So lately I have been digging around the interweb, doing lots and lots of searching for my next bike purchase. Cargo bike? Check. Road style bike? Check (Well, at least in the process of building, more on that later…) Dirt ready bicycle? No. So my search begins. But hold on, I need more than just a mountain bike, I need something versatile. Here is what I have been debating:
–Surly Cross Check. Seems like this bike is the jack of all trades, does everything decent, but nothing superbly. I have no real idea on that, I have only test ridden one, but that is the jive that I get from reading various online forums. I like that you can fit fatter than normal tires, but not as large as I would like.
–Surly Long Haul Trucker. Mostly the same as above. But, I think I would be on a 54cm, which would put me into the 26″ wheel category, which makes me think:
–Surly Troll. I really like this bike. I feel that it with a set of Maxxis Hookworm 2.5’s would be the ultimate road bike destroyer. Or at least would be fun to ride. Big positive for it though is I would only have to buy 26″ tubes if I bought one. After riding 29ers in the woods exclusively for the past few years, riding on 26’s again might be a little weird, which leads to:
–Salsa Fargo. This bike really intrigues me. Ever since it was introduced in 2008, I have always wanted one. Very cool bike that seems to be ready for whatever. Still somewhat road worthy, but basically a big drop bar 29er mountain bike, with every single braze on one could think of. As of today, this is the bike that I am settling on to round out my stable. This is why:
Most of my riding is on paved surfaces. Every chance that I get though, I am looking for somewhere off of the beaten path. And also, every vacation that my family takes, puts us in a prime mountain biking location, where having a CC or LHT might be a drawback. The Fargo seems to do it all. And now with my feet wet on the touring front, this bike only makes more and more sense. I have thought about a hardtail 29er, but I do not feel that I will be happy on a “normal” mountain bike. Like I stated earlier, I need a bike that is versatile, and I feel the Fargo is it so far. So far for now, that is. I change my mind more than my wife changes shoes…
Since the overnight bike camping trip, I have been putting in quite a few miles on the HaroX on all of the local roads here in the Cincy area, and I am starting to think that a road bike would fit the bill a whole lot better than the cargo bike for these type excursions. No way, am I talking about selling the HaroX. I am just starting to realize that putting in a bunch of miles on the cargo bike takes a lot out of you. It is amazing though, climbing on the HaroX, but I feel that I would have fresher legs for more miles at a time on a standard road bike. I guess I should not say a “standard” road bike, I have always fancied a Rivendell. Too bad they are WAY out of my price range. Some of the other bikes that I think would be pretty solid are:
Surly Pacer/Long Haul Trucker
Older Kona Honky Tonk (1st version if I remember right, powder blue w/down tube shifters)
See a common theme here? Steel. Clearance for wider tires. Mounts for racks and fenders. More upright riding stance. In no way am I looking for a racer type bike on skinny skinny tires. That is not how I get down.
Anyway, just thinking…
And here is a short video I did the other day of my cargo bike:
So I have finally narrowed down my plan for my new bike between the new Surly Troll frame, and an Xtracycle conversion kit. I have wanted to do an Xtracycle kit for quite some time now, and the Surly Troll is just an awesome frameset, so here is my pros and cons list:
Surly Troll Pros:
-Racks and fender mounts
-Large tire clearance
-Building this frame would give me a geared MTB to go along with my singlespeed.
-Only way to have my daughter on the bike would be a seat mounted over the rear wheel, or pulling a trailer. Both of which I am not fond of.
-Not a true cargo bike
Xtracycle conversion Pros:
-Uses an existing bike
-Large hauling capacity
-Lots of options for hauling my daughter, if I use a seat in the back, she has a better view than a traditional over the rear wheel seat.
-Would be a good start to swap parts over to an eventual Big Dummy frameset.
-No geared bike for MTB riding, this conversion would eliminate my geared MTB.
-Costs a little more than the Troll frame
So as of right now, I am leaning towards the conversion kit. I am really, really intrigued by the Troll frame, but the Xtracycle seems to be a better fit for me. Most of my riding is with my daughter anymore, so this only makes sense. As she gets bigger, the Xtracycle would continue to fit her. Plus, riding a heavy bike around would make me stronger for Singlespeed riding, so maybe the heavy thing is not a con. Now I just need to pull the trigger on this, so I will stop changing my mind!