Okay so my current touring bike is a death trap. I love "her" but she's definitely not gonna be the one to carry me through Central and South America or other remote areas I intend to tour. My current bike is made up of a steel road bike frame with a MTB Cassette triple chainring and touring wheels.
I know I want 26" wheels on my custom tourer even if it's gonna be a big bike because it's easier to find 26" wheels in remote and foreign locations. So don't bother telling me to get 700c because I won't.
What I want to know is how to spec a bike for rough road or off-road riding fully loaded as well as road riding. This is a bike that needs to take a 6'8" tall guy who weights at least 300lbs (of beef) from Prudhoe Bay Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina and other equally remote varied places. The bike has to have drop bars (I use a Nitto Noodle) be tough as nails and stiff as hell though and has to be able to carry nearly 500lbs (rider, baggage and bike). Can a guy get a MTB style frame fabbed up and throw on the bullhorns or is there a way of making a bombproof roadbike that can handle the rough stuff? I'd like it if I could get something like an LHT but with room for the fattest MTB tires and better offroad handling as well as longer chainstays (for my bigger feet) and more rake on the head tube so I can sit almost upright if I so desire while getting down in the drops to avoid headwinds from time to time all the while having a bike that tracks nicely. I know it's contrary to offroad performance but I prefer a little extra overall length and front end inertia over OR handling. Getting stabbed in the leg with bar-cons gets old fast.
So people suggested Independent Fabrications to me but their stuff looks too wimpy/ road specific and I won't do a full on mountain bike so where's the middle ground?