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Trek 520, Kona Sutra, Surly Disc Trucker, or Salsa Marrakesh?

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Trek 520, Kona Sutra, Surly Disc Trucker, or Salsa Marrakesh?

Old 04-23-19, 09:12 PM
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stroberman
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Trek 520, Kona Sutra, Surly Disc Trucker, or Salsa Marrakesh?

Getting a birthday bike for myself!

I'm hoping to do a fair bit of touring, maybe cross country in the next few years. I was sold on the Surly Disc Trucker but I'm just on the cusp of a 56 (5'9.75", 84 PBH) and don't really want 26" tires, which is all Surly offers for 54 Disc Truckers.

I've also considered getting a Surly Cross Check to use as a touring bike (which comes in 56 in 700c wheels) Ė but not sure it would be ideal for a cross country trip.

How would you rank the above bikes? Are there any that you absolutely wouldn't get? Or absolutely would?

Tx!
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Old 04-23-19, 09:27 PM
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cobalt123
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You can't go wrong with the kona/marrakesh/lht (or disk trucker).

The Crosscheck is geared entirely wrong for touring (Bicycle Gear Calculator). You'll want low gear "gear inches" in the mid teens. That bike is set up for high speed riding.

I just bought a Marrakesh which I love. I would have bought the Kona but couldn't get over this year's color when last year's was just so classy looking imo. It's a real value with a good rack and fenders out of the box.

btw, happy birthday!
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Old 04-23-19, 11:23 PM
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MarcusT
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I started a similar thread last Nov. It may help

https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...l#post20668237
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Old 04-24-19, 07:59 AM
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What’s wrong with 26” tires? I have them on two of my touring bikes, and they are perfect. Also have 29” tires on a touring bike, and they are perfect too. Just wondering what your thoughts are on the subject.
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Old 04-24-19, 08:17 AM
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I have to ask, what is 84 PBH?

all the bikes are good bikes, and around here, all are in the similar price range.

What riding experience do you have?
Shifter type experience or preference?

I'll also ask, what are your thoughts on 26in wheels, or specifically, your aversion to them?
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Old 04-24-19, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I have to ask, what is 84 PBH...
OP measures 84cm pubic bone height:

https://www.rivbike.com/pages/pubic-...asure-your-pbh
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Old 04-24-19, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
OP measures 84cm pubic bone height:

https://www.rivbike.com/pages/pubic-...asure-your-pbh
ah, of course, the 'ol "stand against the wall and stick a book in the crotch" measurement, thanks.
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Old 04-24-19, 09:51 AM
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Let me be the first...Test ride them and see which feels best. I can't imagine buying bike to do "a fair amount of touring" and possibly cross country without making sure it's the most comfortable for you. With your future plans, it's worth a drive to ride the bikes and be sure.
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Old 04-24-19, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by stroberman View Post
...I'm hoping to do a fair bit of touring, maybe cross country in the next few years. I was sold on the Surly Disc Trucker but I'm just on the cusp of a 56 (5'9.75", 84 PBH) and don't really want 26" tires, which is all Surly offers for 54 Disc Truckers. I've also considered getting a Surly Cross Check to use as a touring bike (which comes in 56 in 700c wheels) – but not sure it would be ideal for a cross country trip. How would you rank the above bikes?...
I had a LHT, then a 56cm Disc Trucker (DT), and have an 83cm PBH, so perhaps I can offer some advice. Obviously I believe Surly's LHT/DT offer one of the the best values in a competent, proven touring bike.

Read Marcus T's link if you are interested in my take on the Salsa Marrakesh. I rank the Kona Sutra about the same as the Marrakesh or the 520. Several years ago the Sutra had a tendency to lose cantilever brake mounts, indicating the factory who made them had some fundamental problems in welding/brazing/bike frame manufacture. The latest Trek 520 was discussed in this thread, probably one of the better 520 threads.

Someone who apparently worked in a LBS decided to make his touring bike decision based on a poll. Poll results were 33 for Surly DT, 19 for Trek 520. I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Any of the four may be purchased as a frameset and customized to the user's needs. For me this was (twice) an inexpensive alternative to buying a Surly Complete bike. Others don't seem to build their bikes as cheaply so they recommend buying as a bike, not a frameset. Surly DT frameset MSRP is $575, Salsa Marrakesh is $800, Kona Sutra is $600 and Trek 520 is $700, all prices before shipping cost or sales tax.

Surly and Salsa are brands of Quality Bike Products, their frames and forks are produced in a highly reputable Taiwanese factory operated for decades by Maxway. LHT has been made by Maxway and sold by QBP continuously since it's introduction 15 years ago. Because of this long history of proven quality production, and my experience building and riding a 2006 LHT and a 2013 DT, I am comfortable recommending the DT over the other three alternatives. If you intend to build/ride a single speed or internal gear hub (Rohloff) drivetrain bike, then you need some way to provide chain tensioning capability, in which case I recommend the Salsa Marrakesh. If you want a standard derailleur drive, get a Disc Trucker, as the Marrakesh's swinging (Alternator) dropouts serve no purpose on a derailleur bike, they are a useless, unsightly complication of the rear dropouts, plus they limit your rear rack choice to Salsa's short-height rack (which compensates for the fact that rack must be mounted ~9cm higher than most touring bikes, fixed to the hinge bolt of the Alternator dropout).

