Hey I'm new at this and I was wondering if anybody can help me pick a good bike for commuting to school with. The main thing I am looking for is a good balance between speed and comfort because I will be carrying quite a lot of medical/nursing textbooks in a Deuter 1850 cubic in. backpack. Basically, I want the fastest comfortable commuter bike out there. Another big factor in my commute is a 1 mile, almost 20% grade hill I must overcome each trip I've tried biking up from my house (7 miles one-way) using a mongoose dual-suspension 21-speed mtb I got at Wal-Mart for 99 bucks. Definitely the worst kind of bike for going uphill but its the only bike I have so far. Took me 12 mins to get up the hill after stopping a couple of times to catch my breath. As a side note, I will be riding only on the road which calls for a road bike, not a MTB.
I've been looking mostly at two bikes so far. The Specialized Sirrus and Allez (which is significantly more expensive). I'm not sure whether I should go for drop or flat bars. With dropped bars, I think the brakes may not be sufficient enough to go downhill unlike the V-Brakes on the Sirrus. However, I do like dropped bars because of the different hand positions I can use. I guess the real question is how much difference in speed and comfort can I feel with dropped vs flat bars. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.