The three bikes I’ve had my eye on are:
- Surly Long Haul Trucker
- Co-Motion Pangea
- Kona Sutra
The reasons? LHT came highly recommended by other users (Dave included), I saw a very convincing review (by bicycletouringpro, whose actual name is Darren Alff. I subscribe to his blog and often watch his YouTube videos for inspiration) for the Pangea and I just like the name of the Kona Sutra.
And today, after doing tons of research online, I went out to look at the actual bikes.
Kona Sutra was quickly disqualified because it doesn’t come in 26″ wheels and those were pretty much a deal breaker for me. The Co-Motion bikes are beautiful and very expensive. Or maybe they’re moderately expensive when it comes to touring bikes and maybe some day, when I can afford the splurge, I’ll revisit them. But for now, staying on budget is my motto. And the LHT is a fantastic deal. For less than $2000 I can get it outfitted and ready to go.
I tested out the LHT, with disc brakes and drop down bars. Let’s just say I hate drop down bars. I’m not sure what to do with them. I don’t like that lean forward posture, which doesn’t allow me to really look around and see where I’m going. I like a straight bar and after I tested another bike, a Surly Troll that came with a Jones Loop, which is a straight bar slightly curved, I was sold. It was very comfy! Of course, the guys at the bike shop (I’m going with Counterbalance in the U-District, that’s right off Burke-Gilman Trail and close to U-Village) can swap the handlebars, so once I settled on the LHT I decided to go with the loop instead of the standard drop down bars.
BTW, the reason why I didn’t like the Troll as much as the Long Haul Trucker is that the Troll is more of a mountain bike, designed for long distances. Although it was comfortable, it definitely felt heavier than the LHT.
As for the other specs: Of course, the wheels are 26″. The saddle will be the one I already own, a Brooks saddle that I love. I decided to go with the old skool Cantilever brakes, instead of disc brakes, because they’re suppose to be more common all over the world, and are easier to transport. I’ll need racks, a center kick stand, three water bottle holders, new Schwalbe Marathon tires, panniers… This is not going to be cheap, but hopefully it will be the right bike and I’ll love it forever and never want to part with it.
So now I’m waiting for the bike shop to call back with the final price, drop the deposit and most likely collect my new baby by the end of next week!