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Bikes Commuting Hybrid Bikes News Road Bikes Safety Training

Exercise Bikes under £1000

The new regulations imposed by Boris Johnson mean that we are no longer able to enjoy the great outdoors as freely as we’d like. We are limited to leave our homes for reasons deemed a ‘necessity’. This includes shopping for food and medicines, work, helping a vulnerable person and once a day for exercise. As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, cycling is mentioned as a permitted exercise and while the details are slightly hazy, cycling is what you should do. The distance or time isn’t specified, however, common sense should dictate your rides. Stay safe, on your own, on routes you know and with all the necessary tools and with the knowledge of how to use them.

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France and Spain had similar restrictions in place, unfortunately, cyclists flouted them, riding in groups and long distances. The government came down hard and banned all cycling due to a few unruly riders, with roaming police, strict fines and potential prison sentences to deter anyone from breaking the rules. Let’s not get ourselves into the same position by respecting the regulations and behave responsibly.

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Scenes in Italy with police stopping cyclists

In the meantime, do the most to enjoy riding a bike. The sun is out and no one is in a hurry. Head out into the fresh air and take some deep breaths and enjoy the feeling of your legs spinning, the lack of cars and slightly eerie quietness in the streets. If you’re currently bikeless and feeling the urge to get one, there are some great bikes out there for under £1000 and options to finance them over a selected period of time, to alleviate any financial strain. Hargroves have picked a few of our favourite bikes for under £1000 and listed them below:

2020 Specialized Sirrus X 3.0 Hybrid Bike

Available in pink and black the Sirrus X is your ticket to riding more and to places you never imagined possible. It’s a comfortable, capable “let’s do stuff” kind of bike that will inspire you to ride more than you ever have before. With bigger confidence-inspiring tires, a slightly more upright riding position, a super intuitive one-by drivetrain and plenty of mounts for racks and fenders it’s more than just a solid partner on the pavement. Specialized also equipped every Sirrus X with next-level comfort from their scientifically tested and ergonomically engineered shared platform body geometry saddle, handgrips and pedals. Here’s to your new life on two wheels. At £699 and finance options as low £19.40 a month it’s a deal that’s hard to pass.

2020 Cannondale Althea 3 Women’s Hybrid Bike

With its low-standover, mountain-bike-inspired frame, its 700c knobby tires and 50mm suspension fork, the Althea can take you from pavement to dirt, to gravel and back…with a smile on your face. It’s comfortable, popular and looks good. The women’s frame design matches the ruggedness of a mountain bike with the speed of 700c wheels. Super low standover means easy mounting and dismounting. The women’s specific geometry of the Althea delivers the speed and agility of a city bike, with the stability and heads-up comfort of a mountain bike. Currently, with 15% off at £509.99 and finance options available at £14.15 a month, it’s time to snap up the Althea and get the most enjoyment out of your ride.

2020 Ridgeback Avenida 6

The Avenida 6 was built around comfort, with its classic step-through frame design and upright riding position coupled with the swept-back bar and suspension seat post the Avenida 6 puts you in the perfect position to ride all day and step off feeling just as fresh as when you stepped on. Fully equipped with full-length mudguards and rear pannier rack as standard it is more than capable of tackling the morning commute or the daily ride and equipped with 6 speed Shimano gearing means it can handle any route you choose. Available at £449.99 and finance options starting at £12.49 a month.

2020 Cannondale Topstone Sora Mens Gravel Bike

A personal favourite of mine, the Cannondale Topstone, is a capable, versatile gravel road bike. Built for chasing horizons, exploring routes less travelled or accelerating your commute. Its lightweight aluminium frame uses Cannondale’s SmartForm tubing to save weight and engineer comfort, increasingly important on long and off-road rides. Wide tyre clearance allows 700 x 37c tyres to come as standard, which really blurs the lines between on and off-road with their fast-rolling tread yet high volume providing plenty of comforts. Disc brakes, internal cable routing and multiple mounting points for luggage and you’ve got a seriously capable bike on your hands. At £949.99 you get some real value for money and the finance starts as low as £26.36.

2020 Cube Aim Race Hardtail Mountain Bike

If you’re looking for something a bit more fun, look no further than the Cube Aim Race Hardtail. It’s cheap, cheerful and with plenty of play, it’ll keep a smile on your face the entire time you’re on it. Whether you plan to zip around the block, delve into the local park or even a quick single track lap round the local woods this well-equipped, easy-to-handle and reliable trail companion won’t let you down. At £499.99 and starting at £14.95 a month finance you’re not going to find more bang for your buck.

