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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, need some advice. :cool:

Sometime during the summer, I intend to get a 'country bike', you know, a bike that's reasonably fast on the road, but can also put in some trail-riding/moderate off-road work, and could at least credit-card tour if I felt like it.

I'm thinking it will have either 26" wheels or 650B, as 700C wheels with wide/big rubber tend to be gosh-darn heavy/slow to spin up (just ask the '29er' mountain-bike crowd), and I hate that. Also, maybe not the best clearances and geometry in my frame size, 54cm (I'm a torso-y 5'10").

My current short list, in no particular order:

- Rivendell Bleriot
- Surly Long Haul Trucker (uses 26" in my frame size)
- Rawland Sogn

The two main pieces of advice I'm looking for:

1) Your experiences with any of the above-mentioned bikes

2) Any 'country-style'/all-arounder bikes you think would be good to add to the list. Touring bikes are fine, so long as there's clearance for decent-sized rubber. I can go either complete bike or frameset. Again, not so interested in 700C-wheeled bikes, unless you know of one that's an absolute marvel.

Thanks for any help or insight you can provide. :thumbsup:
I'm also looking to keep the whole thing under $2000.


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Casseroll maybe?

One to add to the list would be the Salsa Casseroll. Nice, versitile frameset for I think between $500 and $600. It's intended for 700c, but somewhere I remember seeing pictures and a description of one built up with 650b wheels, so it apparently will work.
 

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If yer open to 26" wheels, go with an older mountain bike- something from between about 1984 and 1989- long wheelbase, room for good sized tires, plenty of braze-ons for racks and fenders.

I'm working on one right now- the base is a chromed 4130 schwinn sierra comp frame (had to strip a lot of paint of the chrome)...

The advantage with old MTB frames is that they can be had really cheap- got this one for like $30 bucks. If you can find a chrome one, you also get a bulletproof finish that won't chip or scratch.

For your dimensions, an old mtb frame might be ideal- they tended to have really long top tubes. The one I just picked up has a 54 seat tube and a 61 top tube... with pulled back bars it fits me great- I've also got a long torso.

Otherwise if yer set on 650b, take a look at the Kogswell Porteur- lots of people say good things about them. Frame is based on a Rene Herse bike- not a bad point to start from. Frame, fork, headset, seatpost and color-matched fenders for like 600 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
buck-50 said:
...take a look at the Kogswell Porteur- lots of people say good things about them. Frame is based on a Rene Herse bike- not a bad point to start from. Frame, fork, headset, seatpost and color-matched fenders for like 600 bucks.
Kogswell, eh? Yes, I've heard good things about them. Will take a look. Thanks. :thumbsup:


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I have a Bleriot and Bridgestone XO-1. Both would be great. You'd probably want a 59 Bleriot. I also had a LHT, which was great too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
rcnute said:
I have a Bleriot and Bridgestone XO-1. Both would be great. You'd probably want a 59 Bleriot. I also had a LHT, which was great too.
Oh wow, you're exactly who I want to talk to. :D

My questions:

-- Since you own/owned both the Bleriot and LHT, can you compare and contrast the two bikes? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What does the Bleriot do better, what does the LHT do better?

-- What do they both ride like? Did either or both bikes make you feel significantly slower on the road vs a regular racing bike, and if so, by about how much?

-- How are both bikes on trails/off-road?

-- How are both bikes for touring?

-- Which one do you prefer overall, and by how much?


Feel free to be verbose... the more info/opinions you care to give, the better! :thumbsup:


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Here's what I think:

SystemShock said:
Oh wow, you're exactly who I want to talk to. :D

My questions:

-- Since you own/owned both the Bleriot and LHT, can you compare and contrast the two bikes? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What does the Bleriot do better, what does the LHT do better?

The Bleriot will run a size or two big. A 54 LHT will be like a 57 Bleriot. I'm 5'9" and my 57Bleriot fits pretty good. I had a 52 LHT and it fit okay but was probably a touch small.

