I realize the advice I'm getting ready to ask you for is on a pretty contentious topic, but I am really hoping that you can help me with a decision I want to make. I've got what I consider a pretty sweet bike that I've cobbled together over the past year. Aluminum MTB frame, front shocks and gearing. I've also attached customized fenders (mud flaps etc.), and medium priced sealed cartridge wheels with slicks. I've found that I appreciate the MTB gearing because my commute is through hilly areas. Lately, though, I've begun to realize that my bike has severe deficits in the weight and geometry departments. So I've decided that the only thing to do is "upgrade" to a lighter bike. I first considered building one from scratch but have scrapped the idea due to funding issues. I figure the most economical route is to buy a "hybrid" outright and start the frustrating but satisfying job of adding the little extras that make it perfect. The bikes I'm thinking of are from Bikesdirect.com (I know how some of you feel about these bikes, so there's really no need to flame me). The two bikes I'm trying to land on both have flat bars, aluminum framing, and none of the weight adding shock absorption add-ons.
They are the Windsor
And the Dawes
I am trying to avoid a road bike with drops because I hate the riding position, however, I will be attaching aero bars to what ever bike I decide on.
I appreciate your help, and I ask only that you keep your righteous indignation in check if you hate bikesdirect.