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-   -   LHT vs Trek 520 // Which size? Which bike? Classic question, plz help! (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1168789)

Winky 03-21-19 08:55 AM

LHT vs Trek 520 // Which size? Which bike? Classic question, plz help!
 
I am excited to purchase one of these two bicycles and also to ask this question which has been asked many times before.

I am a 5.25foot (63inch / 160.02cm) tall woman with an inseam of 30.11" (76.5cm). I took other measurements if more are needed.

I live in Toronto, Canada and since no stores carry the bikes in my size I will have to order one without a test ride.

I did a fitting at a Trek store (on their fit bike) where they said the 48" size would fit me. I can get the 2018 model for 1500$ plus tax & shipping (this bike is not in Toronto, so I still can't test ride it).

I can also get a 46 LHT with the parts swapped from a 50cm frameset. The frameset is a bit older so doesn't have the 'ED' internal rust-resistant coating that newer Surlys have. Or purchase the the 50cm. These are 1500$ plus tax. This store also has a 46cm Disc Trucker from 2017 which is $1795 plus tax. These are also not available to test ride.

I am touring the East Coast this summer and Taiwan in the winter of 2020.

PLEASE HELP!

One of my legs is also 1.5 inches shorter than the other leg.

Darth Lefty 03-21-19 09:21 AM


Originally Posted by Winky (Post 20848276)
I am excited to purchase one of these two bicycles and also to ask this question which has been asked many times before.

I am a 5.25foot (63inch / 160.02cm) tall woman with an inseam of 30.11" (76.5cm). I took other measurements if more are needed.

I live in Toronto, Canada and since no stores carry the bikes in my size I will have to order one without a test ride.

I did a fitting at a Trek store (on their fit bike) where they said the 48" size would fit me. I can get the 2018 model for 1500$ plus tax & shipping (this bike is not in Toronto, so I still can't test ride it).

I can also get a 46 LHT with the parts swapped from a 50cm frameset. The frameset is a bit older so doesn't have the 'ED' internal rust-resistant coating that newer Surlys have. Or purchase the the 50cm. These are 1500$ plus tax. This store also has a 46cm Disc Trucker from 2017 which is $1795 plus tax. These are also not available to test ride.

I am touring the East Coast this summer and Taiwan in the winter of 2020.

PLEASE HELP!

One of my legs is also 1.5 inches shorter than the other leg.

Thatís a big difference. Did the fitter suggest anything for your shorter leg, like a shorter crank or pedal block? Or do you have a platform shoe? Did you feel comfortable on the fit bike? If the bike is only fit for your shorter leg you might be pretty bunched up on the longer leg, which wonít do your knee any favors.

Winky 03-21-19 09:31 AM

They fit for the longer leg and added a shorter crank to the shorter side. It did feel comfortable but it was hard to tell since it didn't really feel like being on a bicycle? I did feel stable and my hips weren't shifting around.

Am open to suggestions to other ways of correcting it but am not too worried about being able to address it. Right now I have a second pedal zip-tied to my pedal : ( This is going to be a major upgrade! I do have insoles which correct a small amount of the difference.

schoolboy2 03-21-19 09:39 AM


This store also has a 46cm Disc Trucker from 2017 which is $1795 plus tax. These are also not available to test ride.
Why wouldn't they let you test ride it? I wouldn't buy any bike that I couldn't test ride it or a similar model beforehand.
Fit is very critical for touring; you're in the saddle for hours each day and if the fit isn't close to perfect, there will be problems.
In your situation, with a significant difference in leg length, you really should have the fit dialed in before heading off on two long tours.

schoolboy2 03-21-19 09:42 AM

Almost forgot ...
The Trek 520 will have 700 mm wheels and the LHT in your size will have 26" wheels. This may make a difference to you, or maybe not. I have heard that for tours in less developed regions, 26 inch wheels are better as parts are more readily available.

Winky 03-21-19 09:46 AM

The Surlys aren't assembled and are also not in Toronto. He won't assemble without a commitment to purchase. This is why I am here asking the experts : )

Darth Lefty 03-21-19 10:18 AM

Edited.

I think I'd still go for the Trek.
Includes pedals and a rear rack.
Disk brakes with no upcharge
The 2017-18 bike actually has a higher spec par with the LHT compared to the 2019,which went down a notch on the drivetrain but switched from bar-end to STI shifters and added a front rack

fietsbob 03-21-19 10:45 AM

Business Models..
 
My town has a Trek Dealership , and it has a QBP account, so both can be ordered ..

Shop has a revolving Credit account with Trek, but QBP has to charge the Businesses Credit card account.
before shipping.. ,
Trek accepts delayed paying for the bike, from it's sale..






