Grumpy Old Bugga
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Bikes: Hillbrick, Europa (R.I.P.)
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You're rich enough to have a budget?
Mate, buy the best you can afford - it'll hurt less in the long term than paying for it in the short term. Bikes are one area where generally, you DO get what you pay for and there is nothing more frustrating or painful than a bike that almost does what it's supposed to but doesn't quite.
Don't forget to allow for the kit you'll need - pumps, spare tubes, tools, helmet, clothes. Riding is most comfortable when you're dressed properly ... though that doesn't necessarily mean full racing kit - a short ride can be done in jeans and T-shirt. You need a pump on the bike - can't pump up flats without it, but if your bike has high pressure tyres (like most road bikes do), your typical minipump won't do it so you'll need one at home. You need tools to undo everything on your bike because sometime, you'll need it on the side of the road and murphy's law states that you won't break down outside a bike shop. You WILL get flat tyres, so have tyre levers, spare tube (faster than repairing a puncture) and puncture kit (for the second flat of the trip). If you are genuinely short of cash, maybe buy the 'essential' kit first (leave clothes till later for example), that way you'll know how much you have left for the bike.
If buying second hand, look for signs that it's been maintained - not tarted up for the sale, but maintained. And remember, a bike is well used, is a bike that worked well enough to become well used - heaps of rubbish tend not to be used.
If you're not in love with it, DON'T buy it. The right bike will call to you, and that's the one you'll spend most time riding