Many AC members so expect people to provide more than one opinion.
Another idea is to buy a S/H bike from the Adelaide Community Bike Workshop, if they have a suitable bike. You are new to cycling, so could try out a cheap S/H bike, find out how interested you are, before committing perhaps more than $1,000 (if you get hooked).
The group is run by AC members. See http://www.adelaidecyclists.com/group/bikecoop
Jump on to eBay or similar while you are "thinking" about it and grab the first 50$ road bike you can and go from there :) 105 is pretty awesome bike hardware, I'm saying that cause thats what I have. Get a cheapy and ride around till you find something you WANT to have. Take your time while picking your first bike, As you will have it for a long time.
You don't need to go to 105 level - maybe some years ago, but Shimano upgrade their stuff every year and Tiagra is pretty good these days (hell, it was when we bought my son's bike about five years ago).
Don't get sucked out of your budget - your bike sizing may prove to be wrong, your choice of bike may prove to be wrong and one thing that can be guaranteed, in twelve months time, you'll realise that your bike use is quite different to what you expected ... which impacts on bike fit, bike choice, etc.
You only know what works by experience, so get a bike that'll give you that experience while leaving enough room to change/upgrade in a year's time. If nothing else, it's fun going bike shopping and a year without a new search is rather more than most of us can manage (being able to afford a change is another matter).
Look at lots of bikes.
Listen lots because that fine tunes your bullshit detector (and you'll hear a lot of that, from both salesmen and other cyclists).
You'll get utterly confused but keep at it and you'll suddenly realise you've started going into specific shops and going straight to specific bikes - THAT's when you know you're getting close.
Buy the bike you fall in love with, the bike you can look at with pride as it leans against a wall outside the coffee shop. That may sound shallow, but if you've done the right preparation, it'll do the job you want and if you don't love the bike, you won't ride it.
Now take thee off to the Cell Bikes website - they sell cheap bikes, that are cheap, but they are good bang for your buck and not a bad choice for a beginner roadie that will serve as a commuter when you splash out for that fancy new Colnago next year.
If you buy online you need to have some mechanical ability to put the bike together and service it. Given that you are already riding it seems to me that you are already commited to cycling. It's still cold and wet so I'm guessing that time is on your side and that you can afford to wait' and you will have to wait a little while if you want a new bike with 105 running gear. Then again if you can increase your budget by 2 or 3 hundred dollars you could probably find something with 105 fairly quickly. What suburb are you in, If in the north I'd suggest Star Cycles in Elizabeth. East I'd try Road Rage on Payneham road, both owner operated shops who look after their customers. Also look on www.bikeexchange.com which lists 27 SA cycle shops all with a comprehensive list of new bikes ready for you to ride.
There are times of the year when the shops are full of bargains - the model change over is one, the TDF another - it's worth keeping your eyes open.
Anyone know what phase of the moon ... er ... price cycle we're currently in?
+1, pretty much. Don't expect your first bike to be the one you stay with. Treat it as a learner - it will teach you how much you like cycling, what size bike you need, what equipment level you want/need.
The main issues with buying online are sizing and after-sales support. Tiagra is fine. Unless your buying a Colnago ;-) Tiagra on a Colnago (shudder) is quite possibly illegal. Sorry, I digress.
You can save money buying online (if you know what you are doing). But developing a relationship with your LBS (local bike shop) is invaluable. And they may be able to fit you to a trade-in bike.
Remember you might need to invest in other bits and pieces like lights, repair kit etc.
come down to the bike workshop.
we presently have several road bikes you can test ride.
34 Long Street Plympton.
even if they don't suit you it will give you more chance of being an "informed consumer" when you visit the bike shop.
I bought my first road bike a little over 12 months ago and felt similarly confused at the time. What I ended up doing was spending a few months going to different bike stores, looking at different bikes, getting fitted by a few stores (just to make sure I didn't stuff up the measurement in my novice days) and talking to as many people as I could about what they considered important in a first bike. Be honest with the stores, let them know you're looking but not ready to commit. During that time, I was put on some obscenely out-of-budget bikes, but they helped me to see what I was looking for in a bike I could afford. I did end up purchasing through a store because it only blew my budget by $200 and they included shoes, pedals, saddle bag, bike fit, 2 services and all the store support I could hope for (big plug for Mike Turtur guys by the way).
In the end, everyone can tell you what you "should" look for, but you need to spend the time to find what you actually want. Words on a forum can help point the way, but back it up with hands-on gawking at bikes in stores (but beware they are stores, they may try to push a sale. Stick to your guns/budget).
If you can bring it down to a particular bike or set up, start sifitng through eBay and BikeExchange.com.au to see if you can find it. My Dad recently bought his first road bike via eBay - he got a Pinarello FP1 (alloy frame) with Campagnolo Centaur groupset for about $900, so those magical cheap bikes are around, you just need to keep an eye out :-)
I hope the right bike comes up for you soon :-)
If you don't mind putting a bike together then check out Reid Cycles online. They have a bike that for a little over a grand weighs less than ten kilograms with the Shimano 105 groupset.
Go for 105 as a minimum.