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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mid July of this year I was given a bike. It is a GMC Topkick, a 21 speed aluminum mountain bike with disc breaks. This bike tops no ones dream list, but it was free and I am so grateful for it.
I have since logged over 200 miles on it, with a couple of thirty mile plus rides.
At 46, I have fallen in love with it; just getting out there in the middle of nowhere, the solitude, the sweat, the aches, the beauty, the sense of accomplishment, the health improvements, and the strange looks, questions, and hushed whispers from friends, family, and coworkers.
I know, or I feel, ok, I just want! a little better bike. One that fits me a little more, one I can grow with.
After hours of research, reviews, and contemplation of long term goals, I have landed on the Surly Disc Trucker.
Now my question is sizing? I am going in to get fit for the bike next week. Some say to go a size smaller on a touring bike than you are fitted for on a road bike, for a more upright riding position, Some say bigger, to avoid heel rub on panniers.
Anyone experienced with the Trucker?
 

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Two skinny J's
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Welcome Aborad Captn' can't answer your touring questions but glad to see you have found us here!
 

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Premium Member
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Welcome aboard. I was to bitten by the bug this year. Thing itches alot huh ;-).

Cant help you with the touring question.
 

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Registered
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Welcome and glad you found us! There are some who can help with your questions about the Surly, unfortunately, I am fairly new to biking so I cannot be of any help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for the warm welcome.
Yes Omni, it does itch, kind of a obsessive itch that is only satisfied in the saddle.
My wife thinks I have lost my mind; hate to tell her I never had one to loose.
But as one who has had an addictive personality from jump street, this is the healthiest, most positive, rewarding addiction I have ever developed.
The grand dream is a self contained country tour. Been reading a lot of blogs and it just sounds like the ultimate vision quest.
 

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889 Posts
Welcome! Your LBS will be able to fit you properly. I would go a little smaller on the frame. This way it give me the option to swap out the stem and other parts if I find I'm too cramped. If you go to big, you're kinda screwed. But again, your local bike shop will (should) be able to fit you properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Zero, good point. My only problem with the two LBS's here is that they only appear to be into the racing, carbon fiber, two thousand dollar plus riders.
When I asked one guy about racks and panniers he got a strange look and told me I'd be better off sending my gear by UPS ahead of me.
The same guy had to go get a tech from the back when I asked about a dyno hub.
Luckily the tech was super cool, and spoke my language with ease. I think I just got a new guy who gets paid to sell what's in stock.
 

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If you only really have two shops to choose from, I would make multiple visits and ask different staff. If the shop is any good, the staff should be able to help you and give you free advice regardless of if you want to by a $2000 carbon fiber machine or a $400 steel behemoth.

I remember going into a shop once when I was looking and they didn't give me the time of day when I said I was "just browsing and getting ideas" and that I didn't want to spend more than $2000. Their cheapest machine was $2500 (it's was a ritzy shop) and the two owners stopped talking to me and literally walked away. I ended up spending over $2000 anyways, but not at that shop!
 

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"...$2000 carbon fiber machine or a $400 steel behemoth."
Yea, that's the attitude I was talking about ;-)
Yep, the shop's gotta "click" with you. If you don't trust them, don't buy from them. Good luck in your search and your purchase. Sometimes it may make sense to drive a little further to get the expertise and treatment you should.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Captain,

Welcome aboard, and well met! I'm a wanna-be cycle tourist myself, first full season, 2k miles into love with my own touring bike, a Novara Safari. With all due respect to Zero, not all steel bikes are cheap, and in touring bikes especially, steel is highly desirable for a variety of reasons...imho. Another discussion, though ;)

I've read a lot of great things about the Surly LHT bikes. They sound great. Sadly, when it comes to the LBS scene, I've had similar experiences to what you described. It's not that they didn't want to help, but they're MTB and road-oriented. Still really great for some things, not so much for others.

Depending on where you are geographically and what kind of time/$$ you have to invest, it might really be worth calling around and traveling further than you might otherwise in order to visit a more touring/commuting-oriented shop, where you can be fitted properly and try a number of different sized touring bikes.

It's all about your individual physiology and what fits for you. If you're spending $1500+ on a bike you hope to spend weeks or months riding across the country on, it might be worth spending a bit more up front in travel cost and time to visit a shop that can really set you up for the kind of cycling you want to do. If the bike is comfortable, you'll be much more likely to keep riding it and eventually make that awesome cross-country run.

