Specialized S-Works Amira Torch First Impression Ride Review

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Some time ago I was chatting with a friend of mine when we were at our coffee stop from one of our weekend morning rides. I would never forget what he said: “Tommy, with bike, there is no such thing called ‘The One’. There is only ‘The Next One'”. Truth be known, that was exactly what happened. Prior to this post I have been riding the Swift Hypervox, and I only own that thing for about 3 months. Mind you, I purchased it second hand. The bike has been great, and as per my review, it was a fast bike, stiff and a lot more comfortable than my AX Vial Ultra.

With it I have also conquered the Letape du Tour 2017 which took us to Stage 18 of 2017 Tour de France (Briancon to Col d’ Izoard). There was definitely no reason why I should be getting a new bike, especially that bike fit me well. However, as my friend told me, there will always be that “next one”, won’t it? And I don’t know about you, but I tend to eventually fault-find my bike. Maybe it’s the comfort, or the stability, or the weight, the list goes on….. Now I can appreciate why a lot of motivational speakers would teach about “count your blessings” or “don’t look at what you don’t have, but look at what you do have” because, you would never be satisfied otherwise.

PS: Luckily for me, this principle only applies to buying bike and not on my marriage. I’m very faithful on the latter 😉

So, to cut the long story short, I started browsing around for framesets. I was very happy with the components I had, therefore, I decided to keep them. Since my purchase of AX Lightness, I no longer was interested in buying expensive framesets. It was north of AUD$8,000 for the AX and yet I didn’t quiet like the performance in general. It was twitchy, stiff and not comfortable. This time I was determined to buy frameset up to AUD$4,000.

I had my eyes on Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi-Mod (~AUD$2,700), Fuji SL 1.1 (~AUD$1,500), Specialized S-Works Tarmac (~AUD$3,500), Canyon Ultimate CF Evo (~AUD$5,000), and, (just because it looks sexy) Pinarello F100 (special Giro edition of F10 ~AUD$8,500).

On another note, I am a very “color” person ie. Frame color is the number one thing I’m attracted to. Plus, my components so far have been mostly orange. Yes, I somehow love the color orange. This often limits the my choice on frames. I was almost closing a deal on the Fuji SL except it was black/yellow and it wouldn’t go nicely with my components. The Canyon was perfect but it was slightly beyond my budget. As for the Pinarello, it was definitely way way way beyond my budget, and knowing myself who can never settle on just ‘the one’ bike, it would just be a total waste of money. It now left me with the Cannondale and the Tarmac.

I almost went with the Cannondale until I found out that the seatpost was 25.4mm meaning that I could not use the lightweight carbon Dash seatpost-saddle combo which I bought for an astronomical price of north of AUD$900. Thus, I was left with the Tarmac. The color available was black/red/white or the black/white. Again, I did not decide quickly because I didn’t want to be disappointed.

The website I normally use for frame search is bikeexchange.com.au and within it you can filter frames based on sizes. The options above were results returned from filtering based on size “XS” or “S”. I thought, “It wouldn’t hurt to try size ‘M'”. When I turned on size “M” filter, the results were refined and then it showed the Torch Amira S-Works! That orange color immediately drew my attention. And the price was $2,800 which was $700 cheaper than the Tarmac.

I thought, “Perfect…”. The only thing was (see, when you look for negatives in life, you will always find one) it was a woman-specific frameset. From novelty emotional value perspective, I’m not sure if my heart will be fully satisfied riding a bike specifically designed for women. Please don’t take this as a sexist statement, it was just my personal preference. Further to this, women-specific bikes have women-specific geometry so I was not sure how well it would fit me either.

Thus, I did not make the move immediately.

For the next few days I would try to read more reviews about it. I must say there were not that many new reviews on the Amira. A lot of them were for the 2012 model. One time I also stumbled upon RIDE magazine who did a review on Amira, and even though all of the testers were males, all of them would not mind to ride Amira just because it was so good. That’s when my heart started to melt.

I gave the shop a call and the shop owner insisted that “bike fit is bike fit”. So long as bike fits you, it no longer matters whether it’s a women-specific or male-specific bikes. I then created an Excel spreadsheet and tried to compare the geometry of the Amira vs the Hypervox. From what I could see, the Amira was slightly lower in stack and reach. Everything else (eg. seat angle, etc) was similar. That’s when I was even more convinced that I should buy it.

I gave the shop a call and bought it.


I bought the frame through a shop called R&D Speed Shop in Claremont. I dealt with the owner Dan and he was very friendly and helpful. He also gave me further $100 discount on the frame, making it down to AUD$2,700. The price also included parts swap from the Hypervox over to Amira. So I thought what a good deal I get.

Dan managed to get the parts swap finished all in one day. I took my Hypervox in the morning and he was finished by the afternoon. Overall, the build was excellent. I could not be happier. If you are looking for a trusted bike shop I would highly recommend R&D Speed Shop. They carried mostly Specialized and BMC.