The Bleriot is prettier.

The LHT is a great deal for the price and really well made.

-- What do they both ride like? Did either or both bikes make you feel significantly slower on the road vs a regular racing bike, and if so, by about how much?

I think 650b feels a little slower than 700c and 26" feels a little slower than 650b. Plus, both are made from oversize tubing, and sometimes it feels a little harder to get on top of the gear like an older steel bike.

I think both of the bikes are pretty heavy; the Bleriot may be a little lighter.

-- How are both bikes on trails/off-road?

Awesome.

-- How are both bikes for touring?

Haven't done any but I think the LHT would be best. Some people think the relative abundance of 26" wheels and tires is important.

-- Which one do you prefer overall, and by how much?

For my needs I prefer the Bleriot--I wanted a comfy 650b lugged steel bike for brevet-type rides.

Plus, they're being discontinued--you can always get a LHT. Hell, I may get another LHT one of these days.

Feel free to be verbose... the more info/opinions you care to give, the better! :thumbsup:


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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
rcnute said:
Here's what I think:
Many thanks rcnute. :)

But... the Bleriot is being discontinued?!? WHEN is this happening?? And WHAT is replacing it? :yikes:
Btw, what tires and tire widths did you use on the Bleriot and LHT? How didja like them? Did you feel beaten up by the road/trail on either bike?

Far as sizing goes, I really can't see myself riding anything bigger than 55cm. I'm 5'10", but I only have the leg length of a 5'7" or 5'8" guy. The extra horizontal reach I need usually isn't an issue because I also have long thighs for my leg length and need to sit well back, so it's kinda like I'm stretched out forward and back pretty evenly, the weight distro ends up being normal. So I'm pretty free to focus on leg length alone when sizing.

I don't agree with Grant P on his "you need a big bike to get the handlebars high enough" theory. I think in this era of upsloping top tubes and upsloping stems, you can get the bars plenty high already. I think Grant just wants to keep using old-skool no-rise quill stems forever and ever. :smilewinkgrin:


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I also had a Bleriot and now I have the LHT. I liked the Bleriot and I thought the looks were very nice but something was not just right and maybe it was a tiny fit issue. The LHT seems to fit me better I think anyway I really like my LHT. Both are nice bikes and you will love either one.
 

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I think it's gone at the end of June. I understand QBP is out of some sizes.

I have 38 mm Col de la Vies on the Bleriot and 1.25" Paselas on the XO-1 (used the same on the LHT). Both are fine. Col de la Vies are bigger and cushier. Never felt beat up on any of these bikes.

I'm 5'9" and the 57 Bleriot is perfect with a 110 stem. I really think a 55 would be too small for you. The angles are super slack, so the bigger sizes feel smaller in the top tube. Most other bikes I ride are 54-55.

I think having the bars up high is handy for the "country bike" thing.

SystemShock said:
Many thanks rcnute. :)

But... the Bleriot is being discontinued?!? WHEN is this happening?? And WHAT is replacing it? :yikes:
Btw, what tires and tire widths did you use on the Bleriot and LHT? How didja like them? Did you feel beaten up by the road/trail on either bike?

Far as sizing goes, I really can't see myself riding anything bigger than 55cm. I'm 5'10", but I only have the leg length of a 5'7" or 5'8" guy. The extra horizontal reach I need usually isn't an issue because I also have long thighs for my leg length and need to sit well back, so it's kinda like I'm stretched out forward and back pretty evenly, the weight distro ends up being normal. So I'm pretty free to focus on leg length alone when sizing.

I don't agree with Grant P on his "you need a big bike to get the handlebars high enough" theory. I think in this era of upsloping top tubes and upsloping stems, you can get the bars plenty high already. I think Grant just wants to keep using old-skool no-rise quill stems forever and ever. :smilewinkgrin:


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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I am saddened by the imminent passing of the Bleriot. I have to wonder why they're pulling it... either it wasn't successful enough (sad) or it was TOO successful, cannibalizing too many high-end Saluki and Atlantis sales.

