I am new here too!
I also have been looking for a road bike for the past 2 weeks. I have a long story about my experiences but I think I might blog that; but for now... I purchased a 2011 Specialized Crosstrail in 2012 on sale. The only LBS in town; price was right at $375 but the treatment by the owner was terrible! then had a spoke on the rear cassette side replaced there for $60 bucks!
The next closest bike shop is in a 40 mile radius; so no more LBS for me! Too expensive! I even contacted a few in a 50 mile radius re: a road bike for just under $400 and was told the lowest price for a new 1 would be around $600+!There were no used bikes in yet that might be close but I could check back later in the season!
I had been searching the internet like Amazon, Walmart and other online stores. On Amazon & Walmart some may have caught my eye but when I did more research 1 had a split handlebar (yeah crazy, eh) and some other had a fork that reminded me of real low end bikes with the fork resembling a split washer welded to an angled cut tubing,
yuk. I am used to those tapered forks, or like on the Crosstrail, a suspension fork.
Anyway I sold my hybrid and wanted a road bike; I didn't like my long rides on the road while in the hybrid upright position... felt strange to try and get tucked for aerodynamics and hand changing positions was minimal.
I did find BikesDirect.com and was really impressed with the specs and components on some of the bikes but when it mentioned carbon fork I was intrigued.
The Motobecane Mirage S popped out as right for my little pocket book and components. It took me almost an hour to click the order button because I was doing research on the Motobecane, the company and Kinesis Industry who owns Motobecane USA. They also own, and get this, Diamondback Bicycles, Felt Bicycles, GT Bicycles, Schwinn, Jamis, K2, Raleigh, Trek, Kross and Kona — as well as the brands marketed by the U.S. company Bikesdirect.com: Motobecane USA, Dawes USA, Cycles Mercier, Windsor America!
So, I did order it and it's suppose to be here in 4 days! I am actually excited! I do have a repair stand that works well for me for assembly, which is the Confidence on Amazon; it is portable and the bike clamp works well. It may not be the professional repair stand but it's better than having the bike hanging from the floor joists in the basement and swing every time you try and do something to the bike. It also holds my wife's cruiser with fenders and rear carrier!
I'll update with a review on the bike after I have it and ride it for a time. I usually do 30+ miles per day x 4 days/week; so, when the weather gets better and all the snow is gone I'll be on it! Good luck!
Keep the Roll going!