Alright, I hate to be the guy that makes another one of these threads, but Iím starting to feel like Iím never gonna be able to make the decision on my ownÖ
Iíve been reading all the millions of threads here that compare the various touring bikes available, but Iím having some trouble making sense of it all having never purchased a decent bike before (I used to ride a 1986 Trek 1000 road bike that was given to me, but the frame cracked).
Iíve really been missing cycling since the Trek failed and want to buy something soon enough to ride through the fall. Iíve decided against going the road bike route because I really need something more versatile.
Iím interested in touring bikes because loaded touring is something I really want to get into eventually. That said, I need this to be my every day bike as well, which means something thatíll be well suited to a 16 mile round trip commute with a 500 foot climb in the morning and descent in the evening.
The reason Iím reluctant to buy something like a Trek 520 or a LHT is that some people say that they hit their sweet spot when theyíre loaded, and can feel sluggish or unresponsive during unloaded riding. I like to go on 15-25 mile fitness rides, and definitely want something where I can get into the drops and push myself a little and hopefully be as fast as I was on the old aluminum Trek 1000.
As for the touring, chances are I wonít be on any expeditions any time soonÖ any touring I do in the near future would probably be one or two night light touring on paved roads.
Everyone here raves about the LHT, and it does look like an awesome bike, but since I need this to be my every day bike as well, I want to make sure Iím not looking in the wrong direction. Would I be better suited to a cyclocross bike like a Cross Check maybe? The CC seems a little sportier, which I think I might like, but I donít want to run into heel strike issues with rear rack/panniers for commuting.
My last problemÖ literally the only touring bike within a hundred miles of where I live is the Jamis Aurora, but both of the LBS in my area can order Surlys. What do you guys think about buying a bike without test riding, since realistically the only one Iíd be able to ride is the Jamis?
Thanks so much to anyone that read this far, and thanks in advance for any advice you can give. I know youíve all probably seen this thread before, but I figured it couldnít hurt that much to put my questions out there.
For the record, Iím 5 foot 7, 163ish lbsÖ if that makes a difference. Oh, and I'm set on keeping this the the <$1100 price bracket to leave some budget room for other equipment. If I'm expecting too much from a single bike just feel free to point and laugh .