Regardless of what you choose, what’s important is keeping safe, riding responsibly and being careful, but get your exercise in 🙂

To see more great value bikes please visit https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/bikes/hybrid-bikes/instock?maxprice=700

Stay safe out there everyone

Hargroves

Categories
Bikes Cyclocross

Cyclocross Bikes Explained

So, what is a Cyclocross bike? In it’s purest form, it’s an out and out race bike, essentially a road bike for the mud. If your still confused then you may want to continue reading.

To understand why a cross bike looks the way it does, you will need to know a little about the racing it’s designed for. Cyclocross is a form of racing that typically takes place in the cold, dark, winter months. It’s a predominantly off road discipline with courses often involving obstacles such as stair sets, sand pits, hurdles and many other joys.

 

 

Of course, many of these obstacles cannot be passed whilst mounted which is why many riders will dismount, chuck their bike on their shoulder and run like the clappers. This is why cyclocross bikes have a “boxy” appearance. They have a large front triangle to enable the rider to easily carry their bike on their shoulder, this also gives the  bike a taller standover height, something to bare in mind when purchasing a cross bike.

Riding off road in winter also means mud and lots of it. This is why cross bikes have huge amounts of clearance around the fork and chain stays. In addition to this, they tend to have a higher bottom bracket for ground clearance.

Although disc brakes are only just becoming acceptable to the roadie crowd, the guys and girls riding cross have been using them for years now. As well as providing better tyre clearance, they are also a lot more powerful than traditional caliper brakes, giving more consistent braking in the poorest conditions without chewing up your lovely new wheels.

When it comes to geometry and sizing the best thing to do is chuck a leg over one of these beasts and allow our expert staff to help you find the best fit. For most brands, the sizing is similar to their road bikes. For example, if you normally ride a 52 Specialized Tarmac you will most likely be a 52 on a Specialized Crux. Of course there are exceptions to this and it will vary depending on the individual, so don’t hold on to that statement too tightly.

The fit on a cyclocross bike is quite different to most road bikes. Typically cross bikes have a taller head tube, shorter top tube and a higher bottom bracket. You can of course set it up as close as you can to your road bike. However, a lot of cyclocross riders tend to run a slightly taller front end and shorter reach in comparison with their road bike. This allows the rider to have more control out of the saddle and man handle the bike especially around the many obstacles that they will be fronted with on course.

So you’re not looking to race and you don’t like riding through sand pits? Well you still shouldn’t rule out a cross bike. They make great all rounders and if your spouse doesn’t conform to the N+1 rule, it could be the one bike to do it all. Being born from the mud, cross bikes come equipped with relatively wide tyres with low gearing which enables them to complete most trails with ease. Swap those knobbly tyres out for some smoother road tyres and you’ve basically got a burly road bike. The only potential disadvantage can be gearing, with most brands opting for a 1×11 SRAM setup, they can suffer at higher speeds on the road but given this bike is designed for racing offroad, it still proves itself to be incredibly versatile.

Cyclocross has never been more accessible with more and more races, plenty of local cycling clubs involved and our full range of 2018 Cannondale CX bikes currently on sale, grab yourself a bargain and get cross.

 

“Jack Explains”

Jack works in our Chichester store, is a fully qualified Retul Bike Fitter and whilst he rides all disciplines, it’s safe to say his heart belongs to mountain biking.

Check out Jack’s Instagram for more inspiration to get out on your bike.

Categories
Buying Guide Electric Bikes

E-Bikes Explained

 

E-Bikes, love them or hate them. They’re here to stay. Electronically assisted bikes are probably the most misunderstood topic within the cycling industry.

Why do people buy them? Who is buying them? How long does the battery last? Isn’t the weight an issue? How fast do they go?

Truth is there is no stereotypical E-biker. They are just like any other cyclist. Young, old. Experienced or inexperienced. Everyone can and does enjoy them which is part of their beauty!

E-bikes can broaden the horizon for you and smash your limitations to allow you to boldly go where you have never ridden before. For less experienced riders, it can allow them to go further. For more experienced riders, it also allows them to go further… Basically, you can ride further with less effort. That doesn’t mean it’s a free ride. You still have to pedal, all the E-bikes have a varying amount of assistance in which the ride can choose how much assistance they have. This can range from “off” to what some call “turbo”.