...

indyfabz 03-21-19 10:51 AM

My ex-GF is 5' even. She rode the smallest size available in 2011. Can't remember if that was 44cm or 42cm. Either way, I am wondering if a 46cm would be too large for you.

The specs I found on line show the LHT with a 30x36 low gear. The 2018 Trek with a 26x32 low gear. Haven't done the math, but I am not sure the Trek's low end is lower than the LHT's. In any event, it's easy and cheap to drop the 30t small ring to a 26t, 24t or even 22t. I went from a 26t to 24t a while back.

Winky 03-21-19 11:02 AM

I did test ride a 42cm Surly Disc Trucker and it was very small, my knees were hitting the bars.

gauvins 03-21-19 11:24 AM

Are you POSITIVE that you can't test ride a Surly in Toronto?? Large city with plenty of Surly shops. I understand that you are in the market for a smaller than usual size, but, still... have you tried to email Surly's customer support?

Worst case could be to get them to agree to let you try either size if you commit to purchase the one that fits best.

Your story would be prime material for social networks (XYZ shop gets out of its way to fit an adventurous customer). Surly's PR (or a local shop) may well be tempted to go the extra mile for you in exchange for a picture or 2. :)

Darth Lefty 03-21-19 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 20848506)
The specs I found on line show the LHT with a 30x36 low gear. The 2018 Trek with a 26x32 low gear. Haven't done the math, but I am not sure the Trek's low end is lower than the LHT's.

That's pretty close. The 2018 thing threw me for a moment. The 2019 models both use the new 9x11-36 cassettes. It looks like Surly chose to go from "trekking" to "road" crank and keep the low gear about the same (30-36), while Trek kept the trekking crank and went one shift lower (26-36).

Darth Lefty 03-21-19 11:35 AM

Some other options.

I guess REI is not in Canada but there's one in Rochester. REI sells a touring bike called Co-op ADV 1.1 (formerly Novara Randonee).
Comes with racks and pedals
https://www.rei.com/product/122462/c...es-adv-11-bike

Fuji's touring bike was more affordable than either the Trek or the Surly but with the recent demise of Performance Bike, I'm not sure who's selling them now. I see it on Chain Reaction Cycles.
Shown with fenders, rear rack, pedals, and lights but none of that is in the description which is confusing
https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod179634

indyfabz 03-21-19 12:20 PM


Originally Posted by Winky (Post 20848537)
I did test ride a 42cm Surly Disc Trucker and it was very small, my knees were hitting the bars.

I am wondering if hers is a 44cm. I don't seem to recall a 42cm available back then.

MarcusT 03-21-19 11:19 PM

Being in Europe I had to buy the LHT blind and build it up from the frame. I have no regrets even though there were a few problems with fit. I wanted flat bars, so I had to change for a longer stem, I also had to get a bigger frame.
I like to work on bikes, so the build up was more of a pleasure and a challenge.
If you want a tour ready bike, I would suggest the Trek.
Not only for the fact that it comes tour ready from the factory, but if you have any problems on the road, you'll have a warranty that is valid through out most of the world.

djb 03-25-19 06:10 PM

my wife is about 5ft, maybe 5'1", and her XS Troll fits her really well. Different bike, diff bars, but gives an idea.
The 26in wheels on these bikes are nice for both standover, and not having toe overlap (your toes hitting the front wheel when you turn the wheel a lot in low speed turns)
Im surprised in Toronto you can't fine a LHT to try, here in Montreal there are a few stores that physically have various surly models in store--but I guess to be fair, given its a XS or S, maybe stores can't stock these ones that won't get sold for a long time.

in any case, surly bikes tend to have longer "top tubes" than some other bikes, this affects the reach from saddle to bars, but within reason, a change of the stem, the part that holds the handlebar, and come in various lengths and angles , can fine tune your position.
Just be wary of being sold a bike taht is a bit too big for you, I've seen this so many times with women I have know over the years.

oh , as for the shorter leg, a family member has about the same difference, and yes, it will always be good to compensate for this with whatever means you can, specifically for avoiding hip rocking, and of course, proper leg muscle use and easier on the knee of the longer leg (which if you rode a bike without any compensation, you would set the seat height for the shorter leg, to not overextend it if set up for the longer leg)
As you say, workarounds and fine tuning of pedal block combined with your shoe riser insole, will deal with this properly in the future, no matter the bike--but yes, as said, long hours riding and harder work riding a heavier bike will show up bad seat positioning for knees and leg muscles, so important to get sorted no matter what.

djb 03-25-19 06:34 PM

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...3eb696e3e0.png
ps, the first drop bar bike my wife ever owned is a XS Giant Avail (43cm I think) from about 6 or 7 years ago. They even put on a shorter stem for her (a rather short one, probably 50 or 60mm) and it fit her really well.
What also helped her comfort is that the bars are a bit higher than the seat, which is completely doable on the LHT, but perhaps not on the trek 520.

