Author Topic: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee  (Read 8040 times)

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Offline peterswim

Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« on: November 12, 2012, 07:16:14 pm »
I'm in the market for a new touring bike.  After 12 years and 10,000 miles I need to replace my Cannondale T-2000 due to cracked head tube.  BTW - Kudos to Cannondale for honoring a warranty and giving me a replacement, although not a T-2000 as it is no longer made.

On a ACA ride this summer the ACA support crew recommended the LHT, but the Randonee got some praise too.  I think I understand the pros/cons of each bike, but would like to get some opinions from other experienced riders.  I'm 6' 2" and will need a big frame.

What do people like/dislike about these two options?

Offline tsteven4

Re: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 07:34:53 pm »
I would check out bruce gordon  I believe he has some 56cm Taiwanese BLTs left.  I have a Japanese BLT and my wife has a Petaluma BLT; 10,000miles is just a warmup for these puppies.  I am 5'11" and ride a 52cm BLT or a 51cm R&R ex, so the 56 might fit.  Of course he will make you a R&R in what ever size, but they are quite a bit more than the bikes you listed.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 08:20:51 pm »
The LHT and Randonee are similar. Test ride both and buy the one that feels best. It's really as simple as that.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2012, 10:26:57 am »
I'm almost with John on the "test ride and buy" recommendation.  If there's an REI near you that has this (last) year's size XL in stock, try it and buy if you like it.  But REI has been tinkering with the spec on the Randonnee for the last few years.  For a couple years around 2009 they had a road gears with a 30-28 low gear, IIRC.  For loaded touring, you want MTB gears, like a 26-34 low.  I'd wait and see how this (next) year's bike is spec'ed before I pulled the trigger.

FWIW, OP, I'm your height and the XL has fit me pretty well.  My 2006 frame broke in 2009, and REI treated me well; gave me a new bike, and then retrofitted the cassette, fenders, front rack, saddle, and the adjustable stem to get the bars up where I needed them.  They even double-checked the wheel, and I ended up crossing the country with no broken spokes.  Oh, and this frame has over 10,000 miles and is still going strong.

Also FWIW, close to half the other tourists we met had an LHT, and nobody had anything bad to say about them.


  • Guest
Re: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2012, 10:32:46 am »
The Surly site has more detail over the spectrum of sizes than the REI site. For exampple, the Surly site tells you the stock bar width for
all frame sizes. The REI site contains no bar width information at all. As a broad-shouldered person who is also 6' 2",
something like that is important to me. I also don't see any geometry information, but maybe I am missing something. And, of course,
the LHT is available in more sizes and with 26" wheels. I would at least try to get more detailed information from REI. As noted,
test rides of both would be ideal.

Overall, I am pleased with my LHT. My first one was stolen and I didn't hesitate to buy a second one.

Offline nlsteve

Re: Touring Bikes - Surly LHT vs Novarra Randonee
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 04:05:57 pm »
I have the 2012 Randonee. Great bike, and I would buy it again in a munite.  I am about 6'0 and have the large, which I believe is 58 cm (not sure).  I recommend you try both the L & XL.

The Surly LHT is a great bike and is the most fashionable touring bike right now. But my advice is to widen your net when looking for the right bike, right bike shop, best deal, and so forth.  The bikes in this price range are generally comparable to each other and are good touring bikes. You may find one that's best for you, but it's really not possible to say that any particular model, including the LHT, is the "best," period.  I'm not knocking the LHT by any means, just saying that there are other great bikes out there as well, but with smaller fan bases.