I'm on the hunt! Next weekend I hope to complete my 8th race, which will be the Boulder 70.3 (2nd time). I originally dipped my foot into the sport last year by purchasing a Trek Domane road bike reluctant to "make it hurt" by purchasing a Tri bike not knowing if the sport was for me. I'm hooked, and ready to "make it hurt" now and drop some cash on a proper bike. Never riden an actual triathlon specific bike. I know I need to get fitted, but beyond that looking for suggestions on brands or any other advice! Budget: $3,500-$4,500. Thanks!!!!
You should be able to get quite a steed for that investment. My 2 cents worth: Get a bike with nice race wheels. You are going to want them eventually, might as well purchase them for the get-go. If it was me, I'd save a bit on the componentry. While Dura-Ace or SRAM Red is really nice, Ultegra works great and will save you a few bucks. I'd look around quite a bit, ride as many different models as you can. They can all feel quite different once you get in the saddle.