As mentioned recently in our 2015 women’s mountain range highlights story, Specialized continues to show its strong commitment to women’s cycling with even more dedicated models for 2015. BikeRadar recently attended an Australia/New Zealand Specialized dealer launch and there was plenty to see in the widely updated women’s multi-use, fitness and road ranges.
It's important to state that these aren’t just men’s bikes with different colours, smaller sizes and women's saddles – Specialized has a large team dedicated to creating women’s products. Compared with the equivalent men’s models, frames are designed to offer precise fit, greater comfort and lower weight in proportion to a woman’s lighter build. Additionally, all contact points are designed for ultimate comfort; and handlebars allow for easy reach to the brake levers with smaller hands.
See also: full coverage of Specialized 2015 bikes and gear.
Specialized Ruby Pro Disc UDi2
Following the introduction of the men’s Roubaix Disc, there is a now disc brake equipped version of the endurance road Ruby. This new platform aims to provide increased brake control and confidence from the already comfy-riding model. The top-end Ruby Pro Disc UDi2 (US$TBC / AU$7,999 / UK£TBC) offers lightweight carbon wheels – which, Specialized states, “has all the [material's] benefits without the scary braking”. While the Pro Disc UDi2 is the only disc-equipped Ruby we saw, there is talk of a cheaper SRAM Rival equipped 'Elite Disc' version – but this and availability of other models is TBC.
In addition to the Ruby Disc, all Ruby models now include the CG-R (AKA Cobl Gobl-R) seatpost, which helps to dampen the road vibrations before reaching the saddle.
Specialized Dolce Elite EQ
The Dolce is an entry-level value-orientated range of alloy framed bikes that share the carbon Ruby's handlebar height and reach. For 2015, the frames receive some tweaks that make them lighter and more comfortable, putting up a strong argument against those who claim alloy bikes ride harshly. Excluding the most basic Dolce, carbon forks are provided on all models with vibration-damping Zertz inserts to further improve ride comfort and control.
Models in the Dolce range such as the Elite EQ (US$TBC / AU$1,599 / UK£TBC) and Sport EQ (US$TBC / AU$1,299 / UK£TBC) are sold fully ready to ride with the ‘EQ’ meaning that matching bottle cages and saddle bag are included.
The Dolce Elite EQ features the same Smartweld frame technology as found on the new Allez bikes, enabling Specialized to attain weights more commonly associated with carbon frames. This model offers a wide gear range from its 20-speed Shimano Tiagra parts.
Specialized Amira SL4 Expert in Specialized-lululemon Team Replica paint
The bike of choice for team Specialized–lululemon, the Amira is a performance focused carbon road bike that, according to its maker's boasts, is the world’s lightest and stiffest women’s bike. Despitebeing structurally unchanged from 2014, the S-Works Amira SL4 Frameset (US$TBC / AU$3,999 / UK£TBC) with its team paint scheme gained plenty of attention.
The base-model Amira Sport (US$TBC / AU$2,499 / UK£TBC) receives an upgrade to the FACT 9R carbon frame that’s both lighter and stiffer; combined with a Shimano 11-speed 105 groupset this model raises the value stakes.
Specialized Alias Sport Tri
Launched for the 2014 season, the Specialized Alias is a performance road and triathlon bike. It’s a unique, versatile bike for those that are into triathlons but want a bike that can be ridden safety on the road and in groups when not competing.
Most models include specially designed clip-on aerobars for simple one-bolt installation and removal. The Alias’ seating positioning is forward, in line with TT standard operations and to suit the aerobars, but dealers are being encouraged to offer (sell) a second saddle and seatpost setup with a more rearward position so Alias owners can turn their bike into a road bike with a simple seatpost swap and removal of the aerobars.
Specialized Vita Expert Carbon Disc EQ
Headlining the multi-use range of bikes is the Vita, something that’s pitched as a bike for those that love to cycle, but don’t associate themselves with being a ‘cyclist’. Previously the Vita used a Ruby frame with a flat handlebar – and was criticised for being cramped and skittish. So for 2015 the series gets a complete overhaul with an entirely new, dedicated frameset.
Where last year’s Vita had race-bike width 23c tyres, the new models jump to a confidence inspiring 30c (32c on base models) that also opens the bike’s versatility. Mounts for fenders (mudguards) are included for all-weather riders, and most models now feature disc brakes too.
There are three levels of frame available: a FACT 9R carbon frame with Zertz inserts, E5 Premium alloy and the basic A1 alloy. The carbon models include a matched carbon fork with Zertz inserts, while the tin-frame models receive a matched alloy fork.
No doubt the carbon models will be the most comfortable option, with their Zertz damping inserts front and rear. The Vita Expert Carbon Disc EQ (US$TBC / AU$2,499 / UK£TBC) sits at the top of the range with its 11-speed Shimano 105 gearing, Magura hydraulic disc brakes and super puncture resistant Specialized Espoir tyres. Additionally, all carbon models receive the same ‘EQ’ designation as the Dolce, with bottle cage and saddlebag included.
For a closer and further look at the range, scroll, swipe or click through our gallery at top.