This is a fun topic for determining what type of bike is right for your daily needs concerning your bike commute, errands, grocery toting, etc.
The word "traditional" is used rather loosely to help define a touring bike. This includes frame geometry with relaxed riding position and longer wheel base. A design which contributes to a bike which is not designed to be the most nimble or technically maneuverable but that provides a stable ride for the long haul. As the votes were coming in I found myself weighing the benefits of the various conditions of commuting and touring and as Richard Ballantine was quoted as saying he "prefers to have the ability to go where he pleases" in reference to a mountain bike for touring.
Some folks prefer older mountain bikes with 26" wheels for commuting with a feeling of centered gravity. Nice way to put it as it indicates a feeling of balanced control while maneuvering perhaps in traffic or on a trail. Lisa Piper's photo at left is such a good example of bike fit. She can comfortably stand over her bike smiling as she displays her joyful relationship with her ride. This is a good example of what most folks who preferred not to use drop bars particularly with their mountain bikes. Lisa's vintage Peugeot is a steel lugged mountain bike frame that has been modified for commuting with a new angle to her quill stem coupled with sweeping ergonomic handlebars. Not only has she found a nice bike fit for commuting but is riding in style. Grant Petersen would approve.
Another important consideration regarding drop bars is the ability to duck a head wind. Long distance and particularly seasoned riders appreciate the ability to get lower on the drops while riding in wind. A few folks with drop bars disregard the notion that a comfortable riding position cannot be obtained. By adding inline brake levers to the top bar provides a second hand position for braking. Thus, moving back and forth from the brake hoods to the flat top bar with access to braking provides a more upright position which is very comfortable for commuting and enables the rider to be visible to drivers in traffic.
All in all it was a very interesting survey and glad we thought to ask the readers of this blog what they preferred. Hybrid or comfort bikes came in third with internally geared hubs or three speeds with folding bikes following in a close fourth. We like all these bikes and glad to hear folks' appreciation for all the diverse bikes and scenarios which contribute to bike touring and commuting experience.
Thanks to everyone for your participation in the survey and look forward to safe and fun riding.
Visit Bike Radar for their article regarding the Touring Bike as the best bike for commuting.
Of course Grant Petersen at Rivendell Bike Works has some very good advice and common sense information regarding bike fit.
An article at Hub Pages regarding a mountain bike for touring and commuting.
Fun Books to read for this topic:
Just Ride by Grant Petersen
New Bicycle Book by Richard Ballantine