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I have a disc LHT - Looking for "sport" or "light" tourer

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I have a disc LHT - Looking for "sport" or "light" tourer

Old 05-11-14, 10:57 AM
  #1  
JWK
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I have a disc LHT - Looking for "sport" or "light" tourer

I love my Surly and am riding it almost daily now that the weather has finally broken here in the northeast. Some of my goals for this year is to do some centuries and at least one 200K. In the spirit of (n + 1) I would like a lighter bike more conducive to unloaded or lightly loaded riding.

Wish parameters:
1. Steel Frame
2. Chainstays 425mm - 440mm
3. Rack braze-ons at least on the back, preferably also on front
4. Doesn't need to take tires bigger than 700x32
5. BB drop at least 70mm, preferably lower
6. Rides best unloaded to 25 lb. max loaded weight
7. Rim brakes

I've been looking at some of the cyclocross bikes and am concerned as to how the higher BB will affect fast downhill runs, cornering and handling in general. I've done quite a search on this and have only come up with some frame builders stating that it's mostly for cornering. It doesn't seem to me that the cyclocross bike really doesn't take the place of a light touring road bike. The Specialized Tricross prabably comes closest with its 70mm BB drop. But, aluminum frame. I'd rather stay away from aluminum.

The "new" Windsor Tourist on BD has a threadless 1.125" headset arrangement. The geometry seems about right, but I don't know and can't find out where this bike fits exactly. There is almost no info on the modern Fuji touring bikes (this is definately a Fuji touring frame) on the net. In the long run it won't be the most cost effective solution, but it will give me something to ride while I sell off components and rebuild to my liking. Anyone know if The Fuji frame is sport touring or fully loaded touring? Somewhere in between? Good option for me or too close to the Surly in weight and handling?

Then there is the vintage possibility. From the research I've done, it seems I would want something from the 80s with the now standard english threaded bottom bracket, 700c wheels and 130mm rear spacing. Actually, I could do with 126mm spacing. I have pretty decent wheels from a '92 Canondale R500 with 36H front and rear. HG-50 cassettes are still available in different, useful ranges that would fine for me with a triple up front. I did this setup for years out west with my canondale. The only problem with this scenario is that I don't have the knowledge base to know what to look for. Which frames had the good steel, etc. Plus, I don't live in an area that has very much in the way of used bikes. I've been scouring my local Craig's List for weeks and have come up with nothing more than over-priced vintage junk. I mean, nothing even questionable.

So I'm just looking for your thoughts and suggestions. I want the initial cost to be under $1000. I don't have the budget for the quality modern stuff like Gunnar or Rivendell, to name just two. This would probably put me in a used modern bike, Bikes Direct stuff or vintage that would top out at $300 or so before I start rebuilding.

Oh, and there's no rush. I realize to really get what I want might mean not have something to ride this summer. I've still got my Surly.

Thanks for any guidance.
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Old 05-11-14, 12:27 PM
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Doug64
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You might want to look at the Bianchi Volpe. The bottom bracket height is about the same as the LHTs.
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Old 05-11-14, 12:35 PM
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What's the point of a 2nd tourer? You already have a dedicated touring bike. Get a fast, light road bike as your 2nd bike.

It's like asking: 'I have a hummer suv, but want to race in the indy 500: what SUV should I get?'

Answer: don't get an SUV, get a race car.
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Old 05-11-14, 12:57 PM
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I sort of agree with the previous. Your list of requirements are going to push you into bikes that aren't going to be that much different from what you already have and are going to exclude the bikes which are going to make a significant improvement over what you currently have in the areas you think your current bike is deficient. If you feel you need to make a change, then make a change. If I were you, I'd get a Roubaix and take it when you don't need luggage; take the LHT when you did.

