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Old 08-21-09, 07:02 PM   #1
raccoongirl04
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specialized ariel

I haven't been biking on the road in about 20 years, but have been taking spinning classes. I'm now looking to get back into biking, and am looking for both a bike that can be used on the road and also on gravel trails (in wooded areas by me). The bike shop I went to recommended the Specialized Ariel. Does anyone know anything about this bike; and if it would meet my needs?

Thanks so much. So many bikes to choose from!
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Old 08-21-09, 07:39 PM   #2
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Which the LBS you went to undoubtedly has in stock? Hmm.....My first impression is of the curved cross-tube (top-tube). I'd wonder how this effects the both the strength of the frame, as well as the ride. Less maneuverable? More? Ah! Here they explain this - sort of.....

"
FRAME
Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum, low standover frame with Designs for Women geometry, forged dropouts w/ replaceable 98954020 hanger, integrated kickstand mount"

What on Earth is 'Designs for Women' geometry? I can see that in a saddle - but a frame? A mixte is one thing. But this looks silly. Another druthers is the rear-derailleur: Shimano Altus. That's way down the line for a bike that has a MSRP of $440. The front shock-absorber is another trouble-spot I see - but I don't like them except on a true mtn. bike. And the spokes on the wheels are straight-gauge 15 - that's low in my book for a bike designed with off-roading in mind. And it's only 7-cog cassette? Sheesh.

I could go on, but I think you get the general gist of it. I'd keep looking, and not be swayed with "girl's" bicycle with cheap components and way-too-fat tires for a gravel trail and dirt.

Oh - and Welcome Aboard!
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Old 08-21-09, 08:06 PM   #3
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specialized ariel

Thanks for the input. I gather you don't think much of this bike. Actually the bike shop didn't have this one in stock, and isn't getting any in for at least 3 more weeks. So I have time to think.

I'm so new to this and there's so much to choose from. A lot of the component talk I don't quite understand yet. I just want to get something good for on road and dirt/gravel trails. I'm not really looking to climb mountains or race. Just a good bike for on and off road to get decent exercise.

I actually thought the Specialized Ariel looked like it would be pretty good for this. But maybe I'm wrong?
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Old 08-21-09, 08:36 PM   #4
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Hmm.....My first impression is of the curved cross-tube (top-tube). I'd wonder how this effects the both the strength of the frame, as well as the ride. Less maneuverable? More?
Why should a curved top tube be a strength problem? Lots of bikes have them, including lots of high-end mountain bikes.

Raccoongirl, I'd suggest test riding as many bikes in your price range and buy the one that you find most comfortable.
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Old 08-21-09, 08:44 PM   #5
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I'm uncertain about that being a positive thing on mountain-bikes also. My guess it was designed by a marketing-department, rather than engineers.
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Old 08-21-09, 08:51 PM   #6
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I doubt that it's structurally inferior as bikes are typically structurally over-built to begin with. And considering that mountain bikes are exposed to much greater stresses than hybrids or road bikes, I'd say that on a hybrid bike it's a moot point. My guess is that it's not so much a marketing element as much as it is a way of lowering the top tube and increasing stand-over height.
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Old 08-21-09, 09:20 PM   #7
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Hold on here these bikes are awesome. The Ariel is the ladies version of the Crosstrail. Dude if you don't know what womens geometry means you need to come into the modern world. Woman have been riding bikes too large for them for years because they were designed for men's bodies. Given the same height woman will have shorter torsos and arms so top tubes are adjusted accordingly. Given the same height woman will weigh on average 20 lbs less than a man. Why have tube set meant for the weight of a man when woman's bikes are available and have better ride quality? Woman have narrower shoulders so can benefit from smaller handlebars. Need I go on?

The Ariel/Crosstrail are true hybrids, one of the few that are off road capable. To me a hybrid should be a cross between a mountain and a road bike. In a lot of modern hybrids I don't see a lot of mountain. They are simply flat bar road bikes. The bike shop you went to did you well. Specialized makes some of the coolest hardcore mountain and road bikes in the world, they know how to engineer a hybrid bicycle frame.

Last edited by Saddle Up; 08-21-09 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 08-21-09, 10:10 PM   #8
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I'm all for proper fit and geometry - but I wonder about curved tubing. It tells you in it's ad it's part of some sort of women-specific design, but is it really geometry? Or marketing we are looking at. A triangle is the strongest joist for a building. So I imagine curving the triangle would not retain the strength.
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Old 08-26-09, 04:27 PM   #9
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I stopped in at a Specialized dealer yesterday and took a look at the Ariel -- looks like a pretty nice bike. In fact, I'm looking for a bike for my wife and this one is now high on my list -- nothing weak looking about the frame at all.
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Old 08-26-09, 05:40 PM   #10
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That's good to know.
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