I just moved outside of Boston (Maynard MA for anyone who's in the area) and I'm looking to start a bicycling commute to Framingham. It is 11 miles each way. The hills aren't drastic, but it's definately downhill from Maynard to Framingham (which is good, it means my commute TO work will be shorter than my commute FROM work)
Anyway, right now I'm in the market for a bike. My thoughts on this have rapidly changed over the last week or so (just ask the people in the Advice to New Commuters thread) but now I've refined what I'm looking for to this:
A bike for under $600 that will provide me with:
A relatively comfortable ride
disc OR cantilevered brakes
a reasonable shifting system
A DURABLE bike - I tend not to be nice to things I own.
I think I'd like cheater brakes too...
At this range I know I'm looking at Shimano Sora or Tiagra for the shifting, and frankly, I don't really care that much, but I do like the Shimano setup, so I'd probably prefer a Shimano shifting system, or one very much like it.
Can someone tell me - is there a QUALITY difference between the Sora, Tiagra, and 105's? I know the gears go 8,9,10, but I'm wondering about the quality of the system itself.
If it affects recommendations, I'm 5'7 215. I'm more wide than fat (I just got a suit... The coat that fit my shoulders had a 46 pant.. I wear a 38.)
I'm fairly handy, so a bike I can tinker with (or NEED TO tinker with) is fine as well....
At any rate, I am VERY open to suggestions on what bike I should get.