... I know just that title will get a lot of you into this thread! :-)

And in fact a few days ago I was going to post this thread asking, "are they really all that good?"

Cos I'm eyeing up some future touring, and am concerned that my current tourer, being based around the frame of a repurposed 1980s-era chrome moly racing frame, size XXXL, isn't quite up to the task, as it flaps like a fish when panniered up, esp if I have to be out of the saddle up a hill, or the like.

I'd had a look on the Surly website and found that they are now making a 64-cm LHT, with a 61cm top tube, the dimensions of my custom built racer. Course you can't order FROM Surly but they list the chaps at CBD in the city as importers, so I swung past there this morning.

"Ah yes," they said, "A shipment arrives in early April, there is a 64 in there, do you want to put down a deposit?"

Hell to the yeah! And only after all this banter and me looking like a keen cashed-up puppy did I actually get around to asking how much it was ... and they still gave me a $50 discount.

So, new frame, swap all old stuff onto new frame, off we go.

But just for all you beard-strokers out there .... there will be NO BAA-CONS. Will use my flat bar.

PS There was also an option for disc brakes. CBD bloke sang their praises for touring, esp for long wearing, low maintenance, ability to keep riding with an untrued wheel, long descents without dangerous overheating, etc. I'd have been more interested if I wasn't swapping over my regular wheelset.

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All right, brains trust, gear nerds and seasoned advisers.

The frame has arrived in all its olive drabness.

Now, because some of you badgered me into buying the disc brake version, I need new wheels.

I am 100kg and will of course be panniering up, so I need wheels as bullet-proof as f---.


Olive! It super dark green. For those of us old enough to remember blackboards - about the same colour but gloss finish.

Nicer than black. IMHO.
Like most men I only see in 16 colours, like a default monitor setting. Olive was a guess.

His new beard will look much better on super dark green than olive drabness.

Maybe some Alexrims FD19s will do the job.

Well I have a few wheel sets in that discs 700c/29er spec.

Not really fussed with my Shimano (xt disc) hubs as it takes time and effort to keep regreasing the loose bearings, happy to do this on my faster sportive bike, but I would go for a carefree, robust sealed bearing for the surly if poss.

As another set I have some lower end dt 370 hubs on 32 spoke dt TK 540 rims ( guessing TK = trekking/ touring) and they have been smooth, strong and no trouble whatsoever. I came off badly last Nov and put in a mild front rim warp but the LBS ( lespit) got them back to true quite easily I believe.

The other set I have phil hubs on 32 spoke dt x470 and while these are a lighter rim I run them with little load and on a ss specific hub so no or very little rear dish. I use these as my main commuter with around 300k a week and have nil problems and still run true. I could be wrong but I feel the more solid the hubs the less spoke tension issues you have. Phil hubs are very nice hubs if you wish to put down some $$ and then have something worthwhile for the next generation in your will.

We both ride big frames but you have 20 K on me before kit, so I would go a welded rim like the tk540s and if you are keen you can go machined brake surface so they could go onto another non disc frame (if the rear end is 135mm). Top end open pros would also give you that option. I guess you also need to think around the 32 vs. 36 spoke options but I would go hand built if you can, so when pain persists, talk to your specialist.

100kg for the rider

Plus riding clothes/gear

Plus panniers & load


Recommend that you get 36 hole wheels built up. Seriously


And make sure that you ask the wheel builder if they use a tension gauge. There is no other way to know if your wheels are built tight enough. If they do not use a tension gauge - get your wheels built by someone who does



I was at Cheeky Transport the other day and witnessed the assembly for a customer of The Vivente World Tour bike. I have to say that I commented to Adam that you get a lot of complete bike for your money. The bike appears thoughtfully set up with a good level of componentry. The 4130 frameset was said to come out of the same factory manufacturing the Surly. I hope you see these comments and observations as an unbiased approach, as I own a custom built flat bar Surly Crosscheck.  So, in answer to your original question, 'Are they that good'.............I think only a person jumping on and off a lot of bikes would be able to identify all of the attributes. I think they are tough, but the Vivente looks tough also. It is an age related comfort thing with me.......................hope this helps


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