My gut is to go with the $200 trek and beat it to death to see how I deal with day in and day out commuting. The primary use of this bike will be to ride on paved trails in a mostly dry climate carrying a backpack to and from work.
I usually just take a backpack to work and leave a handful of myoplex shakes in the fridge so I dont carry much at all. I'd like to be comfortable riding this bike on a longer ride on the weekends also. I'm just geting into ''cycling''. I weigh 205 lbs and am 6'2''. I've had a MTB for a few years and it's been a sidewalk/dirt trail queen.