First Road Bike for a friend

by Raleigh   January 26, 2012  

My friend is buying a first road bike, and is looking to spend sub £600. For this I should imagine that she will be able to afford:
>Shimano 2300 or maybe Sora
>Carbon forks
>Decent tyres

I do know quite a lot about bicycles, so I recommended the following models:
-Specialized Allez 16
-Giant Defy 5
-Raleigh Airlite 200 or 300

The new bike is actually for a three day ride to Amsterdam later on in the year.

Being like minded with the designers of Cervelo bikes, you'll note that I didn't recommend any female specific bikes.

She is a competent cyclist, cycles to work every day, and her employers are soon signing up to the Cycle2Work scheme.

If there is anybody who has had experience with these bikes, please could you share, and if anybody would like to recommend any other brands/models, please also let me know.


13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

The Giant and Specialize are very good bikes, I'm not so sure of the Raleigh.

Your friend should visit some shops and try some bikes for herself. You can upgrade the tyres as part of the purchase or get a recommended pair separately. Giant make a women-specific Avail, though I don't know what differentiates them from the Defy range.

Also factor in decent clothing, and if she's buying it on C2W the discount will apply to these too.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2261 posts]
26th January 2012 - 21:22


I think a women specific bike would be preferable. At the very least she should buy a female saddle as pressure points are very different. Comfort is what it's all about and so she should try a few bikes and see what feels good.

Trying not to bonk!

Hypoglycaemic's picture

posted by Hypoglycaemic [22 posts]
26th January 2012 - 21:29


I recon that the only different things you need if you're a woman are:


Women aren't that proportionally different to men, they don't have really long arms or really short torsos or anything.

Cheers though

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
26th January 2012 - 22:09


I'd get her to look at some of the Felt's aswell

Felt F95/Z95 or the Felt ZW95 Ladies version

But there aren't alot of options sub £600 to be honest unless you look for 2010 and 11 version's

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9256 posts]
26th January 2012 - 22:51


I suppose it depends on your friend's body shape and height, but I disagree with the comments on there being no difference with woman specific designs.

My understanding is that the top tube is generally shorter and that the components are designed to take into a smaller human frame and if buying a £600 bike, does your friend really want to pay an additional £100 for a suitable saddle,stem and set of bars?

I know smaller men that use woman specific bikes because they provide a better fit. I would suggest you don't discount them at the outset - fortunately manufacturers seem to have largely overcome their impulse to add pink stripes and flowers to them all Rolling Eyes

posted by FMOAB [249 posts]
27th January 2012 - 1:02


A decent shop should do a bike fit and sort you out with an appropriate saddle and stem. Choosing who you buy from can make as big a difference as anything else.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2261 posts]
27th January 2012 - 10:21


What about getting a used one?

You can get a lot of equipment for half the price..

seabass89's picture

posted by seabass89 [235 posts]
27th January 2012 - 11:46


My wife finally made the move to a women specific Giant, and she reckons that in 20 years of cycling she's never been happier. She used to be too stretched out on her last Specialised (mens) bike, and it was obvious just by watching her cycle. When you start changing stem length etc too dramatically, you are also changing the handling of the bike to a certain extent, as well as spending extra cash. Maybe just take her down to the LBS for a few test rides.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [303 posts]
27th January 2012 - 12:00


You could get Tiagra level spec for under £600 with some on-line stores if you're wiling to risk it

I got my road bike, sight-unseen Shim105, from a well-know online-only retailer and have had no problems.

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [418 posts]
27th January 2012 - 14:48

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [418 posts]
27th January 2012 - 15:50


Both my father and I have Allez 16's which are excellent bikes. My son was given the Carrera TDF but hasn't really used it much so I am making a few changes so my wife can try it out now, hence my recent post about adjusting the reach on the STI levers.

Also, it has already had a shorter (80mm) Prolite stem added, along with a shorter (lighter) seatpost as the stock one would not go that low due to bottle cage mounts.

Just need to get a saddle that suits her (another Charge Ladle most likely) and perhaps narrower bars - although I have just lost my job so these are going to have to wait unfortunately.

Given the miles being covered the Secteur could be a decent choice also, as mentioned above.

Keeping with the theme of woman specific versions though then looks looks rather good:

posted by Super Domestique [1673 posts]
27th January 2012 - 16:23


My wife has a Scott Speedster s50 which is the mens version (she liked the colours better) and is as happy as a pig in whatsit. It cost about 560.00 last year just before they changed all the models and colours.

She has had no problems other than the seat which she changed for a leather brooks saddle.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [3090 posts]
27th January 2012 - 17:23


Women's specific works really well for some women, and not for others. Your friend will probably know if she is a classic female figure (long legs, short back), or not. If she has a classic female figure then a womens specific from some manufacturers will work (Trek, Felt) as they do change the geometry. If she doesn't have a classic female figure then a small mens frame would be fine, but also a womens specific from some manufacturers (Bianchi, plus some others) would also work as they do not change the geometry of the frame, they simply change the bars and saddle to womens models.

Your best bet is to go to a good local bike shop and try some bikes, chat to the guys who should know which of the brands they stock alter geometry or not. Once you've taken their advice, spend the extra £50 or £100 it will cost you to buy the bike from them. Otherwise they won't be around next time you need advice.

posted by gearfreak [5 posts]
28th January 2012 - 14:16