Ok, I think I'm going to order a Surly Cross check. Mainly: It will accept wider tires for the winter and might be a step up from my 25 year old steel bianchi. (Still having fun but have limited tire choices and many minor issues as I've crammed fenders, racks and brakes all in the same point), I ride 16 miles in, 18 home (scenic, less traffic) on rural road (some rougher than others) and would like more speed than my wife's old mountain bike in the winter. My question is when dealing with the local bike shop (who I'd like to support) which is better: order the cross check complete from Surly? or order the frame and build it up? I have a bit above $1000 to spend and already have racks and lights (will probably need new fenders).
I am not concerned about most of the equipment on the complete bike, except I've never used bar end shifters (mine are friction shifters on the frame). I'm interested in the brake/shifters I've seen and tried out. Not a big issue but a slight preference.