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  1. #1
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    Vaya vs Crosscheck (vs LHT)

    so, in my research, I've narrowed my choices down to these 3 frames.
    Surly CC
    Salsa Vaya
    (and maybe Surly LHT)
    (possibly the Soma Double cross too)...

    I'm not going to detail my intended usage, as there will invariably be someone who tells me what bike to get. I dont really want this, instead, I'd rather hear your thoughts on how these bikes compare to each other...

    my understanding is that the CC and DC are quite similar, more or less, and I understand that the LHT is burlier, slower, deader-yet-tougher.

    Where does the Vaya fit in with these? is it somewhere between the CC and the LHT?

    cheers!

  2. #2
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    Did you consider the monster cross frame from Black Mountain Cycles? If not, you may want to. Very similar to CC, but much better in many ways (speaking as someone who has owned both).

  3. #3
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    An open invitation to gush about my two favorite bikes? Well, okay, if you insist..

    Where to begin? My CC and LHT are both fantastic bikes that do different things well. But you probably already knew that. Both frames have classic good looks. I picked up the LHT first and for several years it was my all-arounder. I rode it everywhere - roads, dirt, commuting, even a triatholon. Everything, but multiday touring - ironically. Now, it is set up as my racked, fendered, flat pedalled, semiknob tired, mustache barred utility bike for kid hauling, errand running, and all around "just riding" in normal shoes/clothes. I had an itch for something a bit zippier for faster road riding, but still maintain the versatility of the LHT. I found a great deal on a CC on CL and snapped it up. It fit the bill perfectly. I've had the CC through multiple configurations as well and it is currently set up as a fat-tired (32mm Paselas), retro (non-aero brakelevers, barcon shifters) roadbike. I could swap the parts with the LHT and use it as the utility bike; and it would do that great too. But the LHT handles weight better and the CC is more fun to ride fast.

    Compared to each other, here's my assessment:

    LHT - more stable handling; more tire clearance (slightly); burlier frame; more confident on loose surface; longer chainstays = more heel room for panniers and trailer mounts; taller HT = more comfortable handlebar position; despite lower BB, I like it better offroad

    CC - more nimble handling; shorter chainstays = more responsive to acceleration; lighter (though some of that is due to the build); shorter HT = racier handlebar position; fits both 130mm and 135mm rear hubs; hortizontal dropouts = easily singlespeedable (haven't done it yet, but I do intend to eventually)

    I can't speak to the Vaya. Clearly, a lot of people like it alot. Originally the big deal on the Vaya that distinguished it most from the Surly roadbikes was its disc brakes. Now that Surly has come out with the DT and Straggler, those should probably be on your radar screen too, if you're considering disc brakes.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
    Surly LHT: Kid hauler
    On One Inbred: SS 26er

  4. #4
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    awesome, thanks you definitely confirmed many of my thoughts. I'm trying to imagine the looks you gt turning up to a triathlon on a LHT...!

    The Black Mountain looks really good! How does it compare to the CC? and what about putting panniers on it for touring?

  5. #5
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    LOL! Thanks. Yeah, truth is that where I was in the pack - the back - there were plenty of mountain bikes and hybrids, so the LHT wasn't all that special. That's one of the great things about triatholons - despite the intimidating look of some of the top competitors, its actually quite approachable for newbies and non-hardcore types. Most of the sprint and olympic length tris are "run what you brung" affairs, unless you are a serious podium contender.

    I love that Black Mountain Monstercross. You definitely can't go wrong with it. Compared the CC, its got a taller HT and longer chainstays, so it has some of the comfort features of the LHT, but with a much lighter tubeset. I believe it runs bigger tires too.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
    Surly LHT: Kid hauler
    On One Inbred: SS 26er

  6. #6
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    I would cross the LHT off your list unless you're planning on an everything + the kitchen sink type tour. I test rode the LHT and X-Check at the same time and the X-Check just had a way zippier feel, the LHT felt like a boat. I've packed mine to it's britches and it held okay, I wouldn't do it again though, it was definitely a little skitchy. Now when I tour I've learned to take less and am even more glad that I have a X-Check.

    The Vaya is going to have better tubing, but no canti brakes, which is a bummer (lacks the versatilite of the Soma and Surly), I'm starting to come around on canti or V-Brakes over the complications of Disc. Soma gives you the option for both (on the DCDC anyway). I believe the Salsa tubing is still slightly better than the Soma, but Soma is a step up from Surly.

    That Black Mountain is super badass. One of these days I'm going to ride up to Pt. Reyes and test ride one/oggle over one!

  7. #7
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    I had both a Surly Crosscheck and a Soma Doublecross this summer. I put up a comparo here:

    Bikes and Playgrounds: Soma Double Cross vs. Surly Cross Check Comparison

    Summary: I like the CC better. More versatile and nicer details, and rides maybe a tiny bit better.

    I like the versatility of the LHT, but it seems like quite a beast of burden for everyday riding. I really like my Crosscheck, but if I were buying today, I would seriously look at the aforementioned BMC Monstercross or an All City Space Pony. Compared to the CC, I see these different as:

    BMC:
    + lighter tubing (8/5/8 vs 9/6/9)
    + taller headtube and shorter top tube
    + you're supporting a one man shop
    - no down tube cable stops
    - 130mm spacing vs. 132.5

    Space Pony:
    + taller head tube and shorter top tube
    + more braze ons for for the fork
    - shorter horizontal dropouts
    - don't like the paint scheme

  8. #8
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    Love your blog, seatboy! And great comparison of your Soma and Surly.

