A subject with Wide Open written all over it.
You can get a great bike on your local CraigsList for under two-hundred bucks almost everyday. When you buy new, remember that within a couple of weeks, you'll be swapping out parts and buying stuff for it anyway. Virtually everyone does this. So, you may be better off with a good quality older bike that you can learn on.
The '95 Scott road bike in my sig cost me $175. I put a B17 (I could have just swapped one of my others) on it as well as new tubes and tires for an additional $150. Some might say that's too much, but it's in mint condition, and works as well as my then new '06 Specialized Sequoia Elite - which cost me $1000. The mental anquish that has resulted from Why I Spent That is, well, mental anquish. Especially since I know I can't get $750 for the Sequoia now. In five years, the Scott will still fetch $100. Again I say, the used market is the way to go for beginners. That Scott is a steel bike with Shimano RSX components throughout - hardly the choice of upper end buyers. Yet, it is reasonably light at 24lbs. and very fast with crisp handling. In short, it has all the characteristics of a more expensive bicycle, except in the weight. Still, on flat ground I can maintain a steady 22-24mph for up to 4 miles along the river road.
Bottom line is:
I ride with guys of almost all levels, excluding maybe the very top club types who are truly amazing. In our group there is every type of road bike you can imagine. We cruise in the 17 to 21 mph range in comfort, with no body losing ground because they aren't on a New Bike. Just some food for thouight...
Last edited by jcm; 09-05-07 at 09:19 AM.