I am looking for some advice in the purchase of a new road bike.

For the past 18 months or so I've been riding a Norco VFR flat bar bike and have been doing about 50km of riding per week. I'm now looking to move to a drop bar to get into longer rides and possibly be competitive in the future.

I was initially looking to spend around $2000AUD and have looked at the Merida Scultura 4000 Juliet and Liv Avail SL 1 Disc. I had a ride of last years Merida, though haven't been able to find the Liv around to have a test ride.

I then came across the Trek Emonda SL5 womens which has a carbon frame and Shimano 105 group set, as does the Merida, though comes in at $2500AUD. The Trek has better wheels and tyres from what I can tell (and better colour sets).

I had almost justified the additional money on the Trek until I stumbled across information that a high quality Allow could actually perform better than a low model carbon fibre frame. So I am now pretty confused as to what to pick and would appreciate any advice, or alternate suggestions. I'm looking at minimum for the 105 groupset.