Since I'm just getting started and am on a limited budget, I'm not currently in the market for the $1500 price tag most bike shops are expecting me to spend... are there any reliable used bike sources in the area? I know there are some concerns about something like this being abused w/ stolen bikes... I'm 5'7", so have been told I need probably a 52 or 54. I'd appreciate any ideas you might have.
What is your budget ? How long are you willing to wait ? A lot of bike shops in the area clean out their inventories in the late summer so a cheap one can be had if you have patience.
You can get a brand new entry road bike in the $600-800 range. Check out Perfromance bike or Hudson Trail Outfitter (HTO).
There is a HTO outlet in Gaithersburg, MD that sell their bikes a lot cheaper than all of their other regular stores. I got a $1500 brand new Felt S32 tri bike there for $900 last year but it was only for that store. It also comes with free basic bike tunning and frame cleaning for the life of your bike. The tunning and cleaning can be done at any HTO store no matter which one you happen to purchase your bike at.
You may also try the "for sale" section of this web site. People come on here and sell their old bikes when they purchase another one or decide to get out of the cycling business.
That's right. I got a carbon bike at Performance for a steep discount last July.
Spokes also usually has entry level bikes in the price range mentioned.
I've bought a bike found on local Craigslist, and I've also bought a bike and a frame found on ebay. They were all bargains, but I knew ahead of time the size that I needed. Size and bike fit are important, and can be different across brands (my Cannondale is a 56 and I have a Felt 58 that both fit me). So if you find something on Craigslist or Ebay, it is best if you can check out the size first. On the Craigslist one, I met the person and did a ride. On Ebay one, I rode the bike first then spent time looking for one to appear on Ebay that was that model. Time consuming, but got a good deal.
Other idea, Performance has payment plan, I believe, where if bike over $500 or so, you can pay off interest free for a year.
Website at slowtwitch.com has some good info about bike fit and some reviews. Good luck.
Thanks so much for the info, everyone! :)
How about taking a look at www.bikesdirect.com
Might not be the most well known frames and they may even be last year's models, but the components per dollar are amazing. I'll be ordering a mountain bike from them as soon as my wife gives in, which might take a bit of waterboarding.
All-American Bikes in Damascus sells a Felt S32 aluminium (carbon fork) tri bike for $1600 new... not sure if that is too high for your range.
I have a good-as-new woman's triathlon bike for sale for ~$700. It was my daughter's graduation present but she moved to Panama with the Peace Corps. I'll be happy to send a photo or other info to anyone who contacts me at firstname.lastname@example.org