stop Combination brake pads
Jagwire cables and housings (if replacing or installing an entire system it is easier to buy a set)Shimano Dura ace cables for individual replacement
Jagwire barrel adjusters (still have not found any I am happy with)
Shimano SPD pedals- 324 or 520
Sugino DX 500 44/32/22 crankset (no longer available)
IRD alloy or steel 103 mm bottom brackets for 68 mm BB shell (maintains 45-47 mm chainline with mountain bike cranks)
Chris King headset (Almost any decent one will work. I have a FSA on my bike)
Bars, seatpost and stem are personal preference, and any decent ones will work.
SKS fenders w/ planet bike mud flaps
Phil Wood grease for bearings, Park green on threads.

disclaimer
There are good substitutes for many of these items. There are undoubtedly better choices out there, but these combinations have worked well for me. Many are also personal preferences.

Last edited by Doug64; 10-19-12 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 10-19-12, 03:31 PM
  #68  
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Great. Thanks for that.
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Old 10-19-12, 09:38 PM
  #69  
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UPDATE: They called me today from the LBS and the Trek 520 is in the store. I was planning to go there during lunch time today but it's been raining all day in Indianapolis today. I will go there tomorrow and check it out. Price was confirmed to be $1389.00, which is high IMO. I also called a downtown bike shop and they have a Disc Trucker in 58 cm that I can test ride, I may stop by and check it out as well, they are offering 10% discount, therefore, the Disc Trucker would be $1237.50 (a significant difference of $150 and I'm getting a feeling that the 58 cm will be a great fit because of the top tube length). The Trek 520 is starting to loose this comparison even before the test ride, let's see. I will follow all your suggestion and look for the perfect fit, if needed I can upgrade components latter. Also, the craigslist option that I found could work well, it is a 58 cm, so depending on the fit I will probably make the seller an offer since it is used. Thanks again, besides some arguments (which was not my intention with the OP), great discussions and feedback.
Folks, I found this interesting offer for the Nashbar Touring bike, have you seen this? (I don't think I can buy a bike without riding it, but looks tempting) for $649.00 and some forum members mentioned that it is typical to have a 15% discount on top of that: https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...12_-1___202339
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Old 10-19-12, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BRAZUCA View Post
UPDATE: They called me today from the LBS and the Trek 520 is in the store. I was planning to go there during lunch time today but it's been raining all day in Indianapolis today. I will go there tomorrow and check it out. Price was confirmed to be $1389.00, which is high IMO. I also called a downtown bike shop and they have a Disc Trucker in 58 cm that I can test ride, I may stop by and check it out as well, they are offering 10% discount, therefore, the Disc Trucker would be $1237.50 (a significant difference of $150 and I'm getting a feeling that the 58 cm will be a great fit because of the top tube length). The Trek 520 is starting to loose this comparison even before the test ride, let's see. I will follow all your suggestion and look for the perfect fit, if needed I can upgrade components latter. Also, the craigslist option that I found could work well, it is a 58 cm, so depending on the fit I will probably make the seller an offer since it is used. Thanks again, besides some arguments (which was not my intention with the OP), great discussions and feedback.
Folks, I found this interesting offer for the Nashbar Touring bike, have you seen this? (I don't think I can buy a bike without riding it, but looks tempting) for $649.00 and some forum members mentioned that it is typical to have a 15% discount on top of that: https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...12_-1___202339
Hope you find the comparison between the different bikes to be useful. Pretty good price on the LHT, and for many, the disc brakes would be a plus.

Certainly that's an attractive price on the Nashbar. The 105 components are good quality. Don't know about the wheels one way or the other.

The biggest concern about the Nashbar (besides not knowing fit) is that the stock gearing on the Nashbar bike is awfully high for a touring bike -- the lowest gear is 29 gear inches, as opposed to around 22 gear inches on the Trek and 20.6 on the Surly (and lower if the Surly comes with the 26" wheels) -- that's a huge difference between the Nashbar and the Trek/Surly. It's too bad that so many bikes sold as touring bikes (like the Nashbar) come with road triples and road cassettes.

The Nashbar gearing is not a problem if you are in the flats, but it would be problematic if you were to get into the hills with a load.

