Ok, so you've heard this question a million and one times already. Here's just one more....
I'm currently commuting 5-10 miles per day and doing weekend rides and the very occassional century on a Dahon Helios 20" folding bike. I'm keeping the Dahon for the round-town dashes but decided I'd like a "real" bike for the weekend rides and centuries. Seems easy enough to get a steel road frame ...there's dozens out there right? But I'm gonna go on at least one long tour next year - go around Japan's Shikoku island visiting temples, which is about 1000 miles. I live in Hawaii and availability of bikes is pretty poor - most likely I'll be getting the bike online and paying ~$200 for the shipping ..eek! So buying a touring bike just for that tour and selling it later isn't really an option. So ... what scenario to follow?
I could buy a true touring frame (LHT) and try to keep up on those weekend rides....or I could buy a mixed-use bike (Soma Doublecross, Bianchi Volpe) and hope it holds up to the tour.
I'm 115 lbs, 5'5"... for the tour I'll probably carry about 40 lbs. Thus the weight of the bike matters to me, and I won't be needing it clyde-strength.
LHT? I can get it for $900 from JensonUSA... and shipping is a mere $60. Unfortunately its rather heavy...I hate to say it but anything over 30 lbs becomes something of an agony to load on a car rack/bus/etc. I do like the 26" wheels though!
Used Trek 520 on ebay? The ones I've seen in my size (19") would come out to ~$900 with the shipping. Probably lighter than the LHT, and tour-worthy...
Not sure about other bikes, as no dealer stocks Jamis locally and a new Aurora online would be too much with the shipping. I have no components wafting around so building up something like a Soma Doublecross might prove difficult and costly. Anyone else living far away and can give me advice? Or even if you live right next to a great LBS (lucky!) I would really appreciate any suggestions.