After realizing how expensive it would be to build up a LHT with the specs I wanted, I've decided to go with either a Trek of Cannondale bike off the shelf. I'm doing a fully loaded cross-country tour from boston to oregon/washington next July/August with a friend of mine.
We're both 22 years old and just started racing collegiately, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a great climber. I really like the 520, and the fact that it's steel, but I have read a lot about having to swap out the crankset for lower gearing. If i put a 34T cassette on the back do you think that would be low enough with the 30T chainring in the front? I would hate to get stuck mid-climb without any more gears, but I don't like the idea of having to swap out a crankset and possibly a BB and front deraileur. I have never used bar end shifters so I am also a bit hesitant about those, but I am willing to give them a shot because of their reliability and lack of cables.
My budget allows for the 520 or one of the two Cannondale Tourers (2008 1&2). What are your opinions of these bikes for the type of riding I'll be doing.
Thanks a lot,