Never could get quite comfy on Surly Cross check 60cm - the top tube length was just too long, i'm 6'5" and pretty long legged/average torso and was always too stretched out on it. Come to find out, they're kinda known for an excessive top tube, who knew?
So now i'm on the search again, have ridden a few bikes, ruled out some styles etc and am going to go with another CX type frame (with shorter top tube). I want to keep my budget under a grand.
Use will be 14 mile round trip commute to work rain or shine over bike trails, a few smooth roads and a couple miles of crappy roads. No real hills to speak of, but a couple steep bits getting onto bike bridges, going over a couple steep but short hills.
Here are the two i'm thinking of:
Novara Zealo Bike - 2014 at REI.com
Pro's: avid bb7 discs - light aluminum frame - schwalbe marathon 700x28 (favorite commuting tire) -20% off coupon from REI
cons: harsh aluminum frame - no bar brakes -
effective top tube 57cm (surly was 60)
price: $799 with REI 20% off coupon.
Nashbar steel cyclocross
Nashbar Steel Cyclocross Bike - Overweight Code F Restricted
Pro's: 105 components - compliant chomoly frame - bar brakes -
cons: heavy steel frame - no disc brakes
effective top tube: 58cm
price: 767 with pedals and fenders due to nashbars 20% off total order if you buy 3 items deal