Should it Stay or Should it Go?

LHT Commuter
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I keep having this thought that it’s time to consider a new commuter project bike, perhaps built around a steel frame like a Civia Bryant with an Alfine 11 IGH. It would be a fun project to document here on the blog, plus I’d learn some things in the process. The thing is, every time I think about selling my good ol’ LHT, I take pause and reconsider. I’ve got the bike sooo dialed in, and there’s really nothing I’d change at this point (save, perhaps, the addition of a hub generator), so I’m finding it very difficult to part with. Keeping it while adding another bike is pretty much out of the question at this time, both for financial reasons and a lack of space. And in any case, the bikes would be wholly redundant and I’m not one for more bikes for the sake of more bikes (I know, weird, huh?).

For fun, I thought I’d put it out there to my readers. Should I stay with the LHT and continue on with the process of refinement, or should I sell it and start from scratch with a new project bike? Just to be clear, I’m very interested in your input, but I still have to make my own decision on this one, regardless of the outcome of the poll. Many thanks!

Should I keep the LHT or sell it and build a new commuter bike?

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127 Responses to “Should it Stay or Should it Go?”

  • Dan says:

    While the prospect of watching you build a new bike is enticing, I don’t find the Bryant particularly interesting (maybe it seems too polished and big-budget?). That in mind, I say keep the LHT. Hard to think of another frame that would suit your needs (and need to tinker) better.

  • Ken says:

    I voted keeping the LHT. It’s hard to argue against a dialed in commuter. The option that might make the best sense is keep the LHT, build the new commuter and then make the decision of which you like more and sell the \loser.\

    On a personal note, I was really interested in a IGH when I was shopping for my commuter last year, I ended up going with the stock Salsa Vaya (regular derailer) and I’m 95% sure I made the right choice. IGH is interesting to me because it’s different and maintenance free, but it hard to improve upon a well tuned external derailer.

  • Jesse says:

    I’ll admit to being partial…see your LHT is set up pretty much exactly as I plan on setting one up just as soon as I can see clear to drop that much cash. Until then I stick with my craigslist Kona and keep drooling on your amazing pics!

  • Jamin says:

    Your LHT is a beautiful bike (though I did prefer it with the cork grips and brown leather saddle). One I’d find it difficult to part with.

    However, from a purely selfish perspective, I’d like to see you build up a Civia Bryant with an Alfiine IGH and Gates Carbon Drive. I’m going to be doing the same thing this year, and I wouldn’t mind taking some pointers from your process.

  • Jammy says:

    The only way I’d ever even consider that was if you were going to try out something completely different. Like a low trail 650b city bike.

    Maybe a VO Polyvalent or that spirited Handsome Devil you tried out (though the Canti’s are at the 700c position you could run calipers or centerpulls to 650b). If there’s nothing wrong with the LHT the only reason to try something different is for the sake of trying something different. Rawland rSogn perhaps?

  • brent hammond says:

    I agree with Dan. It would be fun to see a new project bike, but it’s really hard to beat an LHT, especially one you’ve already gotten right. Maybe you could compromise and build a project bike for someone you know, maybe someone thinking about dipping their toe into the transportation cycling water and has the money to match your expertise. Food for thought.

  • Alan says:

    @Ken

    That Vaya is a sweet bike.

    I hear you regarding derailleurs. Even though I like internal gear hubs, the simplicity of a basic derailleur drivetrain is still appealing.

    Thanks,
    Alan

  • Tali says:

    Personally, I’d wait and see how the Alfine 11 performs in over a few years of use on other people’s bikes before I got one.

  • Alan says:

    @Jamin

    I have a Norco here for review right now (still in the box) that has an Alfine 8 and Gates Carbon Drive. Perhaps it will scratch my IGH itch for the time being. We’ll see… :-) One way or the other, good luck with your build!

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Jammy

    You make a good point. I’ve thought about a Polyvalent. It would certainly be on my short list, as would the rSogn.

    Thanks!
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Brent

    Good idea. I have a friend who’s in the market for a new commuter – I’ll have to see if it’s an idea that interests him.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Chris says:

    Keep it, AND build a new commuter. The perfect number of bikes to have? One more.

  • Stevep says:

    How about a Singular Peregrine?

    It’s hard not to over-think or become sentimental about a change in the bicycle collection. The LHT is sort of an EcoVelo institution, but maybe it’s time for something fresh. A new bike would be exciting to read about, especially with something like the Alfine 11.

  • Stevep says:

    or a Rawland Drakkar

  • Alistair says:

    As a service to us, and in respect for your urge to learn, it’s time for a next commuter. Time to try some different technologies for yourself. You have the Sam Hilborne to stand in as your Surly comrade in arms

    I would love to see an Alfine 11, Gates drive, Disk Brakes commuter. I’d love to hear what you learn in putting it together and using it. Adjusting disks, belt tension, etc etc.

    Cheers, Alistair

    P.S. Plus think of the joy someone will have with your LHT, sell it locally and I’m sure you’ll get some visitation rights.

  • Frag Spawn says:

    I’ve been a fan of a bike that will tick some extra boxes, the LHT is a great tourer, but what about something that can Monstercross as well? Vaya would be a great 650b monstercross/tourer with a quick wheel change. How about http://rawlandcycles.blogspot.com/. With the “RSOGN” I could replace three bikes: Tourer, Cycloross and MTB.

  • Jed says:

    If it were me, the first bike I’d sell was the sportiest bike, because I depend on my utility/commuter bike (which happends to be an XC). I think project bikes should be more novel, maybe more of a sporty sort, something that you’ll build ride, and sell.

