Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NE Tx
Bikes: Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial
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Fit is First. Don't buy anything that isn't sized right for you. I see that one of those in the Craigs link is "large sized" and the other "mid sized." If you aren't sure of the size you need, check in with your local bike shop and find out.
The bike pictured looks really nice and could certainly be configured for touring with only racks and puncture resistant tires. Check out the mechanicals yourself or have the LBS do it.
The gearing is too high for most people. Figure on a triple chainring unless you plan on staying off mountains and steep hills. 48/36/26 is good.
The downtube shifters are reliable but inconvenient, especially in hilly terrain.
The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me