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Surly Troll: should I buy?

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Surly Troll: should I buy?

Old 08-29-14, 08:27 AM
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Surly Troll: should I buy?

I've done a lot of touring over the years and I've always used drop bar bikes for touring. There's a used surly troll available locally and I'm contemplating buying it as my main touring bike. It is set up with an SRAM double which is a bit of a drag as I will want to convert it eventually to a triple.

I'd be curious to hear from others as to what they think about touring with flat bars as opposed to drop bars. I know that I don't like most flat bars because of the lack of hand positions but a trekking bar should take care of that problem. I'd probably have to use a shim since I think trekking bars come only in 25.4 but I could live with that.

I have zero experience with riding long distance with flat bars, though. I'm not too worried about the speed hit since you're not (or at least I'm not) going fast on a fully loaded tour. I'm a little skeptical though of flat bars when coming down a mountain or a steep hill as I think that drop bars would allow you to get in a more stable position. Or am I wrong on this?
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Old 08-29-14, 08:49 AM
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I don't use drop bars, so I can't say which is more stable, I just know that I don't really worry about stability. One bike has flipped Albatross bars and one has Nashbar trekking bars. I have more hand positions on the trekking bars, but I still may prefer the Albatross. Both are serviceable and have been on short tours. I can grab the a-bars at the bend when I want to change positions or get down a little lower under the wind. Can't brake from that position, though.

Personally, when it comes to choosing a bike, I look at the frame: does it fit, how will it ride, how easily will it accommodate whatever equipment I want use? I wouldn't get hung up on an individual component like the handle bars or chain rings. But then I seem to have tastes that don't fall in line with most pre-configured bikes, so I just plan on the fact that I will be swapping out a lot of parts. If the frame fits my needs, everything else will follow.
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Old 08-29-14, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E
I don't use drop bars, so I can't say which is more stable, I just know that I don't really worry about stability. One bike has flipped Albatross bars and one has Nashbar trekking bars. I have more hand positions on the trekking bars, but I still may prefer the Albatross. Both are serviceable and have been on short tours. I can grab the a-bars at the bend when I want to change positions or get down a little lower under the wind. Can't brake from that position, though.

Personally, when it comes to choosing a bike, I look at the frame: does it fit, how will it ride, how easily will it accommodate whatever equipment I want use? I wouldn't get hung up on an individual component like the handle bars or chain rings. But then I seem to have tastes that don't fall in line with most pre-configured bikes, so I just plan on the fact that I will be swapping out a lot of parts. If the frame fits my needs, everything else will follow.
Well, when choosing a frame I would see it as important to know if I was going to use Drops or Flats as the Top Tube is usually longer on a frame designed for Flats bars. It is possible to fiddle with various lengths of stems and saddle positions to achieve the right position, but it's much easier to start with the right frame for the bars.

It's now much easier to get more hand positions even with Flat bars these days as Bar Ends have become better designed (Ergon being a case in point.)
I've often wondered about using Albatross bars for touring and looking at these it would seem that a longer Top Tube or a Stem the length of a Football field would be necessary.
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Old 08-29-14, 09:53 AM
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Bar type for touring appears to be a regional thing, most touring bikes in USA appear to be drop bars, but most of the touring bikes I saw in continental Europe were flat bars.

Originally Posted by bikemig
...I'm a little skeptical though of flat bars when coming down a mountain or a steep hill as I think that drop bars would allow you to get in a more stable position. Or am I wrong on this?
I used a touring bike with a suspension fork and drop bars on White Rim Trail in Canyonlands, about 100 miles of 4X4 road. The other nine guys in our group all used full suspension mountain bikes with flat bars. It was a vehicle supported trip, we did not haul our camping gear on the bikes. The drop bars made me lean farther forward, that put more weight on my front wheel which was a disadvantage when going down really steep hills because I was a bit more concerned about going over the bars (I had no panniers on the bike for weight) and the additional weight on the front wheel was a clear disadvantage in soft sand. But when the headwinds started blowing, I was really happy I had the drops for more aerodynamic posture.



I really think it is a personal preference thing, I prefer drops but some others prefer flat bars.
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Old 08-29-14, 09:54 AM
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26"wheel LHT is another option .. my Koga Miyata WTR is also a 26" wheel bike.. Trekking bars & Rohloff hub FTW. (IMO)
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Old 08-29-14, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by onbike 1939
Well, when choosing a frame I would see it as important to know if I was going to use Drops or Flats as the Top Tube is usually longer on a frame designed for Flats bars. It is possible to fiddle with various lengths of stems and saddle positions to achieve the right position, but it's much easier to start with the right frame for the bars.
True. I don't care for flat bars. On the few bikes that came with them, I ended up swapping them for something else. But then I also don't care for drops, so I never had to deal with transitioning a bike with flat bars to a bike with drops (although my main ride is a bike that most people use drops on, and I do not). But if your preference is for drops, I would look at the frame with drops in mind. It has certainly been done. I've been happy with my alternate handlebars, but I've never taken to flats. It's not just the lack of hand positions, but it's that I don't find the primary hand position comfortable for any extended amount of time. Being able to switch positions is nice, but I still prefer a handlebar where the primary hand position is the most comfortable, and that has not been flat bars for me.

Originally Posted by onbike 1939
It's now much easier to get more hand positions even with Flat bars these days as Bar Ends have become better designed (Ergon being a case in point.)
I've often wondered about using Albatross bars for touring and looking at these it would seem that a longer Top Tube or a Stem the length of a Football field would be necessary.
I have a Long Haul Trucker. I was kind of between two sizes, and chose the larger, so I have a slightly longer top tube than some, plus I put the longest stem I could find on it. So, yes, there are some adjustments to be made. Being able to play football in the space between my seat and my handlebars is just a fringe benefit. I got the frame knowing I was unlikely to put drop bars on it, but knowing that I was even less likely to put a flat bar on it, so I made sure the frame would be a good fit running some of the bars that I did like. So far, so good.
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Old 08-29-14, 10:19 AM
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Troll user here with flat bars w/Ergon grips and Rohloff...

No issues with using flat bars with regards to going down hills or anything really for that matter. Think about it like this : MTB riders use mostly flat bars and hit some seriously high speeds on rough terrain. The stuff most tourists see is nowhere as bad. I regularly hit 50 km/h + and never felt safer.

Trolls are just a fun bike to have around that can take some serious abuse doing whatever you want. Love mine.
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Old 08-29-14, 12:44 PM
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Here is the cockpit on my Troll. Lots of hand positions. I can ride this bike all day on or offroad, using 26" wheels or 700c. It's a great all around bike, mostly used for commuting and touring.

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Old 08-29-14, 04:35 PM
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I love my troll, though I switched out the stock cruiser-style bars for nashbar butterfly bars with ergon grips. I'm also using a Delta Design stem riser, so I'm nearly fully upright while riding, because I ride in urban traffic and want to be more visible. I think you can't go wrong with the Troll -- so many braze-ons!! -- I'm running Velo Orange stainless steel fender, the stock Avid BB-7 disc brakes, and pannier racks front and rear, with zero interference and very little kludging of the connections for all that. Go get it before it's gone, IMHO...

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Old 08-29-14, 04:41 PM
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Here's a pic. I find it to be a very versatile bike.


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