Trek DS 8.5 for $950 or 2011 Specialized Disc Pro for $999
I'm going to be moving to the Santa Cruz mountains soon - I'll be doing some highway shoulder riding, light trails, through fields, around town, etc. I want something that won't be really sloggy on the road but will still be safe/comfortable on light/moderate offroad (nothing crazy).
The http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...d=11CrossTrail has slightly better brakes, cassette, and crank (and is ~1.5 pounds lighter?) for $999. Tires are wider (700x45 vs 700x38) than the DS, but have a nice bald spot in the middle so they handle really well on road.
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._series/8_5_ds is $50 cheaper (and the shop has 1 year free service instead of 90 days, plus I'd get a discount on accessories so I guess 20% off a ~$60 bike lock, I have the rest), has a remote lockout for suspension (though the speedlock is easy enough to reach down to), and IMO looks a lot cooler. Most of the other components are the same.
The crosstrail is better bike for the price... but the 8.5 feels "cooler" and the remote lockout would be nice if it would feel unsafe to reach down and toggle the suspension lockout (though that's a pretty fast maneuver). Haven't really found any acceptable similar models in person, though I know there are some out there. Thoughts?
I also considered these two bikes before buying the 8.5. I've had it for almost two months and couldn't be more pleased.
The feature that I'm most pleased with are the brakes, smooth and even hand feel, very nice. I'm also surprised about how handy the remote lock-off is. I use it much more that I had expected. I'm toggling it on and off on the fly during every ride.
Thanks for your feedback - I imagine the brakes would be pretty similar, but the remote lockout is something that is growing on me. It just makes locking/unlocking easier to do, and the easier something is the more you use it and hence it's more useful.
I'll try and get some time test-riding a 8.4, so far the only 8.5 I've found in person was too large for me.
I have a lower model Crosstrail. I love it. I take it on single tracks with no problems. As a hybrid, you don't have a bike that optimized for any one style of riding. But it is capable of many different styles of riding. The wider 700x45 tires help for off roading.