I've been looking for a commuter bike for a while. I've narrowed it down to 2 bikes from REI largely because after 20 % off member coupon plus 10% dividend they are both around $900. I can't justify paying 500 more for a Surly or Soma or other option that actually has lesser components.
I don't plan on touring but will probably carry a laptop, books, papers, exercise clothes and shoes, etc. Plus random other things on my daily commute. We don't know exactly where we will live. My commute will likely be 5 - 10 miles each way.
The randonee is about 4 pounds heavier and is a full-fledged tourer. Both have Reynolds 520 frames. The verita has a shorter wheelbase and handles quicker but can also have rear and front racks and fenders. The randonee is more stable. I like the more upright position of the randonee but it is 1 cm longer and feels a little stretched but doable. I think I can change stems on either to dial in the proper fit.
The randonee has bar end shifters and mostly shimano lx components. The verita has full SRAM apex components.
Having had mountain bikes for years, I'm not yet sold on drop bars. The randonee would let me switch to an albatross bar and keep the bar end shifters and brakes. The integrated shifters on the verita would make it too costly to switch to an albatross bar, so I'd be locked into drops with the verita.
I didn't think I'd like the SRAM double tap but I did quite a bit. I can see how if I'm in traffic keeping my hands on the hoods ready to break and being able to shift would be a real advantage. But then I like having the granny ring on the randonee too. I'm not a light guy. I'm 215 and am 5'8" so having that low gear for hills is nice. But the apex double on the verita has a pretty low gear too and may be enough. I like the simplicity of a double ring.
I'm not overly concerned with weight but 4 pounds lighter for the verita is a pretty big difference.
Bottom line there are pros and cons for each, and I just don't have enough recent commuting experience to make an informed decision. Any thoughts?
The member coupon begins tomorrow and I want to buy tomorrow before they run out of my size in stock.