Just found this forum and have been reading voraciously. Here's the story:
I'm 33, 6'1", 296#.
Started riding last summer (after not having been on a bike since college), got up to the point where I could do about 18 miles at a stretch on my old hybrid bike (circa 1995 Gary Fisher Marlin), but pretty much stopped for the winter. Want to get back at it a bit more intensively, and am looking to move to more of a road bike.
I've read a lot of the threads here, so I have the beginnings of a clue, but wanted some concrete advice. Went to the LBS today, spoke to one of the reps, and he suggested the following 3 models:
Raleigh Revenio 2.0 ($850, an "entry road bike" as the salesman called it)
Raleigh Revenio 3.0 ($1200, basically the same bike but with better components, according to the guy)
Specialized Secteur Elite Apex ($1400 - this is the bike the guy thought was the best option for me)
Any thoughts on these bikes? I asked him about steel frames (as they seem to be more highly recommended for heavy riders), but he said that they only carry one steel road bike, and in his opinion the idea that steel is better for heavy riders is 15 years out of date. I also asked him about whether he though hand-built wheels were a better option, and he seemed to think that the stock wheels (especially on the Specialized - Mavic CXP22 rims) would be more than adequate.
All of the prices are within my alloted budget, though the Specialized is pushing it a bit - but I'd rather not be in a situation where 2-3 years from now I realize I need "more" bike...
Any advice would be appreciated.
PS: wrong model (and link on the spec) - fixed it now.