After commuting on my dad's Trek 7300 FX for three months, he wants it back.
My wife has offered a new bike for Christmas (up to $750 or so, preferably closer to $600), so I'm scouting the local shops. Trek, Giant, and Jamis seem to be the big ones.
I am overwhelmed with the choices in this price range. I rode a Giant Seek 3 for a bit and enjoyed it, but I don't know if disc brakes are more trouble than they're worth. The two Trek dealers pushed the 7.2 FX, and one is ordering an Allant for me to try (I do like the included fenders and rack). I haven't visited the Jamis dealer yet.
As far as what I'll do with it, it's 90% commuting on slightly hilly terrain, 7.5 miles each way, all suburban/rural pavement. I enjoy the more upright riding position of the 7300 FX (for visibility reasons), but don't like how headwinds slow me down. I often wish for dropbars when I'm heading downhill, as it's hard to break 25mph on this bike. Other riding would be general errands, and perhaps some light touring in the future. I'm definitely not a racer, but I'm not a cruiser either. I like to get the most speed from my efforts.
Can anyone help narrow down my choices a bit? Should I aim for something like the Seek (MTB w/ slicks) or should I steer more towards a urban/utility bike? Or should I forget both and go for more of a straight road bike?