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  1. #1
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    Surly LHT v.s. Bruce Gordon BLT

    Hi, Looking to purchase my first touring bike. I come from a mountain bike background. Planning to use it for commuting and loaded touring. I'm narrowing choice down to a Surly LHT & Bruce Gordon BLT. Any opinions out there?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat & Hairy
    Hi, Looking to purchase my first touring bike. I come from a mountain bike background. Planning to use it for commuting and loaded touring. I'm narrowing choice down to a Surly LHT & Bruce Gordon BLT. Any opinions out there?
    If money is no object, buy the Gordon.

    But at $2,349 vs $1,095 the likely biggest deciding factor is choosing to part with more than twice the coin (not to mention you're not done at 2349 with the Gordon, you've got another couple of hundred or so depending where you live).

    As you would expect with a price delta like this, almost every component (but not all) on the Gordon is of a higher grade and quality than found on the LHT. If money is truely no obstacle, don't stop at the BLT, get a Rock N Road.

    Scot
    Scot Gore, Minneapolis

  3. #3
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    I have an LHT and love it. The build quality is oustanding. It rides like butter. I don't think you can beat the value for the money. A complete LHT with mostly XT compoents costs about half the BLT, which is mostly LX components. And IMHO, I much prefer the lugged crown fork on the LHT to the unicrown on the BLT. But, having said that, Bruce Gordon is pretty much the gold standard in touring bikes. And, their frames are made in America, whereas Surly's are made in Taiwan. I'm not sure that there's a quantifiable way to say that one bike is better than the other; I think either one would reliably and comfortably get you whereever you want to go 99% of the time. And the BLT probably has the advantage the 1% of the time you're trekking across the Eurasian stepp or some similar extreme endurance tour where the BLT's American-made hardiness will get you to the next yurt village while the LHT snaps on you. So in a nutshell, my opinion is if value for your hard earned bucks is most important - go with the Surly; if reputation and Made in the USA goodness is tops and cost is no problem - go with the Bruce Gordon.

  4. #4
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    One of the reasons I have started to look at the Bruce Gordon was that they are starting to make a version of the BLT frame in Taiwan so I would save some cash. They have a great reputation and I am sure they would guarantee frame quality. However, I own a Surly MTB that I love.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat & Hairy
    One of the reasons I have started to look at the Bruce Gordon was that they are starting to make a version of the BLT frame in Taiwan so I would save some cash. They have a great reputation and I am sure they would guarantee frame quality. However, I own a Surly MTB that I love.
    Your posting motivated me to check out Bruce Gordon's website to see what was new and I saw that. Looks like all they have right now is just the frame set, but maybe that's what you're looking for. But Bruce Gordon's Taiwanese frame set is still twice the price of the LHT frameset and almost as much as the complete LHT. I'd say, even if you're getting just the frameset, either spring for the American made BLT or get the LHT; otherwise all you're paying extra for is the name. And that fugly unicrown fork.

  6. #6
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    The Bruce Gordon is $920 with front and rear racks. The racks alone are worth $190 for the rear and $165 for the front. So still more expensive than the Surly but not a bad value in my opinion.

    It is cheaper than his bike here
    $14,500!! (Bottom of the page)

  7. #7
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    I have a 54cm lht with 26 inch wheels and I love it. I can not speak to the blt however I feel like the lht is very versital and outstanding. I know a person could buy many bikes that are far more beautiful, but give the lht a spin. The new tawian blt according to what I read will be coming as a complete bike in the near future. Post pictures when you get your bike.
    never,never,never give up

  8. #8
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    I love my 26" wheeled LHT. I bought the frameset when they first became available and built her up with spare road & mtb parts I had laying around. My component mix is better than what Surly offers on their complete LHT build.
    Last edited by roadfix; 10-07-2008 at 02:45 PM.

  9. #9
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    Yep. I agree. I built my XT LHT for cheaper than the complete bike offered. The frameset offers a great value.

  10. #10
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    Probably hard to go wrong on this one. I'd go with the BLT if you can justify spending the extra cash.

