« on: November 17, 2009, 03:22:21 pm »
My husband and I both own Specialized Tri-cross Sport bicyles (not comp) for our touring. We read extensively about this bicycle prior to buying. Although circumstances have prevented me from loaded touring yet, my husband has used his on three self-supported trips since May of this year, one of 1000 miles and two others, one 450, and one about 350 miles. These bikes have a triple crank, eyelets for racks, and room for fenders. They also run 32mm tires. He has absolutely loved this bicycle and he plans to ride it on the Southern Tier in March, 2010. There is plenty of heel clearance for the panniers when they are adjusted correctly. I have ridden my Tri-cross unloaded over 350 miles and it is the most comfortable bicycle I have ever ridden, fits me better, and yes, it is a bit more upright. I think this is a plus on the touring bike. I have also put over 4000 miles on my regular road bike this year and still love the Tri-cross for the fit and comfort.
We, too, were interested in supporting our LBS, and this bike was much more readily available than any other touring bike such as the Surly or other true "touring bike."
Please try out this bike for fit and ride before going to a more expensive "touring" bike which may or may not work for you.
Good luck, Gina, and have a great tour, when you go!