Here is my situation. I got back into cycling after 20 years gap. At first I wasn't sure what to buy, went to the LBS specializing in TREK bikes, primarily to buy a new bike for my son, and thought I would also get one to get back into riding. They suggested a flat handlebar hybrid for me, 7.2 FX, and a TREK 3500 in "13 frame for him. Mine is a "22 frame, I am about 5'10 with 158 lbs. Both bikes fit and we bought both, happy with the service from shop and happy with bikes.
So far so good. Started going out for rides on trails on weekends as well as daily commute to work, 5 miles one way mostly using trails. Started group riding with a couple of buddies with hybrids for fun and soon realized I am outpacing them easily. Did a couple of 50 mile rides and by now constantly wishing I got myself a road bike. Roadies are always going past me and I am lusting after these lighter and meaner machines. Also at end of 50 miles I am getting bonked out, not to mention taking way longer than if I had a road bike.
I want to continue riding 60 miles plus a week when possible and do a century a year.
It's only two months though and I was thinking wait one year and get into road bike next summer.
Another thought is why wait, get the 2012 that are going on sale. I feel guilty about the $550 I spent on hybrid though if I do that. Am I simply wasting money? I think may be ride another year on this to get maximum value out of it. But then I will not be enjoying the 50 mile rides coming up, especially with the rolling hills on back roads.
Anyhow, I did basic research and decided I need endurance type of frame, aluminum with CF to keep cost down, and Shimano 105 components. Went and did test ride on a Giant Defy 1 which matched this spec, like the bike a lot, its selling for $1240 at LBS, 10% off MSRP. Torn about whether to spent this much on another bike barley 3 months of buying a bike. I also spent quit a bit on accessories, now I am well equipped. The other bike I wanted to ride is a Cannondale Synapse 5 with 105, unfortunately the 2012 are sold out at shops near to me, so can't get them anymore. Specialized does not have a Secteur in comparable range with 105 components. I am not sure any other models are out there. Also saw a Fuji Gran Fondo all carbon with 105 for $1600, not sure about Fuji brand though.
The Giant Defy 1 looks solid value and is a good fit. I am torn whether to go for it, or wait until Spring / Summer to get my thoughts clear and possibly see even more bikes in that time.