thanks for trek and sirrus input
thanks for your comments! he did try trek 7.3 and 7.5, as well as sirrus. however, there were two issues: first, trek is at one store and sirrus is at another; would be better if they were at same store and he could compare more directly. second, hard to tell much when they only let you ride around the parking lot - can't really take them out for longer, more-representative rides (although i could ask the next time around).
any opinion about whether the average rider really needs the 7.5, as opposed to the 7.3? salesperson focused on metal vs. plastic gear wheel, carbon fork, and perhaps one or two other features; not sure how critical those are, or even whether someone who isn't (yet) a serious cyclist would even notice.
there is a store nearby that carries jamis, so i'll see if they have a coda model in stock. don't know much about them, but there are quite a few favorable comments on the forums.