I see a lot of threads about new road bikes in both the C & A forum and the road bike forum. It seems that many people that want to buy road bikes seem to focus their choices on race bikes. I'll admit that I looked at them seriously also when considering a purchase of a road bike. However, I was not aware of the category that many call "performance road" bikes. I feel fortunate that the LBS guided me to that category. I ended up purchasing a bike in this category, I have been happy with it, and don't have any complaints.
I went into an LBS last week and saw a top of the line Specialized Roubaix on display and commented to the sales person what a nice bike it was. He indicated that if he didn't race, that he would be riding the Specialized Roubaix or the Cannondale Synapse (the LBS carries both of these brands in addition to others.) I asked him why? He indicated that the frames in the performance road category are a lot more comfortable to ride than regular race frames that have a more aggressive geometry. He did indicate that the performance road category of frames are raced in professional peletons where long distances are covered over sometimes rough terrain (cobble stones.) He said the handling on the performance road category of frame is not quite as responsive as the aggressive race frames... a very important criteria for someone that races.
I don't race. I never will. "Handling" and responsiveness are not important to me. I can't imagine that I'll be doing any aggressive cornering or need to steer around a competitor in an all out sprint. However, I do appreciate a comfortable lightweight frame (mine is carbon) that climbs well and transfers power well to the rear wheel.
Maybe this category of road bikes is catching on. I see more manufacturers with a bike in this particular category. I'm just wondering if you ride one... or if you seriously considered a performance road bike when making your decision to buy a road bike? Is this the type of bike that we should steer buyers toward if they want a road bike... especially if they do not have a desire to race? And don't get me wrong, I believe that this type of bicycle would hold it's own in almost any amateur peleton.