I am an XC guy, but am in the market for a high end, performance hybrid for fitness... staying away from straight road bike, as I am more used to a flat bar and MB shifting... The new Rapid looks great... anyone familiar with the bike? Specs are listed below. Anything else in the same class in the 1500 dollar range?
See my Masi thread...The Doppio comes w/an Ultegra rd instead of a 105. I've nothing against Giant, but since you asked I thought I throw it out there. There seem to be a lot of decent flat bar road bikes to be had these days. Lots of choices well within your price range. Try 'em if you can and research 'em if you can't. Good luck!
You've good reasoning for the FlatBar hybrid, the bars and all. Such bikes are fast and you alot for the buck. You're not paying for the Brifters. I like that giant and I've looked at that site a number of times. www.jamisbikes.com Check this for good measure as it's an easy site. Click-on the 2009 models up-top (2010 PDF is awkward)
Fast Cloud posted of the Masis a couple of days ago, I'm impressed. Both Trek and Specialized have similar types. I prefer Giants in that realm. It's a competative market and there are many offerings, most all are quite good. Comparing the components is not so important from brand to brand, price point to price point these days.
The only one I've ridden is the Jamis Coda, the lesser one, they're chromoly.
They make the Allegro series too. All this 'cause you asked; especially so you stick to your guns in the FlatBar notion, Giants or Jamis as well. I ride mostly road but the couple few hybrids of late I liked and not at all a compromise.
As said, you really should test ride as many of 'em as you can, but FWIW the new Rapids are a terrific deal IF you're looking for a flat-bar road bike. Really, though, the ONLY thing 'hybrid' about it is the absence of dropbars.
Note that the frame/fork is brand new, and is essentially a version of the Defy frame adapted to flat-bars, using the same 'sl' alu. as the Defy. I've ridden the Rapid 1 (and pretty much all of the competitors mentioned above), and am buying one. The bike is very quick, very light (the RO even lighter), and (important to me, I'm very old) very comfortable without resorting to 'devices' to smooth the ride. I like the simplicity of the overall design, and I like the fact that it uses road caliper brakes rather than v's.
That brings up the one limitation: if you're looking to be able to use larger (more than 28s) tires and/or carry much weight on the bike (it will take a rack, but you'd be limited to a pretty light load, e.g. creditcard touring), look elsewhere. It's the bike I've been waiting for, but ymmv
Swap it for Nitto Albatross bars and you get a very nice fast road bike. If you're looking for a commuter, look for a bike designed for commuting. If you're after a fast ride, I'd say the Rapid sounds right up your alley.