Placed an order and paid a deposit for the new bike last week. Got fed up trying to persuade my employers to sign up for the cycle to work scheme so went ahead without their help (thanks!). As I wasn't using the scheme I chose to order it from Eric in Amsterdam at the Holiday Biker shop. I can get there for only a little more than going to London plus I get advice from someone who really tours on bicycles. He has been a star.
So what did I choose in the end? Well I have gone for Santos Travel Master (26" wheel size) aluminium frame in Gun Metallic with silver lettering. Options chosen are: a black Brooks B17 saddle, Shimano XT components generally including V brakes, a Rohloff Hub Gear and I opted to have a chain rather than a new Carbon Belt Drive (I was tempted by the new belt system but was not persuaded it was worth an extra 500 Euros!!). I am going to make the final choice on pedals and handlebars at the shop but am starting out with standard Santos pedals and a multi position "butterfly" bar paired with Ergon grips.
It should be ready in 5 weeks and the earliest I can collect is April. I'm going to have an overnight stop in Amsterdam, a few hours at the shop and cycling round Amsterdam before packing it in a box for my return flight. Really excited!