I commute year round in the wind, rain, sleet, and snow. The ride is only 4 miles one way, so it's very manageable in most weather. Last year i used my 1997 GT Timberline throughout the year. The parts just didn't hold up through the winter muck. Everything junked up on me. I ended up stripping it of everything and converting it to single speed with a nice easy gearing for snow riding.
When Spring came around, I wanted something a little more fun than this franken-bike so I bought an IRO Fixed gear that I've been commuting with everyday except when it rains. The franken-bike has fenders, so I ride that in the rain. The problem is that the Franken-Bike has no other purpose currently than being a bad weather bike. I feel very upright on it compared to my IRO fixie and my road bike. I'm sure I could change that if I wanted too, though (the stem has a lot of rise). It still has my rack and lighting on it, but it's just not much fun to ride except when I absolutely must. I'd like to do something with it to make it more usable year round and a more fun bike to ride. If I can't do that, i suppose I'll replace it.
Option 1 is to build the bike around a Nexus 8 internally geared hub. I'd pick up new wheels front and back for this at a cost of about $300. The bike needs new brake assemblies too, so I'd have to add on that cost. The existing tires are Schwalbe Marathons. Bombproof, but VERY heavy. I may change those out. The end result would be a bike set up for grocery getting and bad weather commuting that would still be fun to ride. End cost would probably be somewhere around $350-$400.
Option 2 is to purchase a new bike. I was thinking something like the Red Line 925. The downside is that it doesn't offer the versatility of gears, but the upshot is that I have really been liking Fixed riding and this keeps me doing that. Part of me can't help but think it's not differentiated enough from my IRO Fixie though (just that it has a rack and I'd add fenders). Cost here would be about $550 after I'm done upgrading various things.
What should I do? Option 1? Option 2? Other? I have some emotional attachment to the GT since it was the bike that got me back into riding and ultimately led to 50 pounds of weight loss and a much healthier lifestyle. It was also a gift from my (now) wife. I guess I'm leaning towards option 1, but I just want to know what you guys think.