If it fits her, buy the Fuji. It's a nice bike. As far the wheels, They aren't all that good, but neither are the stock wheels on any touring bike you buy for more money. Use the savings for a good set of touring wheels. For $700 the bike is a good deal-- you should be able to totally outfit the bike with better wheels, racks and panniers for less than a Trek 520.
I've just bought a Fuji Touring last month and I have been more than happy with it. It is a 2004 model and it cost me $450 on ebay. I'm not sure what size you are looking for but I think the guy has a 43cm left and the reserve price is normally 400. http://cgi.ebay.com/FUJI-43CM-TOURIN...QQcmdZViewItem
The seller is awesome so he has my 5 stars.
I did some research regarding the bike but it seems the wheel/spokes issue is for the 2004 and older bikes. They did resolve the problem but it is one of those things I read at some random forum so I have no official confirmation. If the Fuji model you are looking is after 2005 it should be fine. I've had the bike for well over the month and I just love it. I haven't done an extended tour on it but I've outfitted it with a handblebar bag, saddle bag and I carry my kryptonite U-lock and cable lock at the rear rack and the bike holds up fine.
However I did talk to a mechanic at my local EMS who did a self supported 5 day tour on the 2004 Fuji Touring. He advised me to change the wheels as he said it was uncomfortable to say the least over the long haul.
First of all, unless your daughter is huge, I'm guessing wheel problems will be minimal compared with someone like me - I'm 205 lbs. and 6'4" so everything I have is big - big shoes, long sleeping bag, long tent, etc. Suppose she weighs 150. Her wheels will be carrying substantially less than mine before you even factor in the weight of her stuff.
Having said that, I'll also say that I'm a firm believer in getting wheels checked out by a pro prior to any tour. They should be trued and tensioned. Wheels are the last place I'd skimp - I'd spend whatever it takes to get as close to a bombproof set as possible. In my case it's because I had an otherwise wonderful tour down the west coast significantly marred by broken spoke problems. On my last few tours I've had wheels custom built by my local mechanic specifically to be strong. I go with 36 spokes. I think if I weighed much more I'd go for tandem-style with 40 or more.
As far as other tourers go, cyccommute swears by his Cannondale and says he believes the C-dale tourers are ready to go "out of the box". I've read lots of posts about Trek 520s where people say they are wonderful, except that the stock gearing isn't low enough for loaded touring. The current favorite bike seems to be the Surly LHT, which is $900 complete. I have one, but I bought the frame and built mine up, so I can't comment on the components that come on the complete.
Two weeks ago I bought a 2007 Fuji touring bike from my LBS for $650. This is a stout frame The diameter of the rear seat stays is twice that of my old touring bike and the unicorn fork seems beefy and stiff. The wheels, and tires, while not high end, seem quite adequate for loaded touring. I like the bike, the strong frame inspires confidence, it's a bomber, Though it is a bit heavy.
I've done a few searches and came up with some info on this.
I'm helping my daughter locate a decent tour bike for a summer adventure
This one popped up locally, new, at a price well below 700 dollars.
Seems pretty good... have the Wheel/Spoke issues been addressed? Anyone know?
just looking for more feedback.
Other off the peg tour bikes available locally are... uh... mebbe the Trek 520 and the C-Dale (aluminum) tour bike
any input is much obliged
The stock gearing is probably too high for touring anywhere with hills or mountains and I would plan on swapping the crank for one with at least a 26t (Sugino XD600 about $80 maybe). I wouldn't loose much sleep over the wheels, especially if she isn't a heavyweight.