First foray into bike shopping this afternoon.
A little rain, enough to make traction interesting.
Salsa La Cruz: I really like this bike but it certainly is an adjustment. The ride is stiffer than I am used to, the Gecko was stiff but in a different way that is hard to describe. Very responsive. Rode it twice and was really comfortable once I got used to it. The Shimano 105 Dual Control Levers were really nice[Salsa Specs] and the disk brakes were very nice and handled the stopping on the wet pretty well. What kinds of maintenance would have to be done on these? This bike only take a double chain ring but is geared so that hill climbing might actually be easier than with a triple ring while still allowing for speed. Can handle racks and fenders and wider 700c tires. Shifting needed to be adjusted. How would this bike do on sand and rocks like what happens here? The bike I rode is labeled a 55" but is actually a 58" at the head tube (how much clearance should I have again?).
Surly Long Haul Trucker: A touring bike and it felt pretty forgiving and I could swoop pretty comfortably although I did note some sloppiness in this. Not so fast and I hated the bar-end shifters which seem to be the only option on this bike unless I want to change them out. Shifting was, however, very crisp. Lots of attachment points. I did notice some bottom-bracket flex when cranking. No option for disk brakes. Comes with a triple crank. How would this bike do bombing a trail?
Asked the manager, Kathleen, what other bikes like the Salsa I ought to look at and what other shops should I visit. She suggested the Jamis, Bianchi, and Masi and that I should visit Second Ascent, Montlake Cycles, and Recycled Cycles.
One of my colleagues has a friend who rides a Surly LHT. This is his assessment of the bike:
Very Cheap for what it is.
One caution re: the note below - the LHT is a dedicated touring bike - I
wouldn't consider it a cyclocross bike... Try the crosscheck if that's the
real intent - or maybe a Soma