We are a fit, retired couple, getting ready to do a tour next spring. Right now we're choosing touring bikes and want something not custom built, with steel frame, flight deck shifters and preferably mechanical disc brakes. We'd like, at a minimum, Shimano Tiagra components. Does such a bike exist in a new 2010 or 2011 model? We're leaning towards new bikes but can't break the bank. Any advice or recommendations are appreciated.
ONe word, three syllables: recumbent. Five syllables: receumbent tandem.
TThe reasons you'd want to explore these options are too numerous and your post implies you might ignore them all so I can only suggest you find some recumbent riders in your area and ask to sit on one.
Want to ride 100 miles sitting on a fence post or on a lazy boy-type recliner?
I'll take the three inches of padding, the backrest and lumbar support and the fun of a heads-up 180 degree view over any upright bike any day. But that's just me. and I've got 44,000 miles on my recumbents.
The absolutely best bike is the one you like to ride and will continue to enjoy riding every day, epsecially when you look at your map and consider the day's route.
the absolutely worst bike is the one you must force yourself to mount every morning. Don't get THAT bike!