Lately I've been looking for a new bike to take me to + from work and my 1 year old son to + from childcare in a child seat. I've been using my entry-level road bike for everything for about 10 years now and as well as having no attachment spots for any sort of child seat it's starting to show it's age so this will probably become my main bike for just getting around for a while. I've been looking for flat-bar road bikes below about $700.
The cheapest bike I've found that seems suitable is a Merida Speeder S1 (like http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Merida-11-Speeder-S1-Silver_3) for about $380. On the other hand my eye was definitely caught by the Orbea Carpe H50 (http://www.orbea.com/au-us/bicis/modelos/carpe_h50/#presentacion) for $600, but I don't know if it's really worth the extra expense or I'm just ogling it and associating with my dad's nice Orbea roadies!
Does anyone have experience with these bikes? Recommendations otherwise? A nice second hand flat-bar roadie to sell? :)
I know that you said Flat Bar, but have you considered a cyclocrss style bike?
These are real pack horse's, and will take paniers, front and back and a child seat easily if you wanted.
This one retails for a little under $2000, but you could pick up a used one for well under a grand.
Take a look at this LINK ...
I hadn't considered them mostly because of the cost but I might look for a used one. Thanks!
I got a Merida speeder T3 or similar from memory, very good and have a hitch for my 7 year old on the back for it.
The T2 is around $700 ish from memory, get good running gear, its a bitch when chain drops, gears dont change or other weird stuff.
My business partner has the Orbea equivalent and likes it but cause he keeps resting against his rear derailier, gears hardly change now, chain drops and is in need of repair.
I like both but suggest you go and see what deal people do.
Try Trak cycles, see Glen or Darren, they have plenty of Merida in stock and will fix you up.
Bike exchange has them going at half of retail price too but by the time you get service, new chain and tyres etc, you may as well buy new.
Thanks for the feedback Frank. The chain drops etc. is starting to happen on my old bike and it is indeed really annoying. I'll have another look at Trak.