  • Tal Danzig says:

    Keep the LHT, and find someone to build the new bike for. You get the fun of building a new bike, and you keep your comfy “dialed in” one.

    Maybe start with a Soma frame and build from the ground up?

  • Lee Trampleasure says:

    As a LHT owner (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=Rpmwz&page_id=161378&v=12), it’s a bit hard to claim lack of bias, but I’d say why fix something that’s not broken?

    And think, with the money you save you can buy a generator hub. I love mine!

  • Steve Butcher says:

    I voted to sell the LHT. Your LHT is a wonderful bicycle, worthy of the admiration of any transportation cyclist; it is kind of an icon of Ecovelo. That said, one of the fasinating aspects of Ecovelo, for me, Alan, is the experimentation we are allowed to observe as you try various components/builds. The beautiful photographs add great enjoyment to that observation. If you chose to build up a new bike, I, for one, will learn more about what goes into making that bike which, like the L.H.T., will likely be greater than the sum of its parts.

  • dweendaddy says:

    1. I think you know deep down in your heart the LHT is a tad small for you.
    2. You have the Sam for going fast with a little gear.
    3. You have the Loring for hauling.
    4. You have no belt drive.
    5. You have no IGH you have built up.
    6. You have an audience.

    Sell the LHT to a lucky soul (a new commuter? Via a contest?) and do a cool project that we can all learn from!

  • Bobbyjohn says:

    Keep it. It’s paid for and not costing you anything. If you sell it you will regret it and once its gone then its gone……………… Forever!

  • John says:

    Is there any way you could document various builds of commuters and then sell on the resulting bike to interested parties – bit like Lovely Bicycle is doing with her road bike project (tho she is giving it away.) It would be sort of like an extended review not just of a complete bike but of the process of building up a frame and of the individual components. Certainly an Alfine 11 & disc brake build would be very interesting – on a Salsa Vaya, Singular Peregrine or similar. Would really show what’s possible with these sorts of frames. Probably a lot of work though!

  • Ken says:

    @Alan,

    Thanks Alan, I’m really loving the Vaya. The frame is relatively stiff and is great for my heavy commuting load. I replaced the saddle with a brooks, but other than that, it’s stock. The discs have been great for the rainy Pacific NW.

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    You could go internal with the LHT using something like this: http://www.forwardcycle.com

    The Peregrine is always intriguing. It was a tough decision between that and my Drakkar.

    The new rSogn looks awesome as well…

  • david says:

    I would keep the LHT, sell the bits you have replaced or don’t use, (stock cranks etc) build an alfine 11 wheel and use that on the lht. I realise that it would require a tensioner but that is a non issue.
    If the bike you have is comfortable already and does everything you want keep it. The LHT is just a frame the rest are bits. change the bits you can justify upgrading, and sell the bits you don’t need anymore. If it turns out that you want a belt drive then you just sell the frame and change everything over.

  • Jonathan says:

    I voted keep the LHT. Why complicate your life when it works so well and is so dialed in. But get the hub generator. I have one and love it.

  • kfg says:

    Find a bike you like, dial it in, then ride it until the wheels fall off.

    Then get new wheels. Old friends are the best. Disposable friends aren’t your friends at all, nor you theirs.

  • Michael says:

    Seems as though it’s like buying a new car every few years as they’re actually paid off. Not very sustainable. I believe it would be more valuable to keep it and do long term use reports. Use it as a test bed for tires,a dynohub/lighting,ect.

  • Buck says:

    I’d like to see a new & different bike, because I think it would improve Ecovelo.

    We all tend to talk (write & photograph) about what we know best or is most convenient. Having read your blog pretty faithfully for a while I have to say that there are times when it starts to have an advertorial feel.

    I’m not suggesting this is any sort of covert or cynister plot, but I do think a bit more diversity would be a good addition to Ecovelo and swapping out your stable of bikes periodicallly would accomplish that.

  • Joseph E says:

    Although I would love to see you sell the LHT, it would be in YOUR best interest to keep it. You won’t get the whole value out by selling it, and it’s a great bike already. What would you even need an Alfine 11 for in the Sacramento area? Well, I hope you sell it; a new build would be fun, if expensive.

  • surly John says:

    Alan, I’d love to have you document a build on the site. Still I voted keep the LHT. I have trouble parting with bikes and I feel anxiety at the prospect of you parting with your LHT. I think if you really wanted to sell you wouldn’t have asked me :)

    I think Brent may be on to something. Build a bike for someone else. That is an interesting concept. I vote for the rSogn. You can teach us how to pronounce it.

  • Marc T. says:

    You know your not selling that bike… any time soon.

  • Dean says:

    You built it…you rode it…you enjoyed it. Now it’s rme to move on. You only live once.

  • Teddy says:

    I say without a shadow of doubt in my mind that you should keep the LHT.
    Being an LHT owner myself, my opinion is obviously biased, I will never get rid of my LHT for any reason.
    Besides Alan, you’ve worked so hard on this bike to make it perfect for you. It would be a shame to see such a lovely jack-of-all-trades bike go.

  • charles says:

    I have half a mind to build up a Surly Troll with disc brakes (wet roads) and a internal gear hub but like you, I have my Trucker dialed in to perfection with Rivendell “noodle” drop bars etc. Like you, I only need to add a generator hub and build some spartan racks. If it were me, I would look at building up an old frame with scrounged parts and a internal gear hub…..or maybe just locate an old Raleigh three speed. Those old bikes are pretty nice and practical when restored.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    I guess I don’t understand the question. Is there something you are not 100% happy with on the Surly that the new bike would have? Or is it just a matter of wanting a change?

