I wanting to get into the cycling scene, at least on a very basic level. I've recently started a new job and will be taking the regional transit train home everyday where I then plan to cycle to my home (about 5 miles away - not far). On top of this, I would like to ride the local trails with my family on the weekends which go around a big lake. There are some dirt trails that fork off of the main bike path that I have walked before, but would love to cycle down on occasion. The last thing I would be doing is cycling the trails on my own at a fast pace about twice a week to train my cardiovascular system instead of running so much (not giving up running completely).
From the research I've done, a cyclocross bike would be an ideal solution for this. I was originally looking at hybrid style bikes, but think a cyclocross with the drop bars would better suit my needs. The only problem with this is the price of these bikes. I know you get what you pay for, but it seems all the cyclocross entry level bikes such as the Specialized Tricross and Trek versions start at around $1,000 - i was hoping to stay at or under $700 (budget i know). I stopped by a local Performace Bicycle and found a house brand Scattante CX 350 Cyclocross Bike - 2014 for $599 (Product: Scattante CX 350 Cyclocross Bike - 2014) This bike seems to have entry level Sora components, but it seems to be the same on the $1000 dollar specialized bikes. So does this look like a good buy for $600? The other option might be something from bike direct, but I wouldn't know how to set it up just right or what to even look for to buy from there in the first place.
Any opinions will help and any recommendations welcome! Thank you very much!