May 7/12
 SPECIALIZED has it all and your bike shop will be the expert for you. There are comfort step over bikes, hybrids, commuters, town cruisers, mountain bikes with suspension and without, light expensive road bikes and less expensive classic recreational road bikes. Be clear on your particular biking vision so your local Bike Shop can match the multitude of bike options to YOU.

Mountain Bikes: My Bike: SAFIRE Pro Women's 5x5inch trail bike

Two by Tens- what happened to the old 24 speed -Three by Eight

2 x 10 :This is a great design. What I mean is only 2 rings up front on your crankset, and 10 speeds in back.

If you have been like I was for 2 years prior to this year, thinking that you could not give up your triple crankset on a mtn me, You Can. What a joy to not have to use that front derailluer as often. To spend equal time in each front ring with 10 gear choices in back cassette is delightful, and efficient. The only downside is you may wear down your front inner ring sooner, so keep your eyes on the teeth wear. (This leads to another chapter on basic bike maintenance/prevention)

I feel as if I gained more power with the transfer from 3 by 10 to 2 by10 gearing. And I'm not getting any younger or more powerful at 52.

Now this only works because you have 36 teeth in biggest rear cog with the 22/36 in front chain rings.

2012 Safire has given us ladies an even easier climbing gear. My 2011 has a 24 small front ring matched with a 36 rear and I thought that was adequate for me (and I like to spin up climbs). And now one gets an even easier climbing gear with 2012 Safire. Yay..always improving things. I love that about Specialized. I notice the boys still have the 24 up front but they are supposed to have more muscle fibre than us gals?

Road Bikes: My Bikes: RUBY Comp and VITA Pro

Two by Tens versus Triple Cranksets

This needs careful consideration with your purchase. I suggest taking the bike you are interested in for a ride up a typical steep hill you may ride and make sure you are comfy with your easiest 2x10 "compact" set up.

RUBY COMP: It was suggested that I would be satisfied with a compact crank system and I have to say that even as a strong rider that prefers to spin up climbs with worn out knee cap surfaces, I barely enjoy my Compact gearing. Since I am always in shape from winter ski skating, and I have the strength to stand up climb for long periods, I am getting away with a road compact set up. But this is also with a light Ruby and no extra gear.

VITA PRO: I just got this bike now with the purpose of re-entering cycle- touring mode. Touring was how I started cycling...across Canada, Hawai islands, New Zealand, and Europe. The gearing of a compact Vita was lighter than my Ruby and I did not have the opportunity to demo the bike on hills near my bikeshop.. Therefore I am finding that the compact gearing will not be suitable for touring with even a simple sub-20 lb load. Therefore I needed to get myself a VITA Elite with the triple crankset.

So pay close attention to this, listen to what your bike shop tech and knowledgable friends have to say but try to demo the exact gearing yourself before you order the bike. If the bike isnt there to try, then find the same gear ratio on a different bike on simulated terrain gradients.

It is more economical and time saving in the end to purchase the right bike and not one that you have to fiddle with changing cassettes and front chain rings to get the gears you need for the style of biking you'll be doing.