I've been a classic and vintage guy before now, but I want a new(ish) bike that is faster and more modern...and will handle anything I throw at it like roads, bike paths, grass, gravel, some mtb trails etc... It will probably see more road than anything else, but I want the freedom to do any of those other things.
I'm doing research and reading the forums a lot, but I still don't feel like I have a great grasp on what makes a cross bike a cross bike. From what I can tell it's mainly canti brake bosses, wider knobbier tires, and an extra set of brake levers?
I'm going to go by my LBS and look, but based on the time I've been in there, I doubt I'll find anything I can afford. I've built a few c&v bikes up from scratch so I'm fairly comfortable doing my own work/assembly. I'll try to summarize my questions into a short list:
1. What makes a cross bike a cross bike?
2. How can I find out what is adequate components if I were to build a bike from a frame? and how cheap could I do it?
3. Would a Bikes Direct cross bike be adequate for my current needs and be worth upgrading to better components in the future if I wanted to?