I've narrowed it down to two bikes that I believe are decent and are in my price range. The one I really want is about $200 more, but I don't know if this is justifiable in terms of what each bike provides.
The Mercier Elle:
This bike is going for $600 (down from a list price of $1600 according to the site), and the awesome thing about bikesdirect.com is there is no tax and no shipping cost so it is just straight up $600.
Description from BikesDirect.com:
"The Elle will go anywhere and do just about anything a road rider could want. The Elle is great for those in hilly country, new riders or long distance events. The bike is a dream to ride with that triple providing a go-anywhere gear range, advanced Aluminum frame and Carbon Fork cushioning the ride. Race quality Shimano 105 derailleurs, Shimano Triple STI shifters and comfy Carbon Fiber forks and Aero competition wheels that are proportionately sized. All models have 700c wheels for easier pedaling."
This one retails for $800, but it would probably end up being more than that with tax. This is the one that I really want right now, but I don't know if that is only because it is "prettier" and it is a Felt. I don't know if it is a better bike than the Elle because I do not know what makes a better bike.
Description from feltbicycles.com:
"Felt’s FitWoman custom-butted and shaped Superlite aluminum frame tubing forms the heart of this lightweight, stiff performance road bike that’s built specifically for female proportions. A carbon fiber fork and seatpost add a smooth ride quality, while a handlebar and a saddle designed just for women create a ride quality that’s both precise and comfortable."
What I would like to know:
Which bike would you suggest and why? or neither if you think they're both awful and have a better suggestion :p
I'm looking to find out if I can justify the higher price tag (I know it's not all that much more, but if the Elle is actually the better bike, I'd rather not spend the extra) Also this is actually a combined Christmas present between family and Matt and I'd like to be able to tell Matt why it is worth it to go for the Felt (if that is the case.)