If you had to choose between a Trek 700, Trek 7000 and a Trek FX 7.1, which would it be? Considering that most of the riding would be on bay trails (paved, but sometimes not in good shape)? Not that I am limiting myself to Trek, but I rode a 7000 and an FX today, and came away confused. The saddle on the 7000 has a shock-absorber, and is nicely padded - but I read somewhere that these things give in an year, and I'll be better off without it. I didn't ride the 700, but I believe it's got a steel frame. There are other differences too of course, but you'll have to compare them on the Trek site to see all the differences.
So my question is, of the three above, which is better for commuting? I don't want to limit myself to Trek, but almost every manufacturer has bikes similar to the above. I can try to apply the reasoning to other brands then - understanding what to look for will help me a lot. I don't need to worry about theft so much - the bike will be in my house or in my office.
Apart from commuting, I do weekend rides, not too long - about 10 to 15 miles at the most. I have a baby seat bolted to my current bike every weekend (a Magna Excitor - I got bad advice when I was starting off) and my son and I go on rides. I'm not too likely to go off alone without the family though, so the Magna will suffice for weekend rides with my son.
I've frightened myself off craigslist hunting - 6 year bikes are half the price, but I don't understand bikes at all to decide if a bike is in good shape. And I don't really know anyone knowledgeable ehere in the Bay area who'll help me with my search. Add to that the number of stolen bikes on craigslist, and it looks too dicey.