This is mine. Not exactly cheap, but a really nice bike for big miles in the wet.
I love the Conquest Classic, been commuting 40km each way to work 3 days a week over this summer and I think it's a great bike. Just demo'd a Specialized Roubaix for a day and although it was super plush and quick on acceleration I still loved getting back on my Conquest.
Word of advice, watch the frame size I am usually a 56cm and I should have got a 54cm in the Conquest. Luckily I made it work with a different stem but only just. Also I would swap out the BB5's for the BB7's immediately.
Well I opted to go with a Salsa Vaya frame and build it up instead of going with the Redline. I started obsessing over gearing and trying to get it the way I want it. After a long battle to get my hands on a frame I am just about ready to order parts to build it up with. Definitely doing BB7's, I want plush so I'm going carbon seatpost and bars. Found a nice Axiom rack with 150 lb weight limit (awesome!). Using Salsa's 29er rims with XT hubs to build up my wheels. I can't wait cuz right now I'm having to use my extra road bike for commuting, I hate beating it up like this. When I get things built up I will definitely post pics.
I really like the Conquest but after getting on the Salsa at the LBS I fell in love. It was perfect! It had room for an extra water bottle, loved the feel of it (super comfy). Has room for front and rear pannier racks. I eventually would like to do some cross country touring and this will be perfect.
Doesn't have STI's,but GT's Peace Tour is a little cheaper and has wider gearing:
Also has better tires and comes with fenders.
If you want to build a bike,I've got nothing but love for my Motobecane Ti. The previous owner upgraded it to BB7 roads. Ti rides like steel,is lighter,doesn't rust,and doesn't get scratched from locking up.
C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L
I would have recommended the Kona Dew Drop, but they dont make it any more.
I love the front disc option! I recently read Sheldon Brown's article about only using the front brake - the front disc makes perfect sense in light of that.