Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Billings, Montana
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When we recommend one of those over the other two, you're just getting what we would choose for ourselves, often based on pretty subjective opinions. If you can, ride all three, loaded & unloaded. In town & on the road. Notice any differences in ride, handling and quality of materials & construction. Then pick the one that you like the most, all things considered (including appearance). If you're running 27" wheels, you might consider 27x1/38" tires if you can find 'em; if 700c, maybe 35-38 mm width. We've evolved to the wider tires (& Brooks saddles) for the additional comfort..... but then we're a little older than when we started & all-day comfort is more important to us than speed..... :-)
We've toured (loaded & lightly-loaded) on cheaper bikes than those (similar vintage) & more expensive (similar vintage & newer). While we learned things each time about how to be more efficient & minimize problems, every trip was fun. Even the first few, when we didn't know squat about traveling long distances on bicycles.
It is way more about the rider & the trip itself than about the equipment being used. Pick equipment of at least reasonable quality, then ride as much as you can! You'll enjoy whichever one you choose!