Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Bikes: Trek 1200C, Specialized Rockhopper, Giant Yukon FX, Giant Acapulco
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You can find some fine bicycles for that amount and less - plus figure it as you "entry" bike too. Go try some bicycles out and ride them. It's a totally natural function at the bike shops. While I did run into some hi-end mtb's this afternoon that came with (or supplied with) clipless pedals - most all are platform and you're able to take the seat and adjust it and - go for it. LBS peeps (local bicycle shops, btw) prefer that you take the bike out for a spin rather than come back with a bike that just isn't doing it for ya.
Do have to warn you though .... this is a terrible, <no love!> terrible <LOVE!> love hate relationship here ... I have a terrible problem of walking into a bicycle shop (and I have to hit most of them in my area to hand out my club's pamphlets) - and it's, just awful.
I blame that last entry into the LBS on my newest mtb purchase
Have fun and good luck!