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I am helping my wife purchase her first road bike.

Background: She is an avid runner and is now looking into getting into cycling to change things up a bit (she does not plan to stop running completely, just some bike and some run). She did her first sprint triathlon last fall and plans on doing more, most likely moving up to longer distances (not Iron distance).

We have been shopping for "entry" level bikes for a couple weeks. After getting over my sticker shock :yikes: of several bike shops not having anything less then $1,000 we found ourselves at the local Performance that had some 2008 mens small bikes on clearance for $600-$800. Regarding fit, my wife didn't even know she was riding mens bikes until I told her after the rides. She did eliminate several because she was reaching to far for the handle bars, but we did find a couple that she felt good on (as good or better then some women specific bikes she also tried). I feel comfortable that the bike fits her.

What we bought...
2008 GT GTR series 3 bike for $599 (with 20% back in team points). Here are the specs:
Stem: 3D Forged Alloy, Black anodized
Seatpost: Alloy
Grips/Tape: Black Cork
Handlebar: GT 6061 Aluminum, Black anodized
Saddle: GT Road
Frame: GTR Hydroformed Kinesis 6061 Aluminum Compact Design
Fork: Kinesis Carbon w/ Integrated Design
Pedals: Low Profile Nylon w/ Toe Clips
Rack Mounts: None
Wheelset: Rims: Alex D22, Black anodized w/ Silver sidewalls; Front Hub: Formula Sealed; Rear Hub: Shimano Tiagra 9-speed
Chain: Shimano Comp 9-speed
Front Derailleur: Shimano Compact
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Outboard
Levers: Shimano Sora S.T.I.
Shifters: Shimano Sora S.T.I., 9-speed
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra
Crankset: Shimano Tiagra Compact, 50/34T
Cassette: Shimano, 12/25T, 9-speed
Brakes: Tektro Forged Dual Pivot
Headset: TH Sealed Bearing, 1 1/8”
Tires: Vittoria Zaffiro, 700c x 23

What SHE wants...

2008 Schwinn Peloton (not Pro, not LTD) for $1,099 (was $1,199 and they took off an extra $100 plus the 20% back in points). One other thing to mention regarding the Schwinn. She was not able to ride this "exact bike" they had a 2007 Peloton PRO in stock (for $1,600) that she rode to get the fit (it fit her well) and we ordered the 2008 Peloton in the same size and they are shipping it to the store. The sales guy said it will fit the same, just with lesser components.

Frame Material: Schwinn 'N'Litened' Black Label carbon fiber , Race geometry, IS standard integrated head tube, forged dropouts w/ replaceable hanger, and 2x H2O bottle boss.
Fork Material: Schwinn Black Label Carbon Pro carbon fiber w/ 1 1/8" cro-moly steerer & forged dropouts.
Color(s): Blue / Pearl White
Drivetrain
Crankset: Truvativ Elita SL compact forged alloy w/ 50/34T 7075 CNC chainrings.
Front Derailleur: Shimano 105 10sp 34.9 down-pull
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105 10sp SS
Shifters: Shimano 105 10sp STI
Freewheel: Shimano 105 10sp 11-23T
Chain: KMC X-10
Bottom Bracket: TruVativ Giga X Pipe w/ external bearings
Wheels
Rims: Formula Shawla 280 complete wheelset
Tires: Schwalbe Lugano 700 x 23C Kevlar bead
Hubs: Formula Shawla 280 complete wheelset
Spokes: Formula Shawla 280 complete wheelset
Nipples: Formula Shawla 280 complete wheelset
Components
Front Brake: Tektro RX-40 dual pivot caliper
Rear Brake: Tektro RX-40S single pivot caliper
Brake Levers: Shimano 105 10sp STI
Bars: Ritchey Comp 31.8 butted alloy, width to suit frame size
Stem: Ritchey Logic Comp V2 31.8 3D forged w/ 4-bolt stem cap
Headset: Ritchey Logic Pro Integrated
Saddle: Selle San Marco Ponza
Seat Post: Kalloy Carbon fiber with forged micro-adjust head. 31.6 x 350mm
Grips: Schwinn gel tape with embossed star logo
Seat Clamp: Schwinn forged / CNC w/ Cr-Mo Allen bolt
Extras
Extras: Prime Aero machined alloy spacers

:confused: What should we buy? I know the Schwinn has a full carbon frame, and 105's but the rest is just a bunch of chinese to me.

Since she is planning on buying pedals, shoes etc, we will use the Performance Points. The GT is net $480 after the points and the Schwinn is $879 after the points.

My thought is a full carbon bike with 105's for less then $900 is a good deal.

If we go with the GT, the plan will be to upgrade to a $2,000 or so bike in 2-3 years IF she continues with the sport. If we go with the Schwinn, she has the bike and we are done (maybe a few upgrades here and there, but we are not investing $1,000's more).
 

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9,402 Posts
She (you) will be much happier with a nicer bike. That sounds like a good price. Remember if she dosent like the bike she may never like the sport.
 

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I was in the same situation with my wife over the weekend. She has been mountain biking for about a year but it was just off and on, nothing serious. She was intimidated on the mountain bike but she really wants to ride so she suggested a road bike. We went to a couple of different stores and looked at Specialized and Giant. We then went to Performance since they were having their 20% sale. We looked at Legato, GT and Fuji. She really like the Legato; it had good components (Ultegra/105) and had trigger shifters on a flat bar similar to her mountain bike. The GT fit her well but the components were low end. The Fuji, a Roubaix Pro, was the most expensive of the three but had good components (Ultegra/105) and was true road bike. The only problem was the bike fit was not great, the stem was too long. The Performance staff changed the stock stem to one that fit my wife and we purchased the bike. We ended up paying right at $1200 and I got $240 in points, which went to a new Ultegra SL compact crank for my bike. To answer your question, I think your wife will be happier with the bike having better components.
 

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Normally I'd recommend the cheaper bike, since it's not all that bad and most people who 'want to get into cycling' end up riding one or twice and putting the bike away for good. Even if not, the cheaper bike is perfectly fine for learning the ropes and discovering what you REALLY want in a later bike.

BUT, your wife is a bit of an athlete and seems like a better-than-average candidate for the nickel to drop. She should probably get the 105 bike. It IS a pretty good deal, BTW.
 
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