Bike Commuter in training
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Bikes: '88 Fuji Saratoga, '12 Jamis Sputnik, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
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Quoted: 46 Post(s)
You said: "I have considered the Trek 520, Bianchi Volpe, the Windsor Tourist, Surly LHT, and the Fuji Touring. This will be used as a primary commuter, fun and light tourer."
Any of these will work for you. Your main issues (adjusting to a road type bike, the handlebars, the controls, the saddle support differences), can only be worked out by riding. The internet won't help you.
Once you're up to it, go to your biggest most well-stocked bike shop and ask to ride a road bike attached to a rear-wheel trainer. Go on a Monday or Tuesday night after dinner. Have the sales person adjust the bike to fit you, nominally, and hop on. Ask questions while you try the bike, and allow your body to adjust to this new feeling. Do you think that you can try it in the parking lot?
Return the next day and take the same bike (same adjustments) outside for a test ride. Make it about a 20 minute ride. Have the bike shop suggest the safest route. Determine what works well for you and what you don't like. Return to the shop and discuss your issues. Do they have any suggestions?
As to your list of bikes: Yes, they'll all work fine for your intended purpose. All have been used as cross-country tourers as well as commuters. They'll be configured differently, so comparisons will be hard. I would say that your biggest differences will be in how you set up the shifters (bar end or integrated type). The bike shop can show you these.
I prefer bar end shifters. That's just me. Good luck.