Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Surly love

I mentioned hording in my last post. I've said (and un-said) lame and wrong things about Surly hubs. Some person started following my blog who is a Surly guy. And Surly has just put up some new stuff on their site. All of this Surly-ness prompts a quickie.

Hording: God I know I have a problem with hording. I am unloading though. In the last few months, I got rid of my two RB1 frames (well, one was Liza's; one was mine), a Kogswell frame, a fully built up RB-T, and my beloved Trek 720. There's probably more, but a lot of bikes find me and then go away, so I don't keep exact track. Next up is another RB-T frame and another RB-1 frame.

The point: there is a frame I'd love to horde. Because I fear it will go away. I fear it will go away because people don't get how rad it is and it will go the way of the Instigator. Anyway, it is a 58 cm Surly LHT with 26" wheels. That's the frame set I want to horde. I don't need it now, but someday I will and I fear it will be gone. I am strong and I will not horde. It is the old way. But I'd trade an RB-T and/or an RB-1 frame for one if that worked for someone. Doh!

Other interesting Surly new stuff is on their blog (thanks for the link Ventura).
  • There's a new trailer that looks overbuilt in that Surly way. Hauls up to 300 lbs.
  • There's a bike called the Troll which looks to be a direct competitor to Salsa's Fargo.
  • There's a new Pugsley rim which is drilled and light looking. (For a giant rim)
  • And there's a Pugsley complete bike for $1550. Which is great. Since Salsa just released a Pugsley compete that ships for about the same cost. I've been wanting a Pugsley forever, but I just can't justify it. Which is kind of weird. We need to encourage everyone who thinks they want a Pugsley to buy one. Then in about 3-4 years, I should be able to get the frameset, wheels, and tires nice and cheap ... used.
  • And there's some other minor updates to Steamroller, KM, Longbike, etc.

Anyway, the point here is to show some Surly love. The Surly people make solid, high-value bikes. I don't own any, but whenever someone asks me what they should get as a commuter, I always say a x-check or a LHT: best value around for a daily single bike-owner commuter.


Anonymous said...

The Pug would be perfect for the John Wayne. There, justified.

The Check front fork gets a threaded rack hole, many people swap for LHT forks but don't have to now.

I think the LHT at 26" will be popular with the touring crowd. At least that's how I'd roll. Why do you think they'll discontinue?

I met a guy whose shimano hub went out while backwoods touring.

John Speare said...

I should clarify -- I don't think the LHT is going anywhere anytime soon.

Until last year, if you wanted a LHT with 26" wheels, you had to buy a 54cm or smaller. 56 and larger came with 700c. Now you can get any sized frame for 26" wheels. I'm afraid the large frames with 26" wheel size option will go away.

Anonymous said...

No I understood, I'm just saying I'd guess 26 is popular in any size frame for tourers. Why do you think they may discontinue?

I'd bet LHT is the most popular surly?

I have a pic on my blog of another Pugsley like bike, the Fatback, Ti frame made in Anchorage.

Not said...

The direct link is at the bottom, "permalink to this entry":

I prefer the (complete) Pugsley to the Mukluk because I can't afford to run $100 tires 12 months a year, and with the 65mm rims on the Pugsley I can use some cheap 2.5" tires when I won't be on snow or sand. I also prefer trigger shifters to grip shifters (except for recumbents.) Of course I'm making some assumptions about the parts on the Surly, since I don't have solid information.
- Ventura

John Speare said...

Nate: I'd also guess the LHT is the most popular bike.

I think the 26" wheel size may be sort of popular for some "expedition" style tourers -- who view it as the only wheelsize that is available throughout the world. I've never really subscribed to that argument for picking a wheelsize -- I get the argument -- but I also get the idea of carrying a spare tire or having one mailed to you for all but the most extreme cases...

I like 26" wheel size for this bike because it's tougher, more nimble, and just seems right for a loaded tourer. I don't have a great technical justification.

My sense is that many people like 700c wheels because they "seem right." How else do you explain all the sub 55cm road bikes with 700c wheels. That just doesn't make a shred of sense geometrically -- many people feel that "road" bikes MUST have 700c wheels.

My thinking is that many people fitting larger tourer bikes would rather just go 700c, especially if you get the fattness that the LHT offers -- why get a "slower" wheel?

So in the end -- my fear of the 26" wheeled big LHT's going away is just a hunch based on the general love of 700c "road" style bikes. Something to worry about. A justification to horde. Nothing else.

Ventura: thanks for the link. I updated the post.

Tarik Saleh said...

Ah, Crap, I missed the Pugsly complete bike! I may be doing some sort of elaborate trade involving bikes unridden in boxes in the basement, that may net me a Mukalakulu and am now torn! I would love to see the specs on the Pugs complete. I think Surly and Salsa share QBP as the corporate overlord, so I am not sure there is any real competition between the two.

John Speare said...

Tarik: I thought Salsa was Merry Cycles house brand? Is it QBP? That doesn't make sense to me... given the bikes under each brand. Civia makes sense as another QBP house brand though. But my memory is mostly crap.

