So after much thought, I've opted against a single-speed for my next build. (I'm converting my current MTB to SS after I build a new commuter/distance bike instead.)
I was looking at CX bikes initially, but I like the relaxed geometry and all-day-in-the-saddle overall comfort of a touring bike. I'm not concerned on the weight, since I'm riding a 30+ pound monster right now, and I'm not exactly a lightweight myself. Having the range of gearing that a touring rig offers will give me the chance to outfit with racks and do some weekend camping tours that a singlespeed build would not.
I don't have the technical expertise or desire to build everything up from a frame, so the two bikes that I'm considering now are the Jamis Aurora and the Surly LHT (complete). The mix of components seems about equivalent, but I've been out of the loop for a long time on buying new parts. The Aurora is a mix of Tiagra and SRAM (mostly) with an FSA crank, while the LHT is a mix of Tiagra and XT (mostly) with a Sugino crank. Both have 36h rims, but which is better: Alex ACE19 on Tiagra hubs or Alex Adventurer on XT hubs?
What's the advantage/disadvantage argument on the shifting setups: bar-end on the LHT, integrated shifters/levers on the Aurora?
Does anyone know the max tire clearance w/ fenders on the Aurora?
<edit>*Do either of these bikes have components that immediately scream "Not for Clydesdale use"?
Does anyone know the pricing on the LHT?
<edit> *This is really why I posted this thread here, and not in the Touring forum. Everyone here seems to be educated on what will and will not stand up to the abuse we can dish out.