I have a Giant Cypress SX hybrid (heavy, 34+ lbs.) and a Specialized Roubaix Expert Triple (light, fast, 17+ lbs.). The hybrid is a great bike on shortish rides with few (short) hills and slower riders. The Roubaix zips up hills, accelerates fast from stops, and enables me to keep pace with stronger riders.
The hybrid is a size too big (there is NO standover clearance ) so I am shopping for a replacement. I'm taking my time because I don't want to just swap it for another hybrid and then wish I'd consider other types of bikes.
I love the Roubaix for its speed and weight. I can take on any hill the group rides and easily lift it into the back of the truck. However..... it would not be my bike of choice for commuting around town for errands or just to hop on for short distances, short night rides and the like. And to be completely honest, I am not crazy about the crackling sounds that come from the CF frame; at times I feel like I'm riding a fragile Waterford crystal glass frame. And, I sometimes wonder if it is "too much bike" for me but it challenges me to go out and ride.
So, I'm looking for something in between these two extremes, an all-purpose bike with a comfortable geometry (not upright but not aggressive), durable, triple crank, light enough for hills, can handle light gravel or crushed stone trails (95% of our riding is road), can be used for touring, and priced around $1000.00. Steel would be nice.
I've done a lot of reading and I'm seriously considering a LHT. I learned this past week that our favorite LBS can get Surlys (but doesn't keep them stocked).
I'm wondering if the LHT would serve me well for group rides that include hills (10% grade or less) and for completing centuries in a reasonable time (< than 7 hours). I have conquered hills on the 34-lb. hybrid so a bike in the mid-20-lb. range may not seem heavy to me. I am not a heavy rider (<140 lbs.) but have been riding again for about 1-1/2 years and still getting my legs in shape. I'm not into speed or racing, only to keep pace with our group and not being the last to complete a long ride with a lot of fatigue.
I'd like this bike to be a long-term, all-purpose bike, not a short-term replacement for the hybrid that I'd replace again in a year.