I really have to wait for the insurance company to come back. I would like a custom frame but may have to consider other options. I am leaning towards the Americano. I know I will kick myself if I listen to my dealer. He has a bug about the Norwester Tour but does not have much experience about touring. He is getting two in next week for another customer. I will get a chance to look at them, possibly ride one. I know the grade of steel is better and lighter weight on the Norwester Tour. There are differences in the geometry and 16.7" chainstays are not as good as 18". I will make the final decision.
My mission is to have a comfortable more upright bike, built like a tank, capable of gong very long distances, loaded, with good heal clearance,and with a minimum of repairs. Stability and good braking are also critical especially on long descents fully loaded. I also know that with either Co-Motion, frame flex wil not be an issue. Speed is not paramount on a heavier longer wheel based bike but I don't want a total dog either.
My continuing dialogue, do I really need the S&S Couplers? I think they would come in handy. I wonder how much I would use them.
For an extra $100 I can get disk brakes. What do you think? Too much extra weight, more complexity to go wrong with? I can tell you the brakes on the Surly was not good, and it was not loaded.
I was using STI's before accident, leaning towards them. However, I have had maintenance issues with them. They go out of sync I have to adjust cable tension or the stops. Using friction shifting, for a backup until I get to camp and can work on the bike may not be a bad idea. I have barcons on my Santana tandem. It is a toss up.
Thank you for your willingness to contact your friend when he gets back. I would love to write to him, if he is receptive.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input. You and others are helping me fine tune what is important to me and I am getting closer. Once I get the bike, I want to focus on the sights and riding, not the bike. If this was a Surly LHT, I'd buy it assembled for $1095, add a few things and if I made a mistake no big deal. Spend close to 5K on a bike, it better be near perfect.
You like paddling, I like airplanes. No matter what I read and what people say, I would not buy one or build one without getting to understand the flight characteristics of it. Now I realize, comparing an airplane to a bicycle may not be fair but both have important implications to health, comfort and safety.
FYI, I will call Waterford on Monday.
Have a good Thanksgiving