Find a bike in the lower end of you price range, add a set of Jammer aero bars, get fit well. By a bike that you will want to ride, i.e it fits well, looks good, the bike shop will tune it up after the cables stretch a little. When you start riding a lot you want it to be easy and feel good. The better your bike fits, looks and functions the more you'll want to ride.
The reason I say the lower end of your price range is because you don't gain much going from 1000 to 1500. Maybe Carbon seatstays which I'm skepical about anyways...
I like steel, Jamis Quest has as a steel frame, easton components(name brand handlebar, stem, seatpost and fork is pretty rare), full 105 10 speed, around $1200.
I also think Scott has good Aluminum offerings in that price range.
Felt also has good bikes for a good price, if you could find a F75 on closeout thatd be at the lower end of your budget.
Personally I'd avoid Cannondale and Trek, you pay a lot for the name
I always believe that a person should get their first bike at a bike store for the help that it offers. Fitting, service and knowledge...
Things to think about, do you have everything else, helmet? shoes? pedals? do you need to make room for those in your budget? Two or three pairs of bike shorts and some good workout shirts or jerseys? Aerobars? I hope I didn't throw too much at you...
Last edited by Triguy; 08-30-06 at 08:52 PM.