  • Alan says:

    Thanks for all of the thoughtful responses! We were on the road all afternoon and evening, so I was just now able to have a look (it’s around midnight). It’s lights out for now, but I’ll respond to some of the specific comments in the morning.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • MT says:

    I say sell it and tread confidently into the unknown. I already look forward to following the creation of the next commuting champion. Building for others isn’t quite the same as building for yourself, especially with something with the fit, feel, and style of a bicycle. And if, down the road, you find yourself pining for the good ol’ ride of the LHT, well you’ll know just what to do…

  • townmouse says:

    If it’s just a matter of space, is there someone you can lend the LHT to who wants to try bike commuting? I hate to see bikes unused in a garage whether it’s through bike hoarding or people buying bikes they’re not suited to or trying commuting and finding it’s not for them. Getting those bikes back on the road – sort of like a ‘bike library’ – so people can dip a toe in the water before committing themselves might be a way to go?

    Otherwise, keep the bike you love and as others have suggested, build a good friend a bike as well.

  • arevee says:

    A little off topic, but . . . Anyone have thoughts on efficiency of derailleur vs. internally geared hubs. I’ve ridden both (on very different bikes) and found the IGH seemed noticably less efficient. That said, living in soggy PNW, an enclosed drive train does have nice advantages.

  • RDW says:

    Your LHT has become somewhat iconic and over the years you seem to have built it into the perfect bike for yourself. I say keep it. We would all love to watch you build up a new ride, and we would certainly benefit from observing the process, but do consider the idea of building the bike for a friend. I think it would add a little variety to your blog as the bike would ultimately be shaped by someone else’s tastes and needs. And if your taking a vote I’d like to cast mine for building the bike around one of Mike Flanigan’s ANT Bike frames, I really like the look of his bikes. And his “Not sport…transport” philosophy seems to mesh very well with the EcoVelo philosophy.

  • Alan says:

    @Tal

    “Maybe start with a Soma frame and build from the ground up?”

    I’ve ridden a Double Cross and liked it a lot. Soma frames are definitely on my short list.

    Alan

  • wpm says:

    Alan, I wish there were a voting option, “both” (keep LHT and build new bike).

    A question I ask myself is this. Why have we integrated bicycles into our lifestyles? There are lots of answers, but if one reason is to lessen one’s impact on the environment, we might ask what’s the carbon footprint of manufacturing and shipping all the parts of a new bike.

  • The-milkman says:

    I’d like to see you keep your current LHT AND get….drumroll please….a new LHT, new color, correct size, different wheel size, new components, jagwire barend adapters to use with the current handlebars, IGH for spice. You could title it “Project Improving Perfection?” Your reports could be the differences in the old vs new and whether you have actually achieved improvement of that perfectly dialed in bike or not. For the number of LHT’s you’re helping Surly sell they should give you one for free….. ; ) Lastly, and most excitingly, since “Project Improving Perfection?” includes a question mark in the title, at the end of the build you’ll do a final analysis of which build you prefer and why, then, you’ll hold the “Ecovelo LHT giveaway” where a lucky, and I do mean lucky, Ecovelo reader can enter a contest to win the bike of your parting…..now if Surly isn’t giving you a free bike for this kind of advertising they’d be foolish……I’m looking to buy a new LHT and this build would answer so many questions for this would be buyer…

    Having your current LHT available for direct comparisons for a short period I’m guessing would also be a big aid for your reviews….I could also hold on to the current LHT temporarily if space is an issue… ; P

    My .02….

    I’m already excited about winning one of the LHT’S!!!!!

  • randomray says:

    LOL , what a question to ask a guy who has three bikes , one 45 years old , one 27 years old ” bought it new ” and one 7 years old . If it fits and you like it keep it . If you don’t , find it a good home . Yes , I ride all three of mine .

  • Alan says:

    @John

    “Is there any way you could document various builds of commuters and then sell on the resulting bike to interested parties – bit like Lovely Bicycle is doing with her road bike project (tho she is giving it away.)”

    Absolutely. That’s one of the primary motivations if I do end up making a change. The only thing stopping me is the affection I’ve developed for the LHT… :-)

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @dweendaddy

    “1. I think you know deep down in your heart the LHT is a tad small for you.
    2. You have the Sam for going fast with a little gear.
    3. You have the Loring for hauling.
    4. You have no belt drive.
    5. You have no IGH you have built up.
    6. You have an audience.”

    That’s a strong argument!

    Thanks… :-)

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Michael

    “Seems as though it’s like buying a new car every few years as they’re actually paid off. Not very sustainable. I believe it would be more valuable to keep it and do long term use reports. Use it as a test bed for tires, a dynohub/lighting,ect.”

    Yup, that’s what I’ve been doing. This really seems like the most practical and sustainable approach, though a new build would be instructive to both myself and our readers in regards to some of the newer technologies (IGH, belt, etc.).

    Thanks!
    Alan

  • kfg says:

    wpm: A bicycle (which can easily be self maintained for a century or more) has a rather smaller carbon footprint than an SUV (which can be maintained for 20 years by technicians). Consider as well the carbon foot print of a single oil change for that SUV.

    Hundreds of bikes ship in one can, which is about the size of one SUV.

    I need not even get into the issue of fuel. The bicycle is thousands of tons ahead already.

    You might also want to start to think about why bicycles need any great amount of shipping at all. They are a simple machine that can be made locally; and until recently many were. The 50 year old bike I rode to the shop this morning was made within a bike ride from me, including the processing of the raw materials (which came from contiguous states).

