Author Topic: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?  (Read 7037 times)

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Offline bicycleadventurer

LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« on: February 27, 2016, 08:34:41 pm »
I am looking at the LHT but they only sell the bike with 26 inch wheels in the 50cm size.  I wonder if the smaller wheels will affect me riding mostly paved but also some gravel and single track routes.  Can I put 700cc wheels on this bike?

Also, it appears the stem changes very much between the 50cm and 52 cm bike.  How will this affect me?

Also, bar end shifters would be a disaster for my riding style.  What other shifter/brake system could I put on a smaller LHT?

Also, what is a good alternative to this bike?

Here is the link to the LHT site.  http://surlybikes.com/bikes/disc_trucker/bike_specs

Offline DaveB

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2016, 09:47:22 am »
26" wheels are used on smaller frames to reduce the stand-over height and toe overlap  without having to make the geometry odd. 

Tire choice will have a greater effect on your riding than just wheel size.  Smooth road tires and heavy tread or knobby off-road/ gravel tires are both available in 26" so pick the ones that suit where you will ride.

Stems are easy and relatively inexpensive to change and your dealer could provide one that fits you despite what comes standard on the bike.

Any other type of shifter will work on the LHT from downtube to brifters.  The dealer could change the barends for any type you wish.  BTW, consider the Gevenelle/Retroshift type.  They could use the levers from the stock barends and put them in easy reach of you hands on the brake levers. 

There are numerous good touring bikes from other makers too.  The Trek 520 is very popular but Salsa, REI and many others are available.

Offline bicycleadventurer

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2016, 05:26:33 pm »
Thanks for the reply.  I will be making this decision about bikes very soon, so I need all the help I can get.  I looked at the Gevenelle shifters.  I think brifters would be easier/faster.  In my riding style, I do a lot of shifting for small hills, etc.  I will be adding a handlebar bag of some type to my current pannier system, but will have to figure out how to make room for the brifters if those can be done.

Is this a hard conversion?  Could I do it myself?

I guess I am worried about being too low/long on the smaller wheels.  Also, larger wheels seems to make sense considering the length of my tour, up to 4,500 miles.

I am thinking about custom building a Surly Troll, or looking at more off the shelf bikes like the Novara Safari, Trek 520, .  I kind of like their handlebar arrangement on the Safari.

Looking for super low gearing for the hills...
Able to get up to speed on the flats
As light a bike as I can get...
Durable....(maybe does not go well with super-light)
Drop handlebars probably don't make a lot of sense for my riding style...
Built as a tourer with weight capacity, braze-on's etc
Disc brakes...are hydraulic disc brakes unreasonable on a long U.S. tour?

Riding Trek 7.2 now...

« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 05:28:44 pm by bicycleadventurer »

Offline RonK

LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2016, 05:46:26 pm »
I don't see why you imagine an issue with 26" wheels. One of my bikes is a 26" expedition tourer acquired specifically to ride the Carretera Austral  in Patagonia. It can handle any conditions you throw at it.
A lower center of gravity is no disadvantage, particularly if you are vertically challenged.
And 26" tires/tubes are more widely available than 700c.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline bicycleadventurer

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2016, 05:54:43 pm »
Thanks Ron.  Seems like the LHT was made for 700cc wheels, but they went to a smaller wheel to accommodate the smaller frame size.  I am not against 26 inch wheels, but when they start putting smaller wheels on to make the bike fit, then what else is not going to fit? So the standover height is better, but does that lower the bike too much?  I guess, I was just fishing for anyone who is running 26 inch wheels on the LHT, what they thought of them.

What bike did you choose to run the Carretera Austral?

Offline DaveB

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2016, 08:27:48 pm »
You seem set on a bike with 700c wheels even if 26" wheels were chosen for several good reasons in this case.   

Offline bicycleadventurer

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2016, 09:30:29 pm »
Thanks for the responses.  Every bike has trade off's.  I would rather have 700cc wheels, but you can't have everything you always want.  Part of it is, it looks great on the floor, how will it do on the trip?  For that I am asking the voices of experience.

