Jetmugg, on 17 April 2012 - 07:48 AM, said:
If you are trying to stay in the $600-800 range, my personal preference would be to buy a used bike, a couple of years old, with a higher end groupset. For my money, a used bike like that would be better than a new bike with a bottom-shelf groupset.
+1 - I payed ~700 for a 1-year old Ultegra-equipped Aluminum Ridley CX bike about 3 years ago, which I really really like and would be in your range.
BUT, do think about two things - fitting and maintenance. If you're concerned about comfort, a lot of that has to do with fit, especially stem length and angle. Longer wheelbases ride more stably, but they're not comfort-oriented if you've got a long, low stem that stresses your back on long days on the Katy. A lot of shops will include a basic bike fit and swap parts like stems and seatposts as needed to get you positioned well at little or no cost.
Some shops in the area also include as much as lifetime tune-ups with new bikes, and a tune-up can run you $80... plus wheel truings, etc... if you prefer to do your own maintenance, then it's not such a big issue, but it's worth thinking about especially if you're newer to bikes.
Have fun and good luck.