    The majority of American bikes were made in the greater Chicago area though. Why? For the reason Chicago is there in the first place, the same reason the stockyards were there – it’s the shipping hub, the place where all rails meet and from which all rails diverge. It is on a Great Lake and proximate to the Mississippi. The point from which anything can be shipped with the lowest aggregate miles to anywhere in the country, by low carbon footprint rail or water. There were, in fact, no automobiles yet when this was already established. Local distribution centers often had their own rail spurs (there used to be one supplying the Agway store half a block from my house), so there was often not even a last mile issue in shipping by rail.

    But there were local builders all across the country, and across other countries. Bicycles and bicycle parts are not shipped back and forth across the world because they need to be. They’re just a few pounds of tubing joined together; with a few simple parts attached to them.

  • qx87 says:

    didn`t read the comments sry for double thought.

    Keep the LHT, it`s the ultimate Utility bike, you can change this baby for so many duties.
    Never let go of the trustiest tool in the basket.

    Just get another Bike, no money, no space. Pfft I`m not convinced.
    Here`s my dream commuter citymonster: superlight alu frame, 8 gear hub, thinnest 26″ weels with fancy rims spokes, light suspension fork, backrack. A sporty, light bike for the sunny commutes.

  • Alan says:

    @Buck

    “We all tend to talk (write & photograph) about what we know best or is most convenient. Having read your blog pretty faithfully for a while I have to say that there are times when it starts to have an advertorial feel.

    I’m not suggesting this is any sort of covert or cynister plot, but I do think a bit more diversity would be a good addition to Ecovelo and swapping out your stable of bikes periodicallly would accomplish that.”

    I totally get that. I happen to really like the bikes I have (wouldn’t keep them if I didn’t), so I probably fawn and gush waay too much… LOL. This is certainly a strong argument for a new project to gush over… ;-)

    Regards,
    Alan

  • kfg says:

    @Alan – “a new build would be instructive to both myself and our readers”

    Consumer Reports does not keep the cars it tests. As has been pointed out you can do all the itch scratching you want for the purpose of the blog, if you move those along to new owners.

    That’s what most builders do, isn’t it?

  • Marcy says:

    How about hanging on to the LHT and building up a new commuter. Once the new build is done, you can determine which one you prefer to keep and sell the other.

  • D'Arcy says:

    It’s taken me a couple of years to get my commuter bike just where I like it. Over that time I added a Brooks seat, coat guards, ergonomic grips, hub generator, and different pedals. Over time, I’ll probably change a few more things as my commuting evolves. Right now, I’m considering snow tires. I had my last bike 27 years until I finally gave it up (My son now rides it) for a new ride.

    All that being said, because you bring hundreds of us countless amounts of joy reading about your ideas and modifications, I think you should sell your current bike.

  • Urb Anwriter says:

    I voted ‘keep,’ but I’m well acquainted with the ‘new project’ bug, a trait I share with many others here. My ‘most favourite’ (yes, with a ‘u,’ sort of places me psycho-geographically) build was stolen a decade ago; the heart-breaking thing was knowing that it would be broken up because no really wanted a 700C frame on 26″ rubber, with Pentasport and drums fr/rr. It had a couple quirks that bike but I still miss it.

    But.

    A new build is a new intellectual experience at one level and a totally new physical experience in the actual riding… Here taste is undeniable. I once bought a bike (second cousin one might say to my Loring) that in three years of riding had 47 km put on it. That bike always felt as if I was riding a kid’s tricycle, up-hill, regardless. And something about it just wasn’t right. Yet there are lots of people for whom that very same bike seems the next best thing to a LHT – which I’ve never tried.

    So? Keep the LHT, build up a new bike, and then see which one gets ridden the most over some period of time. Then make a decision.

    Urb

  • Jay says:

    I don’t get why you would consider selling something that is essentially perfect for you. If you love it, and it works great, why get rid of it?

  • voyage says:

    Keep the Surly as it is a modern classic. For the next, add a game-changer.

  • Marshall says:

    I’d pull the parts off it and give another frame a try — perhaps from Soma, or even that super-sweet Rawland you had on the site this week. The LHT is a nice frame, but it is like a lot of steel production frames these days — coming from a single factory in Taiwan (same as the other Surleys, the steel Salsas, Somas, your Sam Hillborne, and the Rawland too), so while build quality is very good throughout, what you’re really buying is the specifications and the marketing. There are many different flavors of frame in the $400-$900 range, and I’m in favor of trying them all. You’ve got the build grouppo… why not try on a bunch of others using more or less the same componentry?

    Another drivetrain I’d like to see you build up is the Sram Apex system. But definitely the Carbon Drive IGH first.

  • Jeff says:

    Alan,
    I’ve wanted a Long Haul Trucker since I became aware of them four years ago. Shortly after that, I stumbled onto EcoVelo and have visited everyday religiously. You sharing your knowledge and constant research not only of the LHT but all things bicycle, has been my inspiration to become a commuter. I finally was able to buy myself the bike I’ve been dreaming of for my 50th birthday, a 2011 LHT in black. I suspect alot of Truckers have been sold because of you. You inspire people like me to strive to better themselves and their lives through cycling. That’s who you are. Now, sell the Trucker and go do it again! PS, mine aint for sale! LOL!

  • Norman says:

    Getting a new bike even though there is no issue with the old one would be very velo, but would it be eco?

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    FWIW, if I had to choose between a gearhub, belt drive, and a dynohub setup, I would go for the last of the three. I *like* my gearhub, and I find the belt setup intriguing, but I flat out *love* my dynohub setup. My guess is if you got one you’d end up feeling the same way in a very short amount of time.

