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Go to the local shops, test ride (as long a ride as they'll let you) as many bikes as you can find in your price range, and buy what feels best.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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$1,100 is a perfectly fine budget for a first road bike, and I'll second visiting some shops, discussing your intended uses/ goals, getting sized/ fitted to some potential candidates and heading out on test ride - out on the roads, and for some duration. During those test rides, focus on fit/ feel, ride and handling and buy what feels best.

Lastly, try both race and relaxed geo bikes. That way, if you do have a preference, it'll become apparent during test rides, and you'll make a more educated decision.

EDIT: During this process, shop for shops along with shopping for bikes. A reputable LBS will prove themselves to be a valuable asset to you, post-purchase. Most offer warranty assistance (if needed), tuning, tweaks to fit, and many offer classes on basic bike maintenance.
 

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I'd recommend the GT Corsa 1.0, or the Jamis Satellite Comp. Otherwise, if you're anywhere near six feet (frame size 58cm), you might have a shot at the Marin Four Corners touring bike, currently being sold at the REI Outlet. Touring bikes can make great entry level and all 'round road bikes. Though they're not especially suited for racing, they can easily double as good commuter bikes. Also, since most touring bikes are made of chromoly steel, that promises to bring many good years of service life.
 

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I got myself a specialized allez sport today and got out the door with shoes, pedals, jersey, bib, gloves for around $1200. Took it for a short 12 miles this evening and I'm very happy with the choice I made!
 

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Scott Speedster S40 for about $1,000 isn't too bad. Also the Felt Z95 for just a bill under $1,000; the Cannondale CAAD8 6 for $1200 is pretty good; Fuji Roubaix 3.0; Jamis Ventura Comp. All of those bikes are in your price range, go to your LBS's in town and test ride as many as you can.
 

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wyrd bið ful ãræd
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+1 on trying out at a local LBS. Try out a few different manufacturers and different sizes for the same model. Then go to another LBS and another. Give yourself at least 3 different opinions from different LBS.

Go online and have a go at some websites which recommend sizing based on your physical profile ...

Once you know your sizing it becomes easier.
 

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$1,100 is a perfectly fine budget for a first road bike, and I'll second visiting some shops, discussing your intended uses/ goals, getting sized/ fitted to some potential candidates and heading out on test ride - out on the roads, and for some duration. During those test rides, focus on fit/ feel, ride and handling and buy what feels best.

Lastly, try both race and relaxed geo bikes. That way, if you do have a preference, it'll become apparent during test rides, and you'll make a more educated decision.

EDIT: During this process, shop for shops along with shopping for bikes. A reputable LBS will prove themselves to be a valuable asset to you, post-purchase. Most offer warranty assistance (if needed), tuning, tweaks to fit, and many offer classes on basic bike maintenance.
Yes. I was in similar situation as you almost two years ago and bought Specialized Secteur Elite Compact...still lovin it...my thread here: http://forums.roadbikereview.com/beginners-corner/need-good-entry-level-road-bike-261891.html

+1 on trying out at a local LBS. Try out a few different manufacturers and different sizes for the same model. Then go to another LBS and another. Give yourself at least 3 different opinions from different LBS.

Go online and have a go at some websites which recommend sizing based on your physical profile ...

Once you know your sizing it becomes easier.
Good ideas too, go to at least three different shops and let them guide you to what they think is best for you based on the questions that they should be asking you. Then you need to evaluate the shop and the bikes. Then go ride a few more and/or re-ride the ones that seem best to you, just be careful and don't let anybody sell you the bike they want to clear out of their inventory. Good luck and happy riding once you buy it.
 

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Personally for a first road bike I have a problem recommending spending $1000 because 83% of the people who buy bikes for the first time stop riding them after 3 to 6 months. Unless you're a runner and are committed to running and now you want to commit to cycling I would suggest getting a $500 to $700 bike instead, otherwise you could end up with a piece of expensive garage art. The Specialized Sirrus is around $500, Giant Defy 5 is about $700, Raleigh Airlite around $600.

Anyway, just a suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
well to be honest ive been mountine biking for around a year now.i know i like biking and im finding myself more and more going on 3+ hour rides through town, and figured its time to get myself a good road bike. i would be using it to race as well, as also helping my cardio for rugby. so thats where i came up with the 1100$ i can get a good bike and groupset, and still no break the bank.
 

