Specialized Sirrus Comp £699.99

Jack of all trades

BikeRadar score 4/5

An archetypal hybrid for easier-paced road and town riding, or for gentle off-road tracks, Specialized's Sirrus Comp ticks all the boxes on the beginner's wishlist, starting with the most important: comfort. The short reach to the handlebar may flummox more athletic types, but it's easily fixed by buying the next size up. Some components are a bit bread-and-butter but that's a price worth paying for the comfortable contact points.

  • Frame: Oddly short in the top tube, but that’s a quirk rather than a flaw, and apart from omitting a second set of eyelets at the rear dropouts, Specialized get the details right (8/10)
  • Handling: The default riding position is upright, and a more generous rear triangle ensures comfort. Steering is a little light but fine for moseying along tarmac or towpaths (8/10)
  • Equipment: Great saddle, grips and bar ends, and an up-for-anything gear range. Brakes are okay but could easily be improved (7/10)
  • Wheels: Training-grade wheels with tyres that are tough enough for commuting. Rim width is well matched to tyre width (8/10)

With its 28mm tyres, V-brakes, upright riding position and trekking drivetrain, the Sirrus Comp is close to the classic hybrid. It doesn’t have a road bike feel, nor an off-road ethos. Ironically, it’s not specialised. For new cyclists or those not owning several bikes, that’s its strength.

The aluminium frame is oversized or flattened where you’d expect, maximising stiffness, strength and weld area on the one hand and any (that is, little) vertical compliance on the other. The curved top tube’s neat look is undisturbed by a rear brake cable, since that runs internally.

But what’s most significant about the top tube is how short it is. A lot of Specialized bikes have a shorter reach than their rivals, and this is no exception. You’re really sat up. New cyclists seem to like this more, and it’s fine around town because you’re looking up and around rather than down at the tarmac. If it doesn’t appeal, look to buy the next size up.

Comfort is good even when you're sitting upright. Curved seatstays – Specialized call them hourglass – may help a bit and the fairly long chainstays certainly do. Because you’re not sitting as close to the rear axle you’re distanced a little more from bumps and vibration. It’s like the difference between sitting in the middle of a bus and over the back wheels.

It helps that a carbon seatpost is specified. The fork is composite too: a FACT carbon one with Specialized’s Zertz inserts. These are rubbery plastic thingummies that sit in a hollow going all the way through the fork. Do they make a difference? Possibly, possibly not. But they don’t make the fork any less comfortable and some might appreciate the aesthetics.

The fork has a bigger offset than usual. This helps keep the front wheel away from your feet, although the effective top tube length isn’t that short in absolute terms, merely for a flat-bar bike; the front centres distance is fine. There’s plenty of room for a mudguard without it catching on your Hush Puppies or sitting too close to the tyre. More offset on the fork means less trail. Steering is a little light and a slacker head angle would be an improvement.

Extra comfort also comes from the contact points, which Specialized get totally right. Beginners whose hands and sit bones haven’t hardened like teak will appreciate this most, but it’s a nice bonus for anyone. The Body Geometry saddle has a pressure-relieving groove that prevents nerve pinching in your perineum and, if you’re wearing jeans, stops the seam sawing into your soft bits.

The BG grips are flared towards the end, like Ergon grips, for the heel of your hand to rest on. And Specialized have thrown in bar ends so you can move your hands around. The training-grade wheels are okay, and they're shod with puncture-resistant tyres: Specialized’s own All Condition Armadillos in 28mm. They roll fine. Grip wasn’t the best going round a greasy roundabout at speed, but that was more likely to be the light loading of the front wheel, caused by the upright posture, than the traction of the rubber. Don’t bank it like a criterium bike and you’ll be fine.

The V-brakes would be better with full-length arms than mini ones. You’d get more braking power and the straddle cable would sit above the underside of the fork crown instead of eating into the available tyre and mudguard space. The gear shifters are already mountain bike ones rather than flat-bar road, and they’re separate anyway so it’s not a complicated or expensive upgrade to switch the brakes.

Conversely, the trekking gears are spot on. With a range from 26x32 to 48x11, you’re never reaching for a gear that isn’t there, and unless you live in Matlock you’ll be fine even with a rear rack fitted and loaded. There isn’t that huge 16-tooth jump between front chainrings like there is with a compact double, so it’s easy to click up and down the gears and keep a steady cadence.

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