I'm sure you're all fed up of these types of posts but I figured you're the experts out riding so who best to ask. This isn't complete laziness on my part as I have done some research but it's an extensive range out there with a myriad of jargon I don't understand and I'm sure I'm not going to get a consensus but I've at least got to try. So....
I haven't been on a bike in years and would really like to start getting into it again. My work is 35 miles away from home over fairly hilly terrain and my goal is to be able to ride it there about once a week with shorter recreational distances at other times. I'm looking to buy using the bike to work scheme but willing to put another £500 to it making an "on the road" price of £1,500 (Excluding accessories, clothing etc)
I know you should buy the bike you want and the one that feels best on the test ride but I'm looking to narrow the field a little bit. One current front runner is the Felt Z5 at £999 (http://www.merlincycles.com/felt-z5-road-bike-2014-71850.html) but I'd be interested to hear what upgrades you think I might want to make if I did?
The Shimano 105 groupset appears to be my target for what I want to do and I have already looked at a number of big names Bianchi, Trek, Specialized,Giant as well as more "own brands" such as Merlin and Ribble and I guess my first question is "do you pay a premium just for the name or is it worth it" since I've seen a Bianchi Sempre 2013 for £1,500 but specs looks similar to other names at a cheaper price.
My second question is whether it's worth waiting til September? A number of sites and friends have suggested September is a great time to buy a bike as the shops are trying to get rid of their old stock ready for the new season?
My third question (I know I'm pushing it for a newbie) is the age old question of carbon v aluminium. At first glance it appears everyone shouts carbon at the price bracket considered here but conversely, given the roads 'up north' are full of potholes I've seen suggestions that the carbon frames would be more susceptible to cracking and therefore expensive repairs.
In summary It'll mainly be used for long(ish), fairly hilly bike rides and even if I ever choose to compete those fractions of a second are unlikely to matter to the guy at the back
And therefore my final question is any recommendations?
I'm aware the answer is unlikely to be this bike or that bike but more this component set, this frame etc but any steer in the right direction is appreciated.
Again apologies for asking the age old question but I appreciate your experiences and the time you've taken to read my plea.