Hey All: Its been a while since I've posted on here. This semester killed me!
Anyway, I've been commuting now for about a year. The bike I use was never purchased with the intent of commuting, and i am beginning to see its weaknesses for such a job. Here's a photo:
Its cons: its an older bike (nothing wrong w/ that), but its a very heavy bike. I commute mainly hills, and having such a heavy bike can be a bit of a pain. Not to mention, with its age it also has old parts. Many of which I have a hard time finding replacements for, and its difficult to use some modern parts or additions to the bike. I can already begin to feel some issues arising with the derailer, and its also a bit too small for me. While the Mixte frame is cool, It can be an issue as well.
I have about $1000 to spend on a bike. I'd like to spend less if possible, but that's my limit. Like I said, I have a commute of anywhere between 8-22 miles each day. Most of it is hills, completely road (no trail or anything). I dont even know where to begin in terms of what to look for. The bike I currently am using was given to me, and I never really even had any experience in shopping. I am usually carrying heavy books/laptop with clothes for school/work. From my limited research, I have been suggested a touring bike, but am not sure if this is a good idea. The Trek 520 was frequently brought up in searchers.
Should I do a touring bike? What are some MUST haves I should be looking for? I imagine the bike rack in the rear would be a great idea to look for for panniers for my books and stuff. IS there an advantage between drop handlebars vs other types for commuting? Any direction would be helpful! thanks, all.