Friday, July 22, 2011

Ridden Hard: 2011 Specialized Amira Expert

One of the perks of working at a bike shop is you occasionally get to test ride bikes, really nice bikes. Bikes that when you swing your leg over the toptube, click in, and take those first pedal strokes, it's magic. I present to you, the 2011 Specialized Amira Expert.

Yummy, isn't she?

The Amira Expert is a women's specific carbon fiber frame, tuned to a woman's weight, which is on average 30-40 lbs. lighter than the average man. Thus, in order to respond the way it's supposed to, they tweeked the carbon lay-up to respond better to a woman rider.

The bike was spec-ed with full Shimano Ultegra components, Fulcrum Racing 5 wheelset, a Specialized Jett Comp Gel saddle, and Look Keo Classic road pedals, courtesy of Francesca of the Specialized Demo team.

And how was the ride? She rode like a dream. The carbon made for a stiff ride and the geometry let me dip into the corners at the last second, when I stood on the pedals, the bike rocketed forward, and climbing the rollers was almost too easy (but that could have been because of the compact gearing). I loved the big drop from saddle to handlebars, too. My blue bike is set up with a seven centimeter drop between the saddle and handlebars. Usually, only racers have that aggressive a position on the bike, but I like it because I'm strong enough and flexable enough to be in that position without getting sore and I get the best leverage for climbing and sprinting.

Oh, and here's what she'll look like next year at the S-Works level: First Look: Specialized S-Works Amira 2012

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

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