Tragic either way, unless Rivendell plans to replace it with something similar. :frown2:

Checking the Bleriot geometry chart, the top tube is indeed short, taking the slack seat angle into account. So if I go that route, I will consider the 57 alongside the 55. Thanks for the advice. :thumbsup:

Now I just need to talk to someone who's ridden a Rawland Sogn. Unlikely, since they are just coming out now. Oh, and there's always the Kogswell.

ps- It isn't that you don't want the bars high on a country bike, it's that you can already get 'em high with current upsloping top tubes and stem. 'Big bike' sizing isn't necessary, but Grant wants the traditional headset and stem, and if you do, then 'big bike' sizing is needed. Cwhaddimean? :)


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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
No one's ridden a Rawland Sogn yet? :(
 

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SystemShock said:
No one's ridden a Rawland Sogn yet? :(

I don't think they have shipped out yet. Last update on their page has a bunch of frames hanging in a warehouse ready to be assembled or shipped. I am also very curious for reviews, specifically the Sogn Disc. I'd keep my eye on MTBR as I think that may be updated with info first. :thumbsup:
 

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SystemShock said:
Again, not so interested in 700C-wheeled bikes, unless you know of one that's an absolute marvel.
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If you're mostly on the road I think 700c makes the most sense. I'm a big fan of the Surly Cross Check, which can fit some truly massive tires and handles itself very nicely in the dirt. I think the Long Haul Trucker makes more sense if you plan on loaded touring. With $2k to spend I'd probably look at the Gunnar Cross Hairs.
 

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As far as the Bleriot is concerned...I have heard a rumor, only a rumor, but it was from a dealer...

Supposedly Rivendell is going to start getting all of their frames from Tiawan and no longer from Japan. This is where the Bleriot is from now. Because of our weak economy and the rising cost of labor this would only make sense.

The benefit of the Bleriot really is the price, but the A. Homer Hilsen has the same design principals with a few extra bells and whistles.(by the way my wife loves her A.H.H.)

Supposedly the price of all of the bikes may drop to the price of a Bleriot. This would in effect put the Bleriot out of business beacause the A.H.H. would be the same price.

Once again I say...this is just a rumor...from a good source. I would love to hear from the man himself.

Sorry this was not really on topic but the discussion sort of veered this way.

-Bryan
 

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The Bleriot would be a much prettier and nicer finished bike than the LHT. The LHT would probably be more practical due to the 26" wheels and tires, which are available anywhere. If you don't mind going the 650B route, the Bleriot is an incredible deal right now and will soon be unavailable. I would definitely check out Kogswell if you are thinking 650B. They are also quite a bargain, and the price includes painted matching fenders. The Kog would probably be the lightest of the three frames. I was seriously thinking of buying a Kog but got tripped up by their geometry in my size. They offer the size 59 with either 650B or 700c wheels, but the geometry differs. I do NOT want 650B wheels, but the geometry of their 650B frame would fit me much better than the 700c, which is a little long across the top for me.
 

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Sort of. Check the RBW Owners' Group. USA and Toyo-built frames will still be available and some Taiwanese-made frames will come out as well.

QUOTE=kayakguy]As far as the Bleriot is concerned...I have heard a rumor, only a rumor, but it was from a dealer...

Supposedly Rivendell is going to start getting all of their frames from Tiawan and no longer from Japan. This is where the Bleriot is from now. Because of our weak economy and the rising cost of labor this would only make sense.

The benefit of the Bleriot really is the price, but the A. Homer Hilsen has the same design principals with a few extra bells and whistles.(by the way my wife loves her A.H.H.)

Supposedly the price of all of the bikes may drop to the price of a Bleriot. This would in effect put the Bleriot out of business beacause the A.H.H. would be the same price.

Once again I say...this is just a rumor...from a good source. I would love to hear from the man himself.

Sorry this was not really on topic but the discussion sort of veered this way.

-Bryan[/QUOTE]
 

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