ovI am looking for a new touring bike, which I may use for some extended rides but mostly for commuting. I want steel because I like the ride and because of its strength (I am over 250, sad to say, and will be carrying work stuff). I want wider wheels to deal with potholes, etc. Lastly, I like high handlebar height, so would prefer a threaded stem if possible. I am replacing a 15 year-old Panasonic tourer, which has been a great bike but the frame size was never quite right. Posts on this forum have been helpful, but I'd be grateful for thoughts and recommendations as to what to get. Here are my thoughts based on what I've seen so far:
Bianchi Volpe -- Solid bike, but componentry isn't as good as my presentt bike, and it was noticeable on a test drive. I suspect I'd spend more upgrading than I'd save by buying it.
Fuji Touring -- Same as Bianchi Volpe: test drive didn't inspire great confidence. At least has a threaded headset.
Fuji World -- A new Fuji touring bike w/ Reynolds 853 frame, carbon fork and good components. Maybe more bike than I need at $1500, but intriguing. I wonder if the frame will be sturdy enough for my weight. Can't find one anywhere, so comments here are especially welcome.
Trek 520 -- Though this is the standard, I can't even find this in my medium-size city. Good components, it seems (though I'm not wild about linear pull brakes) Frame comes in inch inrements, like my Panasonic. With that, the 23 inch was too small, the 25 too large. So I am wary of it. Also, low handlebar placement.
Heron -- Maybe beyond my price point with the frame and headset at $1000-1300, but they look very, very nice. They seem as nice as the Rivendells. Anyone have experience with these bikes.
Suly Long-Haul Trucker -- Good price point and I can build from the frame as I want, but I note that even their steel frames have only a 2 year warranty. Worries me.
Rivendell Atlantis -- Clearly beyond my price point, but I can drool. Anyone want to persuade me it is worthwile?
Yes I know it is all personal preference, but the views of others help -- especially since it is so hard to find these bikes for test drives. At least around here, the bike shops require full commitment to buy if they place an order.
Thanks in advance.