I am just wanting to check and see (if possible) if the sales guy at the LBS closest to where I work was telling me the truth.
I went in and explained what type of riding, typical mileage, and terrain I'd be riding on*. He showed me the Giant Escape City and the Specialized Sirrus. He claimed that the Giant was the better bike- material, specs, value... better period. Is this an accurate statement? A yes or no answer will suffice, but if you feel like you have to justify your position, feel free to do so.
It doesn't really matter what model I end up with. I'm trying to determine if the shop is worthy of my patronage. A good LBS will be more valuable in the long run, as they should be able to help me fine tune the fit better than trying to post pics and getting feedback from this community...
*I've since determined that I want disc brakes. Either one can be converted to at least a disc up front. Plus, both models could be adapted to IGH as well. The Sirrus has the clearance (I asked) and the Giant has a variant available in other parts of the world that has both discs and IGH.