I'm planning on buying a cross bike in the coming months for winter training use, running errands, single-track riding, and the occasional race. I've been leaning towards a Surly frame which I can get built up w/Ultegra for about $1300. I also noticed several bikes in the $800-1000 range that have AL frames. I'm a huge fan of steel when it comes to road riding.
My question to everyone is how important is comfort on a cross bike? Will the difference from aluminum to steel be that dramtic becuse of the wider tires? I'm curious to get everyone's take, from the avid cross racer to the recreational rider who happens to ride a cross bike.
I'm leaning to the steel, but it's hard to ignore the good prices on the AL bikes.
Thanks for your help.