Firstly, I’ll start this by saying that I am not a super bike geek, so will probably miss out some bits, nor am I a cycling blogger. I am a normal, outdoorsy person who bought this bike last year and wants to share the love!
Last year I set myself the challenge of cycling from Falmouth to London along The Trafalgar Way. At the time of doing so, I was using my brother’s old Decathlon mountain bike as I hated cycling. I’d been for an 8 mile ride on the Isle of Wight and complained almost the entire way about how uncomfortable the seat was… So much so, that my mum bought me a new one at a bike shop in Newport to shut me up. It didn’t work.
So when I headed to Wheels in Gillingham, I was unsure what they would suggest for this anti-cycler. My stepdad had suggested a hybrid, so we went to have a look…
When I arrived, I tried a few different bike set ups, the guy in store was super helpful and knew exactly what he was talking about and we narrowed it down to a Specialized road bike, or the Vita Sport, which is a hybrid. As I knew I would also want a bike that I could use on the New Forest paths as well, the hybrid was the better option.
So I took it for a test ride up and down the road, and fell in love there and then. It was light, far quicker than the old Decathlon MTB I was using and I was a bit in love with the colour too…
It’s crucial, right?
So, on to the technical bit…
The Specialized Vita was designed to be comfortable and efficient for a woman’s specific body geometry, meaning no aggressive riding position. There is a wide gear range and a (surprisingly) comfortable saddle too. The bike is made from A1 Premium Aluminum and it’s tough and responsive, but also fairly light. I can lift it on to the top of my car with no struggle. It has wider tyres with reflective sidewalls and Flak Jacket puncture protection, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes (which are very responsive in all conditions) and rack and mudguard mounts, should you want them. I learned the hard way that on a very wet ride in Cornwall a mudguard was a good shout, after my ‘ass saver’ didn’t quite do what I needed it to. Horse poo and mud all up your back is never a good thing…
And the very technical bit for those who want it, sourced from the Specialized site.
Frame: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum, Women’s Fitness Geometryfender/rack mounts
Fork: FACT carbon fiber, alloy steerer/crown, post mount disc, Plug + Play fender mount
Stem: Alloy, 4-bolt, 7-degree rise
Handlebars: Specialized, double-butted alloy, 9-degree backsweep
Front Brake: Shimano M315 hydraulic disc, resin pads, 160mm rotor
Rear Brake: Shimano M315 hydraulic disc, resin pads, 160mm rotor
Brake Levers: Shimano
Gear Shifters: microSHIFT flat bar road, 9-speed
Front Derailleur: microSHIFT R9, 31.8mm clamp, 9-speed, road double
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Alivio, 9-speed
Crankset: FSA Vero, forged alloy, sub compact, 110mm BCD spider with 48/32T chain rings and chainguard
Cassette: Shimano, 9-speed, 11-34t
Pedals: Specialized Fitness platform
Wheelset: Specialized 6061 aluminum rims with Shimano Center Lock, disc, 10x135mm QR
Front & Rear Tyres: Nimbus Reflect, 700x32mm, 26TPI, Flak Jacket protection
Saddle: Body Geometry Women’s Riva Sport Plus, steel rails, 155mm
Seatpost: Alloy, 12mm offset, 2-bolt clamp, 27.2mm
So, how did it perform?
This. Bike. Is. Brilliant.
I heard scoffs from the outset by my serious cycling friends, who couldn’t believe I would attempt a 300 mile trip on a hybrid. With cries of “think how heavy it will be” to “your hands will be in bits” and “your back will be in pieces”, I was a little apprehensive when I headed off to Falmouth, but I cannot rate this bike enough. It was comfortable, it got me up the hills (after I worked out how to use my gears properly, after a frustrated stepdad had to tell me more than once), my hands were fine, my back was fine and, crucially, so was my bum, even after miles in the saddle. Whether that’s a testament to the Specialized kit or my Decathlon shorts, I’m unsure, but either way, I was happy…
My mum acted as a support vehicle at points (so I could get home from each leg) and driving behind me worked out that on the flat I was getting some great speeds up. This bike, as I said, is light (though not as light as many, I realise) and quick when it needs to be. Some of this is down to my thunder quads I’m sure, but the bike played its part, too!
It’s a great bike to ride, I use it for all sorts now and can’t recommend it enough. Whilst it’s listed as a commuter/fitness bike and is a good few hundred pounds cheaper than the roadies, it can be cycled just as far imo.
I am not a fan of bike snobbery, more so now I’ve experienced it, and it goes to show that this is not just a commuting bike, but perfect for an adventure as well.
Thank you, Specialized, for converting this anti cyclist!