With the successful Roubaix series as a design blueprint, Specialized's new Secteur brings more workaday materials and price to a great idea of a bike.
- Frame & fork: Good example of a highly engineered and targeted concept, though the beneﬁts aren’t quite as apparent as hoped for (9/10)
- Handling: Nice sense of balance and control that manages to both entertain and inspire conﬁdence (8/10)
- Equipment: Flies the banner of traditional values and practicality with pride. Useful triple offers more gearing choice, and rider contact points are good (8/10)
- Wheels: Hark back to a time when classic in-house builds from separate brand components were the norm (8/10)
Many aspects of the Secteur will help tempt the average semi-sedentary cycling fan off the couch and onto this bike. A longer than average head tube lifts up the front, giving a more upright riding position and lessening the chance of lower back pain.
Elegantly swooping manipulated aluminium tubes are joined with skeletal carbon seatstays that feature Zertz inserts. These act as dampers to kill the buzz that might induce fatigue over the long haul.
A gradual increase in rider size and weight seems to have been acknowledged by ‘super-sizing’ rider contact points. These include a chunky shallow-drop handlebar with ﬂattened centre sections, a large diameter stem with angle adjustment, and a wider and ﬂatter BG gel saddle with a cutaway. Also included is a Zertz full-carbon seatpost, in what is surely the most effective diameter for comfort and strength: 27.2mm.
All of these concepts spring to life with the ﬁrst vigorous pedal strokes, proving their worth when we blast through our local ‘secteur pavé’ simulation. It consists of a smoothish stretch of Champs Elysées-style cobbles and some rougher Paris-Roubaix-like beasts.
The sharp sting in the tail usually expected didn’t materialise, the ride being damped down into a more bearable succession of thuds, helped in large part by the excellent Specialized Pro II tyres, with the seatpost working overtime. Up front, the Zertz-enhanced fork works well enough, though sufﬁcient shocks made it through the stout bar and stem to deﬂate the mystique of life as a pro.
With drivetrain functions carried out by Shimano 105, and own-brand components rounding out the ﬁnishing kit, the Secteur’s equipment choice steps up to the mark and delivers.
Big 175mm crank arms help you power over hills despite the bike’s 9.4kg (20.7lb) weight, and the triple gearing with 50/39/30 rings helps on really steep climbs though it spins out quickly on descents.
Nice touches include a ‘dog fang’ to catch inward falling chains, and a twin angle adjustment shim which allows four different stem positions. Distractions include generic brakes which failed to impress, and a generous 160mm Q-factor (the distance between your pedals) that’s more dirt bike than road bike.
The wheels reﬂect Specialized’s traditional roots, with DT spokes in a classic three-cross pattern, Mavic CXP22 rims and own-brand forged hubs. With excellent tyres featuring a soft compound and diamond ﬁle tread, they perform with aplomb.
The Secteur Comp is nicely poised, with accurate and willing steering response, while a high bar and stem make for a surprisingly comfortable climbing position, allowing you to get right to the back of the saddle and dig in with your heels. High speed stability is excellent thanks to the longish wheelbase.
By making a bike as user friendly and comfortable as possible, Specialized are attempting to remove some of the common objections to cycling for ﬁtness and fun. How many regular Janes and Johns can they recruit to the cause? With the Secteur Comp, hopefully entire armies.