greetings. i've been lurking, searching archives, and soaking up as much information as possible, but some questions remain. i'm currently in the market for a cyclocross bike, and i believe i have narrowed it down to two choices.
i would like to compete in cyclocross events, but am not highly competitive so no need for something pro/race level. i also need a bike to use for the MS150, and other charity rides, with just a tire swap. additionally, my wife and i like to ride trails in state parks on weekends.
my choices are between a kona JTS at $990, or a bianchi axis at $1200, both '06 models. i'd appreciate any and all input. i'm not averse to upgrading components as they wear, so i'd tend to favor a quality frame that lasts over component level for the initial purchase.
my second question is regarding bars. i can't quite figure out if it's possible to use flat handlebars with cyclocross bikes, assuming no change in components other than the bar, brake levers, and shifters. my goal is to use a flatbar for the weekend trail rides, and the supplied bars for everything else. is this feasible? if so, what specific brake levers and shifters can make this work? do i need new cables as well? roughly how long and how much work is it to swap bars, levers/shifters, and cables?
thanks very much.