After my beater bike was destroyed in a collision with a car, I took the opportunity to put together the Ultimate BF Commuter Approved (TM) commuter bike: Surly Disc Trucker frame, BB7 disc brakes, drop bars, Alfine IGH, 26" wheels, plenty of clearance for knobby, studded tires, fenders, rack, the whole works (pics and writeup here.)
One year and 1000 miles later...I hate it.
Actually, from the very first ride, I was pretty disappointed. My biggest gripe is the sheer weight of the thing. I've really come to love the feeling of a light bike, and this is anything but. I'm not even a weight-weenie (I don't own a carbon bike), but the Trucker feels like a tank. The weight doesn't make much difference on flat ground, but I feel it on the hills, and my overall perception is that the bike feels sluggish.
I've read many testimonials from people extolling the virtues of the LHT frameset, mainly how comfortable it is, but I don't find it any more comfortable than my other bikes. If anything, it seems to be worse on Edmonton's pothole-ridden streets. That said, I've never taken this bike on a really long ride - maybe over significant distances, I would notice a difference. (If an LHT really is a poor-man's Rivendell, I'm convinced that I would hate a Rivendell too.)
I'm also not thrilled with the IGH. There are some nice things about it - great for winter (not that I ride much in the winter), fast and reliable shifts, can shift while stopped - but the gear spacing is a bit awkward, and I often find myself wishing for gears in between the ones that are there. I don't seem to have the same problem with my derailleured bikes. I've had some annoying problems with skipping gears too. Of course, the IGH makes a significant contribution to the weight of the bike, another point against (for me).
The disc brakes are okay - great stopping power, and again, they work great in the winter. I wanted disc brakes because of problems I had with rim brakes in the winter, and they've delivered. They were a bit of pain to set up, and the pads need to be replaced already (I'm at the limits of the barrel adjusters), but I don't have any significant complaints.
I thought maybe having a rack would convert me to a pannier guy, but I found panniers just made a heavy bike heavier, and I found panniers horribly inconvenient to carry around off the bike, so I've reverted to a backpack. I probably look silly wearing a backpack with a perfectly good rack on the bike, but oh well.
Despite these complaints, I have no intention of getting rid of the bike. I have to admit that the bike is exactly what I intended it to be: a bike suitable for any riding conditions. But it will never be my go-to bike on a dry spring, summer, or fall day. Unfortunately, my fair-weather commuter bike (an old steel road bike) is temporarily out of commission, and I haven't had time to get it fixed. So I'm riding the Trucker every day, and liking it less all the time.
Still beats taking the bus.