I'm 5'2", ride a 48 Specialized Dolce, and am having a heck of a time finding a touring-appropriate bike that will fit me. My main issue is I can't test ride anything without putting down a deposit and special-ordering one, which I'm hesitant to do because I think that process encourages one to go with whatever was ordered even if it's not quite right.
My local shop was pushing me in the direction of the Trek Crossrip, which I can order for free in the smallest size it comes in (49) but I am dubious about the fit. My understanding is you are more likely to have to size down, not up, on a cross-style bike when you are short due to the higher bottom bracket.
I'm also thinking about the Surly Cross Check but am a little worried about the weight and it feeling clunky (and have to pay to special order the tiny size I'd need on a Surly). The Salsa Vaya has been mentioned but is a little more than I'd want to spend.
What I want the bike for:
- daily commute (not far, ~8 mile roundtrip) - would have to lock up outside in weather.
- occasionally week-long tours on paved road, maybe some gravel trails
I don't need to be able to front-load the bike - my husband and I have toured successfully before with just rear panniers - which is why I think cross-style bikes will work fine for me.
I'd like to stay under about $1250 since this bike will be locked up unattended in all sorts of weather. My road bike was only about $950 so I'm having a hard time stomaching how much touring bikes seem to be!
Any bike suggestions, or just general bike shopping suggestions?