I've been researching and hunting for a touring bike, and hope to make a final decision ASAP. In the city I'm living in, I've narrowed it down to two bikes that are available: the Trek 520 and the Opus Legato. (Links are below for specs).
I haven't done a major tour before, but want this bike to last me for quite a while. The two bikes are similarly priced, with the Trek being a bit more expensive (and the Opus comes with clipless pedals already, which keeps it even cheaper). However, a few hundred dollars doesn't really matter when compared to thousands of miles on a bike.
The biggest differences are the shifters and the drivetrain. I've reconciled myself to the shifters - I'll be fine with the STI's or with the bar-ends. The drivetrain, however, confuses me a little. The Trek seems to have mostly mountain bike components (derailleurs, chainring, and cogs), and is 9-speed. The Opus is 10-speed, with road components. I can't figure out who to believe; some say the 10-speed stuff is more fragile, others say it's fine, and will eventually replace 9-speed stuff completely, making it the better choice. Some say the mountain bike components offer potentially lower gears (and the gearing is a bit better on the Trek), while others say the 1:1 gear ratio on the Opus is fine and still has the potential for bigger cogs in the back if I swap out the derailleur, even if the small chainring is limited to a 30 tooth.
Any thoughts? Might be a long shot, but any experience with the Opus? The Trek seems to have a great reputation, but Opus is a smaller company.
I figure either bike will end up being great, but these details feel like little things that could come back to haunt you later on down the road.
Links to the bikes specs:
Opus Legato: http://opusbike.com/en/bikes/road/touring/legato
Trek 520: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/touring/520/520/#/us/en/model/details?url=us/en/bikes/road/touring/520/520