Masi Giramondo 700c. I loved it. Out of all the bikes I have used this has to be a favourite. it carries loads well, has endless mounting points, proved robust, I did run the bearings down on the pedals but they were cheap pedals not worthy of the bike. I broke one spoke but for doing around or just over half of the GDMBT on 40mm tyres I think its a brill bike. loved the drop bars, loved the colour. would buy one any day.
It took a full day of searching and describing what i wanted before i found it. In a town full of bike shops i thought it would be easy, i bought it privately from an employee of a bike shop.
Mechanical disc brakes- easy to adjust, easy to fix if a wire breaks. Wide drop bars good for changing position to stop fatigue, pretending to be more aerodynamic (with big panniers) and for more control on downhill trail.
In the end i upped from just rear panniers to front mounted as well. while the extra space was nice i think in the end light is right and i would only use rear panniers and maybe a bar bag for the little extras.
this was a 27 speed with good hill climbing gears. friction shifters on the end of the drop bars were new to me but worked perfect and i soon started to like them.