Dan: I ride the Surly Long Haul Trucker. When we were first putting together the idea of Little Bike Trip, I researched what other bicycle tourers were riding and one thing stood out: a lot of people ride the Surly LHT. Basically, the LHT is the yardstick you compare other bikes to when it comes to doing extended trips. Looking back, I probably could have spent a lot more time test riding different bikes but I knew how much I was prepared to spend and the more researched, the more I preferred the LHT as the bike for me to ride around the world on.
My one minor gripe with the stock LHT is that it didn’t come with a lot when I bought it. These are the additions I’ve made:
- Brooks B17 S Standard Saddle (HIGHLY recommend)
- Tubus Fly Classic Rear Rack
- Tubus Tara Front Rack
- Some cheap mud-guard
Changes I’ll definitely make at some point:
- Different tires (gravel is not my friend with these stock tires)
Erika: The Vivente World Randonneur Anatolia!
Said with exclamation, this is the bike for me. I spent 2 years looking for the right touring bike, and made some costly mistakes getting too excited and not doing enough research.
Australia is limited for touring bikes, especially for the shorter-than-average person. I visited every bike shop around Melbourne that carried touring bikes, tried non-touring bikes and looking at manufacturers abroad, but I knew I needed to test the bike, and couldn’t quite find the right size nor something I imagined spending hours on a day for years.
Comfort and fit were the non-negotiables, which meant I needed a step through/mixte frame, (nearly impossible to find this kind of touring bike in Australia) and from there I was interested in the features of touring bikes, steel frame, extra mounting for racks and bottles, lots of gears for riding up and down the hills, etc.
I tried out a number of well-known touring brands, including Kona, Salsa, Fuji, even bought a Surly Disc Trucker that was too big for me (great bike, just not built for my dimensions). I wanted it all, but also wanted to save money for the actual touring part of the trip. And then I sat on a Vivente.
Vivente is an australian manufacturer whose designers spend time touring to understand how to create the right touring bike that people want. Over the years they have customised their bikes decking them out with all the bits and bobs you could wish for while touring. The best part, the Anatolia comes with the option of a sloping top tube so I can actually standover my bike, clearing the tube, and sells this in an extra-small!
As soon as I rode the bike it felt right. Plenty of hand positions for comfort riding with the trekking (butterfly) bars, and a design made specifically for the smaller rider.
It came fully equiped with extras including:
- Dynamo hub powering the lights and a USB hookup
- Rear Tubus pannier rack
- Mudguards (fenders)
- Kickstand (which I missed on my previous bikes and while it is a luxury, it’s nice to stand the bike up when loaded or unloaded)
- Steering stabiliser for loaded bike
- New model can clear 2 inch tires!
- Oh I almost forgot to mention it comes with Schwalbe Marathon tires!
And all these spares and tools to keep me busy learning about it!
This bike cost me $2700 AUD, and the only additions I’ve made are the Brooks saddle that I already had and a front Tubus rack, so I can try out a traditional touring setup. At this stage I am willing to compromise a bit of weight for the durability of steel and comfort of the bike.