Another South Australian on the forum
If you're down in Adelaide flick me a PM if you want to go for a ride.
The Velocite is as smooth as my Swift, however the Swift handles large bumps better. If you're riding on stuff like mildly cracked or chipseal surfaces it'll be much of a muchness, but you'll know about bigger holes/larger imperfections much more on the Velocite. Personally, I wouldn't say it's harsher, just more "solid-feeling" vertically. There's plenty of clearance for larger volume tyres on the Selene so you can run 25s/28s if you feel the need (FWIW I feel the 23s are more than adequate, but the roads you ride on might be very different).
If you've ever been through Gorge road, before they resurfaced it, The Swift was a real magic ride through there (Better than my Giant Defy Advanced). The bike didn't "isolate" you from the road, but it provided you with a good level of feedback, very reminiscent of a steel bike (except much stiffer). The Selene lets you know about the surface much more, but it's still far from a jarring ride. If you want a reference, it's *almost* par with my Defy Advanced, and much better than the Chinese carbon frame I've tried.
There's nothing wrong with alloy, it's cheaper to manufacture so some companies try to make it as cheap as possible (and the result is probably your previous experience with alloy). Velocite don't cut any corners with their Selene, it's more expensive than some of the Chinese carbon frames, and they offer a lifetime warranty, which is actually really similar to Swift's policy, and both offer a healthy discount on a crashed frame.
Again, I emphasise, if your goal is to improve, become fitter and eek every last second out a powermeter will be a much better aid than the most bling frame. Having said that, a bling frame (I find) motivates you to get out more, so if you're racing/riding for fun, and not to eek every last second out of yourself go for the bling frame.
I write the weightweenies blog, hope you like it My SwiftCarbon UltravoxMy Velocite Selene
Disclosure: I'm sponsored by Velocite, but I do give my honest opinion about them (I'm endorsed to race their bikes, not say nice things about them)