Originally Posted by OrangeOne
a. I hate the buying advice. $500 will get a bike that any newbie can ride for a year or two, and 10 years if they choose. If they choose to engage in the sport, then it's time for the 1000-2000 bike.
People forget that for new, even half-keen riders, the "repair/spare kit + shoes + pedals + helmet + clothing + bike computer" bill can easily run from 250-500 or more. Add this to a 500 bike and you've blown a grand, which is a steep entry level for a sport (compared to tennis: $50, soccer: $100, etc etc). As I say, if the bike is found to be wanting, it can be easily and cheaply upgraded, and it's at the $500 level that one will lose the least when selling a 6month old bike.
He mentioned the price range for someone who wants to get into road racing. For this, it is a very conservative estimate. Granted, most folks don't buy their first road bike to race, but if this is your goal, you will spend this much for a new setup. The current price for an entry level road bike (trek/specialized/giant, etc) is about $700, but this is not a raceable bike.