Reviewed by Laurel-Lea Shannon
Riding up the last steep hill, legs churning fast, I’m the first one to crest the top. Switching into a higher gear I swoop down towards my favourite roadside café, looking forward to a mid-ride espresso. Later, sitting with my cycling buddies drinking my coffee, I notice a guy looking over my bike with keen interest. No, he’s not a bike thief. He’s just another cyclist who appreciates the sleek lines of a well-designed road bike, taking a closer look. It happens every time—the Ruby Sport is a good-looking bike.
The second of seven models of the Specialized women-specific Ruby series—ranging in price from $2000 to $9300—there’s nothing “pinked-up” about the full-carbon Ruby Sport Compact. The bike I was sent is dark silver with purple trim, set off nicely by the white gel tape on the handlebars. The design of the sloping top tube and sculpted forks are balanced by the fat down tube and bottom bracket.
The first time I rode the Ruby Sport I was impressed by its zoom factor. As though waiting, primed and ready, it flew off on the first pedal stroke. With its women-designed tube set, endurance geometry and Zertz vibration dampers in the fork and seat post, the Ruby Sport delivers a punchy but comfortable ride, even on the many roughly paved surfaces here in Lanark County.
That’s largely because of the frame. Although it uses FACT 8r carbon—a less expensive and heavier carbon frame construction than the other higher priced Ruby models—it still offers a smooth ride. The Sport comes with Shimano 105 front and rear derailleurs, Shimano Tiagra 10 speed 12-30 cassette, a SRAM Tiagra crankset, and Shimano 105 STI shift levers, making shifting seamless and easy.
Often when you buy a new bike the first thing you need to upgrade is the saddle. I was eager to see how the Specialized Body Geometry Women’s Lithia Comp Gel saddle measured up. It was stiff on the first few rides. That’s to be expected. But I was impressed by how quickly it became comfortable. The Lithia Comp Gel has the usual cut out, gel padding and medium density foam. Less common is that it also comes in three sizes: 130mm, 143mm, and 155mm. If you’re buying the bike, get measured for the right size saddle.
I tested the Ruby Sport on short rides and long rides 100 km (60 miles) and everything in between; on flats and hills, both rolling and steep. Designed for long-distance comfort the Sport can still turn on the speed when you need it. Whether blasting down curving descents in the drops, or pounding on the pedals to climb up the last third of a quad-busting hill, the handling is stable and sure. The Ruby Sport Compact is just plain fun to ride.
A good choice for the enthusiastic road cyclist looking for a bike with the necessary snap for challenging training rides, and a smooth, comfortable ride for all-day road adventures.
Price: $2199 Weight: 19.7 lbs. Sizes: 44, 48, 51, 54, 57 Frame: Specialized FACT 8r carbon Component highlights: Shimano 105 STI brake levers, Shimano Tiagra brakes, Shimano 105 front and rear derailler, Shimano Tiagra 10 speed 12-30 cassette, SRAM Tiagra crankset, 50/34 chainrings, DT Axis 1.0 wheels, Specialized Espoir Sport, double BlackBelt, 60TPI, wire bead, 700x23c tires, FACT carbon w/ Zertz insert, 27.2mm seatpost, Body Geometry Women’s Lithia Comp Gel saddle.