I am in the market for a true touring bike. I'm tired if modifying rides to take on touring. So it's boiled down to Surly LHT or Motobecane Gran Turismo. The price difference is night and day. The Gran Turismo seems like it's legit but I wonder if there is some tensile steel in there. That's what turned me off of Nashbar TR1. Everything looked great until I saw tensile steel. I could buy the Gran Turismo and not feel any pain in the wallet, but I know the LHT would be the smarter buy and the sting would eventually go away. Can somebody weigh in on the Gran Turismo?
I actually like the spec for the Windsor Touring better than the Gran Turismo because I prefer brifters, but I believe the frames are the same. I did the Trans America and a few other longish tours on my Windsor before my very light packing style lead me to riding a road bike rather than a touring bike. The Windsor has served me well and I feel comfortable recommending it or the Turismo if the spec suits you.
My daughter has a ton of miles on her's including a TA, the Southern half of the Sierra Cascades route, years of commuting, and a lot of local recreational riding. It has held up extremely well.
I have only briefly been on an LHT, but my impression was that it is more of a truck. For me that is a negative, but it might be a plus for some especially if packing heavy.
OdieInAz, If you're really concerned about the tubing, look at the Raleigh Sojourn.
There is also a lot going for the bargain tourers like the Motobecane and the Windsor. There'll be some sweat equity by the owner to compensate for some of the details omitted to reach their price point, but they've proven themselves over time.