A little background on my situation for starters. I own 2 bikes at the moment.
Bike one is the trusty workhorse of my small fleet, a Raleigh Talon (not my pic, just to give you an idea) that was a gift from a friend's dad and got me back and forth faithfully for several years of school. I slapped some Michelin road/hybrid tires onto the mountain bike wheels and called it good. It really did feel like it was on rails after that little swapover (even if it was trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse).
Bike two is the graduation present my girlfriend gave me (under my direction and used, of course). It's a medium 2004 Specialized Epic Comp w/Disc brakes and Fox Float 100RL front fork. It's a beast in the woods and really feels like someone's helping push ya up the singletrack (when I do head out on that kinda trail).
Anyway, I digress. I biked to campus all through school at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and really loved the feeling of being energized while whizzing by people and what little traffic there was and parking 10 feet from my college's front door instead of 3 blocks away. I also carried my two bikes out to Yellowstone National Park while I was working there over the summer and rode the Raleigh back and forth from work and the Epic a fair amount inside the park on the few trails that are open to bikes (read: closed service roads).
I'm currently (finally!) employed and several things (like my shame at not participating in bike to work week, my slug-like energy levels, accelerating physique deterioration from writing SQL code all day, the demise of the 1991 Saturn clunker *ahem* coupe SWMBO drove, and my ever increasing environmental concerns (yes, even my Toyota Yaris has more impact than a bike)) are making me want to bike to work 3-4 days a week.
I go into work around ~9:30 am (to keep hours with our Auckland, NZ office) and leave out anywhere from 4:00pm to 6:30pm so dodging traffic is possible if not guaranteed. The office I'm working in is ~7.5 miles from home through Tallahassee, FL (see zoning/topo maps near the bottom of the page).
The terrain could be described as very gently rolling hills I guess. People from southern Florida aren't used to "hills" but these wouldn't be called hills anywhere else fwiw. My ride profile would be as follows:
3.5 miles in a bike lane along a 5 lane (4+1), 45 mph roadway
3.5 miles along a 4 lane, divided, 45-55 mph roadway without a bike lane (but with lanes generous enough to paint in bike lanes whenever they wanted to, don't ask) but with a sidewalk
1/2 a mile of 2 lane back streets that I feel quite comfortable biking
I'm currently looking at buying a vintage (reasons: cost/cool factor/visual appeal/theft-deterrent/waste-stream reduction) bike from a collector/rebuilder friend of my cousin (who are a huge bike geeks, organizing races/flying out to US Team meets, etc) that they recommended for my build (med. 54 cm frame). I'll attach the pictures he sent me and provide what information I think is applicable since they didn't give me any data, just the pics. The thing about these two bikes over a potential craigslist purchase is that I would rather deal with someone I trust that I KNOW knows his stuff than with an unknown entity/bike. Craigslist isn't out of the picture, just these two are kinda in the forefront at the moment.
Anyway, the top one is a Centurion Sport DLX. Here's a 1984 catalog page showing some details. There's also some really nice info from Shelton Brown. I don't have any information from the seller on the condition/gear on the bike or on what type of frame material it has. I don't really understand if the following quote from Shelton is good, bad, or in between.
This isn't the crapola tensile steel under a special trade name is it? Heck, if it's not going to be any lighter than my workhorse Raleigh..."The Sport Deluxe and Accordo were lower-end models of the 1980s with the lesser Tange Infinity seamed tubesets..."
The bottom bike seems to be a Trek 7XX. Maybe a 1981 715 perhaps? And I haven't figured out much about it either except the following email blurb
Ok, ending the long post... but before I go I'll post some craigslist links for other options in my area that might be competitors. I'll gladly accept any comments/ideas/concerns from the more knowledgeable among us." I can do $200. Nice clean bike with early index shift Shimano
(seems nice, especially with the helmet/shoes [I could use both], but a bit high for me)
Hassle, money, clunker?
Looks nice, but lacks that cool factor, and a little higher pricetag
Not bad... but who knows?
Bah, enough for the night....