First ride on Specialized Secteur Sport

dsharp7th Posts: 19
edited November 2009 in Road beginners
Hi people,

not a cycling newbie but definitely a drop handlebars newbie - having spent the last few years hauling my heavy hybrid bike round 80+ mile hilly runs, finally found myself with funds to make the step to more suitable bike and keep my bombproof but long suffering hybrid for commuting.

I didn't suffer the agonising deliberations about which bike to go for that seem to be a feature of this subforum, as soon as Specialized released this model it seemed to tick all the boxes - I wasn't ready for the limitations of a compact chainset (all Secteurs come with triple), I may possibly want to put a pannier rack on for a long journey one day, I like a route with roads without A or B numbers that may need the odd bit of resurfacing (Secteur Sport extra vibration absorbing carbon forks with 'zertz', and the Roubaix style cobbleproof frame), the styling of most Specialized bikes just seems slightly funkier than that of other mainstream manufacturers (no I just can't bring myself to like Bianchi green), and it came in at the right price point - picked up at the nearby Birmingham Specialized concept store.

Following its first run I'm suitably smug - it feels just right, and I didn't feel in any way like I was adjusting to the new fit - which probably means the fit is right. I didn't get caught out by my first use of SPD pedals having read traffic light stories on this and other forums, by investing in SPD and flat A530 pedals I can disengage and flip to normal ahead of junctions, and I experienced the joy of using the 'up' energy when pedalling for the first time. I still have no idea what 'zertz inserts' are, but they seem to work, as I didn't miss my hybrid's front suspension on rubbish roads and drain covers. And the lightness is a wonder for me - I believe the Specialized Allez and Secteur are some of the best weight to price ali frame options.

So a few questions for other forum users, feel free to answer one, more or none...

The only thing that I feel will take some getting used to is the 'reach around' by the fingers required for braking, it doesn't seem possible to achieve a confident braking action that I'm used to with flat handlebars without going down on the drops, which is not what you want to be doing when slowing anyway presumably. And the inward bending of the Sora levers doesn't really help. Any tips in this respect? Or do I just need stronger middle/ring fingers...?

When I cleaned the bike following the first ride there was a long strip of thin rubber caught in the pulley wheel of the Tiagra rear shifter. Like a snapped black elastic band. Is this just road flotsam, or has this come out of the mechanism somewhere and should be providing some dampening or something?

During the trip the front brake started scraping the wheel for about a mile, then on braking to a stop there was a click and it was fine from then on. What happened?

Following the trip the rear brake is making contact with the wheel for a short amount each turn. Is the wheel misaligned already? Or does it just need the brake adjusting? (when this happened with my hybrid I would just do a dirty readjust to the v-brakes to last until a proper service)

(With the above I will bring these up when it goes in for first service)

Is putting panniers on a bike like this a sensible thing to do?

Finally - I'm interested in the first upgrade that forum users would make to improve the off the shelf spec? (Lets say £100-150 budget)

Thank you for your time.


  • You can adjust the 'reach' on some Shimano STIs (not sure about Sora) to bring the brake levers closer to the bar which might mean you have to do less of a 'reach around'. There is an article on the Park Tools website:

    *Restrains self from sniggering and making comments about enjoying a 'reach around'*
    I'm trying to persuade the missus to go from a flat bar road bike to a secteur so let me know how you get on with the bike.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,201
    If the wheel is only touching for part of the turn then it probably just needs some minor truing but you could just ease the brakes off a touch if it is only very minor until your first service. Sora have a reputation for being difficult levers to operate but that is normally when on the drops, it sounds like you are having problems whilst on the hoods so not too sure what you can do with that :? Panniers are fine on it, although not designed as a touring frame it is more relaxed than a racing frame so ideal for those long leisure rides. Not sure what the front brake problem was, could have been that the one side of the caliper got pulled over and stuck for a bit before freeing itself.

    Upgrades are always contraversial - someone will tell you to upgrade your legs first :roll: - but the consensus is usually good quality lightweight tyres and tubes or better wheels. That said, with Sora shifters if they are giving you trouble they may be a good place to start.
  • ha ha. reach around.
  • Mothyman
    Mothyman Posts: 655
    sounds like you and your Secteur will live happily ever me and my Roubaix...

    I dont find the brake issue a problem on my bike - but I did slightly tilt the bars to suit my feel.

    enjoy the bike
  • it felt incredibly funky and unstable braking for the first time on my Spesh.. and as it happens, I had to slam on the anchors to avoid hitting some mouth breather pushing a buggy into a main road in the west end of london... talk about trial by fire!!

    Give it a while and you will get used to it. Its amazing how quick you adjust to these kind of changes! Right now id happily thumb wrestle a yeti and feel confident winning due to my new found hand power.
  • Alex1988
    Alex1988 Posts: 109
    I picked my Secteur up a couple of weeks ago and have already got a couple of hundred miles in on it, such a difference coming from a mountain bike.
  • thanks for advice and suggestions. i'm sure i'll get used to the new brake levers and i think it's just the newness of road bike bars in general - they just seem like the most noticeable compromise of performance over ergonomics.

    and thanks for doubling my entendre! get too far into anything sporting or technical and fnarr fnarr moments are always lurking!