I used to own a Rocky Mountain Fusion mountain bike that I rode from Toronto to Vancouver when I was 19. I used a factory Fusion with slicks and bar-ends as my only mods.
I guess I am somewhat nostalgic about that. Unfortunately, my bike was stolen. Anyway, I wanted to know what you guys thought about the current Rocky Mountain lineup, specifically relating to buying a good bike that I can use for years to come as a commuter, maybe some mild trail riding (with knobbies or course...) and a week-long touring trip each year (or more).
They seem to have a bike that is designed for "city" use (http://www.rocky-mountain.com/bikes/...ity/rc-st.aspx), and I was thinking that might be appropriate. I noticed that the Cannondale, Trek, and other manufacturers' touring bikes have drop-style handlebars. Do you guys consider these handlebars to be "must-haves" for a touring bike?
The other bike I was looking at was the Kona Sutra, but I could not find a review from a touring person to find out if this was what I really wanted. Anyone here OWN a Sutra?
I guess I was wondering if I'm better off getting a "mountain bike" again instead of a proper touring bike.
The Sutra is all too new in the touring scene and has not caused the same stir as the Surly LHT, but as any steel Kona, I think it's a well tought-out bike.
The Rocky Mountain seems capable, but it has short chainstays and a long-ish top tube. The Sutra is just the opposite: 44 chain stays (enough heel clearance) and shorter top tube (more upright position even with drops).
So, do most touring cyclists appreciate the drop-bars? I used to have bar-ends on my bike that I could rest on by placing my forearm on them and steering using my forearms. I'm hesitant to get drop-bars because I've always associated that with the "head-down" really fast road racer (and a sore back from leaning so much!). But, I think what you're trying to tell me is that with the Kona I'd be sitting up more than with the Rocky Mountain, even if I was to use the drops?
As with many other things in a bike, bars is a matter of personal choice. I feel very comfortable with my touring bike because the drop-bars are level with the seat and the top tube is shortish, providing me with not only an upright position, but also with the possibility of using the drops to change hand position and stretch out. Judging by the pictures and geometry chart from the Kona site, the Sutra would give you all this easily. But everything would depend on the actual size of the bike, height of the saddle and so on.
If handling is (and I supposse it is) as good as that of Kona's mtb bikes (I've got a steel Kilauea) then the Sutra is a perfect tourer. But then this is just a personal view.