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  1. #1
    troll
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    Which bike for GAP / C & O Trail?

    Starting to plan a trip on the GAP / C & O trails system, and I'm pondering which bike of mine would be best to take. Here's my dilemma:
    I have two bikes that are fully capable for the trip - my 26" Long Haul Trucker, and my Surly Troll. The Trucker is my go-to touring rig with drop bars, front and rear racks and full set of panniers. Fenders keep me dry, and the handlebar bag up front is great for maps, camera at the ready, and snacks within reach. With 26x1.75 tires, it's as comfortable on pavement as it is on crushed limestone paths.

    The Troll is set up more like a mountain bike / dedicated bikepacking rig. I'm running 2.5" Slant Six tires, that I can drop to super low pressures, or max out for a decent, fairly quiet paved ride, albeit a bit sluggish. The Troll can easily accept the front and rear racks from the LHT, but I imagine this bike might seem a bit much for the trip. I guess I'm mostly questioning the choice of bike because I've heard all sorts of accounts of the trail conditions - from smooth gravel to rutty and muddy.

    My gut says the LHT would be more comfortable and practical, but just wanted to throw it out there to the rest of you.

  2. #2
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    LHT would be my choice.

  3. #3
    um... yeah
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    Yeah, I've ridden the GAP/C&O countless times and the LHT is more than enough. Parts of the C&O can get nasty if the weather is bad, but I've ridden the GAP in a monsoon rainstorm with a road bike and it was slow going in the soft trail but otherwise fine.

    Unless it's looking like solid rain the whole time, go with the LHT.

  4. #4
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    I just did a 47 mile stretch of the GAP and from what I rode I'd say you could ride any bike you want without any real issues. Majority of the other bikes I saw were skinny tire hybrid bikes so I think you'd be good with the LHT.

  5. #5
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    Just rode the GAP & C&O in 4 days. One guy in our group did it on a fixed gear with 700X 25 road tires. I'm not recommending that. Just to show what's possible.

  6. #6
    What day are we riding?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Plus View Post
    Just rode the GAP & C&O in 4 days. One guy in our group did it on a fixed gear with 700X 25 road tires. I'm not recommending that. Just to show what's possible.
    Last time I rode it that is what I used - my Kona Paddy Wagon fixed with 700x28 road tires. Next time I am considering fixed again with Michelin JetS cross tires.

  7. #7
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    Just finished the Canal. 85miles on day one, 66 on day two and 51 on day three. I was on a steel frame, ti seat post and 47mm Michelin City Tires. I chose those items because they were what I already had and they all worked well. The person I road with had 33mm cross tires and I think he felt it in his back a little more. But both work.

    I saw a snow/fat bike and a carbon 23mm tire bikes. You can pretty much ride anything on the canal. If it's wet having some tread/knobs will help. My Michelin tires would have been awful if it was muddy with a loaded bike.

  8. #8
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    My hat's off to anyone riding the GAP and C&O on a fixed gear. I rode a cyclocross bike and it worked out fine. We had a pretty large group riding anything from Frankenbikes, cross bikes to 29ers. Oh, and one fixed gear road bike.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokebike View Post
    Starting to plan a trip on the GAP / C & O trails system, and I'm pondering which bike of mine would be best to take. Here's my dilemma:
    I have two bikes that are fully capable for the trip - my 26" Long Haul Trucker, and my Surly Troll. The Trucker is my go-to touring rig with drop bars, front and rear racks and full set of panniers. Fenders keep me dry, and the handlebar bag up front is great for maps, camera at the ready, and snacks within reach. With 26x1.75 tires, it's as comfortable on pavement as it is on crushed limestone paths.

    The Troll is set up more like a mountain bike / dedicated bikepacking rig. I'm running 2.5" Slant Six tires, that I can drop to super low pressures, or max out for a decent, fairly quiet paved ride, albeit a bit sluggish. The Troll can easily accept the front and rear racks from the LHT, but I imagine this bike might seem a bit much for the trip. I guess I'm mostly questioning the choice of bike because I've heard all sorts of accounts of the trail conditions - from smooth gravel to rutty and muddy.

    My gut says the LHT would be more comfortable and practical, but just wanted to throw it out there to the rest of you.
    i am riding the GAP trail and leaving from pittsburgh on June 8th around 7am.

    i am on a soma double cross with rack that i fashioned a milk crate too to put all my crap in. on 42 nobbys. and platforms. and don't forget the sweet white basket for the bars hahaha

    when you headed out?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Which bike for GAP / C & O Trail?-photo.jpg  

    Which bike for GAP / C & O Trail?-image.jpeg  


  10. #10
    Jon BALER
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    LHT sounds more than capable, and 1.75" tires will be very good. The thing to keep in mind with the C&O is that when dry, you can get by with narrow tires. However, it can get muddy. And larger tires will obviously be more comfortable, and handle better when dodging potholes and rocks.

    Here's the unique thing about the C&O/GAP. It's about as flat as a ride that you can get. So using heavier tires offers very little decrease in performance. So if in doubt, go a little wider and enjoy the comfort and more confident handling.

    I used 2.1 semi-slick tires the last time that I did the whole thing (WTB Vulpine), and others in the group used 35 mm commuting tires, 37 mm commuting tires, and 40mm cross tires. All worked fine.

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