Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NJ, NYC, LI
Bikes: 1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...
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In my experience, the most important factors are getting the features and fit that you need. Start with a frame approximately the right size, and change the stem, handlebar, seat, crank arms, whatever it takes, until you are sitting on it just right; change the gearing to suit your needs; and add racks, fenders, dynamo lights, whatever you need.
If there's money left over, get better tires.
Those are the important things. The weight of a frame isn't that important, as long as it will support the appropriate build. Make sure it accepts wider tires than you expect to need. Make sure it has eyelets for fenders and racks.
I don't generally trust a bike shop to sell you the bike best suited for your needs; their intention may be to sell you the bike they have on hand.
I put new leather on ruined saddles like Brooks, etc. You can reach me by private message.