The 56cm DT I had fit my 83cm PBH fine, but the reach was longer than I liked. I have lumber disc issues, so I prefer/need a high, relatively short reach to the handlebar. OP, you are 3/4" taller than me, so the the 56cm DT should fit you. BTW, there is no significant advantage to 700c wheels over 26" wheels for touring - in fact many believe the opposite (26" better for touring). My experience was that a 700c DT is not any faster than a 26" LHT. Also, a 700c 56cm Trucker, or most any 700c bike with big tires and full fenders, will have toe overlap (TO). TO occurs when you've turned the wheel sharply to execute a U-turn in the width of a two lane road (or similar small radius turn) , and your shoe's toe will smack the back of the front wheel fender (or tire) as you pedal. This is not a big deal once you learn how to time your pedaling with sharp turns, but TO is completely avoided on smaller diameter 26" wheeled bikes, so another advantage to 26" wheels.

WRT the Crosscheck (XC), many have toured on XC but it IS a cyclocross bike. Compared to a DT, XC has a higher bottom bracket, which normally results in higher standover height, shorter chainstays so that heel-strike on panniers is more likely, smaller diameter top tube meaning less load handling capability. XC also has a shorter headtube, so it's more difficult to achieve a handlebar-level-with-saddle-height setup popular with tourists for more comfortable long-term posture. XC is closer to a road bike than a touring bike.

Somewhere I read Surly may have a new touring-oriented bike debut in June/July - if you are not in a hurry you might want to wait and see what it is.

Try to ride before buying, but be warned that touring bikes are not super popular, so the odds of finding one in your size at a LBS are not great.

TL/DR version: Disc Trucker>Sutra=Marrakesh=520

Last edited by seeker333; 04-24-19 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 04-24-19, 09:15 PM
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https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/201...r-four-corners
Good starting point. Gearing would need to be adjusted for me...thats just a chainring swap. And wheels would need to be properly tensioned. Everything is basic, straight forward, and no nonsense.

https://www.rei.com/product/122462/c...es-adv-11-bike
Again- no nonsense, straight forward, and simple. Quality brakes, racks included, great gearing, and basically universal seaports if needed. Really good value.

https://www.fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/...g/touring-disc
Again- straight forward. Good drivetrain, rear rack included, and good value.




I would go with any of these over the bikes you mention, but I lean towards less popular and common brands.
In the end, geometry is the most important. Geometry that fits you and the way you ride is key.
Components can be changed, but not geometry.


Of the bikes you mention- kona.
No idea why trek even males a touring bike still, the lht is nice and hits all the general comments i mention for other bikes but a 26" just looks like an overpriced mid80s mtb, and the salsa has odd dropouts and that brand is just consistently overpriced.
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Old 04-25-19, 08:20 AM
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...from shop worker's perspective

Surly, Salsa any shop with a QBP account can order them , (the shop has to pay up front brfore shipping happens)

Kona and Trek , do you have a dealer carrying that line ?, (other bike companies set up rotating Credit lines for their dealers)

Go forth, test ride ....

NB ; you can change components , it's not all or none ..







.....

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Old 04-25-19, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
I had a LHT, then a 56cm Disc Trucker (DT), and have an 83cm PBH, so perhaps I can offer some advice.

TL/DR version: Disc Trucker>Sutra=Marrakesh=520
Best recs I've gotten yet. Thanks so much.

Pretty set on 56" DT. Not planning on ever riding a single speed so Marrakesh doesn't have much appeal. Based on reviews all over the www, I'd much rather get the DT over the 520. I'm planning on test riding the Sutra but again, I've heard mixed reviews.

Where did you hear about Surly's potential new touring bike?

I've also heard good things about the Masi Giramondo, though it seems it's built a bit more for rough road touring. Do you have any thoughts?

Thanks again, you gave me some great info.
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Old 07-13-19, 11:58 AM
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I have a 2018 dark blue closeout Salsa Marrakesh after my LBS did not have a Trek 520 in stock. It is in the top 10 of Trek dealers so I figured I would not have luck at other dealerships for the 520. I am on the short side of average so itís hard to find frames for me. I tried the Surly Trucker and had high hopes for it, but it killed my neck and lower back because of the stretched frame. I am sure itís a great bike though if the geometry fits. So I tried the Marrakesh and it fits like a glove. After I swapped out the stock Maxxis Roamer 42 tires with the Schwalbe Marathon Supremes I am shocked at how fast I can go on such a big bike. I can maintain 16 m.p.h. paces without too much effort. Yes, itís slower on hills but nothing terrible. I have not been on anything larger than a 60 mile ride but my legs were tired before my lower back and neck. The Brooks saddle is finally getting broken in after a year, that is my only quibble.
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Old 07-17-19, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by stroberman View Post
I'm planning on test riding the Sutra but again, I've heard mixed reviews.

Where did you hear about Surly's potential new touring bike?

I've also heard good things about the Masi Giramondo, though it seems it's built a bit more for rough road touring. Do you have any thoughts?
I don't know if this is too late, but here goes. You've heard mixed reviews of the Sutra? I've heard mostly positive things. It's a bit lighter than most touring rigs and the geometry is a little nimbler as well, but it's still highly capable of loaded touring. Most reviews I've read are positive. The Giramondo is also very nice, though I wish it had 32-spoke wheels and thru-axles would also be nice, though I'll admit these are fairly minor, picky gripes. It's also really versatile since it takes either 700 or 27.5"/650b wheels.

The Trucker and Marrakesh are great for dedicated touring, but probably won't be as fun unloaded for with lighter commuting and recreational loads. I'd avoid the 520 since it has STI shifters and seems over-priced compared to other touring bikes.
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Old 07-18-19, 05:48 PM
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FWIW my friends are a couple with similar size as you and they are both riding Trek 520ís and the bikes look awesome in that size. ... but since you already cleared the hurdle of affordability I would test drive them all and you WILL feel the calling of the best bike👍🙂
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