Cycling in Melbourne Australia
I would first go spend some of her budget money on finding what dimensions her bike should be... before she buys she needs to know how she feels on the bike under mild pressure to determine the correct seat height, seat set back, handle bar height, handle bar depth and width, stem length, top tube length, seat tube length, seat tube angle and crank length. She cannot do this by walking in to a store and getting a salesperson to tell her, it won't happen. they will tell her to hop it first...or pressure her to buy a bike that is ill suited to her.
She is still spending a decent amount of money buying her bike, so why waste it with the wrong information. $1500 isnt huge these days on a new road bike, but there are still ways of getting what suits her without shelling out mega$s.. although I feel she may need to look at closer to $2500 to be close to perfect for a new bike that is almost custom. Done properly she will be armed with the correct information to walk into any bike shop any where in the world and get what she needs need and not what the retailer wants to sell. A measurment only will cost around $125.Its well set out here at Steve Hoggs site, Ivanhoe Cycles use Fit Kit System ( which may or may not allow for her physiology overt the math formula), Kennedy in Black Rock does a personal assessment and trained Steve Hogg in Cyclefit and has fitted over 15000 riders.
There is a stack of info with a list of Melbourne and Vic Fit Experts at BV;s site on Women's Cycling here
There are some good buys & Tim offers a few good value " name" packages, which could suit, however I will caution on any mass produced bike as being suitable for everyone, as they can't be...manufacturers, make a formula that fits their inhouse guru's ego and doesnt fit anything but a bean counter's idea of a profitable production run and make bikes based on some 57 kilo weed pro rider or a 85 kilo grunt sprinter who would win on a tricycle and they claim their bikes are leading edge... its all BS,
and these change over time as we get fitter, less fitter, slimmer fatter, whatever, it is dynamic so a bike that can be adapted is important, if it is too small to start with then you have issues on getting it bigger and safer without buying a larger frame... and many LBS try and sell smaller bikes ( oh its lighter you will climb well, rubbish...if its too small its too small)... if it is too short in the wheel base it may be too unstable for you , if it is too steep in the head angle it may not handle right for you, if it is too steep in the seat angle and too low on the bars, it may be unsafe and you will not see where you are going and chances are you will hit a parked car...