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I'm looking to buy a bike with which to get around Atlanta. My budget is about $500.

I've seen lots of suggestions for a fixie but those seem relatively difficult.

I plan to ride about 5-10 miles a day.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Update:

I need a bike in order to get around as quickly as possible. There are few hills, but pot holes and poorly paved roads are a problem.

I do not need racks or fenders.

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This is very open-ended. Why do you want a road bike? Will you be climbing a lot of hills? Does your city have well-paved roads, or are the streets filled with patched pavement and potholes? Are you new to road bikes? Do you need racks and fenders? –  Neil Fein Jul 19 '12 at 0:09
    
Thanks for the questions, I've updated the question accordingly. –  Conner Bryan Jul 19 '12 at 0:12
    
Your edit is very helpful. Do you want to ride in street clothes, or will you always be wearing padded shorts? I really think a road bike would be overkill for this, not to mention being out of your budget. FYI, "road bike" means, more or less, a racing bike designed for speed. On a ten mile trip, you'd save maybe a minute on a road bike, but you'll spend more than that kitting up and clicking in. Unless you're a messenger? –  Neil Fein Jul 19 '12 at 0:14
    
Street clothes. And I'm asking about road bikes due to past experience, I suppose. I've ridden around the city on both a road bike (not my own) and a hybrid. The hybrid was fairly nice, but a bit heavy to carry around if I needed to use the subway or carry the bike down stairs. –  Conner Bryan Jul 19 '12 at 0:15
    
Ah, got it! Okay, you need a light bike. Understood. And your updated potential budget below changes things a lot. –  Neil Fein Jul 19 '12 at 0:17

4 Answers 4

A $500 budget is a little tight, but you can probably find something. If by "road bike", though, you mean a bike with drop bars, you're going to have to scratch a little harder, though.

But, one thing to keep in mind is that national outfits like REI will start discounting the list prices on their bikes very shortly (if not already), and the later you wait in the "season" the better deal you're apt to get (though of course selection will diminish somewhat). Local bike shops (in your area) are less apt to do this, but are probably more willing to bargain any time of the year.

I do recommend you look at the REI web site since they have a nice selection of decent quality bikes (though mostly over your price range). You'll get a fairly good feel for what you can get for the money there. (But I'm really not pushing REI, it's just an outfit I'm familiar with.)

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I agree; for the money, a hybrid may be the better choice, or perhaps one of those "commuter" flat-bar bikes. A road bike is overkill for a neighborhood bike. –  Neil Fein Jul 19 '12 at 0:10
    
It's actually not for just a neighborhood, I need to get around the whole city. And hmm.. I could feasibly spend up to $1000 if I find a good enough bike. –  Conner Bryan Jul 19 '12 at 0:14
    
>= $1k, light bike, street clothes. Hmm. Would a cyclocross bike with a Brooks be in this budget? –  Neil Fein Jul 19 '12 at 0:18
    
@NeilFein -- I think he meant <= $1k. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 19 '12 at 0:27
    
@DanielRHicks - Thanks, he did, I typed >= instead of <+. –  Neil Fein Jul 19 '12 at 1:46

With this budget, a used bike will get you the best bang for your buck. I was able to find a ten to fifteen year old road bike with good components (Ultegra) and an aluminum frame for around $600. A friend found a twenty to thirty year old road bike with a steel frame and downtube shifters for around $300. Both were in good condition and have high quality components, with the age of the bikes being the main sacrifice. If you're looking for a nice road bike, you can do it with your budget as long as you're willing to go used, but a new bike in this price range will just disappoint you.

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Maybe its a location thing, but here in the Phoenix area you can get an 8 year old ultegra road bike for around 500 on a regular basis. I dont think He needs ultegra, 105 would do him fine for his basic needs. –  Matt Adams Jul 19 '12 at 16:08
    
Interestingly, I might be interested in selling my mostly-Ultegra Surly Pacer in Atlanta in the OP's price range. Decisions, decisions... –  Stephen Touset Jul 19 '12 at 18:24
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@MattAdams Yeah, prices will definitely vary by location. The point is that a nice old bike is a lot better than a crappy new bike. My examples were intended to show that you can get a very nice bike for $500 to $600 and an older but serviceable bike for a few hundred less. So if he goes for 105 as you suggest, then he should be able to find one for $500 or less, with the exact bike and price depending on location and luck. –  amcnabb Jul 19 '12 at 18:49

Look to a 3 speed hybrid or a flat bar road bike. Craigslist and ebay may really save you some money. Plenty of deals out there for $500. You may want a touring style / path bike because they will have a bigger volume tire. A true road bike has a 25mm wide tire, and touring / path bike will have a 32 or 35mm wide tire. A little better for the bumps and holes.

You can try new with places like bikesDirect.com hybrids or Bike Nashbars Hybrids pages. both have deals in the range you are looking for.

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I don't think he's going to have a good time biking in Atlanta with a 3 speed. Not from my experience. –  Brad Jul 19 '12 at 15:14
    
better than a single speed that most have suggested thus far. I wouldn't do it either. –  Matt Adams Jul 19 '12 at 16:06

I've had an old 12 speed, steel framed Miele (c. 1982) move me around Atlanta really well (Northlake area to downtown/midtown/Decatur). The roads in Atlanta are pretty good so my tires at 1.25 in wide, while thick for a racing bike, were plenty thin for commuting and still offered a comfortable ride.

Since it does rain a lot in Atlanta, and often suddenly, I had fenders, which if you're commuting are a must. I'd carry my work clothes in a back pack (which with the fenders would not get wet) but would much rather have had a pannier.

Performance Bikes (85/N. Druid Hills) I believe even has road bikes (drop bars, light aluminum frame, >18 gears) right in your price range. I'm looking at the Fuji Newest 3.0 for my girlfriend It is a great intro bike especially for what your after and it's only 550 $. Performance is also across the street from REI so you can ride bikes at both in one day easily and then right down the road is Bicycle South.

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