My wife had never had a bike worth more than $150 at Target. So when she told me she wanted to be able to ride long distances with me, I decided it was time to upgrade her ~40lb steel Schwinn for her first real "bike shop" bike.
My LBS (Totally gonna plug Tree Fort Bikes! I love this shop!) had this Cannondale Quick 4 W leftover from their 2012 stock. Normally a $600 bike at this shop, I talked them down to $430 out the door with a new Greenfield KS installed. Her first reaction when she hopped on was "Wow! It's so much easier on hills!"
Ok, is it Spring yet?!?!?