Hi all. I'm just having difficulty deciding on a direction in regard to my bike choice.
My riding requirements vary. I like weekend riding with my mates, and I like the occasional brisk climb with them (they're all on road-specific bikes). I also like to do a little touring. Not months-long, cross-continent touring, just weekends (10 days has been the longest). I live in a small unit in Melbourne, so having multiple bikes is not ideal. Neither is the cost of having multiple bikes.
Last year, when I first got into cycling, I bought a Schwinn Le Tour Classic (2011) for $649(AUD, which almost equals US dollars). It's a steel frame bike with drops and Sora/Tiagra componentry. It's served me well, and I love the look of it. I've done a fair bit of riding with a mate who has a fancy carbon Giant and kept up just fine, but it was particularly great for the 10 day tour of New Zealand's west coast.
The Schwinn is a nice ride but doesn't have eyelets for racks, so I have to rig them up with p-clips. Not ideal. And everything is getting a bit creaky now. The shifters are fine, but the crankset is a bit wobbly and it doesn't run quietly anymore, even with the LBS servicing it.
So I was thinking of upgrading the components to Shimano 105 (from Ribble or the like, for around $650), but I'm wondering it it's worth it. I'd also like eyelets for racks; to do that, with powder-coating, would be a minimum of $250. So I'd have a steel framed, touring-ready bike, with enough sportiness for keeping up with the roadies, for around $1550.
Essentially, that's what I think fits my cycling best - a steel framed bike with 105 triple-ring components, ready for panniers when I want them. Is there anything out there that fits this description already that doesn't require the hassle of redoing the Schwinn? I like the look of the Jamis Bosanova, but it's Tiagra only. If I'm reading the Shimano compatibility chart correctly though, all the components seem to be usable with the 105 series. But do you have any other ideas for bikes? A cyclocross bike perhaps? Should I not fixate on steel - maybe aluminium?
Of course, I'd love to have two bikes - one for touring and one light thing for the road (and hills) on weekends, but I can't afford $1500 on two bikes. I'm tempted to buy a new road-specific bike, believe me (!), but it will still leave me without a tour-ready bike.
Any ideas, tips, recommendations? Any experiences on the Jamis Bosanova?