  • Markus says:

    There is not a bicycle I have sold that I do not wish I still had.

  • Alan says:

    @Joseph E

    “Although I would love to see you sell the LHT, it would be in YOUR best interest to keep it. You won’t get the whole value out by selling it, and it’s a great bike already. What would you even need an Alfine 11 for in the Sacramento area? Well, I hope you sell it; a new build would be fun, if expensive.”

    The Alfine 8, iMotion 9, and my 3×8 and 1×9 XT derailleur set-ups have all served me perfectly well for the terrain here. My interest in the Alfine 11 has more to do with trying one out to see how it performs and holds up over time. I’m interested in that hub primarily because it’s running in an oil bath, not necessarily because of the extra gears.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @kfg

    “Consumer Reports does not keep the cars it tests. As has been pointed out you can do all the itch scratching you want for the purpose of the blog, if you move those along to new owners.

    That’s what most builders do, isn’t it?”

    Right. That’s certainly a valid approach. I suppose that’s essentially what I’ll be doing if I sell the Surly.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Marcy

    “How about hanging on to the LHT and building up a new commuter. Once the new build is done, you can determine which one you prefer to keep and sell the other.”

    That makes a lot of sense and it may be what I end up doing. Thanks for your input!

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Lovely Bicycle!

    “I guess I don’t understand the question. Is there something you are not 100% happy with on the Surly that the new bike would have? Or is it just a matter of wanting a change?”

    It’s probably more a matter of wanting a new project to tinker with than anything.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @The-milkman

    “I’m already excited about winning one of the LHT’S!!!!!”

    Il like your idea! :-)

  • Alan says:

    @Urb

    “So? Keep the LHT, build up a new bike, and then see which one gets ridden the most over some period of time. Then make a decision.”

    This seems to be a fairly popular suggestion. I like the idea…

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Jeff

    “You sharing your knowledge and constant research not only of the LHT but all things bicycle, has been my inspiration to become a commuter.”

    You don’t know how much that means to me, Jeff. Congrats, many thanks, and keep it up!

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Dolan

    “FWIW, if I had to choose between a gearhub, belt drive, and a dynohub setup, I would go for the last of the three. I *like* my gearhub, and I find the belt setup intriguing, but I flat out *love* my dynohub setup. My guess is if you got one you’d end up feeling the same way in a very short amount of time.”

    I’ve had Schmidt dynamos on two of my bikes and a few review bikes with Shimano dynamos. They’re awesome. That said, with so many review bikes coming and going, and a handful of bikes that I maintain for family, it hasn’t been practical to outfit each bike with a dynohub. Consequently, I’ve drifted away from using them. If I keep the Surly, a dyno hub will most definitely be the next (last?) upgrade.

    Alan

  • Joe Slaby says:

    Beginning a new project is a special joy. We’ll be with you, vicariously, if you do.

    I try to remember, though, we live in a consumerist world, were advertising is making “new” tantamount to “sexy”. This is the land of plenty, where people can actually own five bikes AND have a place to store them. When I get curious about a new sport or hobby, I’ve been guilty of being just as excited about all the things I have to BUY as I do about actually going out into the world to enjoy them.

    Set an example to us, your readers, and stick with one ride. That LHT you built is your friend. It has a personality, it’s your sidekick! It’s your horse! Don’t let it go! As others here suggest, perhaps you could build a new bicycle for someone else who doesn’t yet have one? You know, share the love, spread the gospel? How many of us have built a bike for our partner or kid with whom we want to inspire the same love of cycling that we have?

    Best, Joe

  • randomray says:

    Interesting reading the input and your responses . This blog has been about a commuter writing about his experiences . Is this where it becomes an entertainer telling the audience about building a new bike ? This is not judgement as it will probably made no difference to us . While I wouldn’t get a new bike , if I were getting bikes to test out , if you as a commuter want a new bike …. ” Well jeez ” Get your new bike . XD

  • voyage says:

    @Joe Slaby

    “perhaps you could build a new bicycle for someone else who doesn’t yet have one? You know, share the love, spread the gospel? How many of us have built a bike for our partner or kid with whom we want to inspire the same love of cycling that we have?”

    Awesome. I was only brave enough to suggest the vague and tricky “game-changer” (above). Thanks! There’s so much to do.

    And I love BICAS!

  • Alan says:

    @randomray

    “This blog has been about a commuter writing about his experiences. Is this where it becomes an entertainer telling the audience about building a new bike?”

    Hi Ray,

    From our mission statement:

    “By sharing what we learn from this endeavor….”

    From the start, this blog has been about sharing our experiences and sharing what we learn along the way. As I mentioned above, one of the motivations for building a “project bike” (as opposed to buying an off-the-shelf production model) is to see what I learn in the process and share that information with our readers.

    Alan

  • Mr. CrankyPants says:

    I’ve ordered a Bryant frame/fork just this afternoon. I realize this probably doesn’t help you in your decision, but the detailed photos from your January 2010 road test tipped the balance for me. Thanks to your photos, I was able to see exactly how the cable guides are set up, and that they are compatible with the drivetrain & disk brake combo that I plan to use. The cable routing options are not readily apparent on the Civia site and these are important details to know before plonking down $600+ on a frameset. (I’m ordering it sight unseen ‘coz nobody around here stocks them).

    So…Thanks Alan!

