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  1. #1
    lyleseven
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    Best gravel and light touring bike? Surly Straggler, Soma Wolverine, CoMotion Klatch?

    Have looked in to all 3 of these and realize the Commotion is a bit more money but invite comments about best all around for gravel and light touring.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    The CoMotion looks like a more upright frame geo compared to the others. Lighter tubing.

  3. #3
    Adorable Furry Hombre
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    The "best" tourist bikes are usually built from parts. All three of the above bikes/frame make compromises that may make or break it...depending on your taste and usage.


    A) The Surly/Soma are IS brake mounts....that have long since been moved on from by the industry. Comotion is post-mount that is also an older standard, but not as old as IS--which will get to be a problem as flat-mount becomes the standard and IS/post parts go the way of the DoDo.

    B) All 3 have fairly short chainstays for a tourist (425-435mm), depending on your rack/bag choice, and your frame-size and foot size you may have heel strike on either rack or bag.

    C) Surly and Soma are spec'ing Ye Olde QR front/rear...whereas the Klatch specs thru-axle.

    D) The klatch has no accommodation for racks up front...whereas the Soma/Surly do.

    E) The Klatch is a nicer steel...Reynolds 853 versus 4130.


    That being said it sounds like you're wanting a pre-built bike and not put a frame together...which brings me to:

    F) The gearing choice for all the bikes with a build kit is poor for touring and gravel. A roadie compact double is over-geared for touring/gravel. Offroad, unless you're racing a 50T isn't that useful, and a 34T isn't that low a gear either for gravel or for touring.


    It comes down to how minimalist you can tour and get on without front panniers.
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  4. #4
    lyleseven
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    All valid points

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    The "best" tourist bikes are usually built from parts. All three of the above bikes/frame make compromises that may make or break it...depending on your taste and usage.


    A) The Surly/Soma are IS brake mounts....that have long since been moved on from by the industry. Comotion is post-mount that is also an older standard, but not as old as IS--which will get to be a problem as flat-mount becomes the standard and IS/post parts go the way of the DoDo.

    B) All 3 have fairly short chainstays for a tourist (425-435mm), depending on your rack/bag choice, and your frame-size and foot size you may have heel strike on either rack or bag.

    C) Surly and Soma are spec'ing Ye Olde QR front/rear...whereas the Klatch specs thru-axle.

    D) The klatch has no accommodation for racks up front...whereas the Soma/Surly do.

    E) The Klatch is a nicer steel...Reynolds 853 versus 4130.


    That being said it sounds like you're wanting a pre-built bike and not put a frame together...which brings me to:

    F) The gearing choice for all the bikes with a build kit is poor for touring and gravel. A roadie compact double is over-geared for touring/gravel. Offroad, unless you're racing a 50T isn't that useful, and a 34T isn't that low a gear either for gravel or for touring.


    It comes down to how minimalist you can tour and get on without front panniers.
    I will likely do more road riding than gravel. As for front pannier mounts, I don't need those. Will check out the heel-strike issue with rear panniers, however. Great point. Prefer disc brakes on any of these. As for gearing, I also agree, but if I can find a 34 for the rear, not as concerned.

  5. #5
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    How about a Specialized Awol? It might be less "light touring", but it's got everything else.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  6. #6
    Cycling Addict
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    If you are doing anything more than credit card touring (carrying just clothes and toiletries) and you are looking at a "light touring bike" with shorter chainstays, then you definitely want low rider racks on the front. When carrying a heavy load on a bike with short(ish) chainstays the rear panniers have to be shoved farther back on the rack and will lead to a high speed shimmy that can feel uncontrollable. By adding low rider racks and putting the heavier gear in them you can balance the bike so that it is stable in all conditions.

    I toured extensively from 1978-1986 on a Trek 510 sport touring bike (they didn't make the 520 full touring bike yet in '78). If I screwed up and didn't put enough of the weight on my low riders, then the bike was uncomfortably squirrely at speed.

    I just purchased a Trek Checkpoint SL5 for these purposes. I haven't toured on it yet, so I cannot comment on its suitability for that - but the chainstay length is in the same range (or slightly longer than) my old 510 from those days so I am hopeful.
    Life is short... enjoy the ride.

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