Join Date: May 2006
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Comp, Soma ES
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"Does the Salsa offer a roadie-friendly ride and should I consider anything else?"
With a change of tires, it should perform fine on the road, but there will be differences. Compare the geometries and you'll find that cross bikes have some differences. The cross bike will be more upright and the handling may be a bit slower. I don't know the Salsa geometry but this is fairly typical of most cross bikes.
Should you consider anything else? Of course. So many to list, but I have experience with the Specialized Tricross which is a great all around bike. I like the Comp version and above due to the higher level components and frame. Many, many more to look over. See what your local stores carry and take them for a spin.
Cross bikes are great for what you're talking about using it for. This is what I use mine for as well. Wish I could race cross but a bad wrist prevents it. You should give cross a shot next year. It's a blast!
Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.