Which bicycle frame did you choose for touring and why?
It was extremely difficult for Haley & I to decide which bike frames we wanted to go with for our around-the-world adventure; especially since we knew zero about the complex world of cycling before we started researching for this trip. We only knew that we liked to ride bikes and thought it would save money and be convenient to have access to our own mode of transportation while traveling abroad.
Our initial research steered us toward the Surly Long Haul Trucker, a proven, reliable bicycle with a relaxed frame geometry designed with touring cyclists in mind. But where we were headed, we could not be certain of the road conditions. The versatility provided by a mountain bike frame seemed better suited to our open-ended exploration. Our research on the LHT led us to countless reviews from rabid Surly fans touting their frames as affordable and “bomb-proof”, so we knew early on we wanted Surly bikes. We quickly stumbled on blogs written by cyclists touring on Surly’s Troll and Ogre mountain bike frames. These frames have braze-ons for mounting water bottle cages literally everywhere (including the fork & the bottom side of the down tube), have horizontal dropouts for using a Rohloff hub with OEM2 mounting plate, come equipped with disc brakes but can also be set up with cantilever or v-brakes, and have ample room to be run with fenders, racks and big volume tires. The only differences between the two frames are the available colors and the wheel size: 26″ vs. 29″ (700c).
I won’t turn this into another 26″ vs 700c debate as most of us know the pitfalls and benefits of choosing one over the other. For an excellent comparison, check out this article on CyclingAbout.com. We decided early on we were going to run SON28 dynamo hubs and Rohloff internally-geared hubs, and since we would need to get new wheels built to make that happen, we had an opportunity to build them up extra-strong, allowing us to choose the 29er frame and enjoy the smoother, faster ride provided by larger wheels.
And that’s why we chose the Surly Ogre for our touring frames.