There is lots of discussion of the best type of bike for commuting, for me its my “do everything” Bob Jackson World Tour, very much a traditional touring frame - it can take 28-32mm tyres with mudguards for which it has proper mounts, canti brakes, three bottle mounts, Reynolds 631 steel frame, longish chainstays and slightly more relaxed geometry than a typical road bike.
There are a few differences from a standard touring set up:
Luggage - On a touring bike, you would want rear and probably front racks for panniers, I use a Carradice Barley saddlebag with their support frame, which saves some weight and still has enough space for my Macbook Air and some spare clothes as well as the usual tools, tubes etc.
Position - I have the set-up slightly more aggressive than a traditional tourer with bars an inch or two below the saddle - I just like it that way.
Road not MTB / Touring Gears - Rather than building up with a road or MTB triple, I have gone for a fairly normal compact double setup (48/34 front, 12-27 rear) using mostly Shimano 105 components and STIs rather than downtube or bar-end shifters that are more commonly found on touring builds. It feels more road than long haul.
Would I have done anything differently?
From what I read on bicycle blogs and forums, we are often upgrading and looking for marginal improvements by way of minor component changes. For me a lot of the fun I get from cycling is the technical and maintenance aspect so it’s a totally excusable, if expensive and often wasted pursuit. Having recently received back my Bob Jackson World Tour frame after a re-lacquer (more details on why here), as I was reassembling it and refitting the components it made me wonder if I would have done anything differently if I was really starting again.
It’s a fairly “retro” build and I guess the biggest change I could have considered would have been to go more modern, with a threadless steerer and aheadset rather than the quill stem and threaded steerer - this was in fact the standard spec on the World Tour, and looks are a consideration - the quill stem suits the slim tubing in my opinion. I believe this year Bob Jackson have changed to slightly larger oversized tubing on the World Tour though for a bit of added stiffness.
Perhaps the World Tour is a little overbuilt for its primary purpose of year round commuting and bad weather rides - it is a touring frame and has not yet been even close to the loading limits, generally it has a few kilos at most in the Carradice saddlebag.
Whilst I designed the build as a one bike for all, with hindsight, perhaps a lighter build with an audax type frame and carbon forks with clearance for 25mm or 28mm tyres (with mudguards) on lighter built wheels would fit that purpose a little better a lot of the time, but I do love the comfy ride and incredible grip of 700x32c Marathon Supremes with strong touring wheels on a 135mm rear hub on the rough roads in and around Hertfordshire and for me the additional weight is a small price worth paying and the truth is I would probably change nothing.
In reality of course it doesn’t have to be “one bike fits all”, if this was my only bike then perhaps it would be slightly less of a heavyweight, I would try hard to drop it down a little. I guess it has allowed me to be more focussed in my Condor Acciaio build this year, weight-conscious components, 23mm tyres and no facility for luggage or mudguards mean that while it’s not an extreme lightweight (a fraction over 8kg all in) nor a harsh ride - traditionally handbuilt wheels and a steel frame - I do keep it for fast, fair weather rides on reasonably good surfaces.