I have read on another forum the LHT is fairly low and the smaller wheels would make it even lower.   Right now I am looking at options, today there are many choices in touring bikes.  But if I go with a LHT I want to make sure it works well with smaller wheels.

Offline RonK

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2016, 11:51:35 pm »

What bike did you choose to run the Carretera Austral?
I have a 26" Van Nicholas Pioneer. It's titanium and has a 14 speed Rohloff IGH.

Again I don't see why you think the 26" LHT will be too low. The smaller wheel size is used to maintain the geometry viz. toe overlap and seat tube angle. The bottom bracket drop is also reduced to compensate for the smaller diameter wheels. You need to inspect one in the flesh.
A small frame with 700c wheels is likely to have more compromises I think.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline bicycleadventurer

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2016, 09:57:23 am »
That is great advice.  My bike shop has larger truckers in stock but not truckers with smaller wheels.  I will try to find the real deal so I can try it out.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2016, 12:12:54 pm »
I have a friend with a 52CM sized LHT.  It also comes with 26" wheels, and it rides fine.  Surly did not just plop on a set of 26" wheels, the brake bosses and fork crown were placed for 26" wheels.

If you do not want a bike with 26" wheels, then look at a bike other than the LHT.  I also ride a 50CM frame, and it is possible to get a touring bike in that size that is based on a 700C wheel.

Touring bikes often come with bar end shifters as the they are more reliable than brifters.  I have been screwed over enough times that the last time they gunked up on me I seriously considered down tube shifters.  I like bar end shifters, but you cannot put them on a short wheelbase road bike as you might get stabbed by them.  So I replaced the brifters on my criterium bike with another set of brifters.  The speed with which you can shift is rarely a big deal on a touring bike, and I have never found bar end shifters to be too slow for me.  There is a period of adjustment but you may grow to like them.  Replacing shifters is not difficult, as long as you can cut cable housing and set up the derailleur afterwards. There are special tools for cutting cable and crimping the end fitting.  I like cutting housing with a metal cutting blade on a Dremel Tool.  You will have to rewrap your handle bars too.  Again, that is not hard, and I would recommend using vinyl electical tape to terminate the end rather that whatever tape comes with the bar wrap.

Brifters are pretty expensive, and the dealer will want a fair amount to do the conversion for you.
Danno

Offline bicycleadventurer

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2016, 11:32:22 pm »
Thanks for the advice on the bar-end shifters.  The dealer is quoting $180 to change out the shifters.

It is really exciting being in the market for a new ride.  I don't get where they call these "budget" bikes as this is a healthy investment for me.  Since there are two of us, this is twice as expensive.  So I want to get it right the first time.

There are a lot of bikes to choose from, and we could stick with our Trek 7.2's as well.  At that price point, you can make a few mistakes including replacing them mid-trip in the event of catastrophic failure.  Whatever we ride, we want to be good ambassadors for the sport. 

Some of our lack of knowledge will come with more experience.  I am sure the topic of best bikes, wheel height and the LHT have been discussed somewhere before. 

We appreciate all the support we have been getting in various forums. 
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 12:41:39 am by bicycleadventurer »

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2016, 04:01:24 pm »
My GF is 5' even and has the smallest LHT made, which, of course, has 26" wheels. She had ridden it on paved roads and unpaved roads with and without a trailer. She has also ridden it on D2R2, which is a hilly, mostly dirt randonee ride in Mass. The 26" wheels are fine.

Offline Tandem Tom

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2016, 09:21:54 pm »
My wife and I ride LHT's with 26" wheels. This was a deliberate choice as I wanted to have a robust wheel that I could run wide tires. I have 2" Schwalbe Marathon Supremes on both bikes. I think I have become spoiled with the cushier ride!

Offline RonK

Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2016, 10:14:19 pm »

I have 2" Schwalbe Marathon Supremes on both bikes. I think I have become spoiled with the cushier ride!
Fast too, for such a high volume tire.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Biketouringhobo

  • Guest
Re: LHT with 26 Inch Wheels?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2016, 11:09:55 am »
I love my Surly LHT 26in Wheels 52cm 2008
26X1.75 Continental Touring Plus