    I think I'm in a similar boat as you as the BMC Monstercross and All City Space Horse weren't really options for me when I bought my CC, but if I were in the market today, I would definitely consider them. I mostly agree with your + and - list, though I would argue that its pretty subjective.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
    Surly LHT: Kid hauler
    On One Inbred: SS 26er

  9. #9
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    Hallo!

    I'm just new here and hopefully I can make myself fully understandable (English is not my mother tongue).

    First of all, I have:

    1.

    Surly Crosscheck since 2007 (have used it for Cyclocross and touring and currently just for commuting)

    2.

    a LHT (which is now my strong touring bike, since the CC seems to be too weak for a 80 kg rider and almost 40 kg of gear)

    3. Vortrieb/Drössiger aluminium Cyclocross frame


    What to say to the Surlys?

    I can almost confirm all the things, that habe been said in comparision of these two.
    The LHT realy seems to be slower an not that responsive.
    What you should als consider is the fact that the LHT for medium and small size riders is 26". So rolling efficeny onroad (I even tried Schwalbe Marathon Racer Evolution combined with Schwalbe 14 A XX-Light tubes.) and offroad (goes deeper into each hole) is a little worse than with 28", except on very loose ground where wider tyres are in advantage.

    You should also see that both frames are steel frames. The thin stays in the back of the frame, bend easily under the force of the brakes. So I had to use Brakeboosters to reinforce the frame to have a better brake controll. That works really perfect.

    But I also like my Aluminium frame, since it is more responsive. Especially when climbing it seems to be in advantage.

    What we haven't discussed yet is brake choice.

    If you know that brake pad and rim wear will be high, go for disc brakes!
    I haven't done it yet (cyclocross with disc was not that common when I bought my last frame), but I will definetly do it when my wheelsets (I have a few) are worn. I live on the coast with sandy beaches and sandy ground also farther away from shore. This stuff really kills rims and chains. (In meanwhile I rode 10 speed and went back to 9speed a month ago. )

    The good thing about Disc is also the fact that you won't need brakeboosters

    In the case you like steel and discs:

    Have you considered the Planet X Kaffenback, the Genesis Croix de Fer and the oncomming Surly Straggler yet?

    I hope I could help you at least just a little bit.

    Cheers!

  10. #10
    jrm
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    If youre considering the Vaya, then id like to throw in the pile the Van Dessel WTF. Both have nicer tubing then the 4130 and more current geometry then the surlys. Theres also the on one pomipetmine as well.
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  11. #11
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    I can't say much about the surly but I had a vaya which i sold to my brother and just built up a soma double cross disc. The vaya is going to be sturdier should you decide to load it up but the double cross loads up fine with rear panniers and front rack (around 30-40 lbs). The double cross "feels" faster and I honestly prefer the ride over the Vaya however the Vaya is probably better marketed as a versatile "adventure" bike. The soma is closer to cyclocross geometry but currently lacks a fork with mid eyelets. I suppose I could get one. In all honesty, I felt the Vaya was fast with 700x28 gatorskins and the Soma feels equally as fast with the same tire (maybe subjectively faster but that generally depends on how good or bad my last ride was). I don't regret selling my Vaya because it got my brother riding with me and we have a trip planned for the fall but Salsa definitely markets their product well, whether it's better than the soma at the same tasks time will tell. As far as comfort goes they are both very comfortable but I prefer the Soma probably because of the tubeset.

    All in all the major differences in my book are subtle geo differences i.e. Vaya more fitted for touring, Soma has a slight cross background, and the tubesets are specced different (Vaya for loaded touring, Soma for all-around road riding). If I wanted to have an all around bike and maybe cross race a little, I would go for the soma. If I wanted a great all-around bike that I could load up and transcontinental tour with, I would go with the Vaya. Either bike could suit your needs if you want it to just one may be less suited to your tasks depending on your style and intentions.

  12. #12
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    I recently considered the CC and BMC. I really liked what both had to offer. The only thing that made me go with the CC was the price. The CC was almost half the price of BMC, both brand new (framesets). If price was not an issue, I would have definitely gone with BMC.

  13. #13
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    There's also the Surly Straggler about to come out...Crosscheck with discs and a new dropout system.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    I recently considered the CC and BMC. I really liked what both had to offer. The only thing that made me go with the CC was the price. The CC was almost half the price of BMC, both brand new (framesets). If price was not an issue, I would have definitely gone with BMC.
    You must've gone to public school.

    The price difference is roughly $160, and for my money the slight geometry tweaks and 130mm rear spacing is worth every penny. I've owned 3 CC over the years, but now that I've owned a BMC, I'll never own another CC

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge View Post
    You must've gone to public school.

    The price difference is roughly $160, and for my money the slight geometry tweaks and 130mm rear spacing is worth every penny. I've owned 3 CC over the years, but now that I've owned a BMC, I'll never own another CC
    Good for you. New CC for me was $350 through Bicycleoutfittersindy. BMC is $630. Like I said, almost half price. But I guess you need private school edumacation to figure that out.

    Also, just because you owned both doesn't mean a thing to anyone else. Everyone has their preferences.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    Good for you. New CC for me was $350 through Bicycleoutfittersindy. BMC is $630. Like I said, almost half price. But I guess you need private school edumacation to figure that out.

    Also, just because you owned both doesn't mean a thing to anyone else. Everyone has their preferences.
    You don't do well with people poking a little fun with you, do you?

    Did your $350 CC include shipping?

    As for preferences, I was just sharing mine. That's how this whole forum thing works, right?

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