PRODUCT REVIEW: SPECIALIZED ALIBI – THE ULTIMATE URBAN RIDE

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December 20, 2016 by Debajyoti M

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Newly launched for 2017, the Specialized Alibi is a very interesting ride – solid tires, no more punctures and filling in air!

Newbies don’t seem to fathom the significance of this but cyclists love it.

Solid bicycle tires have been around for a while but Specialized is the first major cycling company to roll out an urban commuter with solid tires. Like all other Specialized products, we love the attention to detail that’s gone into making the Alibi the perfect urban ride.

THE EXPERIENCE

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An upright, uber comfortable ride with solid puncture proof tires and a rust proof chain screams of reliability and convenience. The Body Geometry (what is Body Geometry?) contact points – saddle, grips and pedals – differentiate it from every other bike in this category by providing high quality components where it really matters vs gimmicky drive train bits-n-bobs to open up wallets.

RIDER PROFILE / GOALS
A good bike shop, brand and budget are important considerations while purchasing a new bike. But one of the most important decisions is to ensure the ride experience matches your riding goals. (Read more about how to choose a good bike)

The Specialized Alibi is well suited for certain rider profiles. If you’re still unsure, please reach out and our bike specialists will be happy to help

  • Beginner / Hassle free ownership (YES, YES, YES!)
  • Urban Commuter / Commuting & Ridng in the city (YES!)
  • Neighbourhood Fitness Rider / Sub 30km rides (YES!)
  • Distance Fitness / above 30kms (MAYBE NOT, Go for the Specialized Sirrus)
  • Endurance Rider / looooong distance riding (NO! Go for the Specialized Diverge)
  • Performance Rider / speed is all that matters (DEFINITELY NO! Go for the Specialized Allez)

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

SOLID TIRES & RIMS

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The Specialized Alibi comes with the Nimbus Airless tires, made from micro closed cell polymer resin using a unique foaming technology. The solid tires have comparable weight to tire, tube and rim tape combination. Yup, no extra weight just because you’re riding solid tires! The tires are secured onto the rim by a locking pin system to avoid tire roll off. Specialized has worked extensively with a leading solid tire manufacturer to come up with this patented system to ensure rider safety.

Expect 4,000 – 4,500km from the tires and we do have replacements incase you need to change the tires. Once the tires wear out they can also be replaced by standard tires & tubes. The valve hole in the rim is covered using a small branded sticker to maintain aesthetics. Talk about attention to detail!

The freedom of riding a bike without worrying about tire pressure or pinch flats is absolutely amazing. The solid tires also save you a ton of money cause you no longer need to own a floor pump, hand pumps, tire levers, patch kits, spare tubes, a saddle bag to carry all this and the expertise to fix a flat in the middle of somewhere. Just ride the bike!

CONTACT POINTS: SADDLE, GRIPS & PEDALS

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The bike comes with the Specialized Milano unisex comfort saddle. Gel padded to ensure the upright position is well supported to offer a comfortable ride even if you’re not in padded cycling gear. While we see women specific saddles only on women specific bikes, the Alibi comes with a unisex saddle to ensure a wider audience for this bike. An upright position with a relaxed lower back, easy handling and much better visibility in traffic. The saddle is also highly reflective on the rear. Brilliant idea!

specialized alibi flat awesome pedals

Wide platform pedals for use with a wide variety of footwear and extreme stability while pedalling. The bike is easy to pedal in sandals, running shoes as well as formal shoes! With all that body geometry fit information flowing into Specialized HQ, the bike comes installed with pedals with an inbuilt varus angulation to ensure anatomically correct riding posture. Specialized shoes come with this technology and it’s good to see it trickling into their pedals.

Body Geometry Contour lock ring grips to spread the load on your palms and ensure a very comfortable ride even without gloves.

COCKPIT

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The bike has a very very comfortable cockpit. The short stem ensures a nice responsive ride even though the handle bars are comfortably wide! The golden bell is a very pleasant addition. Very useful and loud in an Indian setting where the bell/horn is an extension to your steering as you ride thru crowded cities.

The handle bar houses just 1 shifter for the rear derailleur as the bike does not have a front derailleur. Clean & simple.

DRIVETRAIN

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An absent front derailleur has cleaned up quite a few things on this bike. Reduced complexity for beginners and commuters, lesser cables all over and lesser moving parts on the bike is always a good time.

The basic 7 speed freewheel is also a good add with a nice big megadrive cog to help climb steep flyovers. These Freewheels and 7 speed chains are cost effective to replace and available pretty much everywhere. 7 gears are more than sufficient for everything an urban landscape can throw at this bike.

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The bike also comes with a solid alloy chain guide which also doubles up as a trouser protector! These are typically flimsy & plastic which break over time and leave classic commuter grease marks on your nice trousers. The guides also ensure that the chain can never ever fall off the front chainring.

The rust proof chain comes with anti rust coating on the chain and bolts. Extremely useful for those rainy commutes when the last thing you want to do after a gritty wet commute is to first wash, dry and lube your bike before you hit the showers.

MISC THOUGHTS

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Cyclists across the globe are extremely conscious about how they look on their bikes! Move over tech spec, matching components and kit is even more critical. The bike looks good and has a ton of matching Specialized gear. Internal routing maintains a clean, neat look. The slick golden bell stands out on the black contrasting handle bar.

Most new riders miss how good hardware on bikes ensure the bikes last much longer and are much easier to maintain. This bike comes with top notch hardware – stem, bolts, handlebar, seat post, topcap, pedals, brakes.

The bike screams of low maintenance and simple gearing for city usage with the anti rust coating on chain and bolts and the aluminium frame lends a light ride. The steel fork offers sturdiness and some level of vibration dampening. Compatibility with the Specialized Stix headset spacer mount and rear rack mounts on the frame add to the versatility of the bike.

VERDICT

From our experience, a lot of riders stop cycling when bikes breakdown or have a flat tire. We’re hoping this bike changes everything for that rider! Its all about enjoying your ride.

Seasoned commuter Satish describes this ride perfectly – ”I found the first ride to be slightly bumpy compared to my older mountain bike. A couple of rides and I have no complains now. If no one told me that these were solid tires, I wouldn’t have noticed it. I am faster and more comfortable on this and don’t bother about flats during my commutes!”


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