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gazing from the shadows
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27,308 Posts
First, the Kona rohmrah posted is a heck of a deal.

Honestly, dropping 600-800 on a new bike will get you a fine bike that will serve you very well for a couple of years on the road. Assuming it fits well of course. MTBs ... stuff breaks, road bike stuff not so much. Every major brand will have a good starter bike in that price range.

Used will get you more bike for the money.

You might want to look for something with rack mounts, depending on how much you want to haul for commuting. More than a backpack, and you might want the option for a rack.

But I will suggest something a bit different, given you have saddle time in your history. Go to some bike stores, and ride some bikes in your price range. Ask them if they have any used bikes, and check out their message board (if they have one) where bikes are posted for sale. You might find something you like that way. And then you can come back here and post your experience. If you can say "This was my fav, followed by this one... but I hated this one." then people here will have some basis for making suggestions. "If you liked X, you might like Y since it is similar."
 
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