I am looking to buy my first cross bike. I currently only own a big downhill bike (04 specialized big hit pro), and am looking to buy something a bit more versatile... which has lead me to cyclocross bikes. I am tall and skinny (6 feet tall and ~135lb), however I am pretty tough on stuff. I will be looking to do some light cross-country trails as well as rip on the local trail system. I have done a lot of research which has lead me to two bikes carried at my local bike shop that are within my price range. The surly cross-check and kona jake the snake. I have some concerns with both bikes.
I am concerned about the durability of the aksium wheels and carbon fork on the Kona. I am not going to be doing really aggressive trails, but how much can a cross bike take? I have also found a 08 jake the snake in a 58. The price is great, but I fear that it is too big, what do you think? I think that I may be better on a 56. Here is a link to the jake the snake:
The Surly is a bit more money (about $50 more) , but the part spec appears considerably lower. I also don't know about the bar end shifters, I will have to try them out. I am also a bit concerned about not having a replaceable R/D hanger (I have went through 3 on my downhill bike, though I use that for a different style of riding all together). From what I have read so far the steel frame should give a better ride, and be more durable as long as it doesn't rust). There seem to be a lot of cross-check fans on the boards here. Here is a link to the cross-check:
I also have some questions on sizing. As I mentioned I am 6' tall and I have a 34" inseam. What size of frame would you suggest?
I will be going to the shop to test ride both, but wanted to get some feedback and background beforehand. Any info is greatly appreciated