Corey, bikes are much like anything else. There will be one person how loves a particular bike and the next who hates it for one reason or another. Much like slamming a chevy engine in a Toyota. Some love it, others are purists. I've done it twice so don't think I'm a hater.
The best advice you've got is to demo a few and pick what you like in your price range. If you could find something used that would be great. But keep in mind simply replacing the complete drive train on a high end bike will be very costly. So if there is any doubt in condition have someone in the know check it out.
Everyone is going to have a slightly different riding style and ability making each bike different for each individual.