need help with new bike decision
I'm looking to by a new bike, but need help sorting out the options. I currently ride a 1989 bianchi tangent. It still works fine, nothing really wrong with it, but I would like to upgrade to something lighter and faster. I think the bike is comparable to a volpe. It has a steel frame and suntour XC comp compnents. It weighs 24-25 pounds. My concern is that if I am going to spend money to upgrade I want to make sure that I will notice an improvement, or why buy a new bike at all.
The amount of money I spend is less important than the decision to buy and making sure I'm happy with the bike. The riding i do is recreational, fitness, training type rides, but I like to go fast. I doubt I will ever cross race, but I will put some road tires on for triathlons. (again, just for fun). So, of course I could get by with my bike, but I like a quality ride and want fast and light. I will mostly ride on asphalt, but live in a rural area with a lot of dirt/gravel roads that I run in to when I'm out exploring. I am partial to bianchi and don't see myself buying anything else. My question is, will an axis be a noticeable upgrade or would a cross concept be better? I will at times want a rack on the back with a pannier to bring clothes to work in. I could get a rack that mounts to the seat post. Would that work o.k on the cross concept?