The minute I got on my Specialized Sequoia Elite 2009 I knew I was going to buy it! I had already tried a whole range of other road bikes, but I instantly knew this was the one. It was just so comfortable. I was used to hybrid bikes, and most of the road bikes I tried made me feel like I was lying on my stomach. I wasn’t sure if that made me feel too aggressive or too vulnerable. Some of them felt too light and unstable. But the Sequoia managed to hit all the right notes – I was far enough forward to really put my whole body into pushing the pedals, but not so far I felt like I was about to do a face plant. Also, at the same time as it felt light enough to take flight, it also felt solidly in touch with the ground. What a magical combination!
My first impression of comfort was borne out when I took the bike out on the road. I found it very comfortable on the pitted, pothole-rich roads that are typically deemed “bike routes”, thanks to the carbon forks and the Zertz inserts. The manufacturer’s claims that the Zertz inserts on the fork’s Specialized FACT carbon legs absorb vibrations are actually true!
I also took the bike off pavement. To my surprise, I was able to use the thin tires on the roughest part of trails such as the Central Valley Greenway without getting a puncture. However, the tires are definitely at their best on pavement.
Second impressions – Speed
My Specialized Sequoia Elite 2009 is incredibly responsive – it feels more like an extension of my body than a separate entity. The acceleration is so aggressively fast it took my breath away at first. As Maggie said, it feels as if the bike wants to run away with you. I had such a good time looping around Stanley Park, chasing down much younger cyclists and leaving them in the dust! Climbing up to Signal Hill was also way easier than on my hybrid.
The Sequoia Elite is equipped with Shimano 105 10-speed STI brake/shift levers. These are good enough to render this bike race-ready – for race newbies, anyway. I had a little trouble with the gears at first, but that was quickly fixed with a minor adjustment by the good people at CAPS in New Westminster. Marie, always friendly and highly knowledgeable, helped me pick out this gem, and gave me the good news that CAPS offers a full year of free service for bikes they sell. By the way, I just noticed CAPS has a pretty cool sale on right now, clearing out older stock for bargain-basement prices. This is my favourite way to buy bikes – you can really get a good deal if you don’t care that your new bike has been on the market for a year or two.
Safety in Traffic
The Sequoia Elite’s double set of brakes (it has an extra set on top of the handlebars) was one of my favourite things. It enabled me to shift into an upright position with my hands on the top brakes in traffic, so that I could keep an eye on cars, ready to stop on a dime if a motorist cut me off.
Quibbles and upgrades
I do have a couple of quibbles. One day I got what looked like a piece of iron filing stuck in my brake pad. I got it out, but when it happened again I stopped at the first bike shop to get an opinion. In their opinion, the foreign element was actually a piece of brake pad sheared off. They said the stock brake pads were garbage, and equipped me with much better pads. Also, I was not impressed by the stock pedals with toe clip and straps – I replaced these when I purchased the bike, with a decent pair of Shimano clipless pedals.
Great, race-ready bike for a cyclist who wants a comfortable way to get into racing, or just to raise their riding to a higher, faster level than is possible on a hybrid. This is also an ideal bike for long bike tours or cycling events, due to the fact that it’s just so comfortable – plus the fact that the extra set of brakes effectively gives you three different body positions: hands in the drops, hands on the lower brakes, hands on the upper brakes. This ability to change position would definitely make it easier to complete a long distance, such as a century, or a multi-day event.
For more product reviews, see my page called Average Joe Cyclist Product Reviews.
- Made with Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum, the compact Sequoia frame is ergonomically designed for maximum comfort over the long haul.
- The Zertz inserts on the fork’s Specialized FACT carbon legs absorb vibrations to keep you feeling fresh.
- The Body Geometry Sonoma saddle is designed to be kind to your soft parts.
- The Specialized Pro handlebar features a short-reach drop and a special ergonomic shape for long-term comfort.
- The Shimano 105 10-speed STI brake/shift levers give crisp shifts and effortless braking.
- The 4-position-adjustable Specialized Comp-Set stem is easily adjusted to match your bar-position needs.
Complete specs are here: http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bc/SBCProduct.jsp?arc=2009&sid=09Sequoia
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