Hi. I am a relatively short (barely 5'6") and lightweight (145lbs) guy, and I'm looking to purchase a new touring bike for a long distance trip this summer (down the West coast) and a very long distance trip next summer (trans-Europe). I tend to travel light and doubt that my gear will weigh more than 20 or 30 pounds. I have read rave reviews on the Cannondale T800, but I have my doubts about whether it is suitable for someone of my size. From what I've read, this bike needs to be considerably weighted down, or else it is too stiff. I just don't know that my body and gear are going to weigh the bike down adequately to overcome the stiffness issue. Also, my arms and legs are pretty short and my shoulders broad for a person of my height. The Cannondale looks to be a longer bike, perhaps unsuitably long for someone of my dimensions. Does anyone have recommendations regarding touring bikes that might better fit me? My budget tops out at ~$1300, though I would not mind spending substantially less. I am going shopping this week, but I want to identify bikes for which I should be looking in the first place.
Thanks for your help.