I am 6'1" and weigh about 240. I currently bike about 20 miles a day as a commuter, and I ride on a cannondale bad boy that is nearing the end of its days. I can drop about 1000-1500 in a new bike, and would like to get a solid commuter that would take panniers, but would be faster than my Yuba mundo.
Do you have any suggestions for bikes in thsi range? My lbs seems to be a big fan of surly (cross check and LHT), but I was interested in people's opinions of other things out there.
I had a pretty good history of breaking things, so I am also looking for big guy durability.
I'm forever suggesting touring bikes for commuting, and touring bikes for clydes. They're built for a load, well, I AM a load! And for commuting, they're set up decently for carrying panniers. Typically they'll have a higher stem than many road bikes, which gives me decent visibility. Bigger tires (a) last longer, (b) carry a load better, (c) absorb commuting pothole and lousy road shock better, and (d) float better over cracks, all compared to skinny road tires. And a decent tourer will have low gears, which help with the hills in some cities. And since it is a road bike, you can do other roadie sorts of things, like supported rides or group rides.
A cyclocross bike (like the Cross check) is almost as good as a real tourer, IMO.
The LHT seems to be a decent touring bike. Check out Adventure Cycling's tour bike buying guide for others, like the REI Novarra Randonnee, Trek 520, Fuji Touring. Let me strongly recommend you invest a weekend (or three) into calling all the dealers near you to see what's available, and go test ride all the touring (and 'cross) bikes you can. You'll find a wide variety of rides and dealers out there. Pick the one you want to ride because it's fun!
I am looking for the same type of bike. I have narrowed my list down to these bikes:
1. Kona Sutra ~$1500.00 http://www.konaworld.com/road.cfm?content=sutra#2 (Other than price and the fact that the nearest local dealer is ~100 miles away this bike may have displaced the Raleigh Sojourn as my #1 pick. I need some more information not listed on the website.)
My goal is to get as near as I can to a 20mph avg speed with a 21 mile commute with slightly over 1000ft of elevation gain on a bike that will be long-lasting and durable. The Kona ***** has moved to the top of my list as its chainstays are 435 vs 425 for the Jamis BosaNova, Surly CrossCheck, and Raleigh Clubman. I don't like the low spoke count on the ***** nor the nearly $1700.00 price tag but atm the ***** takes top place in my ratings for a steel frame with disc brakes, fender mounts, and rear rack mount.