So generally I ride a racing bike, but I like the idea of touring. Basically to start with I'm thinking about a few reasonably small week or so tours in the UK and Ireland maybe Spain. However the longer term plan is to maybe do some of South East Asia or India (I backpacked around both years ago).
So I've done searches on this and the consensus seems to be if you are on a budget, that a old steel framed mountainbike is the best way to go on a budget (around £400), what about standard touring bikes like the Revolution Country or the Dawes Horizon,would they be ok in the longterm in rougher parts of the world? I was thinking something like this might be a better.
What is the consensus from you wise folk?
Also if I do go the secondhand mountain bike route, I've been monitoring ebay generally all bikes now generally have suspension forks?(not something I feel I need) are there any particular older models that people would recommend to keep an eye out for?
Both the Revolution and the Dawes would work. Your other link, "this", was a dead link.
My opinion, if you are going off the beaten track get 26" wheels. They are more rugged and tires, tubes, and spokes are more common. You can usually run fatter tires on 26" wheels which cushion the ride which is easier on you and your equipment. Also, bar end shifters are more rugged than STI and can be operated in the friction mode if something should go wrong with the indexing.
There are 26" wheel touring bikes with drop handlebars. The Thorn Nomad is one but it's not in the price range that you stated. Do Revolution or Dawes have one?
400 GBP is about 780 USD. We have the REI Novara Safari for 849 USD.
Steel or aluminum? Steel is reputed to have a better ride but touring bikes run fat tires which mitigate the difference. Don't be afraid of aluminum if it fits into your budget better. I have never had any trouble with the anonymous aluminum frames of lower end bikes. Go with a reputable brand, however.
I think a touring bike would ride better than a mountain bike but a MTB might be more suitable for your budget. Specialized has the Hardrock Sport for around 400 USD which is about 205 GBP. It has a very rugged frame. I don't like that it has a suspension fork but here in the US it's hard to find a MTB without one. Don't buy used if you can help it. Repairs to a used bike can bring the price up to the cost of new. With an old bike everything is old. With a new bike everything is new.
I think it's really important to consider where you'll be touring. Is it going to be on paved roads, or in udeveloped/developing countries with lots of dirt and potholes? I read a book by a guy (can't remember who or the name of the book, I'll try to dig it up) who said that when he was touring in Mongolia and N. China a Mountain Bike was the only way to go. If you think the bike's going to take a beating, get wheels and tires that can take a beating. From what it sounds like, if you're touring in Asia, this should be of serious importance to you. The two bikes you linked to are good, comfortable looking models that can probably hold weight well (not having ridden either myself) but I'd be worried about the wheels and tires in certain circumstances.