Saturday, 26 January 2013

Specialized Sirrus - my daily commuter

I started commuting to work in March 2012 on a $125 Magna Excitor bike from Target. It isn't a bad bike I suppose, my commute is 3 miles each way on flat roads and the Magna was up to that task. I started cycling to work because I didn't have a car, and kept at it even after I got the car because I liked it a lot. However, I found myself wanting a better bike, so I started test riding bikes at LBSes in my area. I finally ended up getting a 2012 Specialized Sirrus (the base model).

So far, I have only good things to say about this bike. The higher end models have better shifting and are specced more like a road bike, but the base Sirrus is just right for me. The bike cost me $487 (inclusive of tax) - and I have spent a lot more on accessories since then. A photo of the bike as it was after I got it:
The bottle cage is a Topeak plastic cage, light and with adjustable size - allows me to carry bottles of different sizes. The bike changed a bit as I commuted - I added fenders, a rack, bag, computer, lights, changed pedals. Here is an intermediate photo - this isn't the latest photo but it shows the bike in its correct place - my office :)
I like this bike quite a bit - like all new bike owners, I keep thinking of the n+1 bike - but I ride this bike and any desire to buy another bike melts away.

Things I like about the bike:
1. The 700x32 tires give a nice comfortable ride.
2. The 48-38-28 gearing up front has a gear high enough to push the bike to 30 mph, but also has a gear low enough to help me up hills. Race bike riders like close gearing so that they can maintain perfect cadence - I like the range in gearing more.
3. The frame has plenty of eyelets and braze-ons - adding fenders, rack and bag was no trouble.

Things I don't like about the bike:
1. The front derailleur could have been better. It is a Shimano Tourney - bottom of the barrel. It does its job, but it is definitely not snappy about it. However, an Alivio upgrade will cost about $15, so I'm not too worried about it. And all said and done, the Tourney does the job well enough, so I haven't felt like springing for the $15 yet.

I now take the bike on weekend rides as well - not really a pro rider yet, and my rides are restricted to two hours at the most (that is the time when our 2 yo is asleep) - but I really enjoy the rides.

A quick review of the accessories/changes I have on the bike so far:
1. Topeak Explorer rack, with Topeak MTX EXP bag.
Love this setup. The slide in and lock system is pretty nice, and more importantly, because the panniers start from the top of the rack bag, they end pretty high - so I have no heel strike. I carry my laptop (in a padded sleeve) in one of the panniers, clothes in the other and food, patch kit etc. in the rack bag.
$25 got the rack from Amazon.com, $60 shipped for the bag from Modernbike.com

2. Planet Bike Hybrid fenders
$25 fenders from Amazon.com. Was really upset with them initially, the rear fender didn't fit snug and rattled a lot. Solved that by removing the screw from the seat stay, and using twisties instead - the screw didn't hold the fender high enough. Additionally, after I contacted Planet Bike support, they kindly sent me another clamp - I used the clamp to give the fenders a better line - attached the clamp to the rack using twisties. Really solid fit now - no issues at all.
Older Sirrus versions have reported issues with fenders and the front derailleur - those issues seem to be sorted now. Plenty of clearance:
3. Sigma BC 1009 computer
Easy to setup, plenty of videos on Youtube. Inexpensive, and reliable.

4. Topeak cage
Works well, looks nice too.

Have a few other accessories, but will cover those later - I need a new photo for that. The bike looks more nicely setup now, so I want a better photo before I post further :D

Latest photo, fenders off for the summer.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

No comments:

Post a Comment