I know this comes up at times.
I tend to like the look of the LHT more...no doubt...but from say "a value stand point"...if you could get the Novarra Randonee new for under $600...is it just as good a bike/better/less? The LHT is $900+
Then again...I honestly used to think the LHT looked kind of cheesy until it grew on me. The Randonee just utilitarian...but lately I have been digging on it's more earthy colors for some reason.
I am most interested in a road or touring bike that I can later add albatross bars or some kind of upright set up to.
Some of the variables I am interested in include:
Gears - Is the Randonee's Tiagra stuff less robust or smooth than the Shimano XT on the Surly? Are the old school vers on the Surly easier to repair, same?
Rust - Both are steel frames (though I am curious which is "best" steel) are one of them more known to rust (I ride in rain)
Finally...anything else in terms of which is a better all around bike (street cred aside)?