I got bumped by a car without injury to me, but my bike was totalled. So I'm on the hunt for a new bike for my 10 mile round trip, year round often-rainy commute. I test rode a Surly Long Haul Trucker and a Cross Check. They're nice, but I'm a tinkerer and just can't bring myself to buy a bike that is all put-together already! (I know it's cheaper.) My last bike was a 90's Rock Hopper that was a pile of rust I got for $120 on craigslist. I had it sand blasted and powder coated a theft-deterring color "emergency pink", got used parts from a LBS and put 6000 fantastic miles on it over a few years. (Rode a century on it too!) So that's my aesthetic.
For the next bike, I was thinking that an internal hub would be more appropriate for my use-case. And since I ride in the rain with a few hills: disc brakes. I found a wheelset on Criagslist that fit the bill and bought it. They are 700c wheels, Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal hub on the rear, Alfine dynamo hub on the front. Now the question is, what kind of frame am I going to put these on? It seems like there are not many used frames/bikes that accommodate disc brakes and 700c wheels. The Surly Disc Trucker could work, but $470 for just the frame and fork is a little steep. I'd love to find another rusty something-or-other and fix it up.
A LBS mechanic I was chatting with suggested that I avoid getting a single speed frame, and instead get something with a hanger for a derailleur. Then I could run a tensioner and use two chain rings on the front to give me a fuller range of 16 gears. I liked that idea.
So my question is, does anyone know of any older model bikes to look out for that might work for me? Or am I stuck with looking at newer disc-friendly 29ers or cross bikes?