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Discussion Starter #1
My girlfriend likes to do a decent amount of cycling with me both off the road and on the road, currently she has a 2006 Rockhopper that she uses for both and with me having a Roubaix Elite Triple there is obviously no way she can keep up unless I am taking it extra easily or even just coasting along so I'm starting to think about getting her an entry level road bike.

We definitely don't want to spend more than $1,000 and probably the lesser the better right now especially as I am fairly sure she will only remain at recreational level and also do the occassional charity ride, for example she is doing this years MS 150 from Houston to Austin, which is another reason we're looking at a road bike for her.

I've been looking at the Allez Triple and the Allez Sport Triple but am trying to decide if the extra $200 or so on the better componentry is worth it for the level of cycling she will be doing or not. Although the 8 speed on the Allez Triple is making me lean more towards the Allez Sport Triple, plus the Sport has the full carbon seatpost that should make for a smoother ride for her. Hmmm I seem to be making my mind up for myself don't I?

At the end of the day though do you think there would be any real regrets getting the Allez Triple instead of the Sport Triple for her?

Alternatively is there any worth looking at a female specific frame like on the Dolce? The Dolce seems to have pretty much the same componentry as the Allez Triple but has a few female specific parts like the frame and bars plus seems to have a carbon fiber seat post (on the features it states carbon wrap but in the specs it says carbon fiber). I actually really like the Dolce Elite with the upgraded frame and 105 componentry but that is well above the budget at the moment.

Argh! Decisions, decisions...The Allez Triple is probably in the immediate budget we have, could maybe push it for the base Dolce as well but the Allez Sport triple would take extra savings and the Dolce Elite would take more again. It wouldn't be such a big deal but I want to get her on a road bike as soon as possible so she can get used to it before the MS150, which is only a month and a bit away so I really don't have much time to play with.
 

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I would lean towards the Sport but thats just me. She may get addicted and upgrading would be easier with the Sport model.

That said, have you had her look at them? Try that, she may find the sora shifters to be ok. She may like the fit of the Dolce better. You get the idea.

Something like a carbon post could be easily swapped at the time of purchase for just a few extra bucks.

Of course, you could try your luck on ebay or the local used market.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! The looking and trying out stage is next, I was just looking for advice on the bikes themselves as I know at least earlier models of the Allez Triple had problematic front deraileurs but I know nothing about the lower level componentry on road bikes (I'm a road newbie myself coming from MTB like so many others around here).

We're also having a bit of a look around in the local used scene but for some reason it seems only the larger frames end up on the used market but that could just be a coincidental thing. The thing is that it will be hard for her to know what bike feels better as riding a road bike feels so different to a mountain bike although I must say I am actually preferring the feel of a road bike more these days for some reason.
 

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I bought my road bike last fall so I'm far from an expert.

A replacement front derailleur would only cost around $20 if you trash it. So if your goal is to keep cost down and she doesn't care about getting the smoothest shifting I wouldn't be concerned with that.

You may know this already know this but the big difference is in the shifters. Sora has the little thumb thing which for most means no shifting in the drops. Tiagra has the paddle so in addition to a slight increase in smoothness and durability, you get a little extra comfort.

BTW, I have an Allez Elite and I love it!
 

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If they don't have any '05s in stock, ask them to check their computer to see if Specialized has any available for order. Others on the forum have done this. If you scroll down this forum a ways, a guy got a 2005 Allez Elite for around $800 this way.
 

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Little late on my part but I would highly recoment the dolce. You really cant beat it, a real womens bike with some great womens parts. When my girlfriend wanted to get into riding, I got her onto one. 7 Months and 2 other bikes (cross and mountain) later and she still claims it as her first riding love. Admittidly upgradeitis has struck us and we have upgraded almost everything, but it still is a great way to start and at least 2 other women in her catagory still ride and race on stock dolces. But the shop salesman in me says let her ride all three and whichever she likes the best is the one she should get. That way she will actually ride it lots and end up loving it.
 
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