Hi, Gina from Arizona here. I'm brand new to touring, and have never done a single tour. I've been dreaming about it for years though, and now is when I'm going to start. I'm shopping around for my first touring bike, and my LBS is interested in selling me a 2010 Specialized Tricross Comp. I have read reviews of the 2007 - 2009 models on other web sites, and they were all pretty good reviews, but they were all written by either cyclocross enthusiasts or pure roadies. I searched this forum for info on this bike, and I found where some folks had recently bought one, but not much yet about their performance as touring bikes.
I'd like to buy a touring bike from my LBS -- not only do I want to support my small community, but the shop folks are also my weekend riding friends. I believe they want to help me get a fabulous bike, but I definitely want to run this by some seasoned touring cyclists. Some traditional touring bikes that they don't carry but could order for me include the Surly LHT, the Fuji Touring, and the Windsor Touring. I supposed they could also get me the Specialized touring bike (not sure what that model is).
One of the things that concerns me about the triX is the double chainring (48x34T with 12-27 10-speed cassette). I don't know much about bike specs, but I read in one of the bike buying guides on this web site that the gear inches on a touring bike should be 25 or less. I used an online calculator to find that the triX gear inches are 34 (if I calculuated it right). I'm wondering if this gearing will kill me on the hills. If so, would changing it out be very problematic?
Here are my personal specs: I'm 45, 5'9" and 150 lbs. I'm a moderately fit road rider, but pretty slow on hills compared to most of the folks I ride with (just not getting any younger, argh!). I ride a Trek Pilot 5.0 for local rides, and chose it for its relaxed geometry. I do use the "granny gear" on steep hills once in a while. My plans for touring include starting off with a couple of supported rides while I learn the ropes, then probably doing unsupported credit card touring mixed with fully loaded touring (I think I'm a bit spoiled and prefer cc touring, but if I ride with others who want to camp, I'll camp). I'll be a weekend and vacation-time touring cyclist for a long time because I work full time.
Any advise on the Specialized Tricross Comp, as well as any other newbie advice, will be greatly welcomed. Thanks!
p.s. I'm planning on doing my first cc tour with my mom driving support for me will be over the holidays this year, planning to go to California somewhere, please see my other post if you think you might have any advice about that: http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=6359.0