First off, I just wanted to thank all contributors to this forum. I've done a wealth of research and lurking prior to logging on, and the information on here is boundless.
I am just now getting back into biking. I've been deployed quite a bit over the past years and have not actually owned a bike since I was 22. And then, I always had mountain bikes. My day had a Univega road bike that I hated because it was sized too large (even though we are both 6'), and was WAY too rigid and twitchy.
Anyhow, I desperately want to get back into bicycling, but am more realistic nowadays. I don't believe that my needs will be met by a mountain bike, despite my prior experience. I expect to ride 70%+ on road, and the rest a mixture of hardpacked trails, gravel, dirt, etc as I see fit. I started looking at hybrids or flat bar road bikes, and my original research went to the Fuji Absolute (SX or LX). However, once in a Performance Bike store, I saw a Fuji Cross Comp and was VERY intrigued. I am knowledgeable of, but have no current intention to race in, the cyclo-cross sport (at least for now), but I really feel like this will meet my needs quite well! My first few test rides confirmed this theory.
After a bunch of research, and considering some current great deals locally, I am considering the Fuji Cross Pro and the Lemond Poprad Disc (both '07 spec). I would very much appreciate advise on making this VERY difficult decision. Take $$ away as a factor. And I am left to contemplate the following:
1. Aluminum (Fuji) vs. Steel (Lemond): This is a huge consideration, especially considering I will be on road more, and the forgiving steel may trump the rigid alloy.
2. Brakes: Avid Cantilever (Fuji) vs. Mech Discs (Lemond)
3. Componentry: Ultegra and Dura-Ace (Fuji) vs. 105 throughout (Lemond)
4. Fuji's drop bars are slightly more uprightly canted which is more preferable for me than a more agressive road style (even though the Lemond is well within comfort range).
5. Anything else?
If I am seriosuly missing out on something, or you really believe I should consider an option #3, please list why. Truthfully, I am at a loss between these two. I plan to test ride both again on the same day (hopefully tomorrow), or as long as it takes...but I am at an impasse to make a decision. Any words of wisdom?
Thanks a lot for your help.