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Drop handled alternative to Spesh Crosstrail

tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,015
edited January 2015 in Commuting general
My Specialized Crosstrail sport disc bike was stolen, I need to replace it. I liked it a lot, perfect for road based commute with guards and panniers on a rack but took a certain amount of stick on trails if needed. The trouble is I'm a fan of drop handlebars on a bike. If I have £400 to spend, how much I can get the 2014 version of stolen bike for, what is an equivalent bike with drop handlebars if there is such a thing? I'm thinking either CXer, tourer, trekking or something I've seen called adventure trail. Basically a sturdy bike that's good on road but able to do something if a little bumpy too.

I'm guessing drops give you less bang for my bucks that the fiat bar hybrids. I'm not even sure I can get anything for that money.

Use is for an hour round commuter trip on roads with the odd weekend ride with partner and toddler on child seat or in tablet. We're also planning to go.touring as well.
Any bike ideas? Will I need to spend more to get drop handlebars? Say £700.

Also the gears on the Crosstrail is a 11-32 9 speed with a 48/36/26T triple. The cheapest bikes I've seen with drop bars only have a 50/34T double with 11-32T, 8-speed. What does that mean? 25 + years ago I got myself a decent road bike race suitable one. It replaced a light toured from Dawes. The new bike was a lot harder to pedal up hills, a problem since I lived on a hill. Will the drophandled bike be harder due to gearing?

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