I'm looking at steel (631) Dawes Sardar expedition touring bike to replace my old (1986) Diamondback Ascent on the local equivalent of ebay. I mainly use the bike for commuting/grocery shopping including heavily loading the front panniers. The Dawes has drop bars and my old Diamondback has riser bars.
The Dawes has a 56cm top-tube and I'd need to put a very short stem (80mm or less) on it so that I couldreach without stretching. The Dawes would be at the upper limit of what I can ride. My Diamondback is a very small frame, with a seatpost a mile high and I really need to put a long stem on it. I'm 169cm tall with a longish torso.
I can't afford to buy a new touring bike such as a Surly Long-Haul Trucker. The Dawes is currently the price of a Surly frameset. I had planned to put a long stem and drop bars and bar-end shifters on the Diamondback. Touring bikes are not common in New Zealand, especially second hand.
Would putting a very short stem on the Dawes adversly affect the handling so that it would be hard to control with full panniers?