attached is a screenshot of the geometry of her bike, I would at least suggest riding some xs bikes that you can find test rides on, and note the toptube length etc, to at least have a reference to both the lht and 520, which you arent allowed to ride or even sit on.
Her Giant toptube is said to be 51.5cm, the LHT 42cm EFFECTIVE TT is 505mm, the 46cm is 515--same as the Giant--but you may want a shorter stem.
So this appears to be in the ballpark.

this would be the most prudent way for you to have a real life idea of what X frame dimension feels like riding. And you could even take a tape measure and measure from seat post to front of drop bars of bikes you could ride, jot them down, and compare to the official specs of that bike. You could also measure the toptube, and again compare to what the surly and trek say their bikes dimensions are.

again, I feel the 26in wheel bike to be an advantage for shorter riders especially. I'm 5'10+ and one of my bikes is a 26in Surly with dropbars, and I like how I dont have toe overlap even with fenders and fat tires on. Nice in slow stuff.
26in wheels also result in slightly lower gearing, so a bit easier in first gear going up a hill with heavy bags.

djb 03-25-19 06:41 PM


Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 20848506)
My ex-GF is 5' even. She rode the smallest size available in 2011. Can't remember if that was 44cm or 42cm. Either way, I am wondering if a 46cm would be too large for you.

The specs I found on line show the LHT with a 30x36 low gear. The 2018 Trek with a 26x32 low gear. Haven't done the math, but I am not sure the Trek's low end is lower than the LHT's. In any event, it's easy and cheap to drop the 30t small ring to a 26t, 24t or even 22t. I went from a 26t to 24t a while back.

the 2018 Trek does have lower gearing Indy compared to the 2019 LHT
trek has 48/36/26 and 11-36 9 speed= 19.6 gear inches low gear
LHT 50/39/30 and 11-36 9 speed= 21.6 gear inches

so I was wrong, the Trek has lower gearing.
my checking shows the Trek having a 11-36 cassette, same as LHT

and I dont know the Sora crank 50/39/30, so I dont know if its easy to change the 30t. Remember they changed the bcd of the Tiagra triple crank, you cant go smaller than the stock 30t now, its been a bunch of years now.

BUT, the Trek will certainly have bad toe overlap , especially with fenders.....

hhk25 03-26-19 03:48 AM


Originally Posted by Winky (Post 20848369)
The Surlys aren't assembled and are also not in Toronto. He won't assemble without a commitment to purchase. This is why I am here asking the experts : )

Winky: That's strange. I've worked in bike shops before and we had no problem building up a bike for a potential buyer. Especially a popular bike like a LHT.

I live in Toronto and I'm a big fan of Urbane Cyclist and Mountain Equipment Coop. Suggest you drop in to both shops and ask for advice and test rides. Urbane is a Surly dealer and MEC has a great touring bike called the National.

indyfabz 03-26-19 04:04 AM


Originally Posted by djb (Post 20854916)
the 2018 Trek does have lower gearing Indy compared to the 2019 LHT
trek has 48/36/26 and 11-36 9 speed= 19.6 gear inches low gear
LHT 50/39/30 and 11-36 9 speed= 21.6 gear inches

so I was wrong, the Trek has lower gearing.
my checking shows the Trek having a 11-36 cassette, same as LHT

According to this the low is 26x32:

https://www.trekbicyclesuperstore.co...c-212469-1.htm

djb 03-26-19 07:39 AM


Originally Posted by indyfabz (Post 20855319)
According to this the low is 26x32:

https://www.trekbicyclesuperstore.co...c-212469-1.htm


On the canadian webpage, its marked 11-36

https://www.trekbikes.com/ca/en_CA/b...0/520/p/24000/

djb 03-26-19 07:43 AM

https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...2975712f6e.png
and from webpage photo, you can see the very evident toe overlap--the toeclip in the photo is already touching the tire, and this is without fenders.
Lets face it, S and XS frames with 700 wheels have this, heck even a lot of M sized bikes have it, one of my M frames does a bit, with 28mm tires and no fenders (a cyclocross frame)

lots of people live with it without issues, but some have problems and fall over.

In maybe 89 I bought a new 12 speed bike, 2x6, had fenders put on it, went out the store and within 5 mins had hit my toe on the fender hard enough to cause the fender to get pulled up under the tire, bending the fender all up.
That was my introduction to it.
I appreciate on my 26in Troll that I can fiddle and faddle slowly on a dirt or cobblestone road in Guatemala and not hit my toe on my fenders.

I'm just making the person aware of it.

Winky 03-26-19 02:15 PM


Originally Posted by gauvins (Post 20848585)
Are you POSITIVE that you can't test ride a Surly in Toronto?? Large city with plenty of Surly Shops. I understand that you are in the market for a smaller than usual size, but, still... have you tried to email Surly's customer support?

