surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Stumpy
Posts: 15
Joined: 7 Apr 2011, 2:08pm

surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby Stumpy » 19 Sep 2011, 8:22pm

Sorry, its another 'which bike' thread and I know this has been discussed many times before, but any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

I'm looking at getting my first touring bike. I rode lejog on my road bike, and have caught the bug, so need to invest before the next, more exotic tour. I'm 5'1" which rules out anything off the peg, and I'm fussy enough to know that I want a really good fit. I've narrowed my investigations down to a Surly lht which Spa cycles in Harrogate can build up for me, or looking at a Hewitt Cheviot which also get rave reviews. Does anyone have any opinion on choosing between these two? Given that I can pick the components for both, the difference is the quality of the frame and service and the price. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience of these?

I realise that there are other well-renowned companies that will build me an equally good machine (Roberts, Thorn...) but due to my location in Leeds and the higher prices I've discounted these. Are there any other options out there that I've missed and would perhaps be better?

Thanks for you help, Sophie

diapason0
Posts: 196
Joined: 11 Aug 2011, 9:14pm

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby diapason0 » 19 Sep 2011, 8:42pm

I've got a Hewitt Sheppey which is a very similar frame to the Cheviot. I'm only 5'4"and searched for months before I found a 17" frame for sale locally. I built it it as a tourer with drops, front & rear racks etc. It's a very well built frame with all the braze-ons for 3 bottle cages, mudguards, racks etc. My only criticism is that it feels very twitchy unladen. Im loading it up at the weekend for a few days camping so will be able to make a comparison then.

There was very good reviw of the LHT on yacf a day or so back (link) http://bicycletouringpro.com/blog/surly ... le-review/

Thorn are very local to me and many local riders buy them. I've heard very good things about them, especially the Raven Tour with the Rohloff hub. Roberts, of course are excellent and I've read rave reviews about Robin Mather.

Hope this helps,
Nigel

scottg
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Joined: 10 Jan 2008, 8:44pm
Location: Highland Heights Kentucky,, USA

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby scottg » 19 Sep 2011, 9:04pm

I'd really want to ride them for some distance, 40 miles on a familiar route.
Ideally loaded and unloaded. It is amazing how some touring bikes handle
worse loaded than loaded. At your height I would be very keen on trying
a 26in wheeled bike in hope the front end steering would be better (less floppy)
than a 700c bike.

Small bike are more difficult to design than a 56cm, so some testing would
be good..
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Why not the best, buy Cyclo-Benelux.

hufty
Posts: 521
Joined: 28 Jan 2011, 7:24pm

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby hufty » 19 Sep 2011, 9:25pm

I considered a Cheviot a while back and am sure its a great bike etc but the killer for me was the large amount of toe overlap with the front wheel given my small-for-a-man size 8 feet. Get confirmation of the centre to centre (bottom bracket to front wheel) measurement before you travel all the way over to Leyland if this is a concern.

Leeds? Have you researched Bob Jacksons at Bramley or Woodrups on Kirkstall Road? Hopefully others will wade in with reviews/comments but my partner had a Bob Jackson custom bike made up and loves it. There's also Ellis Briggs at Shipley although I don't think they like to vary the design much on their custom frames(?) and Mercian near East Midlands Airport is probably the same drive time as Harrogate, not that I'm trying to take custom away from Spa.
Please do not use this post in Cycle magazine

lowrider
Posts: 131
Joined: 21 Mar 2009, 2:25pm

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby lowrider » 19 Sep 2011, 9:30pm

I was considering a new tourer a while back there was not much choice I had a look at the bikes you are talking about.

The LHT in small sizes only has 26 inch wheels also If you are small you stand a better chance of a fit if you look at compact frames. I would book a fitting at Hewitts they looked to me to be the best bet, that way you at least you will know what a good fit will be and if they cant do an off the peg frame you can consider a custom build. There are other similar options available from Byercycles but distance is an issue.

Have you looked at the Dawes touring range they do 43cm frames across the range they might work?

Stumpy
Posts: 15
Joined: 7 Apr 2011, 2:08pm

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby Stumpy » 19 Sep 2011, 10:07pm

Thanks for the responses so far. I should have said that I'm definitely looking at 26" wheels, anything with 700c wheels is totally wrong in terms of geometry. I have 650c wheels on my road bike, the traumas of being a midget... I'll have a look at the toe overlap issue hufty - was this an issue of 700c wheels on a small frame? I'll take a look at Bob Jacksons and Woodrups too. The Mercians are waaay too expensive - I was hoping to get something for the £1500 mark, but we'll see...

