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Its hard to beat the comfort of the hybrid bikes. I purchased a Specialized Globe when I got done having a couple knee surgeries. the bike was a blast to ride, very comfortable seat, produced decent speed and had a good gear selection.

you get to enjoy both worlds, street or dirt if you choose but be warned the experience will be toward the bottom of each experience but for a beginner they are awesome.

I rode, my hybrid bike on 36 mile loops, climbed several of the big climbs around my parts, and enjoyed myself. the tires are large and require more energy to move and you are sitting in an upright position acting like a sail but it is very comfortable.

A question you need to answer for your self is what type of riding will she be willing to do, short 5-10 mile rides in or around city, leisure bike path type stuff. (hybrid)

longer routes of 10-40 miles (Ok for hybrid but reaching the limit and a lot more work)

anything over 40 I would get a road bike. and for a budget you could check craigslist and find used specialized sequoias pretty reasonable and are a decent entry level road bike.

it is important to buy a correct sized frame. if the bike does not fit she will not like to ride it.
 

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i agree also

Hey everyone, I'm trying to get my girlfriend into biking. What's a good starter bike for her? We are trying to keep it under 300$.
i have a Trek 3700 and it's a hair over 400.00.i painted my sons bedroom for it and i do have to admit, it is a nice bike and i would recommend it to you for her.some advice to you too.she will probably like the riding thing,so you may want to get a slightly "nicer" bike for her.that way,later down the line you wont have to!! ride on
 
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