Hello everyone, I'm a newbie here, looks like a great place to get some expert advice. I'm a 23 year old male from NY, and soon I'll be moving to the SF Bay area. I've had a few bikes in the past that I've used to get around, but now I'm ready to step up into something more serious.
I've been shopping around and I've fallen on the Specialized Tricross as a good option. I'm looking for a bike that I can use in the city for commuting, something I can put packs on the back and haul some stuff, and a bike that I won't have to worry about when I hit some rough terrain (gravel, dirt roads, etc.). I'm also looking for a bike that will be comfortable on a respectable touring trip (I have a dream to go from SF to Seattle to see my sister). I've been looking for a bike with a steel frame, but I can't really find one a good fit, and I'm willing to go with the aluminum frame of the tricross (I've tried other aluminum road bikes that are way too stiff for me). It also seems like these bikes are a good deal as they usually have Shimano Tiagra components, I just found one with 105.
I'm about 6', 180 pounds, and I don't need the bike to be feather-light. I've been looking on ebay at the tricross and it usually lands around $700 for a well-used bike, which is right in my price range. I also like that they come in black, as I'll probably wind up living in Oakland and I could probably count on my fingers how many minutes it would take to get a bright red road bike stolen in that area. I hope I haven't left anything out, I'd appreciate some advice on bikes that I could find used in the $500-$700 price range that could suit the needs of a commuter with touring aspirations and a penchant for running off the beaten path. Thanks!