While the Volpe is an excellent bike (based on what I've found online), I understand Surly will be offering early this year a LHT complete build for around $930. If the LHT is in your crosshairs, I'd consider that. For me, I chose the Surly Cross Check over the Volpe (I considered the Volpe; my LBS carries them and that's where I was looking to buy) for a variety of reasons, some of which are:
1- I found it at edinabike.com for $730 with S/H
2- it has DT spokes; I've broken 20+ no-name spokes on my Kona Caldera, but never have I broken a namebrand spoke; the Volpe has no-name spokes
3- it has barend shifters; I've read barend shifters are more reliable than STI and easier to work on if they break; the shifters also have a friction mode if needed; the Volpe has a low end STI
4- I've never been able to find any negative comments about any Surly products online, though I specifically looked for comments related to the Cross Check; in this case, the same is true for the Volpe
5- I read in BF the Cross Check paint was tougher than on the Volpe. This is important to me because they are both steel bikes, and keeping the finish intact helps prevent rust.
The one drawback (gasp! now there's a negative comment to be found) of the Cross Check is the gearing. I solved this by replacing the narrow range cassette with an 11x32 (stock gear inches = 38.88, now mine is 30.375. This has been more than adequate for recreational riding and commuting, but if I ever do plan to do any mountain touring I have two options to further reduce the gearing:
1- put in a 32 tooth ring up front (stock = 36; with a 32, gear inches would = 27)
2- put in a wider bottom bracket and add a small chain ring (22 tooth would = 18.5625 gear inches; if I did this because of the difference between the big and (new) little ring, I'd also have to either: replace the front derailleur (I have one laying around I can use), or put in a smaller big ring.
Last edited by hopperja; 01-14-07 at 10:05 PM.