Jalan
Posts: 27
Joined: 11 Nov 2009, 1:10pm
Location: Wigan

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby Jalan » 19 Sep 2011, 11:12pm

If you decide to visit Hewitt's it may be worth considering going by train
Only £17 return from Leeds - - change at Preston - the shop is only a couple of hundred yards from Leyland rail station

http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/timesandfares/LDS/LEY/220911/0915/dep

juice
Posts: 137
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 4:46pm

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby juice » 20 Sep 2011, 12:47am

I have a Hewitt Cheviot SE. I've done two long tours incl a lejog and the bike has not missed a beat. The service I have had at the shop has been exceptional, I don't know anything about the surly or about bikes really but if I had it stolen I would go straight back and get another one, maybe a different colour.

The two things that stood out for me were the quality of the wheels, and what might important to you, the fitting service you get, which is comprehensive and not at all rushed, take your saddle along.

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georgew
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Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby georgew » 20 Sep 2011, 12:29pm

I've ridden and worked on both of the bikes you are considering. In my opinion the Hewitt would be slightly lighter and faster but for loaded touring I'd pick the 26" wheeled LHT in terms of comfort and loaded stability. The wheels of the Hewitt are top class but the Surly wheels are good quality and it would be worth having them tensioned when still new. I suspect that the LHT in terms of Top tube length would offer you a better fit given your size.

Michael R
Posts: 768
Joined: 9 Jul 2008, 10:40pm

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby Michael R » 20 Sep 2011, 12:54pm

hufty wrote:I considered a Cheviot a while back and am sure its a great bike etc but the killer for me was the large amount of toe overlap with the front wheel given my small-for-a-man size 8 feet. Get confirmation of the centre to centre (bottom bracket to front wheel) measurement before you travel all the way over to Leyland if this is a concern.

Leeds? Have you researched Bob Jacksons at Bramley or Woodrups on Kirkstall Road? Hopefully others will wade in with reviews/comments but my partner had a Bob Jackson custom bike made up and loves it. There's also Ellis Briggs at Shipley although I don't think they like to vary the design much on their custom frames(?) and Mercian near East Midlands Airport is probably the same drive time as Harrogate, not that I'm trying to take custom away from Spa.


Thank goodness I did not buy a Hewitt. I thought they were good bikes so wouldn't have toe overlap

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bob simpson
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Location: West Lothian

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby bob simpson » 20 Sep 2011, 1:19pm

i'm sure you could get a Thorn Sherpa in the size you want and with in your budget. Very good bike, I had one before buying a Thorn Raven Tour.

Bob

molly
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Joined: 23 Mar 2009, 6:09am

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby molly » 20 Sep 2011, 5:12pm

I am just a day away from completing a tour across Spain on my Hewitt Cheviot 26" and can highly recommend it. I have ridden on and off road and tackled some quite significant climbs. I am well pleased with it.

vernon
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Location: Meanwood, Leeds

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby vernon » 20 Sep 2011, 10:59pm

You really do need to investigate what Woodrups have to offer. They have recently upped the production of hand built frames now that Kevin Sayles has returned to the fold after spending a decade or so building frames for Thorn. They will build a frame for 26" or 700c wheels.

Bob Jackson no longer has a retail shop.

Woodrups appears to be going from strength to strength.

aek
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Joined: 21 Apr 2010, 2:17pm
Location: Warwickshire

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby aek » 21 Sep 2011, 2:49pm

I've got a 56cm Surly LHT 700c custom built from frame up.
I've just done 126 miles on it this week-end (including the Palace to Palace event) and all i can say is, What a joy to ride this bike!
There's nothing to complain about with it except that i'm an adept of disc brakes and i look forward for early next year when Surly is releasing the Disc Trucker version of the famous LHT.
Here are some unofficial pictures of the Disc Trucker frameset:

http://www.ridebicycles.com/news/new-su ... las-vegas/

Once it's available, i will upgrade to it.

Anyway, back to the LHT, it's an amazing bike, the best bike i've ever ridden and the most comfortable one.

Underscore
Posts: 15
Joined: 13 Jan 2011, 12:45pm

Re: surly/hewitt/other? - your experiences

Postby Underscore » 22 Sep 2011, 9:08am

aek wrote:Here are some unofficial pictures of the Disc Trucker frameset:

http://www.ridebicycles.com/news/new-su ... las-vegas/


I think that I've just found the frame that I am looking for! I was reckoning on building up a commuter/tourer this winter while it is still possible to get 9-speed Tiagra brifters and was planning on building around a Salsa Vaya frameset but the cosmetic aspects (e.g. the forks and the colour) and the legion happy riders of the existing LHT has swung it for me, I think.

_