I will offer you no advice on what to buy but hopefully my recent bike purchase may help you with your purchase in some way.
I have just upgraded to a titanium Litespeed. Full SRAM Red. My own TWE hand-built wheels from Greg in Cronulla. I got a great bike fit and specced the bike with the shops help. Sure I could have gone ultra bling on the bars, stem, seat post etc but then u have to stop somewhere and my budget had a ceiling. I used to ride a Giant TCR with 105 and the Litespeed it just way better. But then you would hope so for the price difference.
I have ridden anything from 80 to 250kms on it thus far and it does everything I can throw at it. Its great going fast or slow, corners like its on rails, climbs, descends. I used to ache after a long ride on my TCR but that doesn't seem to be such a problem anymore. It weighs just under 7kgs and I weigh 78kgs. Sure I could get the bike weight down to 6 ish kgs but then I can loose 2kgs depending if I have a beery week or not.
All up it came in at appx $6k give or take a few hundred $ and I am sure it will now last me quiet a few years. Or at least the spending controller hopes so.
The best thing about it is that it puts a great big fat smile on my face every time I jump onboard and I always finish a ride wanting to keep on riding past my front door and stick another 100kms on the clock. I rode 250kms Around the Bay in a Day on Sunday and even when I was being pelted by horizontal cold rain and horrible head winds I still had a smile on my face when I looked down at my bike skimming through the puddles.
All in all I think it was money well spent and whether you spend ten grand or 10 bucks I am sure you will find something that suits you. Good luck.
Happy days thanks to:
Liam at Bike Bar Bondi Jct for the bike.
Greg at TWE for the wheels.