That said, the best way forward is the one that gets you on the bike that's comfortable and right for you, whatever that may be. I wish you the best of luck, and look forward to some pics and a ride report when you get it figured out! Cycling is a really great addiction to have, and you've come to the best place off the bike to feed it :D The people here are just great, and bring a huge range of cycling knowledge and enthusiasm to the table. Welcome!
 

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Premium Member
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Howdy Captain. You mentioned that you were interested in a Surly Disc Trucker. Are you walking into to a Trek dealer and telling them you are interested in the Surly or are you inquiring about bikes they are selling? Like buying a new car you dont walk into a Toyota Dealer and ask about the Hyundai's. LBS dont only sell the top end of bike models they sell all models of the brands they carry. They may not have one on the floor but they sure as hell can and will get one in if they can sell it.
Take the time to investigate the brand carried by your local dealers and educate yourself a little about them. If you walk into a shop and speak their language ever so slightly I bet they will jump through hoops to help you out. No LBS is that indepently wealthy that they would let a potential sale slip through the cracks because they are above your riding interest. Although they are smart enough to know you are fishing in their pond and paying someone else.
 

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Senior Member
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1,355 Posts
Howdy Captain

I don't have any experience with the surley that you mention but I do have a touring bike. When I bought this one it was only offered in 21, 23, and 25 inch frames. And maybe 27's , sorry can't remember. I am 5'11" the 23 was a tad small and the 25 was a little big. I went with the 25 thinking that on a long ride I would rather be stretched out than scrunched up. Nowadays you have a lot more choices for frame size so it probably makes it harder to decide what fits best. Anyway good luck with your new bike and welcome to twospoke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dave, I probably did just get a new kid, and probably didn't present myself as a serious prospect. The tech he called out was very knowledgable, helpful, and showed genuine interest.
Funny you use the car lot analogy, I actually work at a dealership (hope no one thinks less of me). But we do put out BIG signs proclaiming what brands we carry. And with the used I am familiar with all brands and can get you almost anything you have an interest in.
Surly seams to have some bizarre distribution rules. And while the above mentioned LBS could get a frame and build it up, I did find a semi LBS that can sell Surly's complete.
I had found the complete bike on line for what I thought was a great deal, but Surly does not allow the shipping of complete bikes, must be picked up at LBS.
I was prepared to negotiate with the guy to try to match the price I found on line when he told what they would sell the complete for, it was the same as the on line price. Surly fixes the price for their complete bike. LBS can not raise or discount it.
Sorry for the tangent, but I didn't mean to sound condescending or derogatory to the LBS. The kid was just a bad first impression.
I am looking forward to going in for a fitting. And if they seam confident in their recommendation, I will be ordering the Surly.
Also thought it was cool that they will give me credit for core parts I choose to upgrade at build time, still debating seat and flat bar.
 

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Premium Member
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You are on the right track. I just wanted to point out a mistake or deciet that happens every day at the LBS. People go in try on some shoes waste the sales force time and leave to order the shoes online. Same goes for bike sizing people go in and try out bikes to get an idea on a size and order elsewhere. I am of the opinion you go into the shop and enter into a fair trade type of relationship. Try a bike if you have a genuine interest maybe you dont buy the bike because you did not like it or they would not sell at your price point. Just like buying a car.
 

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Premium Member
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Howdy, welcome to the forum.

I wouldn't be so quick to snub zero3one's response, I believe he was alluding to the way the LBs may have viewed their customer base's wants/needs. I believe he was simply stating that whether your are interested in a featherweight carbon fiber race bike or a (relatively heavy) steel touring bike at a much lower price point, they should be able to accomodate you.

It isn't hard to realize selling a bunch of bikes at a lower price point may be more beneficial to a shop rather than only a handful of more expensive bikes, especially when you consider inventory turn, due-ins, due-outs etc.

That being said, I have had a sub-17lb race/road bike and now have a just under 30lb hybrid and a 40lb recumbent trike. While neither will garner a shop's attention, (the trike might), I am happy and am planning a trip from the Baltimore area up to Lake George, NY and possibly in to Montreal next summer.

As has been said, if a shop tries to fit you to a bike rather than a bike to you, it's time to walk out of there.

Again, welcome to the Forum.
 

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Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
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4,311 Posts
I think you will like that Surly Disc Trucker and a dealer can make a new bike a good or bad experince, how well the bike is set up how many times you have to go back to get it right will make it. I ride a Jamis Aurora Elite touring bike, I am 67 years old and I put about 3,500 miles on a year, I like the bike with a shorter top tube for a little more upright position the stem can be changed to make a more upright position allso. Hope every thing goes good for you on your new bike, please let us know how you make out with it.
 

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Welcome Captain! I don't know anything about the touring scene so can't help there. But am glad you're here!
 
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