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    [QUOTE=bolandjd]Your posting motivated me to check out Bruce Gordon's website to see what was new and I saw that. Looks like all they have right now is just the frame set, but maybe that's what you're looking for. But Bruce Gordon's Taiwanese frame set is still twice the price of the LHT frameset and almost as much as the complete LHT. QUOTE]

    Just to set the record straight - You are comparing "apples and oranges"
    The $925 price is for a frame and fork with my racks front and rear. The racks bought separately would be about $375. The LHT frameset is without racks.
    Currently the LHT complete bike without racks is around $1200.
    I will have a Parts Group pricing soon - the parts group will be the same Shimano LX group I use on the current California made BLT.
    Regards,
    Bruce Gordon

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=bgcycles]
    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd
    Your posting motivated me to check out Bruce Gordon's website to see what was new and I saw that. Looks like all they have right now is just the frame set, but maybe that's what you're looking for. But Bruce Gordon's Taiwanese frame set is still twice the price of the LHT frameset and almost as much as the complete LHT. QUOTE]

    Just to set the record straight - You are comparing "apples and oranges"
    The $925 price is for a frame and fork with my racks front and rear. The racks bought separately would be about $375. The LHT frameset is without racks.
    Currently the LHT complete bike without racks is around $1200.
    I will have a Parts Group pricing soon - the parts group will be the same Shimano LX group I use on the current California made BLT.
    Regards,
    Bruce Gordon
    OK So your frame set is $925 + shipping with overpriced $375 rack then your fame and fork would be worth $550, not bad but but I doubt you would actually sell the just the frame and fork for $550 with out inflated rack.

    A LHT frame and fork sells for $420 and routinely you can get it 10-15% off with FREE shipping. Complete bikes routinely sell for less than $1000 and can often be found for $880 SHIPPED which is less than your frame set.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgcycles
    Regards,
    Bruce Gordon
    Bruce,

    Good to see you on the site. There's some good people and you are needed as well. Stick around and give advice. There's a "Show Me Your Rack" (not what you think) post that just went up this AM that I bet you've got some sage advice for.

    Scot Gore
    Scot Gore, Minneapolis

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=mbaha]
    Quote Originally Posted by bgcycles

    OK So your frame set is $925 + shipping with overpriced $375 rack then your fame and fork would be worth $550, not bad but but I doubt you would actually sell the just the frame and fork for $550 with out inflated rack.

    Just to set the record straight - the "Overpriced Rack for $375" is actually front and rear racks - not one rack. Being overpriced is in the eye of the beholder. They are made in California. A pair of Tubus racks front and rear is about $250 - made in China.

    As for selling the frame alone - yes they will be sold as only framesets - probably between $575 to $600.
    Any questions - feel free to give me a call
    Regards,
    Bruce Gordon

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=mbaha]
    Quote Originally Posted by bgcycles

    OK So your frame set is $925 + shipping with overpriced $375 rack then your fame and fork would be worth $550, not bad but but I doubt you would actually sell the just the frame and fork for $550 with out inflated rack.

    A LHT frame and fork sells for $420 and routinely you can get it 10-15% off with FREE shipping. Complete bikes routinely sell for less than $1000 and can often be found for $880 SHIPPED which is less than your frame set.
    Like the man said, apples and oranges.

  16. #16
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    Bruce, now that you've weighed in, I'll just back meekly into the corner; I'm sure you've forgotten more about bicycles than I'll ever know. Point taken on the "apples and oranges". However, excluding racks from the equation, your Taiwanese frameset still comes in a few hundred bucks higher than Surly's Taiwanese frameset and I suppose your complete bike will too. Is that just a factor of supply and demand, or is there something about your bike that makes it worth the premium, considering both are foreign made? Better design? Better factory? Better steel tubing? A little bike industry "inside baseball" is always interesting.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd
    Bruce, now that you've weighed in, I'll just back meekly into the corner; I'm sure you've forgotten more about bicycles than I'll ever know. Point taken on the "apples and oranges". However, excluding racks from the equation, your Taiwanese frameset still comes in a few hundred bucks higher than Surly's Taiwanese frameset and I suppose your complete bike will too. Is that just a factor of supply and demand, or is there something about your bike that makes it worth the premium, considering both are foreign made? Better design? Better factory? Better steel tubing? A little bike industry "inside baseball" is always interesting.
    This is somewhat hard to answer.
    First, I'm a small (one person) business - so I don't have the buying power of
    Quality Bicycle Products (QBP)- the marketer of Surly.
    Second, I feel my design is better, based on my 35 years of designing and building what many people consider the best touring frames, racks, and panniers. Also, my frames will have 4130 plate steel dropouts that are "Computer Machined" - the eyelets will never break off, even under heavy loads. The tubing and specifications are the same as my Rock 'n Road Tour frames.
    Third, they are the only touring frame that comes stock with "My Bruce Gordon Racks" made in my shop in California.

