It took a while, but with some extensive research, reading blogs, reviews and forums, plus some expert advice from Evans Cycles, I have finally made my decision. I’ve gone for the Specialized Allez Sport 2013.
I was a close call between a number of bikes from the Trek 1.2T H2 or the compact version, or the Cannondale Synapse 7 Sora and a number of other makes and models but @iamspecialized won the day.
It is a very nice Twitter account, not that should be a reason for deciding which bike is best for you, but at least I could tweet that I am specialized!
Why did I opt for the Allez Sport? Well I decided for the silver model like the one above, mainly as I preferred this to black but they are both very nice. I do prefer the dark handlebar tape. On the black bike it is white, but this could be changed in-store at a small cost. I also think a silver bike will be better than black for the night ride come July (although lights will be the main way of being spotted and staying safe). I have a 56cm frame which feels very comfortable. My height suggests a 58cm and this is what I’ve had in the past but each bike is different so its why its so important to get the right size for you. My friend has a 54cm but height suggests a 56cm would be right. Its all about what feels comfortable for you and how long your arms are. My advice is to take advice from the qualified staff at your local bike shop. After a few rides I’ll be in a position to give a more formal product review for each of the new purchases, so watch this space.
You may have noticed the above picture has no pedals on the bike. Some bikes are sold without pedals as they are a very personal choice for each rider. The Allez Sport does come with normal pedals but I have decided to move towards being attached to the pedal for better efficiency on the bike. This might just help me achieve my target time of London to Brighton in sub 4 hours. The above are the entry level Shimano pedals at a very competitive price just £23.99.
Well with clip less pedals come shoes. I have wide feet and therefore need a shoe which caters for this. Again I have spend many hours researching the shoes. The above Spiuk ZS11R had 33% off which helped, but after reading reviews and seeking advice in store I have a pair of shoes which have a ratchet fitting which keep the shoes in the right place on your foot resulting in more power being transferred into the pedal. The result faster and longer rides. I did try the more popular brands like Shimano but after trying on a couple of pairs, Shimano were a little tight across my feet. This is totally a personal choice, but due to my wide feet I’ve gone for the above. Another good feature of the Spiuk ZS11R is they have a winter and summer fitting which help keep your feet warmer and and cooler depending upon the season. With the UK weather the way it is at the moment the summer feature could be something I never get to try out. See it is true the Brits do talk about the weather, just one for any international readers out there. The above come in a bright yellow (which I nearly got), a nice red, black, white and the silver and black above. It fits with the rest of the bike a silver colour theme is definitely going on.
The silver theme continues with the helmet. I just better not cycle in the fog or misty conditions as I will blend in more than others. The helmet was a free accessory from Evans Cycles along with some new fingerless gloves. The gloves are black and not silver. I did have a look and if they had them I probably would have kept the theme going there too! The above is a one size fits all and does fit perfectly on my head. I find it is a better fit than my existing Bell helmet which was more expensive. I wouldn’t have bothered with a new helmet and could have used the extra allowance for shoes, but as the pair that fitted the best had an offer on this allowed me to utilise the free accessories a little more. After all with a silver theme going on a black helmet could have ruined the look!
The ride to work scheme has served me well. Now its just the actual riding to work to gain the full benefit of a healthy lifestyle (or a more healthy one anyway). Bring it one along with the wind, rain and hopefully sun. If you out and about this weekend enjoy your ride. If however you’re not out enjoy watching the final weekend of the Giro D’Italia and Nibali’s victory come Sunday afternoon.