there is nothing wrong with an ali bike and with the budget you have set it may be the way to go as you cant get much for under $2000 in carbon.
There is nothing wrong with a good alloy framed bike, thousands of people will attest to that. However if you are going to spend between 1500 and 2k on a bike you may as well get a bike that remains comfortable after hours in the saddle. At 2500k you will get a great bike with an ultegra group set and strong rims. I personally would rather spend the extra now rather than living with any regret of buying a cheaper bike and the chances are you will only spend this amount once.
I can't believe I'm saying this as normally I'm tighter than a fishes "starfish" in winter.
And you can get an ali bike with carbon forks and seat post within your price range and they do take a lot of the vibration out of your ride, it may even be possible to get carbon handle bars in that price range. Have a really good look at Bike Exchange on the internet. Also talk to the smaller owner operated shops they can be price competitive with lower labour costs
or you could just buy mine which is carbon/ali mix with ultegra gears $950
You can get a full carbon bike like Alistairs for $2,000 on Bike Exchange, or the next model down for slightly more than half price which would give you the cash required for shoes and toys.
matt its a giant ocr 0 50cm frame i am 5' 8"
Depends on where you think riding will take you. If you think this will be the only bike you buy in the next 3-5years then spend a little extra & get a way more comfortable ride & buy full carbon. Or buy a alloy bike now to test the waters & then you can upgrade & have a better bike later. Great way to start a bike collection. If you shop around & look for last years models you can buy new for a gtreat price. I've got a Specialized 55cm tarmac elite which has been raced for a year, done 10000 k's, never smashed or crashed. Ultegra SL $1800 if anyones interested. I think it is a 2008 or 2009. It was my sons old bike before he grew out of it. Hope he stops growing soon!
Can I recommend a Merida Ride Lite 94 Ali. I have had one for 6 months and it is a beautiful bike to ride and has full 105. Standish Cycles at Marion shopping centre have a couple for just under $1200 on special.
Nothing wrong with an Alloy frame if that's your budget... Like a lot of people I rode around the hills on an alloy framed road bike for donkey's years (10-ish) before going to carbon... If you've got a certain budget though, you'd perhaps be wise to get a better frame with a lower spec groupset (e.g. 105), rather than a lower spec frame with a better groupset...
Go for an aluminium bike. In that price range you will get a low quality composite frame, even from the largest companies who call them composite, not carbon composite, (maybe not much CF in them) and it will not be any lighter than an AL one and a lot less stiff and responsive. I have ridden both high end carbon and alloy bikes and to be honest the difference is minimal, both in weight and performance. Then again, I'm 60 and a recreational rider, no longer racing. My alloy Merida frame is just 200 grams more than my previous high end carbon frame, so weight is not an issue. You can get an Ultegra equipped Merida well within your price range if you shop around.