BIG NEWS my friends…………..
There has been some serious saving going down, serious planning and some down right serious time spent shopping around for a new two wheeler. After an acceptable amount of binging on bike window shopping, the big decision has been made.
She’s hot, she’s foxy and she’s all mine.
If I won the Lotto, the very first thing I would do is go to Base2Race – incredible triathlon shop – and buy the blingiest bike they have. I LOVE LOVE LOVE bikes – the mechanics, the designs, the different ride-feel on each bike, how everything comes together to flow beautifully… I love everything about them. Art in motion.
I got my first road bike about 1.5 years ago and she has served me very well indeed. The Carrera Zelos is very much an entry level road bike, consisting of an aluminium frame, a 7 speed cassette, Shimano Tiagra gears and Tektro brakes. It retails in or around 500 euro. At the time, I needed a bike for triathlon but wasn’t all that into cycling so I didn’t want to spend too much in case I decided after a few weeks that actually, I really don’t like cycling.
Cycling was initially the hardest part of triathlon for me.
I was also nervous about the swim but knowing that it’s always the shortest part of a race has always helped keep me settled.
But the bike – the bike is long so if you don’t like it or find it tough, the time can really drag. That’s exactly how the cycling leg of a triathlon was for me for the first few races but then I became determined to work on it and get better. Having people overtake you all the time can be a real inspiration to get your butt in gear and work harder.
Since being sidelined from running for the last 5 months with ongoing foot injuries, I’ve been spending way more time on the bike and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my average speed. Where I really noticed this was in an Ironman 70.3 I did a few weeks ago. I flew the cycle, keeping my pace consistently high (by my standards – not elite standards, you understand…) and I was still overtaking people right up to the end of the 90km. From about 50km onwards, I felt really strong and thoroughly enjoyed that last 40km. This was the first time I ever felt this way during the cycle leg of a triathlon and made me realise how much I actually enjoy being on the bike.
Cycle to Work
This time around, I bought my new bike under the Irish Cycle to Work Scheme, the beauty of which is that it allows employees to purchase a bike up to the value of 1000 euro and if you decide to spend more than that on your bike, you agree to pay it back in instalments deducted from your salary. Obviously the idea is aimed at encouraging more people to cycle to work and boost the health of the nation, which I think has been one of the few brilliant initiatives to come from the Irish government in recent years.
Introducing the Liv Envie Advanced 1
My new bit of road bling is the Liv Envie Advanced 1 …….. which I bought from Base2Race in Ballymount Retail Park (my absolute favourite shop on the planet, highly recommend these guys for runners, wetsuits and all things bike). The Envie is priced at 2249 euro.
I had never heard of the Liv brand before so for those who likewise may not know, Liv is, in fact, Giant’s specialised female bike brand. The Liv Envie which I bought is actually the female version of this Giant bike:
Differences between male and female bikes aren’t massive but there are differences, such as length of reach and “women specific geometry”that can make a big difference to a long ride, including overall general comfort in the saddle after say, 60km. Crank length, stem length, the position of the saddle, the height of the handlebars… the detail may seem small but each has the ability to make or break your ride. To suffer or enjoy.
The Envie boasts a Shimano Ultegra 22 speed drivetrain and a Giant Speed Control brakeset, loaded onto an Advanced Grade composite carbon frame and fork. The saddle is a Liv Contact SL and can be adjusted to move it further forward or back, depending on your personal measurements and how you prefer to ride. The tyres, rims and hubs are all Giant.
As you can see from the pictures, the Envie was designed to be more aerodynamic than a pure road bike, making it more of a triathlon bike than a road bike tailored towards endurance cycling. Giant makes claims of this being a “fast” bike, ie, that you get for the same amount of effort, you can theoretically get more speed out of it. The structure of the frame compared with my other bike, naturally has you sitting more forward on the bike and if you hunker down low onto the drop handlebars and get pedalling, I can easily see how this could have you going faster.
Sitting up on the bike for the first time, one thing I immediately noticed was how much stiffer and sharper the handling at the front felt compared with my old bike. It took a few minutes to get used to it but I rather like how sharp and responsive it feels and the noticeable extra control it gives you going into corners.
The guys in the shop were all gushing about how much they each loved the design of this bike and I’d have to agree with them. This is a very nice piece of work by Giant/ Liv, from the overall look of the bike to the colour scheme they decided to run with. I’ve seen the new 2017 Envie but have to say I don’t quite like the new colours as much at all…
Another neat feature on this bike is the internal cabling which pops in and out very neatly, so much so that you hardly notice it unless you went looking. Tidies the bike up very nicely and contributes to the overall compact look of the bike. In keeping with this theme, the design team have also tailored the seat tube to the shape of the rear wheel which is a lovely touch.
I’ve been the proud owner of this beaut for less than a day and have taken her for a grand total of 1 ride so it would be premature to make any grand conclusions about the Envie.
On the first cycle that I took her on today, I found it to be significantly more responsive than my Carrera Zelos, more aggressive and pretty fun to ride. I was a bit wobbly at first as it’s a much smaller frame, the handlebars are lower and much shorter and it is a much lighter bike. But taking on the advice I got today from Base2Race about posture, hand position and riding technique, I soon found I was enjoying the cycle and having fun on the new bike.
I even went a bit further than planned (in pretty windy conditions) just because I wanted to stay on the bike for a bit longer. Like the kid who doesn’t want to go in for dinner…
Thus far, I am beyond happy with the Envie and can’t wait to go exploring on this nifty bit of kit. No doubt happy times ahead 😉
I may not have won the Lotto (yet) but getting on these two wheels every morning certainly has me feeling like I am a very lucky girl indeed!