Worst case could be to get them to agree to let you try either size if you commit to purchase the one that fits best.

Your story would be prime material for social networks (XYZ shop gets out of its way to fit an adventurous customer). Surly's PR (or a local shop) may well be tempted to go the extra mile for you in exchange for a picture or 2. :)

I did call all of the shops on the Surly website, but that was back in November so I can try again now that spring has come. I emailed Surly after starting this thread and they seem pretty confident that I would be a size 46.

Winky 03-26-19 02:25 PM


Originally Posted by djb (Post 20854865)
my wife is about 5ft, maybe 5'1", and her XS Troll fits her really well. Different bike, diff bars, but gives an idea.
The 26in wheels on these bikes are nice for both standover, and not having toe overlap (your toes hitting the front wheel when you turn the wheel a lot in low speed turns)
Im surprised in Toronto you can't fine a LHT to try, here in Montreal there are a few stores that physically have various surly models in store--but I guess to be fair, given its a XS or S, maybe stores can't stock these ones that won't get sold for a long time.

in any case, surly bikes tend to have longer "top tubes" than some other bikes, this affects the reach from saddle to bars, but within reason, a change of the stem, the part that holds the handlebar, and come in various lengths and angles , can fine tune your position.
Just be wary of being sold a bike taht is a bit too big for you, I've seen this so many times with women I have know over the years.

oh , as for the shorter leg, a family member has about the same difference, and yes, it will always be good to compensate for this with whatever means you can, specifically for avoiding hip rocking, and of course, proper leg muscle use and easier on the knee of the longer leg (which if you rode a bike without any compensation, you would set the seat height for the shorter leg, to not overextend it if set up for the longer leg)
As you say, workarounds and fine tuning of pedal block combined with your shoe riser insole, will deal with this properly in the future, no matter the bike--but yes, as said, long hours riding and harder work riding a heavier bike will show up bad seat positioning for knees and leg muscles, so important to get sorted no matter what.

The Trek that I am interested in is in Montreal, so if I decide on the Trek I was planning on taking the train from Toronto to buy it and then bike it back. I could search around the shops there for a Surly too.

The Surly that I found for the discounted price is for sale in Toronto by a friendly but cranky shop owner who will not assemble it without a commitment to purchase. Now I am also finding out that the sale ends this weekend. This is kinda turning me off of this particular Surly! But I like the idea of the lower standover height. I did try the smallest Surly Disc Trucker at a Toronto shop and it was too small. After emailing Surly directly I'm pretty confident I would be a 46.

This is good info about the leg length, did your family member also change the length of the crank?

Winky 03-26-19 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by djb (Post 20854907)
ps, the first drop bar bike my wife ever owned is a XS Giant Avail (43cm I think) from about 6 or 7 years ago. They even put on a shorter stem for her (a rather short one, probably 50 or 60mm) and it fit her really well.
What also helped her comfort is that the bars are a bit higher than the seat, which is completely doable on the LHT, but perhaps not on the trek 520.

attached is a screenshot of the geometry of her bike, I would at least suggest riding some xs bikes that you can find test rides on, and note the toptube length etc, to at least have a reference to both the lht and 520, which you arent allowed to ride or even sit on.
Her Giant toptube is said to be 51.5cm, the LHT 42cm EFFECTIVE TT is 505mm, the 46cm is 515--same as the Giant--but you may want a shorter stem.
So this appears to be in the ballpark.

this would be the most prudent way for you to have a real life idea of what X frame dimension feels like riding. And you could even take a tape measure and measure from seat post to front of drop bars of bikes you could ride, jot them down, and compare to the official specs of that bike. You could also measure the toptube, and again compare to what the surly and trek say their bikes dimensions are.

again, I feel the 26in wheel bike to be an advantage for shorter riders especially. I'm 5'10+ and one of my bikes is a 26in Surly with dropbars, and I like how I dont have toe overlap even with fenders and fat tires on. Nice in slow stuff.
26in wheels also result in slightly lower gearing, so a bit easier in first gear going up a hill with heavy bags.

I did try the 42 Surly Disc Trucker and it was too small, and I was fitted for the trek 48 and it seemed ok (just the fit bike, not an actual bike). The Surly people looked at my measurements agree I would be a 46. The Surly 46 and Trek 48 have similar geometry, I made a spreadsheet but I can't post an image until I have more posts on this board.

So now I have narrowed it down to those two bikes. I definitely wouldn't need anything larger so I guess I am ok without test riding it first even if it isn't ideal and is why I am having a hard time deciding.

This will be my first properly fitting bicycle and first bike with drop bars, even though I have done 4 longish touring trips, they were just kinda uncomfortable and clunky :)


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