While this bike isn't billed as a touring specific bike, in many ways it looks like something to consider for those looking for a realatively low dollar 26" wheeled tourer.
* * * Diamondback Transporter * * *
Here are my observations and input based on our touring experience...
On the good side:
Looks like a 48T big ring, nice.
Mid-fork rack mount, nice. Hard to find these days on inexpensive bikes.
Three bottle mounts, nice! Rare for a non-tour specific bike.
Priced between $400-$700
Not so good:
Chainstays listed at 43cm. Not a problem for some but depending on rear rack/panniers and shoe size, heal strike might be an issue. My wife's tourer has 43cm stays.
Small chain ring looks on the large size. Easy fix and cheaper to deal with than swapping out an entire crankset like you might need to do with other low $ tourers.
Sizes limited to 55cm, 56.5cm and 58cm VTT (Virtual Top Tube measurements). I've found with touring bikes that Nancy and I are less critical of the frame sizes. If I have a frame made for me it's almost always a 57-58cm VTT but my second-hand Thorn Nomad is smaller than that and I'm perfectly fine with it. Nancy took my 58cm commuter to use as her tourer until she could decide what she wanted to buy. She likes it so much that she won't let me have it back and it's 3-4cm larger than her ideal frame size.
Only 32 spokes per wheel rather than 36. We've been using 32 spoke mtb wheels for years, carrying very heavy loads and I've never needed to replace a spoke or even do any retruing. How they're built is more important. 26" wheels are stronger than 700c wheels are.
Single eyelets at the dropouts. Not a deal killer but it's more conveinent to have separate mount points for the racks and fenders.
So if you're limited to $700 or less, this might be something to consider but double check the chainstay length and be prepared to work around that issue if need be.
Anyone know of any other new entries in this price range that compare favorably to the Transporter?