I could use some help narrowing down my choice in picking out my new bike. I'm a novice/recreational rider that does some weekend riding. But I'm looking to do more and to also start commuting to work. So I a want jack of all trades that can handle road, crappy shoulders, and packed-dirt/pea-gravel trails. Based on my research and some test rides at the bike store, I'm going to go with a 2014 Specialized Crosstrail. I'm just having a little trouble declining on what trim line to get.
I'm looking at the Crosstrail Sport Disc (in-stock; $800), Crosstrail Elite Disc (special-order; $930) and the Crosstrail Comp Disc (in-stock; $1,150). Here's a link to a comparison of the three models. I also have attached a PDF at the bottom with the differences between each level highlighted.
Based on my needs, I think I've ruled out the upper Comp Disc. Based on great information (especially by @dynaryder - who I hope can help here as well) in this older thread, I do not see that I'm getting really necessary things for the extra cash. (Unless someone can give me some feedback on why that may be my best choice) And as silly as it might be, I think the chain guards, lost on the Comp Disc, are useful on a daily commuter and weekend joy rider.
So it basically comes down to if the following items are worth the extra $130:
- Shimano BR-M446 over Tektro Draco brakes
- Shimano FDM-340 over Shimano M390 Front Derailleur
- Shimano Deore Shadow over Shimano Acera Rear Derailleur
- Shimano FC-M431 over SR Suntour XCR Crankset
Since I don't know much of anything about brakes, derailleurs, and cranksets, I was hoping someone could provide some guidance. What are the benefits of these upgrades? I plan to go back to the store again and test ride the sport and comp (same brakes as the elite) and pay attention to the feel of the brakes as I do so. But since the Derailleurs and crankset are different, and they do not have an elite I can test ride, I'm looking for some expert guidance. I want a bike that I'm going to like and can keep for many years.
Crosstrail Model Comparison-reduced_size.pdf