Bicycle shopping

I've been contemplating a new bike. When we left Colorado I unloaded my disfavored Novara Aspen. At the end of the day it wasn't a horrible bike. Just not an enjoyable one. For one I've long been a fan of Cannondale bicycles. I currently have two but haven't been riding them enough. The problem is they are both road bikes and there's precious little road for riding near the house. So I've looked at the Cannondale F800 as one option but it's pricey. The Trek 6500 Disc looks to be a viable option but is still pushing the $1,000 range. The lower-end Trek bikes, however, have RockShox which the  misses  detests. It seems with all this looking that the Novara Bonanza looks like a pretty good value. Certainly not the greatest bike ever made but a nice balance between the $570 price point and features. The front fork is a Manitou so I might not be disowned for bringing it home. Novara's Ponderosa HT, in addition to a better name, has several nice features but along with those features comes a higher price and a RockShox front end. Then again Cannondale and Trek are both bikes made in the USA so that weighs in their favor.All of these are hard-tail bikes which suits the type of riding I'll be doing. I'm not a mountain biker. I'm a frustrated road biker who doesn't have enough road. A good hard-tail mountain bike will open up mile upon mile of dirt road through the Mojave desert. Some day too we may replace the Cannondale road tandem with a mountain tandem for the same reasons.