Specialized now sells the ‘multitasking’ Source Eleven for commuting and touring.
My pal Andrew owns Scotts Valley Cycle Sport and often bikes the 10 miles from home to his shop. Instead of snapping fenders on his road bike for our winter rainy season in Santa Cruz, he picked up the Source Eleven, Specialized’s flagship of their new Source family.
Please forgive me the sales speak, but I kind of like what Specialized has done. They began with a Sirrus alloy frame, stripped down the hybrid bike pieces and built it back up with no compromise high performance utility. Let’s take a look at the parts for this versatile bike that marries commuter utility with go-fast performance features:
- Manipulated aluminum tubes with clean welds give a sleek look to this stiff, bullet-proof frame. Internal wire routing in fork and frame and internal cable routing contribute to the clean aesthetic. Andrew didn’t let me throw this bike onto a bus, but it feels solid.
- Shimano Alfine 11 speed internal hub has a 408% gear range with helical gears in an oil bath for long life and easy maintenance. Alfine Rapidfire Plus thumb/finger shifter feels very stiff but shifting is positive.
- Gates Center Track Carbon Belt Drive is grease free, quiet and durable. Center Track addresses issues with tracking and ice build-up on the previous generation of Gates’ bicycle belt drives.
- Shimano Alfine dual piston hydraulic disc brakes for sure stopping in any weather.
- Top-of-the-line Supernova Infinity 8 dynamo front hub provides power to integrated LED headlight and tail lights. The Infinity 8 is the first dynamo hub that can be turned on and off to reduce drag in the hub when lights are not in use.
- Source Eleven ships with 700×30 road tires. Front fork and rear stay tire clearance looks like they might accommodate 700 x 40 studded winter tires.
- The rack seems to the goofiest part and is the piece that’s received the most criticism. It looks cool , but is supported only by a pair of stays. Rated load capacity is a lightweight 22 lbs. Specialized touts the rack’s clean look, rear fender and lighting integration, and rack stiffness.
- Specialized “Body Geometry” saddle suits my skinny butt just fine, but the saddle is, of course, a highly personal choice.
- & cetera – integrated bar ends for comfortable long distance cycling, front and rear fenders (but no mudflaps), bell, and chainguard.
Andrew let me ride his brand new bike around. The stiff frame means good power transfer and confident acceleration from traffic lights. Unlike many fendered bikes, there’s not a rattle to be heard while rolling down the bumpy roads of rural Santa Cruz County.
The design reminds me of the Breezer Finesse, a “dream” commuter bike that Breeze introduced in 2007 with many of the same features: internal gear hub, top shelf dynamo lighting, integrated wiring, disc brakes, fenders, custom rack with proprietary mounting hardware, eccentric bottom bracket and bar ends on a solid, performance-oriented frame with a long cockpit that encourages head-down riding. Bikes like the Source Eleven and Finesse are designed for the American with a longer commute who needs something dependable and fast.
The pricey, high quality components are reflected in this bike’s $2750 MSRP. The less expensive Source “Expert Disc” build at $2000 uses SRAM 2×10 derailleur gears, a traditional chain, and Avid hydraulic disc brakes.