Hey everyone, I'm new to this forum, especially the Cyclocross area of it.
I'll try to keep this short (Yeah right) while allowing you to get an image of what I need.
My story is that I'm 31 and need a new bike, I just started riding again after a 15 or so year hiatus and I'm sporting a too-small 1986 Panasonic DX-3000 that was given to me by the original owner (family friend). Nice bike, just too small for me, by a lot... but it got me out of the house.
My plan was to get the Surly LHT to start touring with this summer. The thing is I only plan on doing weekend trips, possibly a single week long tour. Eventually I'd like to cross Canada on bicycle in a few years time.
When I'm not touring (which will be most of the time) I'll be riding around town, mostly on paved roads but with the desire to be able to spot a trail or a scenic unpaved stretch and do it without worry. I miss mountain biking a lot, I don't expect to do the same crazy things I did when I was a teen but a trail would be nice now and then. My rides will range from 15-100km stretches per day with rests to eat.
My son is five and is starting to really enjoy riding with me on his little bike that still has training wheels attached, I want to be able to take him down the gravel kid-friendly trails we have near here without worry as he likes them more than the paved ones. My road bike sucks for this, I expect a flat every time my 120psi 25's touch the rocks!
I never had a road bike before and I'm enjoying it a lot. I like the drop bars and the speed I get that I never remember reaching on my mountain bikes. But I miss being able to hop a curb and ride a trail!
I have about 1000-1500 to spend (Canadian, less the better), the LHT I can get for 1500 even from the local shop, it's way more in Canada than the US. I've been doing research for months on touring bikes and was convinced it's all I wanted, it had the gearing I wanted, it's decent on the road and great for touring which is my ultimate goal. I could even take it on a trail though it might handle a bit slow.
The more I look at it though, the more I realize how little I'll be touring compared to riding around here, or with my son, or to the store. The touring bike is seeming less perfect for me and my current goals.
I just want a "good" bike for me, that's in my price range and able to do what I want now, not in two years. Does that make sense?
I've been looking at the Kona Jake, seems like a good choice for me with its ability to take rear racks and fenders, etc. Price is great at about 1k new. I'm sure this bike would allow me some weekend or week long trips while getting me in shape for a longer journey later. It would allow me to comfortably ride down some trails without worry, or on the road just as easily.
I think I'd like to swap the gearing a little bit, I'm not in the same shape I used to be in and this ten speed I have now kills me on some of the steeper hills around here. (52/42 cr with 14-28 fw) But I'm not sure how much I could change the gearing without changing a lot of the components. Lowering the gearing would also make touring a bit nicer. I'd still like to keep some top end speed for the road.
I feel like the cyclocross can do it all. It's not a road bike, or a mountain bike, or a tourer, but it can do them all in it's own right. It won't be as fast as a road, as robust as a mountain or as smooth as a tourer, but it can do it.
Then again, so can the LHT for a couple hundred more and I won't have to buy another bike later. I just don't think it will do the road or trail as well as the cross.
What do you think?