Intro - Cross bike selection guidelines?
I'm a mountain biker who rides on the road for training. I've got a few races (not mountain bike races, but multisport races) where I think a cross bike might be beneficial. I've wanted a cross bike for commuting, and was thinking about buying one sooner rather than later. I'm hoping to give cross racing a try when the season comes around too, but I'm principally looking for something faster than a mountain bike.
In general, I'd like a bike that is very durable and works well in tough conditions. By the same token, I want to take advantage of the lighter weight and skinny tires of a cross bike. I've thought about going the disc brake route as I've got discs on my mountain bike and I might be able to swap wheelsets, but then I start getting into "overbuilding" the bike.
The terrain I'm thinking of is 40-90 mile loops with 6-12000' elevation gains, all on fireroads. It seems the downhills have a lot of "baby head" rocks, but most is pretty well maintained, perhaps with some washboard.
I'm 150 lb, and been looking at a variety of bikes, from the bianchi axis and cross concept, to getting a dean torreys or airborne carpe diem.
At this point, I'm kinda shying away from the aluminum bikes, simply because I'm tough on equipment, and I'm afraid I'll tear them up. Any suggestions/thoughts regarding this? In a way, I'm building a drop bar mountain bike with 700c wheels?
Because of the climbs, I was thinking an ultegra triple group. I'd also like to keep weight down because of the climbs, without being too crazy ($$$$). The local shop suggested the kryserium elite as a good cross wheel.
So anyway, I wanted to see what people thought about durability, parts, frame materials, etc.