04/01/2014 | 1 comments
Starting at £1300, the Amira range from Specialized, offers good value, comfort and performance for women seeking lightweight, responsive, race-ready bikes.
The highest spec Amira model at £3000, is the race bike of choice for Team Specialized-Lululemon – an SL4 Expert. Clearly, Specialized know a thing or two about producing top-notch gear.
Specialized have sent an Amira Sport through to Total Women’s Cycling to test. The Amira Sport model coming in at £1600, sits just above the entry-level Amira, but below the Amira Comp and aforementioned Amira SL4 Expert.
The entire Amira range uses Women’s Performance Geometry resulting in a shorter headtube and a lower standover height – Specialized haven’t simply shrunk one of their men’s bikes and changed the colourway to appeal to us.
The Amira Sport wears a glossy white paint job and green bar tape giving it a clean, fresh look without appearing overly flashy. The green Specialized S-Wrap tape is a nice touch as it adds a pinch of extra colour into the mix and it’s comfortable with or without gloves (oh summer where are you?).
External cable routing wouldn’t be my first choice for a bike like this, and I’d have to immediately remove the horrid plastic chain guard behind the cassette on the back wheel.
The geometry of the Amira Sport is comfortable on long rides but just about aggressive enough for those wanting to get serious and race.
The FACT carbon frame and fork are lightweight and tough. All in all, I felt it struck a good balance between responsiveness and comfort. The tapered head tube adds stability; increases control, strength and comfort meaning a pleasantly responsive ride – overall the Amira has a very nippy feel.
The bike feels fast and powerful thanks to a stiff rear end. It’s quick off the mark and you can feel that your power is being transferred efficiently through the frame with every pedal stroke.
The large downtube and oversized bottom bracket (BB) area add lateral and torsional rigidity. An oversized BB is commonplace these days and has been adopted by many; it makes a real difference in all aspects of riding, whether that be sprinting, climbing, descending or simply plodding along.
The FSA Gossamer BB30 alloy crankset has compact gearing – a large ring with 50 teeth and a smaller ring with 34. These easily handled Devon’s not insignificant hills. If I had to be picky, I’d have preferred an 11-28 on the rear rather a 12-28, as it means more speed when you want it.
I’m a fan of fast descents, so one of the first things I want from a bike is to feel confident in the machine beneath me and straight out of the box, this bike felt like a new friend; dependable at speed and while cornering. On rough roads she felt comfortable, absorbing lumps and bumps admirably.
The model I tested, the Amira Sport CL comes in at £1600 – slightly higher than the entry-level model with its Shimano SORA groupset. For the extra £300 you get Shimano 105 levers and shifters, a 105 rear mech and Tiagra front mech and cassette.
The Specialized Women’s Comp alloy 123mm drop bars have 75mm reach, and I found them comfortable. I wear medium women’s gloves and found it easy to reach the lever both on the hoods and the drops.
Specialized are known for their comprehensive range of women’s saddles, and the Amira comes equipped with an Oura Comp gel saddle with light, hollow Cr-Mo rails. I found it to be incredibly comfortable, however, in my experience women either love or hate Specialized saddles, so each to their own.
The Amira rolls on AXIS 2.0 wheels, which are fine, but nothing to write home about. As wheels are the second most important spec on a bike after the frame, it would have been nice to see a higher grade of hoops. Specialized Turbo Elite 23c tyres seemed to offer good puncture protection over the distance tested though.
In conclusion, I don’t particularly have anything bad to say about this bike; for the money she’s a winner in my eyes. If you’re looking for a white Christmas, why not treat yourself to an Amira Sport? All you need is some red bar tape and some baubles and you’re all set with the perfect festive all-rounder!
- Good value
- External cable routing
- ‘Marmite’ Oura Comp gel saddle
- Brakes – 105s would be nice
Open Gallery6 Images
What Specialized say about the Amira Sport
For women who live to compete—whether it’s a local crit or a city-line sprint with the weekend group—the Amira Sport offers a light, stiff FACT carbon frame with women’s-tuned geometry for optimal fit and performance, plus lightweight, high-value Shimano 105 components.
- FACT 8r carbon frame uses Women’s Performance Geometry and carbon layup, with OSBB, plus integrated, tapered headtube to create a light, stiff and fast ride
- FACT full-carbon monocoque fork with a tapered 1-1/8″ to 1-3/8″ headset for strength and precision steering
- Significantly lighter than comparable-level wheelsets, these tough AXIS 2.0 wheels roll smooth and fast
- Durable, FSA Gossamer BB30 alloy crankset with compact gearing and ever-reliable Shimano 105 drivetrain is stiff and light for efficiency over any terrain
- Specialized Body Geometry Oura Comp Gel women’s saddle features light, durable, hollow Cr-Mo rails for all-day riding efficiency and comfort