Bicycle Network: Women's Cycling
Bike Review - Vivente Rosa
We test ride the Vivente Rosa road bike
Vivente is pronounced viv-en-tay and is Italian for 'living'.
Never heard of it? That's okay, because Vivente are the new guys on the cycling scene: the range has only been available in Australia since August 2005.
The brand aims to offer what all riders are looking for - performance and value. Their goal is to replicate the look and feel of professional cycling without the cost. This is achieved in various ways, like adding bonus upgrades such as carbon-integrated forks on all drop-bar models. They also emphasise the look of their bikes, and with good reason - the current model range is a great-looking bunch of bikes.
Amongst the models on offer is the women's-specific Rosa, one of many road bikes with smaller geometry that are currently flooding the market. We were offered the loan of a Rosa, so we set out to test what it has to offer female riders.
As mentioned, the Rosa comes with carbon-integrated forks as standard, and we were happy to discover the seat post is also carbon. As well as making the overall weight of the bike lower, having carbon components at these 'contact' areas cuts down on the level of vibration, giving a more comfortable ride.
The women's specifications are implicit in the bike's geometry. The top tube is shorter and the seat tube slightly lengthened so that the 'reach' to the handlebars is much more comfortable than on a unisex (men's) bike. The bars are also sized to take into consideration women's narrower shoulders, and the curve is smaller to accommodate smaller hands.
So does all this make a difference?
It sure does. At 170cm and accustomed to riding men's bikes, I was not expecting that the 'women's specific' elements would make much of a difference to me. However, the difference was instantly obvious: the brakes and gears were much easier to reach and use, and the riding 'reach' position much more comfortable. With the Rosa, everything is right there, literally just at your fingertips! I occasionally suffer from pins and needles in the hands; I didn't suffer these once throughout the review period.
The Rosa also comes with a women's saddle as standard. I personally found the saddle to be quite uncomfortable but don't let that put you off; finding the right saddle is a very personal decision, and something that can easily be fixed once you have found the right bike.
The bike comes with a triple chain ring for extra gearing for those tough hills. This is a feature the entry-level rider will appreciate.
Finally, we come to how the bike looks. Now, I don't want to perpetuate the myth that women are only interested in bikes with pretty colours. But it has to be said: the Rosa is a seriously good-looking bike. The bright red colour and shiny finish make it go 10% faster, I was assured at Borsari's where I picked it up. Now, I don't know about that - but I do know that the fiery red Rosa is just calling to be ridden.
The review bike was supplied by Vivente Bikes and set up by Borsari Cycles in Carlton, Melbourne. A full list of Vivente dealers can be found on the Vivente Bikes website.