*spare... i meant 'spare'.Surly tires are heavy.
1000 monetary units will get you a good bicycle (+ a spair intertube, and a portable pump).
Try smaller shops, bike coops, or fuckin Craigslist; never know when you'll find a 'diamond in the rough'.
I've only had Treks. They're awesome, and can take a beating. I think my current one is a 820 antelope hybrid (steel frame).
Always liked aluminum frames (as aluminium has that magical trait of NOT RUSTING) but i remember reading on STP that a steel frame is much easier to repair (weld), should some unfortunate event happen along the road.