Advice on buying a Woman's Hybrid - Spec Ariel, Giant Rove 0, Kona Splice, Trek Neko
My wife and I are looking at getting her a bike so she can accompany me on some rides.
Some info: we live in a very hilly, very hot (in the summer) area of Canada. It is commonly 35+ in the summer (95 F) and my 4.5k ride home from work (3miles) has a 220m climb (720ft or so). The town is situated in a river valley, and we live halfway up the hills on one side of it - so almost any riding we're doing is up/downhill. That being said, her desire is to ride the mostly flat stuff - which is available, but tricky to get to. She would prefer mostly dirt/paved trails with a minimum of full-on road biking. She would consider going on the trail network we have nearby, which is extensive, hilly, and quite tough - but wants to do that when she gets her cardio up to full speed. She is quite fit already, but mostly from yoga, not running/biking. She is 5'4" with a reasonably long 32" inseam and she weighs about 104 lbs. She's pretty small framed.
I have a Giant Roam 2 hybrid which is great and a Giant OCR 1 road bike, which I adore. I'm pretty fit, so can use one or the other to accompany her.
We've narrowed the search down to hybrids. I originally thought a commuter would be best for her - no susp. fork = lighter - but since our trails are not smooth here, it seems best to get something with suspension and lock it out as needed. I was worried about weight, but I'm hoping it won't be an issue. She likes the stability of the wider tires and the wide flat bar.
Here's the catch: our LBSes only have 1 of the above bikes for her to actually try. They have the Specialized Ariel Sport Disc in stock, in her size for $880. We're going there after work today for her to try it. The others I like are the Giant Rove 0 for $950, the Kona Splice DL for $920 and the Trek Neko SL for $920. All but the Trek can ordered from a single LBS. They also offer lifetime maintenance on the bike you've bought from them for free, which is nice. (limited to adjustments and lubes, obviously) I am going to Vancouver next week and the Giant store there has the Rove 0 in her size and preferred colour - she is not accompanying me, so I'd have to just buy it and bring it back (it's a 4 hour drive). The Kona/Trek would have to be ordered and bought sight unseen.
I'm leaning towards the Rove 0 simply because the components are quite a lot better (all Deore vs mixes of alivio/deore/tektro/non-series components) as well as the slightly fatter tires, for not that much extra money. I wish it came with ergo lock-on grips, so I might request that to be thrown in, if possible.
I'm leaning away from the Kona as it is not a woman's-specific frame.
Your thoughts on the above musings? Has anyone tried all three of these bikes? Does anyone know the approximate weight of these bikes in a Small?
Thanks in advance!