I went with a bikesdirect.com bike. The components aren't impressive, but the price is right and the price is better than what all the major mfr'rs are offering. Bike prices are seriously inflated these days in my opinion, so I think bikesdirect is a very good thing to bring some sense to the market.

For $450 I get SRAM X4 shifting and derailleur's, WTB tires and seat and the bikes, likely, biggest drawback, a Suntour XCT fork. But I'm a beginner and I think this is a great entry level bike. If I notice I am pushing the limits of these parts I will upgrade them as needed. Or as I spot good deals on lightly used parts.

Also, Check out that black on black on black. :D

In addition I got the following bits and pieces from Amazon (partially courtesy of a $70 gift card for getting their credit card). Any other things you think I really really need?

CatEye Velo 7 Bicycle Computer CC-VL520

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Sold by: Amazon.com LLC

Ibera Bicycle Lightweight Aluminum Water Bottle Cage, Carbon Pattern

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Sold by: Amazon.com LLC

Evo Mx-6 Pedals 9/16'' - White, With Replaceable Pins

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Serfas TCPG Bicycle Floor Pump

Sold by: Amazon.com LLC