  • randomray says:

    Chuckle , I was hoping you would take my comment as support for whatever decision you come to Alan . While this post of yours has certainly gotten A lot of people’s attention in the end you will be riding the bike , either the old friend or the new adventure . Cheers

  • John Boyer says:

    Alan LHTs are bikes that scream take me to the farthest corners of earth! Sell it,setting it free and start the dance all over again. You know how much fun a new flavor is!
    Also seeing more LHTs on the streets of Sacramento reminds me we are winning so feel free to consign it at Edible Pedal bike Shop in the alley next to Old Soul Coffee and Bakery .

  • Andrew J. Smith says:

    I have a c.1983 Univega Nuevo Sport with a Jandd Expedition rear rack and a Delta front rack. A “Sport” for Pete’s sake! Does it carry what I need, and more? Yes; and much more. Is it comfortable?…Yes, thanks to a Brooks B17. Could I get a better bike? Sure! Is it worth it (take time to think about the word “worth”)? I hate to say it, but no, it’s not my dream bike (Co-Motion Pangea), but it’s perfect for me, right now.

    Keep the LHT; it’s light years ahead of what most can do or afford.

    aj

  • RI Swamp Yankee says:

    Ya know… Renovo has a new touring frame, made from hickory. Just sayin.’

  • Eddie says:

    Alan, your dilemma has arrived. You’ve reached that point where practical considerations of finance and available space dictate a hard choice between two affections. Do you become a collector of sentiment or continue to explore frontiers? It appears you can’t do both at this time so you might look again at your mission statement.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    Alan, while I’ve never personally experienced wanting to sell a bike if I like everything about it, I absolutely support your decision to sell the LHT and build up a new model if that’s what feels right to you.

    I think the comments advocating the “one loyal steed” mentality somewhat miss the point and the value of ecovelo: Thank goodness that you are willing to take the risk and try out different bikes, because that’s what makes the blog so informative. I think it’s fantastic. Please get your hands on as many bikes as you can and write about them, because I enjoy reading. Just one request: More classic, lugged steel models please!

  • Tim says:

    The only reason I voted yes is we will all benefit from your experience building up a new commuter. And I know you will find a worthy new owner. My LHT sports 40mm Schwalbe Duremes and Midge bars. The perfect fire road/street machine. Would be real hard to turn it loose.

  • kfg says:

    The only reason I voted no is because I understand that it is essentially none of my business and you ought to do as you wish.

    Go figure.

  • Alan says:

    @randonray

    “Chuckle , I was hoping you would take my comment as support for whatever decision you come to Alan . While this post of yours has certainly gotten A lot of people’s attention in the end you will be riding the bike , either the old friend or the new adventure . Cheers”

    I understand – thanks, Ray. :-)

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Mr. CrankyPants

    You’re welcome!

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @John

    “Also seeing more LHTs on the streets of Sacramento reminds me we are winning so feel free to consign it at Edible Pedal bike Shop in the alley next to Old Soul Coffee and Bakery.”

    I need to get by and see the new shop, John! See you soon…

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @RI Swamp Yankee

    “Ya know… Renovo has a new touring frame, made from hickory. Just sayin’.”

    Renovo has promised a bike for review for a couple of years now, but they’ve been too busy selling bikes to get one out to us. I think their bikes are unbelievably beautiful, but I’d want to ride one before taking it on as a personal project.

    Thanks!
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Eddie

    “Do you become a collector of sentiment or continue to explore frontiers? It appears you can’t do both at this time so you might look again at your mission statement.”

    Good advice. Thanks, Eddie. :-)

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Lovely Bicycle!

    “Please get your hands on as many bikes as you can and write about them, because I enjoy reading. Just one request: More classic, lugged steel models please!”

    OK! :-)

  • Alan says:

    @Tim

    That sounds like a nice bike, Tim. I had flared drops on my Stumpjumper back in the 1980’s and loved them. Thanks for your input!

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @kfg

    “The only reason I voted no is because I understand that it is essentially none of my business and you ought to do as you wish.”

    Well, sure. It’s all for fun though, and it’s been a wonderful discussion. I do appreciate all of the input and it’s provided ample food for thought!

    Regards,
    Alan

  • kfg says:

    @Alan – “Well, sure. It’s all for fun though”

    Exactly, thus the reason I voted no and tendered my personal opinion; instead of my usual response to such inquires made in all seriousness which amounts to “Grow a pair and stop trying to pass your personal responsibilities off onto me.” :)

  • Jim says:

    As some have noted, it seems you are at loggerheads. For the sake of using labels, if you were an all out eco warrior, you would keep the bike and run it into the ground.

    If you were a corporate advertiser, always with the new stuff.

    I think you’re more a hobbyist who like to spend their time and hard earned on things that they like. Then you tell us all about it :)

    Cycling is one of those puesuits that always has the latest and greatest coolest ‘new’ stuff to try. You can lose heaps on depreciation though.

    You will definately get more site hits if you start a ‘new’ project, because that is the main reason most of us read the site, we like to read about stuff we don’t have and fantasise about (LOL) or are planning to buy in future.

    Keeping is the safe option, as you know it’s good and comfy and does everything you want. Starting fresh is the risky option, it may not be as good as the the former, but you will learn from the new experiences and break in period.

    Kinda like being married vs dating? Hahaha.

  • David says:

    Of course it’s your call, but it would be cool if you rode the LHT until it didn’t suit your NEEDS any longer. I know you are choosing to live prophetically in the transportation arena in the suburbs and I think it would be just as radical to stay with the same bike for a long time. In a culture where more and new is always better, it is cool when people show that less is more. If you like your rig, stay with it. I think it would be a cool experiment to see how long your LHT would last over the years and put that into a financial comparison with a car over the same time period. Great job Alan, thanks for the good posts.

