My girlfriend has been wanting to ride with me on occasion and I want to get her a nice bike to start riding seriously. She has an old crappy mountain bike that sucks and I want her to have something good so it’ll (hopefully) be more enjoyable for her.
I’m looking for a “jack of all trades” style bike that will be good for the following: short road rides around town, rail trail, gravel / dirt roads, and overnight bikepacking trips. She’s not interested in mountain biking or any single track / trail type riding, nor serious road riding. I think the majority of the time spent on the bike will be on rail trail, road, and dirt.
I was thinking of a drop bar bike with enough room for bikepacking bags / attachment points and something that can take a wheel size up to around 38-40mm. My budget is around $1,500-$2,000 and I don’t want to make much more of an investment just in case she doesn’t enjoy riding that much or she just doesn’t get enough use out of it. Bonus points for something a little cheaper so I have leftover money for accessories and to get her kitted up.
I’m looking for recommendations from anyone that knows this space of cycling. So far, I’ve narrowed my search down to:
Salsa Vaya 105 - $2,000
Salsa Journeyman Apex 700 - $1,500
Liv Invite - $1,200
Trek Checkpoint ALR 4 - $1,900
Specialized Diverge ALR E5 Elite - $1,400
Specialized Diverge E5 Comp - $1,900
I guess my questions / notes would be:
- Would like to get something tubeless ready preferred
- Looking for shifting components to be reliable, doesn’t have to be top of the line
- Thoughts / comments on women’s specific bikes vs. buying something like a Salsa or men’s bike in a smaller size?
- Anything else out there other than what I have listed? I checked most major bike brands but admittedly don’t know a lot of the cottage style shops and makers.
After looking at my researched bikes, I’m leaning towards the Salsa Journeyman in a small size, but the Trek Checkpoint looks like an awesome bike too. Thoughts or experience with any of these bikes? Help!