Thank you thus far for the input, I believe the best route at the moment while I conduct research is indeed put a new saddle and rubber on my current bike and ride it. Just not sure if there are any other moddest modifications that can be done to increase the quality of ride. Im going to stop by the 2 shops in Ames tomorrow and take a look at the saddles they have to offer, I know for sure that Skunk River carries WTB saddles as I have been in there numerous times over the past few weeks kickin tires. I am going to start researching tire clearance on various bikes and use that to start narrowing the search some, but like I said a new bike purchase isnt in the cards until next year, so I need to take the one I have make it the best I can at the moment and ride the snot out of it!
Would something like this be an upgrade or wasted money? Not sure if it would be 7 speed compatible.http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_566766_-1___204727
My $.02 -- I purchased some low end bikes from Nashbar to be beater bikes or single speeds. Despite my low expectations, I was very disappointed and returned all of them. My advice is to avoid these Nashbar "bargains". You could get lucky with Nashbar, but I think the advice to play with your old bike for awhile is a good suggestion. BTW, you can sometimes get good buys at Nashbar on name brand components --- but be careful when bottom feeding.