- Mark

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Old 05-11-14, 01:14 PM
  #5  
JWK
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
You might want to look at the Bianchi Volpe. The bottom bracket height is about the same as the LHTs.
I looked into the volpe. It has pretty typical cyclocross geometry. The BB drop on the volpe is 68mm, 78mm on the LHT. From what I understand, this is a significant difference. The CS length of 415mm is a bit shorter than my ideal.
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Old 05-11-14, 01:42 PM
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Steve B.
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I'd get a 2nd set of wheels with skinnier tires, tighter spacing on the cassette, swap them out as needed.
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Old 05-11-14, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
You might want to look at the Bianchi Volpe. The bottom bracket height is about the same as the LHTs.
A big +1. I bought the Volpe because of Doug64's recommendation, and am very happy with my decision. I'd suggest that you use aluminum racks to save weight. http://www.blackburndesign.com/racks.html makes fairly sturdy racks. Also, Lone Peak panniers are lighter than most, yet durable. With both front and rear racks on board, I regularly ride with my friends who are on their carbon fiber frames, and tubulars. Of course, when they go over 50k.p.h., I just ease off. I use Panaracer T-SERV PT28c, and 44-32-22 crank set. I like my bike so much, I'm thinking of getting a lighter bike, like Bianchi Vigorelli, or a Cinelli Zydeco 2014, and 25c tyres on it. It's no sin to have as many bikes you like and can afford. My Storck road bike has been collecting dust for a long while.

BTW I do light touring, with no cooking, period. In Thailand, where I live, accommodation is so cheap, around US$10-12 per night for air conditioned room with hot shower, tenting out is hardly worth the time to pitch and unpitch tent.

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Old 05-11-14, 03:42 PM
  #8  
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JWK, You're looking for a roadie or a CX bike. More likely able to fit a rear carrier on the CX bike than a roadie. The Volpe is an excellent option.

Don't be concerned about the BB drop, more likely the LHT's BB is as high from the ground as a road bike with smaller tires.

Brad
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Old 05-11-14, 04:18 PM
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Why not a Crosscheck?

It sounds like you're happy with your LHT but want something lighter which is pretty much what it is.

1. Steel
2. 424mm CS (might change with wheel placement in horizontal drops)
3. Tons of rack and fender braze ons
4. 32mm tires are absolutely not a problem, even with fenders. Not even close.
5. BB drop under 70mm
6. Rides great unloaded but handles light loads well
7. Rim brakes

Not 100% on the numbers you posted but pretty damn close and its a very versatile bike. I love mine.
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Old 05-11-14, 04:38 PM
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There are more than a few great steel bikes that meet the OP's needs ("Sport" touring). Soma doublecross would work well as would the surly crosscheck. Or the soma smoothie or surly pacer if looking for something a bit racier. The all city space horse is pretty much designed to be a light tourer along the lines that the OP is looking for. Or look for a vintage sports touring bike that takes long reach side pulls and then mod it to your heart's content. They're out there. Also the Velo Orange pass hunter would work very well.

Honestly, I don't think you should be that fixated on all the numbers you threw out there. There are plenty of good ways of designing a frame that may not meet all those requirements. I'd focus more on the stated goal of your N plus 1 (sports or light touring).
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Old 05-11-14, 06:42 PM
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I have a Tricross and the bb doesn't make any difference for me in cornering or high speed descents. Yes a bike like mine which is more of a light tourer will be more fun to ride than a lht but I too wonder if you should look at more comfortable road bikes along the lines of the Roubaix.
The one thing I like with the Tricross is that I could put wider tires on it than a road bike ( I run 28s on it)
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Old 05-11-14, 07:08 PM
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Ritchey breakaway Cross.

BB drop is 65mm
Chainstays 425mm
Takes tires up to 37mm width, poissibly even some 40mm.
Comes only as a frame so you've got to build it up or have a shop do it.

Fantastic ride and very versatile bike.
Rides more like a road bike that takes wide tires than a cross bike.

