Hi all - been reading/searching for a few weeks now. First time poster. Anyway, I am moving on from my old mountain bikes, as I'm doing a lot more trails, both paved and limestone. My average ride is between 20-40 miles. I've ruled out Fitness type bikes, as I would rather have more of a road bike position. My contenders are FX35 Felt (maybe a 15.. great deals out there), Trek XO1, and the Cannondale 'cross 5. They all seem to have largely the same components, but different styles, geometry. Assuming they are all comfortable, are there any large considerations for one brand over the other? Any bike I'm missing? I'd like to be in the $1500 range, more or less. Thanks in advance.
Motobecane Fantom CX OUTLAW(discs, so no competition)
Mongoose Croix Elite (SRAM and cantis but with disc tabs)
Windsor Cyclo (cantis, no mounts, money for accessories)
Raleigh RX 1.0 (09 if i can find one)
Bianchi Axis (can't afford it)
basically I want something that I can ride as a commuter and with friends and everywhere(city, non-city) but would let me run in an amateur's race even if i couldn't place because of discs.
I don't need to have a regulation bike, but I'm not set on discs so a bike that I could compete with isn't off my list.
I can easily afford the windsor or a similarly priced bike, the rest I'd have to sell my current bikes for.
right now i'm leaning toward the outlaw, unless the mongoose goes on sale.
Imo discs aren't much better than rim brakes once you put Kool Stop Salmon pads on the rim brakes. Not unless you're doing very hardcore off roading with the associated hand fatigue - in which case you should be on an MTB. And good discs are exactly the sort of components that will attract a thief into stripping a commuter bike even if he can't defeat the lock.
The obvious bike that neither of you has mentioned is the Spec Tricross. Its popularity and the type of buyer it attracts might make it the easiest bike to find in nice condition used, which could save a lot of cash.
$1500 would probably buy a nicely equipped Cotic Roadrat, although you'd have to buy without a test ride. Still the reputation is excellent, and the MTBish sloping top tube and chromo frame make it well suited as an exploration bike and commuter.
Other than that, as the crocodile said, go ride them.
Thanks all for the input. I went to several dealers, and ended up getting properly fitted for a local tri shop. I bought the Pinarello Cross. More money than I had expected to spend, but it feels great, and man is it sexy!