Anyone who saw my previous thread knows that I was going to try to gear up my old cross country mtn bike, but it's going to cost about as much as buying a new bike. My REI guys suggested two, and I posted the comparison chart below. I know that the Randonee is a trusted touring model (it appears in many other threads and forum posts), but my bike-savvy friend thinks that the Safari is a better buy. Thoughts?
NB: I like going thru REI for warranty/service perks, but if someone else has another great place to buy a bike lemme know. Also, I trust them at REI, which is more than I can say for my local bike shops.
In case the comparison chart doesn't work: