2018 Specialized Sirrus Sport Review
The hybrids are very much the workhorses of our hire fleet. They are flexible, comfortable and easy to ride. This year we are again using the Specialized Sirrus Sport. We had these in 2017 and they proved to be very reliable with a finish that is easily looked after and long lasting.
When fitted with our standard mudguards (fenders) and a rear rack they can look a little unglamorous, especially in the very understated metallic grey colour. This is a bit of a shame as they are also known as “fitness” bikes – fast road bikes for those who don’t want dropped racer handlebars. With an alloy frame and a carbon fork the stripped down a Medium Sirrus weighs in at a reasonably svelte 11.9Kg. The carbon fork also helps provide a little “give” on rougher surfaces.
Gearing is taken care of by a 2×9 crankset and an 11-34 tooth cassette. That gives a good range of gearing at the faster end and a lowest gear of around 25 inches (the amount of forward movement for one revolution of the pedals). That isn’t as low as our mountain bikes (18 inches) but good enough for most hills. We always advise cutting down on the amount of luggage when touring with these bikes anyway. It’s no fun carrying too much stuff with you when you get to the hillier parts of the Highlands.
The gear shifters are made by Microshift. They’re a much smaller company than Shimano and last year was the first time I’d used them. They are bit more clunky than the more expensive Shimano shifters but they feel very “positive” and we’ve had only one failure of them. There’s a middle click position for the front changer that helps avoid any chain rub, though most folk will just click through this position on their way up and down the rings.
The handlebars are quite narrow if you’ve been used to riding mountain bikes. Great for aerodynamics though and for filtering through traffic or through narrow trails.
On the wheels are robust 32mm, lightly treaded hybrid tyres. These cope well with most surfaces around Inverness and on the longer routes. Being slightly wider than those on our road bikes means they have a reasonable amount of comfort too. These are ideal for many of the road-based routes like the North Coast 500 where the road surface might have degraded a little or for the varied track surfaces on NCN78 to Fort William and Oban.
You definitely want to take care if the tracks are muddy though as the tread isn’t really designed for more serious off-roading. That rules out routes like the Great Glen Way alongside Loch Ness. The rims on the wheels have a surprisingly fashionable 25mm internal width. This is something the bicycle industry has taken on board recently, appreciating that wider rims, with the higher-volume tyre it creates, are a more comfortable (and aerodynamic) option. It does mean we can’t really fit narrower tyres though, something some folk still ask for.
With hydraulic disk brakes, there always enough stopping power and no adjustment necessary. That makes them ideal for longer trips too – especially if the bike is loaded up with panniers. There can be a little brake squeal on occasion. This seems to happen of the disc rotor is wet but it disappears when the brakes are used and the rotor heats up a bit.
Maybe next year we’ll buy some in a brighter colour. If you’d like to buy one of these ex-hire in autumn 2018 get in touch now.