First off I wanted an upright position, similar to a mountain bike. I did not want a drop down handle bar position. Next I wanted bigger tires, the mountain bike I've had has tires of 1.9 inch. I test road a bike that had 25mm and I swear I could feel every pebble on the road so I knew I wanted bigger tires.
Anyways I finally came up with the Specialized Sirrus Comp, a hybrid model. The price tage was $899 at a local bike shop. I made a couple of additions. I put bar extenders on the handle bars, a kick stand, rear view mirror on the handle bar, 3 bottle cages (it has eyelets for 3), a solid rear rack (eyelets for that also), and I changed the 28 mm tires to 38 mm tires.
I've been on a few long distance rides already with it, no touring yet or heavy loads. I'm very happy with it and I think this will do very well. The only bad thing has been the seat, not as comfortable as they lead you to believe, so I switched back to a Trek seat I bought about six months ago.
My initial plan is to use a trailer and the guys at the bike shop said this would do very well with a trailer or bags.
Once all was put on the bike the total was $1065, about where I figured I would pay for a good solid bike.
Need more information let me know!
devin at gingerloop dot com