Specialized’s Sirrus range has been one of the best selling hybrid choices for years now and it’s clear to see why: sensible specifications, good pricing, surprisingly nippy performance, and all the assurance that comes with buying from a big-name brand.
We look at the latest version of the aluminium range-topping Sirrus Elite model to find out if this multi-discipline master is still doing it all as well as ever.
Frame and fork
Specialized actually makes two versions of the Sirrus frame: one in lightweight aluminium, and one in even lighter-weight carbon. Actually, make that four versions, because both the alloy and carbon Sirruses are also available in male or female-specific designs. And while the difference between aluminium and carbon is obvious, the differences between male and female specific geometries include details such as a shorter head tube and steeper top tube angle on the women’s models. This being Specialized, you can be sure there are good R&D-backed reasons for those geometry changes.
Despite being hybrids, one thing all Sirruses benefit from, and have done for years, is a close affinity to a Specialized road bike. Admittedly, these days Specialized ‘endurance’ road models have gone off in a different tangent, but the Sirrus’s slightly curved top tube harks back to the hugely successful previous generation Roubaix model. Which might just give us some clue as to the Sirrus’s performance characteristics… but we’ll come to them in a moment. Finishing the frameset in the case of this Elite version is a carbon fork with Plug+Play mudguard mounts.
As you’d expect, The Sirrus range features models with a wide range of component choices, from very affordable to almost boutique. The Sirrus Elite enjoys middle level componentry, albeit with some interesting choices. Probably the most notable of which is microSHIFT front derailleur and gear shifters. They work well, especially in tandem with Shimano’s reliably smooth Tiagra rear mech. The 11-34t cassette allied with the 48/32t 10-speed chainset encourages relatively high-speed aspirations (don’t worry, we’ll come to how it rides in a moment!), while the TRP hydraulic disc brakes are perfectly able of bringing you back to a more sedate pace.
Wheels and tyres
Because of those disc brakes, all wheels benefit from thru-axle technology, which helps to keep the relationship between bike, wheel and road flex free. The wheels themselves are unbranded items but they roll well. More exciting are the Specialized Espoir Reflect tyres that feel fast but also feature a reflective band on the tyre wall and come in a sensible 30mm width — perfectly treading the line between comfort, safety and speed. Indeed, they are ideal for quick commuting or even long rides if you ever fancy taking on a sportive or road-based challenge event.
One area where Specialized sits just a little ahead of most of its rivals is with its finishing kit. Products from Specialized’s Body Geometry range have gained quite a reputation for value and excellence, and in the case of the Sirrus Elite, the Body Geometry handlebar grips come with useful bar-end extension for a welcome selection of hand holds. As with frame design, saddle choice is differentiated between male and female models: men sit on a Specialized Canopy Comp saddle, while women get an Aldia Comp perch. Both saddles are designed to take the pressure off soft tissue for enhanced comfort.
At last, let’s talk about the ride experience. Now, forget any preconceptions you have about hybrids because the Sirrus range is far from being a mix and match compromise. All those specification clues — such as Shimano Tiagra road bike componentry — aren’t a bluff: this bike feels almost as quick over asphalt as a dedicated road bike. OK, there are some differences. The more welcoming upright position due to the flat bars is one, and it can handle looser surfaces far better than a drop-bar bike, but you’ll never feel hard done by when it comes to speed.
However, it’s not all about outright velocity. That frame shape combined with the forgiving finishing kit means that comfort has been addressed just as fully. This is the kind of bike people might initially buy to start a new fitness regime or to fulfill a specific role, only in time to find themselves using it more and more for things they never expected. When we said you could do a sportive on it, we weren’t joking.
If you’d like to ride a bike at speed or even just want a bike that will turn your effort into distance travelled as efficiently as possible — but you don’t want to become a member of the Lycra brigade — then it really is worth giving the Specialized Sirrus Elite a test ride. Factor in the comfort and fun it provides as well, and you might never want to jump off.
Other options in the range
Entry-level: Specialized Sirrus
High-end: Specialized Sirrus Pro Carbon