I've also got a 2010 Tricross Sport too but I much prefer the ride of the Ritchey, so much so that I'm selling my Tricross.
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Old 05-11-14, 08:21 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Honestly, I don't think you should be that fixated on all the numbers you threw out there. There are plenty of good ways of designing a frame that may not meet all those requirements. I'd focus more on the stated goal of your N plus 1 (sports or light touring).
I agree. I would also say the same about steel versus aluminum. Real talk: steel at the price point you're looking at does NOT ride well. It just doesn't! I've had an LHT, and I currently own a Cross-Check. They're great, well-built bikes and perform at a very good price point. And they both ride like bricks, because frames at those price points are commodity products built with thick-walled tubing. If you can't consider a higher-end frame like a Gunnar or better, you aren't going to get a better ride with steel than you would with aluminum. What you definitely can get with aluminum is a lighter bike, very likely with no penalty at all in ride quality, in fact, probably level odds on the ride actually being better. So I would expand your search and try and let go of your prejudices a bit. Find the bike that makes the most sense for what you want. Not on the numbers, not on the frame material. Just what frame fittings, what parts spec, what price and what fit seems like the best combination. That's how you end up with a good bike.You think you have the numbers all figured out, but trust me: you don't.
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Old 05-11-14, 10:36 PM
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Agree with all of the above, the numbers and frame material aren't that critical given a $1000 budget, actually not that critical with a $2000 budget. Seems to me you should be looking for a comfy road bike that can take 32mm ties and save the 25lb loads for the LHT. TriCross looks good
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Old 05-11-14, 11:32 PM
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I would suggest to check out the All City Space Horse. Just get a light 700cx28 set of tires for it. I doubt, however, that you will save lots of weight, unless you go with a proper road bike spec'd with light components.

For a lot less money, another solution is to look closely into some of the heavy parts that make up your Disc Trucker. I am assuming your Disc Trucker already fits you well. You could easily get it under 25 lb. which will make it more suitable and interesting for century rides. Most of these you can buy used on eBay:

1. Get a very light wheelset with light tires and tubes. Just swap into the heavier, heavy-duty wheelset for touring
2. Lighter Crankset - You could switch into a compact crankset for long distance events with 11-28 or 11-32 cassette
3. Light pedals, light saddle, carbon seat post
4. Remove extra accessories like rack(s) and possibly fenders

Switching back and forth between a "rando" (long distance) set up and touring set up should take you about an hour. It's very likely that you'll use the rando set-up for the most part.
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Old 05-12-14, 05:23 AM
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the idea of a light-touring road bike in addition to your tourer is very sound.
I would o for something with long-drop caliper brakes to fit 28mm tyres.
Jamis Quest? I would not rule out Al frame
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Old 05-12-14, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
I would suggest to check out the All City Space Horse. Just get a light 700cx28 set of tires for it. I doubt, however, that you will save lots of weight, unless you go with a proper road bike spec'd with light components.

For a lot less money, another solution is to look closely into some of the heavy parts that make up your Disc Trucker. I am assuming your Disc Trucker already fits you well. You could easily get it under 25 lb. which will make it more suitable and interesting for century rides. Most of these you can buy used on eBay:

1. Get a very light wheelset with light tires and tubes. Just swap into the heavier, heavy-duty wheelset for touring
2. Lighter Crankset - You could switch into a compact crankset for long distance events with 11-28 or 11-32 cassette
3. Light pedals, light saddle, carbon seat post
4. Remove extra accessories like rack(s) and possibly fenders

Switching back and forth between a "rando" (long distance) set up and touring set up should take you about an hour. It's very likely that you'll use the rando set-up for the most part.
Chris, I would mention that a few years back I looked into lightening up my Tricross. In the end I realized that lighter wheels would cost X amount and the weight loss for me wasnt worth the money spent. For a long days ride on an organized trip, about 140k, I thought of taking off the rack, rear fender, but in the end I just couldnt be bothered to save the few pounds cuz I knew I'd want to have it on the next day--so basically I was just too lazy to do all that stuff, and personally couldnt see myself mucking about with other stuff as well like you mentioned.

*I too wouldnt discount an alu frame, especially with 28s run at less than max pressures.
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Old 05-12-14, 06:07 AM
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To tempt OP with the Volpe set up for light touring. Doug64 has has picture of his, full loaded.



And below is Doug64's rig full loaded
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Old 05-12-14, 07:31 AM
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Lightweight touring builds is all I do these days and I'm mostly adapting various frames from other genres (road and mtb mostly).

I love the results I've gotten from two road bikes converted to 650b.

