The two months between being knocked off my old bike and finally getting a cheque out of the insurance company gave me plenty of time to think about the kind of bike I wanted. This is what I decided on:
For the rest of you it is a steel framed Genesis Equilibrium built up with various parts old and new. I chose it as I wanted something that was fast, comfortable and practical, and so far I think it fits the bill well. I also like how it combines old fashioned styling with a hint of modernity; it doesn't make too many concessions to current trends but nor does it look too retro.
These days you can get bike frames built out of various materials with carbon fibre, aluminium and titanium seeming to be the most popular. Historically, however, the default material was steel and, whilst the aforementioned materials surpass it in terms of lightness and stiffness, steel still takes a lot of beating in terms of ride quality. The previous road bikes I have ridden have mainly been aluminium and you can notice an immediate difference in the way the steel framed Equilibrium rides.
You don't get armchair like comfort - you can still tell the quality of the roads around here are pretty poor - but instead of rattling along you get more of a hum. It feels a lot less harsh than the aluminium frames I've ridden and when you're covering hundreds of miles that's a quality that's well worth having.
Yes, there is a weight penalty, with the Genesis frame and fork weighing almost 1kg more than my aluminium race frame with full carbon fork, but for the kind of riding I'm doing on it I think it's a price worth paying. It also has the advantage of being more easily repairable if it does come into contact with a car whereas my previous aluminium frame was a write-off. Along with a lifetime frame warranty hopefully this will add up to a bike for life.