Hopefully this is the right forum for the post. I'm 38 years old and was recently shopping for a new bike. I had purchased a 29er hardtail last year to ride on trails, as I was ready to get back into biking after a bit of a hiatus. Shortly after I purchased it, I found that my bike trips were almost exclusively on road or paved/smooth bike paths. I was running errands, exploring, and doing some fitness rides. I was not, however, riding on the mountain bike trails around here.
As is often the case in situations like this, I decided I should have a better kinda-road-bike that I could also take on an occasional short tour. By short tour I mean loaded (camp gear, food, essentials), but only maybe 40 miles out of town, camp overnight, and return the next day. Being that I live in the hilly west side of Austin, TX, I also wanted a bike that was relatively light and spry for my fitness rides and grocery shopping, etc.
I visited my LBS with the mindset that I wanted an '11 Specialized TriCross Comp and didn't realize they would have the 2012 models. After some discussion and test rides, a couple of trips, etc., I decided against the Comp, which had cantis, in favor of the discs on the TriCross Elite Disc. I had such good luck with my discs on my hard tail 29er, it seemed like a good fit. One glaring oversight was the gearing, which had a 50/34 compact up front, but a nice 11-32 in the rear.
Fast forward a week and a half and about-to-be three trips to the LBS over problems with my disc brakes, and I'm starting to regret my choice. Even if I get a 11-36 cassette in the rear, I'm probably not looking at comfortable gearing for my dream trip, Santa Fe, NM to Fort Collins, CO. Also, the disc brakes have been nothing but trouble - constantly getting out of alignment, squealing, grinding, etc.
My LBS, being amazingly accommodating, mentioned that if I was dissatisfied with the bike, they'd be happy to exchange it for a '12 Comp or another bike. This took me off guard a bit, both because it's incredible customer service and because I hadn't considered another bike. Additionally, I wasn't *****ing at them at all, just light complaints about the brake squeal and discussions on what to do about gearing.
So finally, the question. Should I take them up on their offer, and if so, is the Comp an OK choice for my usage? I realize there are a host of other options - Surly LHT, Cross Check, Trek 520, etc. But remembering that my ride breakdown is something like:
70% errands/exploring (8-15 mile trips with errand panniers)
25% fitness rides (20 miles through very hilly terrain with no load)
5% touring (probably mostly 40-50 mile day trips with a possible few long hauls built in).
Thanks for reading my ridiculous verbosity.