I need an all-terrain quick-commuting machine, needs to take a lot of abuse on trails, jumping curbs and potholes in d.c. streets, and I am totally stoked to try cross riding in a big way. Want to try a steel road-ish frame with drops, as I have my alu. hardtail mtn bike.
LBS bike guy suggests: Surly Cross-Check, versatile, strong, proven. With the build I want, it'll come close to $1200, (shimano 105 gruppo, crank bros candy pedals, STIs, mavic rims, don't know about the brakes yet) but the ordering seems to be taking forever.
LBS bike gal suggests: Kona Sutra, (touring bike) don't know the clearances for tires, looks to be their "dew" frame--more mountain-bikey geometry?, comes complete for about $1200 with disc brakes, shimano 105 components, etc.
Will the Sutra do it, or am I better off sticking to my building guns with the cross-check? I also kind of wanted to build myself so I can be a better bike mechanic (essential skills of the 1-bike commuter).