I was originally thinking of converting my Trek FX to a touring bike, but it seemed like the bars+bar end shifters+stem would be quite a bit of $. Plus there was no guarantee the fit would feel right. So I started looking at the Trek 520 and the Surly LHT. I found an older model LHT on clearance at REI for $950. It seemed like a great deal, even though I was a bit apprehensive about the 26" wheels. Some people say wheel size doesn't make a difference and fit is everything. I hope they're right.
I'd like to know people's thoughts on the touring crank. I read threads in here where people were changing out their 26T to 24T. Is that granny gear really that important in touring? I'm use to riding a compact crank and I've never done any touring before. I guess a compact crank on a touring bike would be a bad idea?
The bike seems to ride very nice and the fit feels good so far.