$1,000 budget, 95% commuting, 5% touring
I've been lurking here the past few weeks trying to find objective research on bike choices, but decided to post and ask a question as it might have the most direct result.
I'm currently riding a Specialized Sirrus Sport (2012) that I use to commute to work every day. The ride is about 5 miles each way. I'm looking for a second bike for Spring, Summer, and early Fall (in Boston) to replace it. My Specialized will be used in the Winter and as a backup. I ride with a European-style alpine pack (30L) so the need for panniers isn't immediately there, however as I get older I might switch, so having the option would be nice. I would put front and rear fenders on this new bike.
I've narrowed my selection down to the Jamis Nova Sport and the Surly Cross-Check. I've also recently discovered the Kona Jake (from this forum) which looks really nice as well, though harder to find around here. I rode the Nova Sport and the Cross-Check this weekend and enjoyed the ride of them both very much. However, I feel that by choosing one over the other, I'd be making a sacrifice somewhere. For example, I really like the steel frame of the Surly and the simplicity of it. I know it'll probably last a good bit longer too. However, in Boston traffic, the bar-end shifters might be a little inconvenient. And I liked the disc brakes of the Nova Sport slightly better - they felt more effective, which could come in handy for the "Masshole" drivers around here. However, the canti's on the Cross-Check are simpler, less inclined for mechanical failure, and I could perform maintenance on them myself. I am also interested in a bike that has some longevity, both in parts and in quality. I don't want to feel like I have to upgrade parts or replace parts in a years' time, and I'd like this bike to last as long as possible.
My budget is roughly $1,000. I can fudge a little if needed, but I'll pick up a set of fenders, and probably need to get some pedals too. My needs are 95% commuting with the occasional weekend tour. And I'll add as a side-note, that I'm considering the D2R2 dirt road "race" up in Vermont. Based on my budget and my needs, would the Nova Sport or Cross-Check (or Kona Jake) be best? Can the Nova Sport and Kona Jake be outfitted with racks if/when I ever go that route? Or is there another bike that might be better suited for the same or similar price range?
For your quick reference: