I'm looking for an entry level cross bike, budget $700 or less. There isn't much around in the used market and what I've seen, I think I'd be as well off to spend a little more $$ and buy new. This would be a secondary bike for me and possible eventual commuter if I move to a different office. I don't plan on racing either. I'd say about 70% of my riding is road and the rest is on the MTB, mainly with my kids or we ride as a family. It wouldn't replace the mountain bike completely as there is some riding that would probably be too technical or would really push what a cross bike could do off road. There are several trails and placed I'd like to explore off of some of my usual routes, but getting to them would be a bit farther on a mountain bike than I'd care to ride out on one. I've got an old Trek 1000 I've outfitted with cross tires and that's giving me a taste, but isn't a very comfortable bike to ride distances. I'm in the early stages of looking but these stand out so far. Any opions on these or suggestions not on the list are welcome:
Jamis Nova Sport: I rode this and liked it other than the stock tires (slid around alot off road). Disc brakes are a major selling point
Redline conquest sport CX: shop an hour away has some under $700 but I'm not familiar with the brand and haven't found much online so far
Trek Crossrip: might be able to get one close to my budget and like the ride a little more than the Jamis but prefer the disc brake of the Jamis
Gravity Liberty CX: bikesdirect special but for $400 it is intriguing. I figure I'd be doing upgrading on it off the bat. this is on the list but low on the list
I'm also considering getting a frame set and building one up from scratch. I've got an email in to a local guy with a Nashbar frameset w/ fork for about half what Nashbar sells just the frame for. I've got enough parts laying around to get it going, though I'd need to invest in a decent drive train for it. What I have would work but is all mismatched.