I am looking for a bike as primary transportation in the South Bay area. My commute is 5 mi, I like to do overnight trips on weekends and use the bike for shopping, which will involve occasional trips not longer than 30 mi.
My budget is $1500, but I would not mind to spend less in order not to worry too much about theft and maybe even get a second bike.
I went to a lot of bike shops, but they seem to be geared more towards racing or mtb, very few bikes even had rack mounts.
My current favorite is the Novara Randonee 2012 http://www.rei.com/product/816068/novara-randonee-bike-2012 but I am not 100% sure it is the right bike for my purpose.
My concerns with the Randonee are:
-Main concern: Bar End Shifters. I've never had bar ends, but I have the feeling that they are unsuitable for traffic. I have to go through a few streets with heavy traffic I don't feel too comfortable in, even without taking my hands off the brakes. I like integrated shifters.
-Minor concern: The Randonee is not overweight (29 lbs), but a bit too heavily built for my purpose. I won't do any tours of more than a few days, most of my use will be running errands and doing tours (not races) with friends who have mostly cross or road bikes. I don't want to be the slowest.
Are these proper concerns? Did I overlook anything? Does one get used to the bar ends?
Other bikes I looked at:
-Novara Verita, $1200: Goes in the right direction, but sitting was uncomfortable compared to Randonee, and they weren't able to identify the problem in the shop.
-Fuji Cross 3.0, $800: 400318">http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1094122_-1_400318 I have doubts about the canti brakes, especially when wet.
-Salsa Vaya 2, $1700: BB5 disc brakes probably better than brakes on Randonee, far too expensive
-Fantom Outlaw, $999: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/outlaw.htm Cheaper version of salsa, but bad idea to buy without trying it out.
Anyway, these four only have double cranksets with a lowest ratio of 36:32, I am not sure this is low enough.
Bikes I read about but that I didn't see in any shop: Specialized Secteur, Surly LHT, Trek, Surly Cross Check
Are there other bikes I should look at that -take a rack and fenders -have reliable brakes for all weather use in traffic -preferably have integrated shifters -low enough gear