It's bike-buying time. Given my budget of $2500 inclusive, I have quite a few options. So many in fact, I'm not sure which direction to go, so I'm asking for your help.
I'm a 6'0" 180 lb guy with a 32 inch inseam. I'm currently riding a low-grade carbon-fibre frame with an ultegra triple set up that flexes when I stand on it. So if I stay with Shimano grouping, i would want to stay with Ultegra or higher. If I go with SRAM or Campy, I'm more flexible.
I prefer a bike that will allow me a lot of versatility. I typically ride rollers with my wife, but I do enjoy climbing in Julian, and I like doing group rides and races up and down the coast. I also plan on doing triathalons eventually.
Looking through the bike stores, I've narrowed it down to several choices .
1. 2008 Kestrel Talon w SRAM Red setup from Bikesdirect. - Say what you want about Bikesdirect.com, but this is an amazing bargain at 1,995. I've ridden both the 08 Kestrels and the 09 Talons w/ Ultegra, and the ride was very good, and I know the size I need. Not too stiff, but not 'squishy' either. Good middle of the road carbon. Add a set of race wheels, and I'd be golden. Added bonus, the seatpost has the option to switch it forward to ride tri's with.
2. 2009 Look 566 with SRAM Rival setup from B&L Sports. - While not as high end components as the Kestrel, this was a fantastic riding bike (aside from the Fulcrum 7 wheels which weigh a ton!) Very stiff carbon, (and a nice looking bike to boot!)
3. 2009 Cannondale Carbon Synapse 4 with SRAM Rival setup from Nytro. They were out of this bike in my size, but the one I saw looked amazing. Very clean contemporary lines, nice stiff bottom bracket, and a decent grouping. The 1,800 pricetag was a plus too.
4. 2009 Pinarello FP2. I don't know much about this bike, they didn't have one in my size. I must say that I liked the appearance of it, and it seemed well built.
5. 2009 Cervelo Soloist w/ SRAM Force set up. The only bike I'm considering that isn't Carbon. Who knows, maybe I'm too hooked on CF to realize the benefits of aluminum. But the Soloist is an awesome looking bike, and I'm planning on renting one for a day to try it so I can get a feel for it. I got there just as they closed, so I didn't get an opportunity to ride one.
6. 2009 Trek Madone 5.2 with SRAM Rival set up. Trek's 5.x frames are legendary, but that comes at a cost. I'm not sure this is a cost-efficient decision. It's at the TOP of my budget, and I'd like some of that money to go to a wheelset if I can.
7. 2009 Specialized Roubaix Expert from B&L. It's a specialized full carbon with ultegra grouping. 'Nuff said.
8. 2009 Orbea Onix with Campy Mirage setup. This one's only on the list because of the campy set up. I can't find anyone who stocks this bike, so it'll be tough to sell me on this one.
Alright guys, as you can see, I have more money than knowledge; never a good place to be. Please help me out!!
If you have any more recommendations, feel free to let me know!