Hi! I've got a thread going on the Touring forum for this, but I think it might be better suited here. I'm trying to choose a 29er hardtail for bikepacking across South America. Before you ask, I understand spare tires will be impossible to purchase in So. America for a 29er, and I will be planning accordingly. My "plan" is to buy really bombproof Schwalbes over stock tires, and then carrying a foldable to hold me over if I need to air-drop a new Schwalbe in mid-trip.
I need a bike with the following for under $1500:
1. Frame needs to accomodate a rack and be pretty tough. I will NOT be rigorously mountain biking, but I don't want something soft- I really crank on my bike and I also go pretty fast on roads, I want the security of a tough frame. I don't care what material it's made of if you can attest to the rigidity.
2. Wheels need to be as tough as possible. I would rather not buy new wheels, so the strongest stock wheels would be a priority.
3. Good componentry. I've toured on bad components before and it was a nightmare- I want to get the highest groupset possible at my pricepoint.
4. I would love an established company, one with a warranty program worth a few years.
5. I want to go with a hardtail and a front fork- no full suspension.
Thanks in advance for the help- I really appreciate it. My price point of 1500 is firm, the lower the better obviously. I don't care much about hydraulic v. mechanical brakes, and I'll be replacing the seat and handlebars with a good touring seat and some trekking bars so those don't matter either.
Again- this is a big help! Thanks for taking some time to advise!