« on: May 27, 2016, 12:15:27 pm »
The tradeoffs are immense, so it's very difficult for us to try to make them for you. But Pat gave you some great ideas and I agree with everything he said.
If you can afford a Trek 520 or a Surly Long Haul Trucker, then just go get one and then you can quit thinking about it. Otherwise, look at the other bikes Pat suggested, especially the Novara Randonee. The Randonee has the advantage that you may actually find it on the floor at REI, ready to go. And then you can buy everything else you need while you are there.
Although hybrid bikes are certainly okay for touring if you already have one, I'd vote against buying one specifically for a cross-country tour. And for heavens sakes, get slick tires.
Keep in mind that most bike shops do not stock touring bikes, so you'll probably have to order one. Many bike shops will order one in for you with no commitment to buy. Allow time for that. If you're going this summer, do it tomorrow. In fact, it you're going this summer, you'll need to make all your decisions very quickly. For all your gear, don't think about finding the "best" one, just find a "good enough" one.