    Regards,
    Bruce Gordon

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd
    Bruce, now that you've weighed in, I'll just back meekly into the corner; I'm sure you've forgotten more about bicycles than I'll ever know. Point taken on the "apples and oranges". However, excluding racks from the equation, your Taiwanese frameset still comes in a few hundred bucks higher than Surly's Taiwanese frameset and I suppose your complete bike will too. Is that just a factor of supply and demand, or is there something about your bike that makes it worth the premium, considering both are foreign made? Better design? Better factory? Better steel tubing? A little bike industry "inside baseball" is always interesting.
    I've spent some time in Taiwan factories-there are a lot of things that go into their frame prices.

    #1-A bigger player (that would be QBP) can negotiate a lot better price on any given product.

    #2-Quality costs. For instance special dropouts require special set-ups and more expensive labor to get things right the first time.

    #3-Quality Control costs. A large volume or smart frame buyer is either going to have their employee on site or pay a local rep to keep an eye on production quality. The more frames that are built in a production run the less per piece this on site QC will cost per unit.

    #4-Shipping costs a lot. No doubt BG will not order enough frames to fill a container so the freight will be pretty costly. Likely QBP won't either but QBP can have their frames stuffed in a container full of other merchandise and pretty much get free freight for the frames.

    Bottom line, no question in my mind the the BG frames will be of somewhat better quality than the Surly for the very discerning buyer. I'd ride either one happily (and if I was in the market for a loaded touring bike I would consider buying the BG-BLT (OTOH knowing my tastes in frames I would likely bite the bullet and get a BG custom)).

    It is your dough and I just can't see how you could go wrong with either bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  19. #19
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    Thanks guys for the peak behind the curtain. Very informative.

  20. #20
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    One other point to consider is that the BG frame appears to be setup for a 1" threaded stem. While perfectly functional and not an issue if you buy the completed frame, 1" stems are getting less commonly found.

    I'm not even sure what headsets are commonly available for 1" threaded setups anymore, aside from a King or some other special order.

    Perhaps not a deal breaker, but I like the wide availability of parts and relative interchangeability of 1 1/8" stuff, from mountain to road to road/mtn OS. Switching 1" threaded stems may be a little more of a hassle.

    Plum
    This post is in 3B, three beers and it looks good, eh!

  21. #21
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    1" headsets and stems are readily available through Velo Orange, Rivendell and Universal Cycles. It's not an issue.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plum
    One other point to consider is that the BG frame appears to be setup for a 1" threaded stem. While perfectly functional and not an issue if you buy the completed frame, 1" stems are getting less commonly found.

    I'm not even sure what headsets are commonly available for 1" threaded setups anymore, aside from a King or some other special order.

    Perhaps not a deal breaker, but I like the wide availability of parts and relative interchangeability of 1 1/8" stuff, from mountain to road to road/mtn OS. Switching 1" threaded stems may be a little more of a hassle.

    Plum
    I will have 1" threadless forks available if that is what people want. They can be switched for the threaded one when buying the package for no charge. Also, I will be having some
    1" quill stems made by the same factory at a very affordable price.
    Regards,
    Bruce Gordon

  23. #23
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    I would much prefer a bike with a 1" quill stem.

    Much, much, much!
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  24. #24
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    My friends, 1" headsets and quill stems are for mavericks. Threadless headsets and stems are the gotcha component of the mainstream bike component industry. Ultimately it's gotta be about job production and healthcare.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfltroll
    My friends, 1" headsets and quill stems are for mavericks. Threadless headsets and stems are the gotcha component of the mainstream bike component industry. Ultimately it's gotta be about job production and healthcare.


    what about taxes?

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