I'm debating between the Bianchi Volpe & Kona's Jake The Snake. This is my first real bike purchase and I am looking to get into the sport. The bike is mostly going to be for commuting and general road fitness. I like the idea of the versatility that you get in a CX bike, as apposed to at standard road bike. It's likely I'll get it pretty dirty. I road a 2006 JTS and loved the feel of it. I compared it to a road bike w/ a similar component set, and just preferred the JTS's overall feel. I can't stand that orange paint job, so I've found an online dealer who has a blue 05 in my size. On the other hand I visited a shop in Burbank called Bicycle John that was recommended by someone here in the forum. They gave me such awesome customer service and really seemed to know their stuff. There was NO hard sell, no sell at all actually, they just schooled me hard on things to consider. They don't carry Konas, but can get most everything else. They felt that the Volpe was the way forward for me. They sited Bianchi quality, the steel frame, the ability to grow with the bike, and the entry level price as major pluses for someone like me just finding his feet in cycling. Looking at the bike, I'd throw a pair of upright break levers on it bringing the price up to about $900. The 05 JTS I found runs $1100 w/out shipping. I'm having a hard time with the choice. I don't really know squat about the quality of the components and much about the difference between aluminum and steel. I don't feel right asking the guys at Johns to do a comparison with the KONA, as they don't carry it. (Actually, they should. I mean, if they have faith in their suggestion, they should be happy to.) Any thoughts you guys might have to help me with the decision would be appreciated??