My girlfriend is interested in cycling so I'm trying to find her a suitable bike. She doesn't seem interested in mtn. biking and friends we would ride with have road bikes anyway. She is interested in riding on the street, gravel roads, pathways, etc. so I'm thinking a cyclocross bike is what I should look for; something that can handle a little offroad but can easily keep up with a group of casual road bikers.
She does want a bike with more of an upright stance so I'm looking at frames that align with the "The French Fit" according to the calculator at Competitive Cyclist:
She has an older back injury so in addition to the more upright fit, I was thinking of going steel. It should be a little more forgiving vs. aluminum. Cost is also a big issue. She can't afford it and I can't go crazy myself. This will be a surprise and I'm looking at the $500-700 range.
I came across this bike at Nashbar and thought it had a nice mix of component for the price. I have a Nashbar X aluminum frame (commuter) that I built and have been pleased with. I was wondering if anyone has any comments about this bike and what I want to use it for?