Hey guys, first post as I need a bit of help selecting a commuter bike. I've been commuting to work for a few months now and quite like it; my commute is pretty easy, about 10k each way entirely on city streets (all paved, no paths, etc.,). I've been using an old 12-speed road bike (probably circa 1980) which has been doing the trick but I'm at the point where I need to upgrade for two reasons.
The first reason is that I live in Vancouver where it's *very* hilly and my bike just isn't geared properly for the terrain. I've looked at adding a chainring or more gears on the back but it's cost prohibitive considering the age of the bike. Secondly my bike is at an age where it's breaking down under daily use and needs regular repairs to get it road worthy. For example I blew out a spoke last week and the guy at my local bike store said that both of the wheels are going to need to be replaced fairly soon (I trust his opinion, he wasn't just trying to up-sell me). Again, this seems cost prohibitive considering the bike's age.
Ok, that was a bit long winded. Anyway, I'm looking to spend between $400-$500 CAD on a decent commuter. I know I can get much better bikes for more money but I really can't afford more than that right now. Plus I wouldn't feel comfortable locking a thousand dollar bike up on the street in some of the neighbourhoods near me. My local bike shop has recommended two bikes.
The Kona Dew at $450 CAD
The Norco Indie 3 at $500 CAD (the webpage says $525 but the LBS told me they could do it for $500 flat)
The bike guy tells me that they're essentially the same bike except the norco has disc brakes, which would be a plus in rainy Vancouver. The tires are also slightly fatter on the norco but he tells me the difference is barely noticeable.
I know that kona has an excellent reputation but haven't heard too much about norco so I thought I'd get some opinions. I'm sort of leaning towards the norco as disc breaks are a plus, but if the kona is generally known to be higher quality I'd go with the kona and upgrade to disc breaks down the road when I've got some extra cash.
Thanks for any help.