  • Logan says:

    I can just hear the little Brompton now. “Send me in coach! I can play!” ;) My opinion is sell the LHT. Life is about the journey and new discoveries. If you ever regretted selling the LHT you could always buy another frame and follow your blog notes on the detailed specs. ;)

  • kfg says:

    “Life is about the journey”

    Indeed, that is innate in the question, which is: is the bike about the journey, or is the journey about the bike?

    Or perhaps it’s about . . .Ooooooooo, shiny!

  • Alan says:

    @Logan

    “I can just hear the little Brompton now. “Send me in coach! I can play!” ;)”

    :-))

  • Alan says:

    @David

    “Of course it’s your call, but it would be cool if you rode the LHT until it didn’t suit your NEEDS any longer.”

    The reality is that with proper maintenance and replacing a part here or there as they wear out, this bike will far outlast even this blog. Under my 160 lb. frame, the LHT’s chromoly steel frame will probably last almost indefinitely. Interestingly, it fairly closely resembles a number of bikes I owned in the 1980’s; this is one of the reasons the frame attracted me in the first place. At this point, I can probably assume this same sort of frame will still be attractive to me 20-30 years from now.

    Alan

  • David says:

    Alan,
    As a reader of your blog, I would be very interested in the Bryant project. However, given that the LHT is dialed-in and therefore a shame to part with, it seems to me that the decision should be based on the role and importance of the blog in your life. If it’s just a hobby that’s secondary to your day job (as well as your commute thereto), keep the LHT. If the blog is your primary passion, go for the project.

    FWIW.

  • Rich says:

    Keep it!

    Always focus on the virtures of your bike.

    Don’t be to bikes what Henry the 8th was to wives!

  • nick says:

    I voted for keeping the LHT, it is the one bike in your stable that is truly capable of handling any type of riding. Commuting, Light Touring, Heavy Touring, rain, sunshine, snow, ice, mud, etc. Out of all your bikes it seems like the LHT is really the heavy hitter of your fleet

    The Sam, is nice and fast (I would love one), how often do you ride it, does it get wet?
    The Loring, great bike, other than for getting groceries is there a whole lot that it does that the LHT doesn’t already?

    I like new bikes, but there is no reason to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    If you do decided to sell of the LHT I recommend purchasing another bike that you can ride to the edge of the Earth, such as a Surly Troll. Something that you can put away dirty, muddy, dripping wet and you won’t loose sleep over.

  • bongobike says:

    Wow, 101 comments. My vote is keep it. Why would you get rid of something that feels so good and you’ve “dialed in” so perfectly? Even though I am now almost exclusively a recumbent rider, I just can’t seem to part with the most wonderful road bike I ever owned, a Panasonic Professional that feels like a dream. Even though I can’t really ride it for medical reasons (at least not with drop bars, the way it should be ridden), I simply can’t see myself getting rid of it, because of all the joy it gave me. I decided to bequeath it to my son, who eloquently commented to me once: “Holy s**t, dad this bike is f*****g incredible! Do NOT sell this bike!”

    So, you see, the bike has something special. :)

  • Garret says:

    I to would love to see a new build, but think that the LHT is a fine bike and would hate to see it go. I like the idea by one of your readers to build a new commuter for the purpose of this blog and then sell it. You could even have a contest to see who gets to buy it with some kind of promotion by the bike manufacture. Make it the ultimate commuter, completely decked out.

    As a side note; how do you get your kickstand to prop up your bike so that the front wheel is on the ground. I have the same kickstand (I think) and it pops the front wheel into the air. Very annoying! The front wheel flops all over the place.

  • Alan says:

    Hi Garrett,

    Most importantly, the kickstand should be long enough to lift the rear wheel 3.5″-4.0″ off of the ground. This helps keep the weight bias forward. Also, mount the kickstand as far rearward as possible between the seat stays. Doing both of these things should solve the problem. If you’ve already cut your kickstand too short, you can try adding rubber feet, but you may need a new kickstand.

    Alan

  • 300 Pound Gorilla says:

    “The only thing stopping me is the affection I’ve developed for the LHT”

    Seriously? You sold the Tour Easy. If you can sell that, you can sell anything.

  • Jamin says:

    This is shaping up to be a real John Henry vs. The Machine story.

    In this case it would be more like The Iron Horse vs. The Carbon Steed, or something. I don’t know. Anyway, the point is why not let them duke it out? What better way eliminate sentiment and idle speculation as factors than with open, honest, and objective head to head road tests and a scoreboard?

  • Daniel M says:

    I think this question kind of hits on the wonderful dichotomy of the site itself: practical, everyday transportational bicycling advocacy on one hand, all-out bike fetishism on the other. The act of bicyling vs. the bicycle itself.

    There is no practical reason to sell a bike that’s perfect for you. It also sends a slightly unfortunate message to the practical bicycling camp that because the bike is not new anymore, it has lost some of its inherent value.

    At the same time, you have long expressed your fascination with IGH’s and belt-drive, and you clearly want to add some of these technological advances to your personal stable. Furthermore these appeal to you for the “right” reasons, namely practicality and durability, not shaving seconds off your commute.

    My suggestion is the following: first of all, keep the LHT for the time being. Now start TWO projects. The dream bike, of course, but also build your ultimate “Craigslist bike”. Find one of those 80’s steel frames you love so much, and build it to your specs with as many second-hand components as possible.

    You will then have three practical commute bikes representing both ends of the spectrum and the middle. Spend a year riding all three and write a report comparing and contrasting ownership and ridership among the group. Does the new technology radically change your experience on the bike? Is there something special about the vintage bike that is unattainable with a new bike? My guess is that you will still be pedaling and taking photos regardless. But, if you find that you develop a preference toward one or two of the three, then your decision will be made.

