Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Silver Spring, MD (MABRA/MAC)
Bikes: Cannondale Cyclocross, Specialized Langster, Giant TCR-C2 Composite
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If your choice is only between the JTS and the Volpe, disregard the components for a second and just think about the frame which is the core of the bicycle. For the mix of riding you describe, I'd take an aluminum frame over a steel frame. I personally wouldn't want to take the risk of rust, especially on a cross/commuting/road bike that might see rain, snow, mud, water, and dirt.
As for the components, granny rings (tiny third chainrings up front) are for grannys and masochist MTBs who like to ride up grades that I usually use my rock climbing gear for. Tiny gears don't help you climb better, good form and a good body help you climb better. And besides, the more you ride, the more you'll favor higher gears anyway.
I'd say, personally, choose the JTS over the Volpe, and give the Surly serious consideration if you can find it. Otherwise, jump on the JTS and consider purchasing an extra pair of wheels to use on the road.