I recently bought a new bicycle. After extensive research, I settled on the Specialized Ariel Sport Step-Through. The research has paid off. Ideally, I wanted a bike that was complete. What is complete, you might ask. In my book, complete is a bike with fenders, a rear rack, a kickstand, and a built-in lighting system. At the time of this writing that’s almost impossible to find here in the US.
A short break during a weekend ride. Time for a quick photo.
In most cases, you can buy a “naked” bike. No lights, no fenders, no racks or kickstands. You need to add that yourself. Yes, some bikes come as a complete package; Breezer has some, for example, the Liberty 1.3+ ST. Don’t get me wrong, there are some nice commuter bikes out there, but they did not have the features I wanted:
- Step-through frame
- The women-specific frame (not all step-through frames are women-specific)
- Front Suspension
- Disk breaks
Those were the must-haves. Some bikes came close. But in the end, it is easier and cheaper to put some fenders, lights (not dynamo driven), rack, and kickstand on than a new front fork or disk brakes (require a frame that supports them).
After I finalized my research, I knew what I wanted. However, another problem popped up: none of the stores had the bikes on my (very) short list in store. That meant I had to order the bike to find out if the bike was correct or not. In that case, it is essential to find out if the store will take the bike back, if there are restocking fees, and if there will be a store credit or money back.
I visited a few bike stores and settled on one I felt confident about doing business with. The guy in the store put me on the correct size of a similar bicycle, and I ordered my bike. The bike is great; it fits like a glove, if you will. For me, this is an all-purpose bicycle, a means of transportation. To be used for recreational tours, grocery trips, and so on.
The Vélo Love section will include posts about my bike, trips, bike gear, bags I use with my bike, and so on. There will be photos that go along with this.
My shortlist consisted of two bikes: Specialized Ariel Sport Step-Through and Fuji Traverse 1.5 ST. Specialized is one of the few companies that make true women-specific frames, which settled my decision. But, in the end, it is all about the bike’s fit and whether it is the right tool for the purpose.