A good cross bike for Delaware/Raritan Canal rides?
I'm looking for a cheap, ride the trails for fun type of cross bike. I'm thinking something for the hard packed canal trails around Princeton as well as the road to get there. I think Jake (the Jake???) seems to the best bet. Should I bother kicking up to J.T. Snake or is it overkill? Is any of the Kona's a better deal than the Specialized Cross? I also saw a nice Trek XO-1 at the LBS, sweet - but more of a racer, right? What would you buy for $1000 or so?
For what its worth, I've ridden those very same trails numerous times with a singlespeed mountainbike. A mountainbike is overkill. I can't help you choose a specific bike, but a crossbike is definately about the right level of "offroadness" for those conditions.
I would say bumping it up to the Jake the Snake would be overkill in your situation. The Jake is an "all rounder" as is the crosscheck. The Jake the Snake is much more of a racer. Also, unless you're used to high level components, Tiagra is a great bang for the buck, and it's 9 speed, which means you can easily put on a mountain rear deraileur and run a wide range cassette if you are so inclined.
Thanks for all the advice!! I went with the basic Jake. I agreed with the above poster about spec. overkill since I just want to bop around the trail and downtown. It looks sweet...I can't wait to hit the trail!