And to get gearing lower on the Nashbar, this could cost some money. There are a number of ways to do it, and I don't know what would be most cost effective with what is on that bike. It could require changing chain rings (or more realistically, changing the crankset to a mountain triple 22-32-44 or touring triple 24/26-36-46/48),and/or changing the cassette to a so-called mountain cassette like an 11-34 or 11-36. And if you get a different cassette, Shimano's website says that the biggest cog for the 105 rear derailleur is a 28 tooth cog, and that would mean that you would need a long cage rear derailleur like a Deore, or LX, or XT with the mountain cassette. Also, I am not sure if the 105 front will accommodate a mountain triple, Shimano says it can take a 20 tooth difference (again, they might be conservative).

Also, check with your LBS on cost, but they're not likely to swap out the cassette or crankset or derailleur for free or low cost on the Nashbar like they would for a new bike they sell you. If a new rear derailleur is needed to lower the gearing on the Nashbar, maybe $50-80 for a Deore/LX/XT rear derailleur, new cassette would be maybe $50-80, new crankset would be anywhere from $50 for a basic mountain triple on up, plus labor. So it can add up if you aren't buying the bike new and having the LBS swap out components (as any good shop should do on a new bike).

If you can change out cranksets and cassettes etc. yourself, great, but if you don't know how to do it and don't have access to the tools and aren't in a position to learn and don't have a stock of parts to draw upon for cheap, then it can get expensive to swap out cassettes, cranksets, etc. on a bike you bring to a bike shop (as opposed to one that you buy there new). I know because I've been there!

Last edited by OldZephyr; 10-22-12 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 10-19-12, 10:56 PM
  #71  
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Have you also considered the Fuji Tour, or the Kuna Sutra?
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Old 10-20-12, 06:34 AM
  #72  
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BRAZUCA, The fit, if better on the Trek is worth the extra pay out. I can't properly stress the fact that fitment supercedes any other factor when comparing bicycles.

The various budget tourers that Nashbar and Bikes Direct offer are nothing to turn a nose up to. All have been put to the test by owners that are very happy with them. The downsides are that fit can be a best guess procedure and final assembly is your responsibility. Not a great hurdle if a size/geometry chart can be properly compared to one for a bicycle that has been tested and one posseses basic bicycle mechanic's abilities.

Brad

PS Buying used is a viable option where at least you can ride it to check fitment, some touring bikes have been utilized little and can be a great option for toe dipping into the touring waters. Touring bikes do hold value better than many other designs, at least in my area. A used tourer often includes accessories like racks and bottle cages that won't require seperate purchases, which helps with cash outlay.

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Old 10-20-12, 09:34 AM
  #73  
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For a lower priced range touring bike I'm really impressed by the Kona Sutra, if I needed a touring bike I would seriously consider that as one of my main choices even over the Trek 520. The Sutra uses cheaper to replace in case of damage bar end shifters instead of briftors, and most touring people actually prefer bar ends to briftors; it has disk brakes all around; uses the better Shimano XT rear derailleur; 3 water bottle mounts instead of two; comes with both front and rear racks and fenders.

It sells for around $1300 new which is similar to the Trek 520 that has the lower entry level Deore transmission, and similar to the Fuji Tour also with a slightly lower transmission. The Kona is more ready to go off the shelf then the others, and with the disk brakes there's no worry about overheating the rims with a loaded touring bike on long descents, or water reduced braking etc.

Personally, which I did manage to find one, I would buy an older touring bike as well. I got lucky and found an 85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe in mint barely used (250 miles) condition. So that one is my now my main touring bike so I don't have to trash my 07 Mercian Vincitore Special I bought for touring. But some people might be better served having a new bike, I get that.
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Old 10-20-12, 10:45 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by OldZephyr View Post
The biggest concern about the Nashbar (besides not knowing fit) is that the stock gearing on the Nashbar bike is awfully high for a touring bike -- the lowest gear is 29 gear inches, as opposed to around 22 gear inches on the Trek and 20.6 on the Surly (and lower if the Surly comes with the 26" wheels) -- that's a huge difference between the Nashbar and the Trek/Surly. It's too bad that so many bikes sold as touring bikes (like the Nashbar) come with road triples and road cassettes.

The Nashbar gearing is not a problem if you are in the flats, but it would be problematic if you were to get into the hills with a load.
Agree. I originally had a 50/39/30 crank and 12-27 cassette on my touring bike, mainly because that's what was gathering dust in my parts bin. It was fine for light (~20lb) loads as long as the hills weren't too steep. For my credit card tour town the Pacific coast, I switched to a 48/36/26 trekking crank. Could have done the trip with the road triple, but my knees were much happier with the trekking crank. The 50/39/30 might work for a loaded tour on flat terrain, but if there were any hills involved I'd want a 44/32/22 crank.