First pic below is a Lemond 853 steel converted to 650B with lightweight 38 tires (grand bois on order). This 853 is pretty light and not too stiff (maybe even a little bit noodley depending how strong you push it), and the geometry is responsive and road-like with a little bit reduced trail from the tire size conversion --perfect in my mind.

If you want SUPER light, I also converted a 2004 Trek 5900 Superlight -which is about as light as you could get in 2004, to 650b with hand built chris king wheels and grand bois 32's -which barely fit. Still under 20lbs. I rode it on our 700 mi WI trip last year and loved it even more -but it's not exactly well suited to racks. (I'll post pic if I get around to it later)

Second pic is an all carbon mtb with flat bars, light weight touring tires, trigger shifters, aerobars, and rear rack --for light touring (also adding full fenders). Expecting ~21lbs. This is a total experiment with only about 100 mi of test riding so far. I really like the added responsiveness of the mtb geometry (it doesn't plow through the gravel and loose stuff nearly as much as my road bikes, --great gravel grinder potential), and the aerobars will be great for those long afternoon pulls on 100 mi days. But I'm not so much liking the flat bar setup yet --and might still change to drop bars and brifters.

Bottom line: you might consider adapting a road or mtb bike to your perfect usage model. (Once I figure out my perfect setup, I may go to Waterford for a full custom build)

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Old 05-12-14, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by JWK View Post
I looked into the volpe. It has pretty typical cyclocross geometry. The BB drop on the volpe is 68mm, 78mm on the LHT. From what I understand, this is a significant difference. The CS length of 415mm is a bit shorter than my ideal.
FWIW I own both a LHT and a CrossCheck and have ridden both extensively for the last 4-6 years. I've been aware of the BB drop difference (3.1" vs. 2.6") on paper but not once riding have I ever felt "man, I wish I had a [shorter/longer/etc] BB drop." It's not like suddenly with the CC I can fly around corners pedaling and not risk a pedal strike on the pavement.

The two bikes ride differently, but for me it's not b/c of the BB drop.
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Old 05-12-14, 09:11 AM
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Any of the dozens of Cross-commuters will do .. like QBP/Surly ? the Cross check is that kind.


The BB drop on the volpe is 68mm, 78mm on the LHT. From what I understand, this is a significant difference.
The CS length of 415mm is a bit shorter than my ideal.
As you have a specific set of criteria , Might be time to spring for a Custom builder, rather than pick amongst Taiwan factory bikes..

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Old 05-12-14, 10:19 AM
  #22  
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You might give a look at Salsa Vaya, an attempt an a heavy duty all arounder. Mine was about 25lbs from the factory.It's nimble feeling for a fairly heavy bike and meets all your listed requirements for chainstay length, bottom bracket ht and braze ons. A few hundred bucks more new than your budget though.
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Old 05-12-14, 12:00 PM
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I agree with those saying get a race bike. Something like a Cannondale synapse or Specialized Roubaix. Bet an arkel randounneur rack and and a tail rider and be amazed at the difference between tank and sports car. I have a roubaix and a disc trucker, so I know a bit of what I speak of here.
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Old 05-13-14, 06:02 AM
  #24  
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I think BB drop is highly overrated as a determiner of ride characteristics.

You might look at the Handsome Cycles Devil. It isn't much lighter than an LHT but it has much sportier geometry. 73/73 angles, 45mm rake fork, 70mm BB drop....all pretty standard numbers for road bike geometry. The kicker is that it has forward facing dropouts that allow you to change the CS length from about 43.5 to 45.5cm. It would certainly work as a light tourer but I think it was designed more as a sporty city bike. For pavement riding, I'm very happy with mine.

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Old 05-14-14, 07:50 AM
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Now that I have a new Soma Saga dedicated tourer, my Schwinn Voyageur is my light sports tourer. When I bought it new in 1980 it was marketed as a "touring" bike but as it has shorter chain stays and lacked cantilever bosses and water bottle braze ons, I think it really is more of a sports tourer rather than loaded tourer. I purchased the identical bike in black for $150 off Craigslist but have since sold it. They are available it you look around.

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