Finally, regarding POG's reviews: this was also really interesting to hear (read?). In general, we subscribe to the idea that there's no sense wasting ink in the magazine on bad products, largely because SO many of the bikes out there are so very good. Long before a review makes it onto the page, at least a handful of folks have determined that the bike is worth investigating — in some cases despite taller gearing, a weird fork, etc. — and so odds are any negative commentary are more nits to pick rather that out and out warnings to avoid. Do we miss on occasion? Without a doubt. But hopefully O'Grady's reviews are entertaining as well as informative, I certainly find them to be.
Having had my 2 cents input, I was going to leave it alone. The gearing issue is one I remember several reviews glossing over or ignoring completely. But perhaps I can learn something with one more question:
What kind of touring is appropriate for a bike with, say, a 27-30 gear inch low gear?