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well to be honest ive been mountine biking for around a year now.i know i like biking and im finding myself more and more going on 3+ hour rides through town, and figured its time to get myself a good road bike. i would be using it to race as well, as also helping my cardio for rugby. so thats where i came up with the 1100$ i can get a good bike and groupset, and still no break the bank.
In that case, I would suggest that you join a co-op and order parts from Nashbar, after you purchase an excellent frame from some place ( perhaps like maybe SOMA). Of course, you could get an excellent frame from either Bikesdirect or Nashbar. The co-op can assist you in the building of your new bike, if at all needed. Road Frames
 

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In that case, I would suggest that you join a co-op and order parts from Nashbar, after you purchase an excellent frame from SOMA. Of course, you could also get an excellent frame from either Bikesdirect or Nashbar, as well. The co-op can assist you in the building of your new bike, if at all needed. Road Frames
You might also look at Nashbar's Carbon Frameset. It has Di2 capacity with internal cable routing.Then again, you could just buy a decent road bike from your friendly neighborhood bike shop, as well...No matter what! Try to locate a bicycle co-op in your area and become a member. It will only assist you in terms of becoming more mechanically independent insofar as bicycle maintenance, repair, and upgrading are concerned.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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well to be honest ive been mountine biking for around a year now.i know i like biking and im finding myself more and more going on 3+ hour rides through town, and figured its time to get myself a good road bike. i would be using it to race as well, as also helping my cardio for rugby. so thats where i came up with the 1100$ i can get a good bike and groupset, and still no break the bank.
As soon as you add the word "race" to intended uses, the adage "don't race what you can't replace" comes to mind.

That said, I'll stay with my OP above and add... go with an alu frame (but as a complete bike, purchased from a reputable LBS). The LBS will get you the value added services you need and alu is cheap, light and stiff. Near perfect for both your budget and intended uses.
 

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As soon as you add the word "race" to intended uses, the adage "don't race what you can't replace" comes to mind.

That said, I'll stay with my OP above and add... go with an alu frame (but as a complete bike, purchased from a reputable LBS). The LBS will get you the value added services you need and alu is cheap, light and stiff. Near perfect for both your budget and intended uses.
+1

I just picked up a Cannondale CAAD 8 105 for about the amount you're looking for and couldn't be happier. The LBS spent the time to fit me to the bike (and vice versa), install my computer, pedals, and cages, and they'll follow up when / if I have issues. They also invited me on a ride this weekend that starts at the shop for new riders.

Can't beat that.
 

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I agree with much of what's been said. There are lots of bikes in that price range, many from good manufacturers with great warranty policies. Check out Wiggle.com, Nashbar, or Department of Goods to see multiple options, but if you are cool with alloy (which is a fine place to start or even stay) you can't go wrong with a Felt F85 (where I started), Specialized Allez, Cannondale Caad 10, Caad 8, or Synapse, Trek 1 or 2 Series from your local shop. Scott and Ridley make good bikes as well. If you want carbon, you could spend a couple hundred dollars more or so and get a great deal on a Diamondback Podium 5 with Shimano 105 right now on Amazon.com (Diamondback has a retail relationship with Amazon, REI and Jenson USA, etc.). To me, that's a steal considering what I have read and heard about the bike.

Amazon.com: Diamondback 2012 Podium 5 Road Bike (Carbon/Red): Sports & Outdoors

F85 - Felt Bicycles

Specialized Bicycle Components

SYNAPSE 7 SORA - Synapse Alloy - Performance Road - Road - Bikes - 2013
 

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With regard to pedals and shoes, I have been riding Look Keo pedals of some sort since the beginning. Everyone has their preference and these are just mine. You can get the low end ones for around $80-100. A couple of years ago, I went with Giro Factor shoes which I still ride, but there is Sidi and other companies as well. I would honestly spend more money here which is counter intuitive in a number of ways. It sounds like you already know this, but handle bar tape, saddle, tires, and shoes (your contact points) have a significant impact on your comfort and if you're not comfortable, you just won't enjoy riding as much. Don't go overboard, but get what makes you comfortable here. Competitive Cyclist is having a sale on Sidi shoes right now, but you can often find good deals online and REI, etc once you find a brand you are comfortable with. Enjoy and post pics once you make a decision.
 

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One huge piece of advice. If you haven't already done so, try the shoes on. Buying shoes online will save you some dough, but if you haven't tried them on you may wind up in pain and spending more money than necessary.

For me, at least, the different brands fit strikingly differently, even within the brand. I ride Shimano Comps for mountain biking but their road equivalents pain me. I ended up getting Bontragers for road, but I only knew this by trying them on at the LBS.
 
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