My Surly Crosscheck does the job pretty well. But it could be better.
Such a bike would need to be ...
Fast. Forget Pugsleys, rigid mtb's etc. This is a flat, straight 14 miles. And often windy too - totaly exposed and elevated. You need to still be fairly light and aerodynamic.
Nimble. But it can be very, very wet and there is a good proportion that is in traffic and some ugly railroad tracks to cross.
Versatile. Of course, it needs to take full fenders and racks.
Low maintenance. Sometimes the storms persist for several days and daily maintenance becomes an issue. Thus, internally geared would be nice. Not a lot of gears, just enough to deal with the wind. A very close ratio internal hub would be good. Anybody know of one?
Stoppable. My biggest issue has been braking. Even with Koolstop salmon pads on the front and rear, the cantilevers on my Crosscheck still leave a lot to be desired in the wet. I'd almost say that fixed gear would be good, but then there's the issue of wind. I'd like to have at least a front disc brakes.
Cheap. It's still a rain bike. It's going to get thrashed. Besides, this bike is designed for what amounted this year to about 3 or 4 days that I actually had to drive due to weather conditions.
So far, I've considered the following:
Putting front disc brakes and an internally geared hub on my Crosscheck. But right now, my CC is also my main roadie bike. I use it for centuries. That would jack it up for those purposes.
Getting a Surly Dingle Cog and having what basically amounts to a "granny fixed gear." Such a bike would also have clearance for fatter tires. I have two fixed gear bikes that could do that.
A 29er mtb with drop or moustache bars. Remember, it needs to be fast.
An old mtb. Retro fit the bike with a front disc brake and an internally geared hub. And drop or moustache bars. But that's a lot of money to sink into an old Specialized Hardrock or other steel mtb.
Any other ideas?