Touring bike options - Salsa Vaya or ?
I'm looking to buy a more touring-friendly bike than the Giant OCR1 I've been using (pure road bike with a pretty aggressively compact frame... I actually just sold it yesterday so I "need" a bike now lol). I don't do a lot of touring but I'd like a bike that won't be too awkward with 30lbs of panniers hanging off the back of it when I do. I'm having some trouble narrowing down my choices because I'm not sure what to look for or how to weigh different options though, especially considering the bike will be used for commuting and shorter recreational rides as well.
Things I know I'm looking for:
- Brifters, preferably at least Tiagra level Shimano (or any level SRAM)
- Rack and fender mounts (front rack as well)
- At least 32H rims (36H preferable)
- Triple crankset (preferably with a really low low gear)
- Steel or Aluminum
- Something that feels fast when not touring...
Things I think I'm looking for:
- Disc brakes
Based on the criteria above I've been looking for a good deal on a Vaya but I'm wondering what other options are out there that might fit my criteria? Also I'm not sure if I'm even on the right track with the above criteria? I'm keeping my eye out for a LHT as well but I'm afraid it will feel too sluggish for commuting and riding around town.
Bike's I'm keeping an eye out for currently:
Surly LHT or Disc Trucker
Jamis Aurora or Bosa Nova
Also my brother (who does quite a bit more touring than myself) suggested the Windsor Tourist or Nashbar Touring bike. Those look like good candidates and the price is right but I'm not sure if I can get over the negative stigma of the brands...