I ordered a Trek 4300 non disc brakes in silver / black for $400.
I went down to the lbs and tried both out. The Specialized frame was a bit beefier and the Trek a bit sleeker. For me, I liked riding the Trek much more and I guess that's what it's all about. If you like it you ride it.
As I think I said before, I'm not going to be hopping rocks or running down ski trails in the summer. Just a bike that I can ride on the rail trails when I want or just put a smooth tire on the back and leave on the trainer. Maybe it'll be my grocery getter.
That said, I emailed my landlord; I'm a renter, and I'll be moving this summer. The new owner is a beautie and the new tennants are obnoxious. I like my part time job which supplements my pension so I'll be moving hopefully within 10 mi of it. I'm very excited with the thought of a ~20mi daily commute even if it is only 3 days / wk.
That's the news!
p.s. Neil, did you get my offer?