Whilst the choice of women’s specific bike models and specifications can often be very limited, Specialized is one of a few manufacturers that offer a choice of female-specific road bikes. The Specialized Amira is their race-orientated road offering which complements the Ruby endurance model.
I tested the entry-level model which retails for £1300. Out the box I was stuck how beautiful the frame was. The full carbon frame and forks are made from Specialized FACT 8R carbon. Compared to the men’s Tarmac race bike the Specialized Amira has shorter chainstays and headtube to give a women’s specific fit.
Whilst the quality and finish of the frame was above what I would expect on an entry-level model, I felt the bike was let down by its componentry. The specification of the rest of the bike is pretty basic with bottom-of-the-range Shimano 2×9 speed Sora groupset and Axis (Specialized’s own brand) wheels and brakes.
This leads to a bit of a mismatch between the high-quality frame and fork and the rest of the kit. I can’t fault the performance of any of the kit in the few months of testing; it was both solid and performed well. But all of the components lacked the finesse and build-quality of what I wanted on such a frame and were heavier than what I’d chose on a race bike.
The Specialized Amira is a fast and aggressive ride. Rather than sit and pedal, it constantly made me want to attack and I found myself out the saddle on every climb and corner. The compact geometry makes the Amira incredibly responsive to each effort and in turn pushes you to put in the next. It was the perfect bike during a couple of short circuit road races which consisted of some short punchy climbs and fast descents. The only downside was the weight of the wheels which took more effort to get up to speed than something lighter (and more expensive).
Although race orientated and aggressive I found the frame sufficiently compliant to make for a comfortable ride over longer distances – I happily rode it on many training rides for several hours without any problems. Well, except for not quite having the strength in my legs to be able to ride as hard as the bike seemed to want me to.
The Specialized Amira is a beautifully designed and great performing race bike. But this entry-level model is let down by its componentry which feels poorly matched with the frame and forks. If £1300 is as far as your budget will stretch it is a great starter race bike on which you could gradually upgrade the components overtime. But if you could stretch another £300 then save up for the Sport model which will give you components that will do the frame justice.
Fast and responsive women’s specific race bike
High quality frame and fork for an entry-level model at £1300
Price: £1,150.01 (RRP £1,300.00), available from Cycle Surgey.
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