Hi everyone,
I have been commuting on an ye olde road bike for a while now. It is getting close to 35000km on it (That will be a post for another day). The way things are going I am contemplating upgrading to a new bike. I have been giving some thought to what I would like the new bike to have. 
My requirements thus far have been.

  1. Rack Mounts - I have been using a Topeak rack that clamps onto the seat tube 
  2. Drop bars - I like the handlebar positions that drop bars provide 
  3. Disc brakes - These are optional but the ability to go off onto gravel or off road is could work (there is another post for another time). I know you can put 700 x 28 tyres on a regular road bike and go on gravel/off road but discs would be better. Also being able to handle the wet is a good advantage

I would also like something that could do a little bit of light touring if necessary.  have had a look at some of the bikes on offer from Reid and from some of the other on line bike shops. Issues I have are price - the budget for this bike will be around $400 - though I might stretch it to $600 depending on how things go. 
I have considered some of the cyclocross bikes but I have also thought about getting a flat bar road bike and changing that over to drops. Issues with this are I would like STI shifters, which raises the following questions.
Can STI levers from a regular road bike work with disc brakes? Will there be any compatibility issues with the STI levers from a road bike and the gearing on a flatbar roadbike eg MTB gears?

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Cyclocross bikes are heavy and geared for cyclocross - I would tend towards an endurance road bike for those two reasons.

Most endurance bikes will take a wider tyre, and I thinks ome will take a rack - just make sure it has rack mounts.

If you get disc brakes ensure the bike has thru axles - it reduces disc rub, I would be very slow to get QR with dics brakes.

In your price range I'm guessing maybe Fuji or Jamis would have something, but it will be heavy with heavy wheels.

JM

Take a look at gravel bikes as well - cyclocross tyre clearance with road bike gearing. 

https://www.bicyclesonline.com.au/marin-four-corners-touring-disc-r...

I bought a Marin Muirwoods 29er urban bike (flat bar) from Bicyclesonline a few years ago and it's still going strong.

This Four Corners tourer fits your description - Nothing extra to spend - but it's well above your budget.

13-14kgs - heavy, but tough.

And you have the option for mudguards too.

   

Or 

 https://www.bicyclesonline.com.au/marin-gestalt-2-gravel-bike?gclid...

Ally frame - lighter, racier position - with rack mounts and mudguard mounts.

Less potential for weekend touring though.

Very low, if any stock, on those. Attempted to buy one the other week :(

The Marins? 

Lifetime frame warranty now is nice.

I didn't get that. I have a few dents :-{  but still going strong .

I was after the Marin Four Corners, as I was looking for a steel tourer with lots of tyre clearance. Hoping they get a new batch in

Here's my Marin Muirwoods 29er - It must be 7 - 8 years old, still going strong.- I have only changed the chain, cassette, brake pads and brake cables and outers - The outers did get UV damaged - probably the only issue with the bike.

I put 2" dirt tires on it for bush/beach holidays and it goes anywhere.

These Marins are workmanlike - not pretty up close - but they work.

My old steel Trek 520 tourer has done around 100,000kms, and you want to get rid of your bike after only 35,000! :-) Of course the only original bit left is the frame. It's been substantially modified since it was new in '94, and now has a disk front fork and a mid-drive Bafang ebike conversion. The ebike conversion meant that I had to go to flat bars from the drops, which has been a bit of a pain, but no big deal. Still a great bike to ride.

Re disc brakes. No longer a must. Look cantis or mini Vs. Much, much less trouble

At $400-$600 can you really call it a "super commuter"?

I'd think a real super commuter would be a very good bike and they cost somewhat more.

Maybe a super pub bike ;)

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