Advice on new bike purchase
Hi all. I have used the archives on this countless times to evaluate the quality and prices of stuff on craigslist, and most recently my girlfriend used a bikeforums.net posting to talk a seller from 900 to 550 on a Bianchi Eros, so I figured this would be a good place to ask questions about getting a new bike.
I sold my old bike (2006 Jamis Ventura Elite) yesterday because it was giving me neck and back pain. I loved the bike and the first 20 miles of each ride on it were a dream, but after that I would start hurting from being leaned over too much. Because of this, when I was tired from playing basketball or riding all day, I didn't feel like riding over to whatever engagement I had that evening, electing to drive to save myself back pain. I hate driving!
My goal is to find a bike I can jump on even when I am dog tired and ride for 20 miles. This is the most important thing, but I am also hoping to find something that is light and fast, built from CroMo steel and can carry racks and fenders. I realize I may not get all of the things in my price range, but that is what I am shooting for.
I rode a Surly Long Haul Trucker yesterday and loved it. The steering tube had not been cut at all I think, and the handlbars came up an inch or two above the seat on the 56cm model. I have never been so comfortable in my life, and if there were no hills to deal with, I would have laid my cash on the line.
I am sure that I could load all my worldly possessions onto this bike and it would carry them admirably, but that is much more utility that I need, and requires giving up a huge amount of pedaling efficiency to move such a heavy bike.
I am wondering if there is any bikes that are comparable to the LHT that I should check out. I have thought about buying an older bike and a new fork, and leaving the steering tube uncut (or cut very high) to give myself the geometry I desire. If I had the money, I would have one custom made, but I can spend only 1000-1500 on this bike right now.
The options I see so far:
1. Ask an LBS to build me a bike with uncut steer tube
2. Buy a LHT and eventually replace the frame with something nicer
3. Buy a used bike and a new fork, leave the steer tube uncut
What do you guys thing about this? Any suggestions?