Backstory: Last summer I picked up a used Raleigh road bike and went car-free for the majority of it and had an absolutely fantastic time. Toward the end I started noticing some pain in my back, which eventually lead to full-blow debilitation and injury. Turns out I managed to compress two of my discs and sustain severe muscular damage to my lower back. In about a month I will be finishing up my physiotherapy and plan to carry on with strengthening my core so I can return to cycling for summer.
With all this said, I am still seriously looking at getting into long distance touring and have a newfound appreciation for a properly fitted bike. The big problem I'm facing, however, is trying to find one that fits me without killing my back. I'm stand around the 6ft mark, at about 150lbs, and want a road-styled bike, yet I don't want something too aggressive as to aggravate my back, which could lead to reinjury. I know of the usual stand-bys: the LHT, Trek 520 and even Cannondale's touring line, but I have no idea if they're even in the league of what I'm looking for. MEC has even introduced a few bikes and their Côte seems pretty appealing, along with the Nineteen Seventy-One. Are those pretty good contenders to the rest, or are there other bikes that are more suited for my body?