Specialized has aimed the Sirrus Expert Carbon (from its fitness range) at those who demand high-end performance. The combination of a carbon frame and fork with Shimano 105 gears shows that the brand means business.
The FACT 9r carbon frame has subtle looks with its matte-black finish, and internal cable routing to add to its clean lines. And don’t be put off if you ride at night, as the bike has a reflective coating.
The wide, flattened top-tube flows smoothly into the rear seatstays and, while it initially appears intimidating, and even sluggish, after a few pedal strokes you’ll enjoy a light-yet-forgiving ride. It’s not overly lively and even after three hours in the saddle I didn’t have any issues.
The FACT carbon fibre fork is responsive, and combined with Specialized’s Future Shock that sits below the stem, it delivers a great ride. Originally designed with input from motorsport expert, McLaren, for pro riders at the Paris-Roubaix, Future Shock works like a damper sitting inside the head-tube, delivering up to 20mm of travel.
With the movement happening above the head-tube the rider is suspended and not the bike. This makes for a more compliant experience, yet remains relatively efficient without the system having a great effect on overall handling. It’s sympathetically designed, sitting neatly within the head tube too.
It’s not buttery smooth like a mountain-bike fork, which soaks up every ripple, but when you hit the rough stuff it helps to iron out the surface without feeling bouncy or sapping your energy. Even out of the saddle it doesn’t bob unless you start throwing your weight around.
The fork uses a 12mm thru-axle, making for solid tracking. It’s also good to see plug-and-play mudguard mounts at the bottom of the fork blades, and on the rear of the frame.
Braking is taken care of by TRP’s FSC (Flow Set Control) hydraulic discs. These allow for progressive braking without feeling grabby, regardless of your skill level or the riding conditions. The two-finger brake levers are well shaped with ample reach and the matching Microshift gear shifters deliver crisp indexing.
The 11-speed Shimano 105 11-32 cassette combined with 48/32 chainrings on the forged aluminium Praxis Alba M40 chainset offer a wider range of gears than a regular compact. This allows more time to be spent in the 155mm-wide Specialized Canopy Comp saddle than out of it.
The wheels combine double-wall shallow aero-shaped rims with Specialized’s own-brand hubs that benefit from sealed bearings. The 30mm road tread Specialized Espoir Sport Reflect tyres feature a puncture protective layer.
The Sirrus is a rider-friendly bike that rolls well, descends like a dream and enjoys climbing while still remaining reliable and stable. Best of all it’s forgiving on the body without sacrificing performance, whether it’s a short ride to work or enjoying a longer sportive. It’s a classy ride but you pay for it.