Get one of those fat tired bikes! When you tire of it remember your pal up in Spokane.

Tarik Saleh said...

I think Merry Cycles has Soma.
Salsa, Civia, Surly all are QBP:

If the elaborate system of pullies and levers works I should be able to get a fat bike. Maybe....

Bryan B said...

Oh man, I've been looking into getting a X-check here pretty soon. Seems like I get reminded everywhere I look.

Any Surly vendors in Spokane? I'm looking at getting a x-check complete and would like to buy through a LBS.

rory said...

you know, i was thinking to myself that the pug/mukaduck is weird and unnecesary. riding forest service roads, why do you need anything more then 584x42?

now, i see why. as a westsider, i dont get that much snow, but on the eastside, yeah, the snows out there. and it could be fun to ride, if you have the right equipment which would be a pug. i'm thinking this could be fun.

and i like weird but cool things that people dont normally buy. that's why I have an ENO hub. i don't know if I'll use it, but seriously, an eccentric hub? that's some cool machining.

John Speare said...

Bryan B - unfortunately there is no LBS (that I know of) in Spokane that stocks X-checks and LHTs. They can all order them, and you may occasionally see one built up in a shop -- but it's frustrating that none of the shops here embrace these bikes.

And the KM is a pretty perfect Spokane year round bike. I wish Surly did a geared version as a complete bike.

Rory: Agreed for mountain biking on mega fat tires. I rode a Pugsley in the snow last year and it ruled pretty hard. And I think it would be intersting for beach riding where you encounter sand and big rocks. And it would be good for the rail trails where just the rails have been pulled up and there's huge rocks left.

And other stuff. I can think of a lot of uses for a Pugs.

jimmythefly said...

The catch-22 of hoarding is that when a cool new bike or widget comes out, I have trouble justifying it's purchase because I already have a similar bike in the basement.

Usually the new bike may be just like my hoarded bike except for one or two completely awesome details, but the importance and earth-moving ramifications of those is often difficult to convince my spouse of.

I'm really going to want one of the new Rawlands, but I'll for sure have to sell of some hoarded frames/bikes to justify one.

Anonymous said...

I love my Pug. It's not nimble or fast but it will handle ANYTHING you throw at it. Riding the loose stuff down by the river today was crazy fun

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, maybe I can get Steph to respond to the 700 on a small frame issue. ;)

I think you (and Grant Peterson) may be just a bit conservative with the 55cm cutoff. Even my check is a 54 and 700s are fine. Look at the pix of Kent Peterson on his niner. It fits.

I prefer 26 for touring (and in fact it's my favorite wheel). Supposedly, as the most ubiquitous wheel, you can always find a tube at any general store in the sticks. But that actually proved not to be the case on my last tour--the hardware stores had 12, 16, 20, 27s, but the 26s were sold out BECAUSE they were the most popular size...and no one bothered to reorder because they still had so many other tubes to sell. Heh.

The very large size LHT frames with the 26ers remind me just a bit of the minivelos, a look I like. For people who only want one wheel size on all their bikes, the LHT is a roadish bike in 6ers. 6ers represent!

I also think the LHT is probably a quality bike that could market to general audience that might otherwise go to Walmart, and the 26 inch wheel size is more familiar. That would change the equation.

I think Surly should also offer a complete with an albatross/dove bar. (But I would, right?) Drop bars are another intimidation factor that may help them cross over. Bianchi seems to be having success with a straight bar San Jose. I'm always surprised who I see riding those.

I'd be interested to see how the 26 vs 700 LHT sales figures look in the large sizes, if Surly shared them.

John Speare said...

I'm talking specifically about small road bikes with 700c wheels. 29ers are a whole different ball of wax -- they can slacken the headtube to hades and do all sorts of unnatural acts with the downtube to get it out of the way of the tire, and they push the front out with a longer topetube too.

But on road bikes, where I prefer the handling of a mid-trail bike (around 55mm) that is the result of a steepish HA (73 or more) and moderate rake (neighborhood of 40-50mm) -- you simply can't do that on smaller frames with 700c wheels. It's phsyically impossible w/out doing weird stuff to eliminate TCO... so, most bikes just slacken the headtube till kingdom come. Which rides fine. But I prefer bikes that are a bit twitchier up front... Not everyone does.

I think your observation about the intimidation of drop bars on the LHT are interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, so there may be at least a tiny "shred of sense" to sub-55 700s? ;) Handling preferences are definitely one consideration, but there are others.

If below 55 700 is nonsensical, there are a lot of nonsensical bicycles.

26 definitely allows more frame options. I like Steph's Pulse for that reason. It's sold as a kid's bike, but it's a great road design for short adults.

I think she prefers the Elephant loaner though, with 650s.

650s. Now there's an argument waiting to happen.

michael said...

I've tried to interest Beth in the 26" LHT for a year. Even when standing in front of one in a Seattle LBS, she didn't want to try it out.
I don't say this often but if anyone(John,Nate) wants to convince her into buying a new modern era bike, I won't frown on the idea.