Posted over in commuting, thought I'd post here, too. I have an '08 CrossCheck as my main bike. I also recently bought a steel Salsa El Mariachi 29er (essentially 700 wheels instead of 26 in) for MTB. I am 5'5-5'7, so ride ~50-52 frame.
I picked up the CC used on CL last summer, didn't know a lot about bike components, but the bike was near new. Very lucky to find one in my size on CL and an awesome color (misty Gray). Doo Doo Brown (aka Beefy Gravy) is atrocious. Anyhow, I later learned the bike was built from the frame and didn't have the gearing for me. I definitely need lower gearing for climbs and I am no roadie racer.
I am a fair weather commuter (~3-5 miles each way), ride to eat, small grocery runs, after work cruise along the beach, and weekend rides. Eventually a century and a tour down the coast. I was camping up on the NorCal coast and discovered touring for the first time and that is what got me back in to riding after 16 years.
Here is the problem. I need lower gearing. With the Dura Ace components I can't add a small ring and long cage derailer and bigger cassette won't work. So, I have to swap everything. LBS was talking over $600. The whole bike was only $800. Needless to say I started thinking if I'd just be better off trying to sell on CL and get close to the $800 that I paid and then buying a CrossCheck or LHT with the right gearing. Seems I'd come out ahead, assuming I could sell it.
The LHT I wasn't sure about for the riding I do and I like the 700 wheels. I also saw that REI has the Randonee 20% right now and I have a dividend. However, reading the forum it seems a lof of people don't like the drivetrain and REI is saying MTB components won't work. Long story short, thoughts on best solution?