    Of course, what you have learned partially from building and riding the LHT will influence your choices with the new bike(s), and it may just turn out that your latest bike fits the latest iteration of you the best. That’s when you sell the older bike to a good friend. Two of my older bikes are now owned by friends of mine. When I meet up with either one and see my old bike, I am reminded of everything I liked about the bike, but also why I ultimately moved on.

  • Alan says:

    @300 Pound Gorilla

    “Seriously? You sold the Tour Easy. If you can sell that, you can sell anything.”

    LOL. Spoken like a true recumbent fanatic… ;-)

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Daniel M

    I like your idea! Many thanks for the thoughtful and thorough suggestion. I just may do that.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Mike says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but can you describe the differences between your three non-folding bicycles? Functionally, the LHT and the Sam Hillborne seem to be only very slightly different, and even the Loring doesn’t strike me as belonging to a whole different functional category.

    Would you mind writing a post sometime contrasting your different bikes and how you use them?

  • Stephen D. says:

    I’m thinking about going the other way for commuting – selling the belt drive IGH 8-speed Nexus and getting more of a touring bike with a triple. The IGH has always felt as though I’m pedaling through oatmeal, and my commute is all hills, including one short 13% grade. I’d get an indexed triple if I go through with this plan.

    Probably depends on your terrain. Some days I tell people that my commute is uphill both ways.

  • Alan says:

    @Mike

    “Forgive my ignorance, but can you describe the differences between your three non-folding bicycles? Functionally, the LHT and the Sam Hillborne seem to be only very slightly different, and even the Loring doesn’t strike me as belonging to a whole different functional category.”

    They’re similar when looked at from outside the genre of “utility/transpo/commuter”, but quite different when looked at from the perspective of someone who nearly always rides for transportation, not sport.

    “Would you mind writing a post sometime contrasting your different bikes and how you use them?”

    I should do that. I’ve covered the topic a number of times within comment discussions like this one, but never as a free-standing blog post.

    Thanks-
    Alan

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    @Stephen

    Not all IGHs are created equal. Some are much more efficient than others. The standard 8 speed Nexus is kind of mid-pack from what I remember, and it depends on which gears you happen to be in.

    External drivetrains are very efficient as long as they’re clean and not too worn.

    You might consider a 1×9 with a 12-34 cluster on the back. Then it would just be a matter of switching out a wheel instead of the whole bike, provided your existing frame has a derailleur hanger.

  • Alan says:

    @Stephen

    The specs I’ve seen show a loss of around 8% on average compared to derailleur drivetrains (excluding the Rohloff). That’s certainly enough to feel. And with a 13% grade on your commute, it sounds as if you need a lower low than what is normal for a carbon belt drivetrain. Perhaps a triple is the best bet for your purposes. As always, “horses for courses”…

    Alan

  • Bob says:

    You can never have too many bikes.

  • Alan says:

    @Bob

    “You can never have too many bikes.”

    Spoken like a bike shop manager… ;-))

    Alan

  • Squib says:

    Keep the Surly, though it might not suit the “new” bug we all get. What is great about it (LHT) is that while you use it for commuting purposes, if you ever get a wild hair to load a bike up and ride across the country well you all ready have one the the best production loaded touring frames on the market. So keep it. Plus its bought and paid for which in itself adds to its value in a age of economic uncertainty. Plus its not like you’re ever going to wear that frame out anytime soon, or perhaps ever.

  • jnyyz says:

    there’s a long thread on bentrider about a recent build with the Alfine 11.

    http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=68231

    It would seem that it doesn’t shift as smoothly as one would wish. That would be too bad. I love my Alfine 8 spd.

  • Jed Reynolds says:

    Alan,

    Have you considered rebuilding the LHT into an Xtracycle conversion? You would do the world a service by showing how beautiful an XC can be (as most XC owner’s look more like faded pickups, mine is not pretty).

  • Shane says:

    I second Jed’s post.

    I’ve got an LHT that I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from your blog on, as far as components and aesthetics, except mine is an Xtracycle. I absolutely love it.

    If you’ve ever been interested in cargo bikes, you could buy a Free Radical kit from Xtracycle and do a nice conversion of your LHT to beef up the cargo capacity. I don’t use mine for much heavy lifting, but I do use it extensively for picnics, day trips, occasional commutes to work and outings with the kids on the back.

  • Jesse says:

    I have a LHT and have been lusting after the same Civia since Shimano announced the Alfine last year. I say keep the LHT and let me be the only guy with an 11 spd belt drive bike. It’s not a status symbol if everyone has one ;-)

  • Alan says:

    @Jed

    “Have you considered rebuilding the LHT into an Xtracycle conversion?”

    Hi Jed,

    In its current incarnation, the LHT can pretty much carry anything I need it to. So while I like the idea of an Xtra, I don’t really need one. Also, this bike needs to fit in a bike locker and on train racks. Thanks for the suggestion anyway… :-)

    Alan

  • e.m. says:

    Keep the LHT. Definitely keep. In over 20 years of bicycle riding, it’s the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. I am totally biased towards it.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » A New Addition says:

    […] basis, but it’s not so often that we add a personal bike to our stable. As I discussed in a recent thread, I’ve been feeling as if it’s time for a new project bike to replace my daily commuter. […]

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » February’s Greatest Hits says:

    […] Should it Stay or Should it Go? […]

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » A New Beginning says:

    […] month, I asked our readers if they thought I should keep the LHT or sell it and move to a new project bike. The poll results […]

 
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