Hi, I'm new here so pls excuse any breach of protocol...I read the FAQ and 10 screens of the Commuting thread, so I think this is OK
I have recently started commuting from Westwood MA to Cambridge MA. It's 13-15m depending on the route I take, usually this one. I am really out of shape, so hills are hard and I avoid them where possible (not always possible though!).
There are a couple dozen intersections on the way, at least half of which have stoplights. So I'm always downshifting, or forgetting to. That's why I want an internally-geared system (sorry if that is the wrong terminology). Also, I am trying to ride year-round, and it has been a problem using the rim brakes when it's wet - especially b/c there are a couple of downhills where I don't want to go too fast.
I'm currently riding a Giant Cypress ST, which I suppose I could upgrade in place but it seems easier to just get a new bike and keep this as a backup. Also, the upright riding position of the Cypress (comfort bike) was comfortable at first but now feels weird/slow esp in a headwind.
So my question is, what's a good commuter bike with disc brakes and an internal hub? I don't really care about the bike coming with fenders or a rack b/c I can harvest the former from my current bike and I want a Topeak MTX for the latter. Ditto the lights, though I'd use a generator-powered set if it came on the bike. Would like to keep it around $1000 but could be convinced to go above that.
Two bikes I have looked at include
Giant Tran Send EX
Giant Seek 0
The Tran Send EX strikes me as an in-place upgrade of my Cypress, nothing else to write home about. And I would want to replace the rear rack.
Loved the Seek 0 and almost bought it but thought I should look/ask around first. Tempted to go back to it though...seems like it could be used for distance/speed riding if I ever get to that level.
and three others I have heard about but not yet seen (hope to see Trek Soho tmw) are
Raleigh Detour Deluxe
Soho looks groovy w/o chain but has drum brakes instead of disc, which I understand may not be so great on the downhills (though any improvement over rim brakes would probably be OK). Also, I've heard that the Nexus hub is inferior to the Alfine hub on the other bikes, though I may not be discerning enough of a cyclist to tell the difference.
The Breezer Finesse is a bit pricey and looks like more of a lean-over orientation than I want. (Too bad their Uptown 8 doesn't have disc brakes.) Don't know much about Raleigh.
The one wild card is the Xootr Swift folding bike, which they claim rides like a regular bike. Would be great for those days when it starts to rain at lunchtime; I could take the subway/train home. But it doesn't have the disc brakes...
Any thoughts are much appreciated, and apologies if it is presumptuous to start such a self-centered thread!! -Matt