Yesterday was Bike to Work day in Seattle so to do something special on my normal bike commute I left the old, heavy commuter at home, put my stuff in a messenger bag and jumped on my "good" bike for the commute (my 2007 Davidson Ti). Big mistake. I cut about 10 minutes off my normal time, enjoyed the benefits of STI shifting that I normally only enjoy on weekends, and stopped on a dime. While I've sung the praises of vintage commuters here and elsewhere before, my creeping suspicion that it was time the upgrade the commuter has turned into a new search for a new bike.
In my past purchases I've always wanted to be "practical." That is, get a commuter that can be "used for something else," so I've had two pretty heavy touring bikes. My current commuter, posted here in the past, is a 1983 Univega Gran Turismo with downtube shifters...a great comfy touring bike but certainly not fleet of foot. Now that I realize that I am doing as much mileage commuting (2,500 miles per year) as I do on weekends and it's time to shed a few pounds and get a tool to match the job - hence, my search for something new - the "fast commuter."
Triple or compact, I don't care
Able to take 28c tires + fenders, maybe even 32c's in the winter
Mounts for a rear rack and fenders
Light enough to ride on weekends for fun when it's wet and sloppy out (not uncommon here).
Considering disc brakes, given the 6 months of rain we have here (I'm an all-weather commuter)
Would like to end up with something appreciably lighter than an all-out tourer. A touring bike ready to commute (pedals, seat, fenders, etc.) is 30 pounds or more. I would like to hold this under 25.
I've now got a super-secure parking spot at work (a bike locker near a full-time security guard station), so I'm comfortable leaving a pretty nice bike at work... and sell off some other bikes, parts, etc. to fund the transition. I think this will end up being N+1, then minus 2. (I would leave the Davidson un-fendered for dry weather weekend riding - it's my "century" bike).
Trying to justify this:
Co-Motion Nor'wester ($3500 - ouch)
Boulder Bicycles Randonneuse ($3200, but includes very pricey dyno front hub and headlights)
But these are much more "practical..."
Soma Smoothie ES - $500-ish, frame and fork:
Salsa Casserroll, built up like THIS:
Or, with discs:
Trek Portland (tsl's bike). About $1700 now, complete bike.
Baron - new small maker in Seattle. About $1500 for frame and fork.
Gunnar Fast Lane. About $1200 frame and fork.
This is a slow-motion search, may not even do it.....time to start test riding.