I have been looking at the Kona Jake $800 (not JTS $1350) and the Specialized Tricross Sport $1100. Is the Tricross Sport that much better than the Jake?
The shops around where I live only carry Specialized, Kona, Scott, and Trek and a little Giant.
Not sure about the tricross, but I LOVE my 06 Jake. I've put that bike through so much crap iin the past year and a half and the sora/tiagra drivetrain just keeps going. It's nice having a triple chainring and 52 tooth big ring since I ride a diversity of trail/road types. The only thing I keep replacing is the tires. I truly think the Kona Jake as close to the perfect "all-around" (off-road, on-road, commuter) bike as one can get.
Also love my Jake. I'm happy to have the triple mainly because the big ring is so big (52T), and I hardly ever shift out of it. People often extol the virtues of a triple over a double because of the lower low end, but IMO the adv of having a higher top end is just as nice.
Frame and geometry are very comfortable, even on rides of 3+ hours. Drivetrain is pretty no frills. Not thrilled with the rear derailleur but I've learned to adjust it, and will trade up a step once I wear out the originals (I'm pushing 2K miles on it since buying last June)...
I'll chime in with another "love my Jake." It really is a very nice all-around bike. As for the double/triple chainring thing, my understanding is that doubles are nice if you're actually racing, since there's that much less that can go wrong up there (I don't intend to do that--yet). If you're not competing/racing, it shouldn't really bother you. The components could be a little nicer, but once they're dialed in, they do the job pretty well.