And to get gearing lower on the Nashbar, this could cost some money. There are a number of ways to do it, and I don't know what would be most cost effective with what is on that bike. It could require changing chain rings (or more realistically, changing the crankset to a mountain triple 22-32-44 or touring triple 24/26-36-46/48),and/or changing the cassette to a so-called mountain cassette like an 11-34 or 11-36. And if you get a different cassette, Shimano's website says that the biggest cog for the 105 rear derailleur is a 28 tooth cog, and that would mean that you would need a long cage rear derailleur like a Deore, or LX, or XT with the mountain cassette. Also, I am not sure if the 105 front will accommodate a mountain triple, Shimano says it can take a 20 tooth difference (again, they might be conservative).
My Deore M532 trekking crank cost $130 and that includes the bottom bracket. I believe the M532 has been replaced by the M590, which runs $100-130 online. There are two versions: 22/32/44 and 26/36/48. I'm using the 26/36/48 with a Shimano Ultegra FD-6603 triple front derailleur. Shifting is decent, though perhaps a little slow moving to and from the smallest chain ring. I haven't had it miss a shift or drop the chain. Initial install and adjustment took a little longer than normal. Proper FD height is crucial to getting this combo to shift well.

Capacity for Shimano's rear derailleurs is somewhat conservative. I have the "GS" version of Shimano's RD-6600 Ultegra rear derailleur. It claims that the largest cog is 27T, but it looks to me like it would easily handle 30T and perhaps 32T. I've heard, but not verified, that you can substitute a longer "B-tension" screw to move the derailleur further from the cassette. That doesn't increase chain wrap, just the largest compatible cog so you'd need to be a little careful about gear combinations (ex: avoid using the smallest chain ring with the smallest rear cogs so the chain doesn't go slack). If you're on a budget, that might be an acceptable solution.

If you can change out cranksets and cassettes etc. yourself, great, but if you don't know how to do it and don't have access to the tools and aren't in a position to learn and don't have a stock of parts to draw upon for cheap, then it can get expensive to swap out cassettes, cranksets, etc. on a bike you bring to a bike shop (as opposed to one that you buy there new). I know because I've been there!
Most shops in my area do stuff like this pretty cheaply, since it's a very easy process. My shop will swap cassettes for $10 (if you bring just the wheel) and bottom brackets/cranks for $20-25 (depends on type; BB30 is much more expensive). If they're not busy they'll do it while you wait. If they are busy, it's usually same day. If you buy the replacement parts from them, they'll usually waive the fee for simple installs like pedals, stems, cassettes, chains.

Tools are also pretty affordable. You can buy bottom bracket wrenches (e.g. Park BBT-32, BBT-22, BBT-9) for $15-20 and a crank puller for a square taper BB (Park CCP-22) is also around $15. A cassette lockring tool (Park FR-5) is less than $10 and a chain whip (Park SR-1) is around $20. Most of these tools require a wrench or socket handle in order to use them. Park Tool has instructions for just about everything available online for free.
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Old 10-20-12, 12:18 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by TiBikeGuy View Post
I don't really like the idea of using disk brakes on touring bikes. Because the brake pads of disk brakes comes in many shapes and sizes to fit the different models, the bike shops in the remote areas that you are travelling may not have the spares that would fit your bike. Canti's and V-brake pads are readily available everywhere. On one of my trips to Indonesia, we were riding through some muddy terrain that wore down all of the brake pads. One of the guys using Magura HS-33 brakes was unable to get spare brake pads in any of the towns along the way.

If the hydraulic hose develops a leak, the local bike shops there may not be able to bleed the brakes or have replacement hoses. Brake cables are easily replaced by anyone who is mechanically inclined.

The newer bikes tend to have disk brakes without the v-brake bosses. So when the disk brake fails, you can't put on a cheap v-brake as a temporary repair.
The counter argument is that disc brake pads offer cheap insurance. Because the pads are very light, taking a set of back-up pads is easy and good insurance. Muddy terrain, it should be noted, is where disc brakes shine. They are relatively clear of that part of the wheel exposed to mud (being centered around the hub at a greater distance from the rim). Finally, there is no substitute for keeping brake pads clean. In short, I think the guy you reference made his own trouble.
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