I'm hoping to leave pretty soon for a coast-to-coast tour along the ACA's Southern Tier route. Since my current bike is a Fuji Silhouette, I'm looking for something a little more appropriate for touring.
I've spent most of the last week trying out different bikes. My initial criteria: under $1000, comfortable, and able to hold luggage for a self-supported tour (probably just rear panniers: sleeping bag, tent, clothes, bike maintenance equipment, and food).
At this point, I think I've narrowed it down to two bikes. These are the Fuji Newest 1.0 and the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I would purchase the Newest from Performance Bicycle for $560 ($700 plus 20% off), or the LHT from Spokes, Etc. for $1100. The price certainly points to the Newest, but I'm just not sure, and I'd really like to hear advice from more experienced riders. I kind of get the sense that the Newest is more of a flashy road bike and the LHT would be better for going the distance. Thoughts?