I have done a search, but I know someone out here will be happy to impart some of their personal experience for me!
February, I bought a Scattante Roma from Performance. It is an AL frame, flat bar "hybrid" but is closer to a road bike than a mtn bike. It came with 28's on it, I have changed them to Gatorskins 25's. I have lowered the handlebars by adjusting the stem and moving 2 of the spacers from below the stem. I am riding clipless, with Forte road pedals. I have ridden almost 2,000 miles since Feb. Weeknight evenings I ride 15-25 miles 2-4 times per week, with longer rides on the weekends. My longest ride so far is a little over 80 miles, but included Palomar mountain. I am doing the Poway Century in a few weeks.
On a flat road, I can maintain around 20 mph solo for a couple miles. Most of my rides with little to moderate climbing, I end up with a 15-18 mph ride average. I know that is not super fast, just putting that out there for reference of my current ability.
I am riding for fitness, health, and because it is a lot of fun. I am itching to get a road bike now. I'm about 6'2" and about 245 lbs.
Here's the question. How much bike should I buy? The first question the shops as is "What's your budget?" That's a fair question, but I'm not sure what my budget should be. I want a good enough bike that I will be happy with it for a while, and not have buyer's remorse in 6 months. I want to get better at climbing, but at my size, is a 15 lb bike vs a 17 lb bike any different? I guess my problem is, if I felt it was worth the money, I would spend $4k on a bike. But if I won't feel a difference between that and a $2K bike for 3 years, I'd rather save the money for wheels, gear, etc.
So after all of this, I was leaning towards something like the Cannondale Synapse or Carbon Six, I am going to test ride these. But the sales guys, as soon as they sense you have a higher budget, start talking how great all the top level stuff is. And I bet it is. But does it really make that big of a difference? Or will I be perfectly happy with a 105 or Ultegra setup? It's not like a 30 min test ride is going to show that much difference. I'm not set on Cannondale, although they look like really nice bikes.
Any of you go through this 6 months or a year ago, what choice did you make, and would you do it different?