Re: Road bike that is easy on the neckI'm 53, with neck issues doing the same research.
I have found the Raleigh Cadent 3.0 to be a good a price-right alternative. My initial test ride was very favorable compaired with the other models mentioned. The Cadent 3.0 is selling at around $1100.
This Cadent line is what Raleigh calls the Re2P for Relaxed Ergonomic Efficient Postion. This is a more upright postion. I compared the Giant and the Cadent and they were a very similar frame geometry. The Giant had a longer, adjustable stem while the Raleigh was shorter and not as adjustable. This could easily be changed.
The big issue for me was value: The Cadent 3.0 has composite seat stays as well as seat posts and seems to be a better ride on New England roads than a totally aluminum frame. Also the FD is a Shimano 105 and RD is an Ultegra.
Seems to be a lot of bike for the price.
Best of all the dealer is rock solid.