Groupset: Sram Red
Chainring: FiberLyte 50 and absoluteBlack Oval 34
Cassette: Shimano XTR M8000 11-42
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
Handlebar: Deda Elementi Superleggera 44cm
Saddle: Dash
Seatpost: Dash
Brakes: eeBrakes
Bottle cages: Chinese Bontrager RXL
Pedals: Crankbrothers Eggbeater Ti MTB
Wheels: Chinese unbranded 35mm carbon clinchers
Stem: Extralite 100mm -12degree
Total weight with bottle cages, pedals and Garmin mount: 6.67kg


As mentioned earlier, the only complaint I had with my Hypervox was its weight. With bottle cages, pedals and Garmin mount, weight was 7.4kg. While it was not heavy, I would be very happy if I can get it down to 6.8kg. When I look at my current components, there is not much I can change to make it lighter unless I want to go to tubular which wouldn’t be practical for daily work commute. I can also possibly change the crank to something like THM Clavicula (a saving of ~100gr) and change my cassette to 11-28 or lower, thus would be a saving of weight around ~350gr in total. This would be a very expensive exercise and yet it wouldn’t bring the weight down below 7kg.

This was not the case with the Amira. As soon as I saw the figure of 6.67kg I was just happy….like being-content happy…genuinely happy. Yes my AX was 600gr lighter but the ride quality was just not good.

My first ride took me to the hills around my house which I often do hill repeats on. I was also planning to take it to some flat section just so I could feel what it was like on flat. I was planning to just do 2 hours max because my work has been so busy lately that I just simply don’t have time for a 5 hour ride anymore.

The Strava entry is as follows:


To date, other than AX and Hypervox, I have also ridden Roubaix S-Works SL3, Merida Reacto 909S, Giant TCR Advanced Pro, Trek Madone 7, Tarmac S-Works SL4 and Guerciotti Eureka SHM50.

So, how does the Amira fare with them?

First thing’s first, let me get this off my chest, the Amira was THE BEST bike I’ve ridden so far, full stop, hands down. This is a very big statement coming from someone who has not been happy with just one bike; and who have ridden several high-end bikes. Seriously, I have never had such a “revelation” until I rode the Amira.

When I first bought the AX, I was very excited prior to riding it. However, after riding it, I did not have that sense of “revelation”. The sense of “revelation” is the kind of sensation you feel after you receive your “aha” moment. I did not have that with AX nor with Hypervox. However, it was different with Amira.

The moment I rode it, I knew it was an awesome bike. On the way to my hill repeats, there were a bit of undulation and this bike was just flying. It is stiff, balanced, comfortable…just simply the best all-rounder bike I’ve ridden to date. The ride quality is just the top of the top.


The Hypervox felt like there was a turbo lag, while the AX flew but twitchy and slightly flexy on high power. The Amira was just perfect. It felt as if the bike was just synchronised with you. If you have watched the movie Pacific Rim, it is similar to that which your body is just synched with the equipment.

Mind you, I’m not a big rider and I can’t put in 1000+ watts. However, as far as my riding experience is concerned, there is no hint of flex whatsoever.


Standing or sitting down….this bike felt good and it just responded to whatever request you gave to it. I kept coming back to that sense of “synching”. You can certainly feel how light this bike is. The AX felt too light and flexy, but not the Amira..it just felt right.


This is the part which I was very surprised about. I thought the Amira would be less comfy than the Hypervox, but oh how wrong was I. This thing soaked bump really well. I still remembered how the Tarmac rode and the Tarmac was certainly a lot harsher.

The road near where I live was not highway smooth, rather it was a bit rough, possibly because it was hilly therefore for safety reason eg. during descending, the road was done that way. Amira truly soaked up the chatter. It felt muted. If I can put a number on it:

AX – 2/10
Tarmac S-Works SL4 – 4/10
Hypervox – 5/10
Amira – 6/10
Roubaix S-Works SL3 – 7-8/10


Descending was very stable. You did not feel the weight of the Hypervox, and yet you did not get the twitchiness of the AX..it was just perfect. Steering was very natural…man this bike is good!

Bike Fit

This bike fit me straight away, I would argue that it fit me even better than the Hypervox. On Hypervox, I felt that the stem needed to be 1cm longer…my position was not stretched enough. Not with the Amira..it felt right.

I’m still curious however, to still increase my stem length to 110mm or even 120mm and goes even lower at -17degrees.



I don’t care what you say, yes I’m riding a women’s specific bike however this bike fits me like a glove. I will be doing a long ride on it soon and I’ll keep you posted how it goes.

This is the first time for me, too which on my first ride there was no niggles. Normally there will always be niggles such as seatpost slipping, handlebar slipping, etc. Not this time. I truly feel like that this bike is meant to be, and since it’s named ‘feminine’ I can call it my 2nd wife for real.

Written by

A web solution expert who has passion in website technologies. Tommy has been in the web industry for more than 10 years. He started his career as a PHP developer and has now specialized in ASP.NET, SharePoint and MS CRM. During his career he has also been in many roles: system tester, business analyst, deployment and QA manager, team and practice leader and IT manager.

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