As I’ve mentioned, I’m in the market for a new road bike. My budget isn’t huge so I’m looking at entry level. I’m trying to stay well below $2000, preferably closer to $1000 but as I shop I realize that might not be in my best interest. So obviously at my range, there is some give and take. My question is, where would you give and where would you take?

I know an alloy frame will save me money, but a composite frame will be more forgiving on 5 hour rides – especially considering Toledo’s fabulous roads. At my price range we seem to be looking at the Sora, Tiagra, or 105 components. Some research shows the Tiagra or Sora to be less than desireable, others say it’s OK. The 105 seems to be the best option at this price.

Now looking at frames, I can get a well kitted alloy frame at a low price. If I move to composite, I get less as far as components go. I’ve found the Specialized SL4 Sora composite bike which has a nice frame, as the name alludes to, the components are Sora. There is the Giant Defy Composite 3 which has Tiagra components. Then we have the Giant Defy 1 which is alloy but has the 105 set. Both Giant and Specialized also have upgrades of the bikes I mentioned that do come with the 105 set, but I don’t know if I can afford to go that route.

So, considering that I’ll be riding this bike 10+ hours a week with one 5+ hour ride in there and considering the budget thing. Do you go with the carbon frame and settle on components, or alloy frame with better components? Or try really hard to come up with money beyond my comfort zone to try to get composite with the 105s?

I’m open to input, what things did you consider when buying your bike?