The battery life is a huge variable. Terrain, gear selection, rider effort, tyre choice and pressure, mode selection, rider weight and effort are just a few things that will effect the range of an E-Bike. Some brands like Shimano have got around this so called “range anxiety” by creating apps like their E-Tube Project which helps you fine tune what the motor is doing, much like a map for a car or motorcycle.

Another useful resource is the range Calculator on Bosch’s website. It enables you to input information regarding your weight, riding style, terrain and riding mode and gives you an idea to how long the battery will last. This of course, is only really applicable to Bosch powered bikes.

The bikes vary in weight a lot, especially when looking at various disciplines. For example a full suspension mountain bike in comparison to a hard tail city type bike. Once you are riding the bike with any kind of assistance on the weight pretty much disappears and only becomes apparent during slow tight manoeuvres or super steep technical off-road terrain. The only time the weight can become an issue is lifting the bike over fences or putting it in or on your car. Some brands such as Thule, have remedied this issue by producing mini ramps to load your bike easier. Avoiding roof type racks would be good move for most people.

So enough of the boring stuff, how fast do these bad boys go? Well in the UK they are restricted to 15.9mph. Which off-road, is plenty. E-bikes must also be pedal assist to avoid being classed as a motor vehicle. This means the motor only kicks in whilst the rider is pedalling. Now do you see how it’s not cheating? Inevitably, some riders will be able to ride faster than this off their own steam. That’s fine too, you can ride beyond the speed restriction of the bike. You just won’t receive any more assistance from the bike. This is why so many brands are bragging about “zero drag” systems. Because once the motor cuts out, it’s beneficial to have as little friction as possible to help you push harder.

Still confused? Why not drop us an email, call us or visit one of our stores in the south. Visit our store locator for contact details.

Here’s some inspo for you courtesy of Specialized and World Champ Peter Sagan.

“Jack Explains”

Jack works in our Chichester store, is a fully qualified Retul Bike Fitter and whilst he rides all disciplines, it’s safe to say his heart belongs to mountain biking.

Check out Jack’s Instagram for more inspiration to get out on your bike.

Categories
Bikes Electric Electric Bikes Mountain News

Turbo Levo – Next gen eMTB tech from Specialized.

So, here it is. The E-bike that you’ve all been waiting for. Its lighter, more efficient and looks even more like a “normal” bike.

Specialized have made some dramatic changes to the bike this year. For starters, they are now using the new Brose 2.1 motor which is a dramatic 400 grams lighter and a fair whack more powerful than the previous unit. Specialized worked very closely with Brose to help develop this new unit. So much so that other manufacturers are having to work their bikes around Specialized’s preferred bottom bracket placement.

The new motor is now the most powerful on the market. Whatever the situation. Whatever the cadence. It either betters or equals the competition. Another change for this year is the mounting method of the motor within the bike. It now bolts straight into the frame of the bike instead of into a cradle which then bolts into the bike. The most obvious benefit of this is a weight saving but it could also help eliminate unwanted creaks by reducing the amount of hardware and points of contact.

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Along with a new motor is of course a new battery, or two. The expert and S-Works models with be specced with a 700wh unit and everything else will have a 500wh version. And of course batteries are available to purchase aftermarket should you want to upgrade or just need more range. That’s not the only change to the battery, its now fully encased within the downtube of the frame giving better protection and allows for a stiffer, lighter frame design.

The brain of the bike is now situated on the top tube just behind the stem. Making quick glances at battery life and mode selection a lot easier. It now features a classy blue light system but in principal does exactly what the previous version did. This new unit also helps with updates and eliminates the need for a specific diagnostics tool as it has a port within it too.

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Although Specialized have insisted that a heads up display type computer is not essential on this type of bike. They have now brought an aftermarket screen to the line up. It provides stats including speed, cadence, power and also battery life.

The first thing that strikes you about the new Levo isn’t whats lying beneath but the aesthetics of it. It looks amazing. It incorporates the asymmetric “sidearm” of the latest Stumpjumper and reaps all the same rewards. Enabling Specialized to make the bike stiffer and lighter, thus giving a better riding and more efficient bike. The downtube diameter has also shrunk lending itself to a more traditional look. The new frame has made some huge advances in weight saving too. A massive 800 grams has been saved on the S-Works level frame and 600 grams on the alloy version.

The geometry of the new bike is also, well, new. Its now 20mm longer and 0.5 degree slacker. Making the Levo very much its own bike. Although it does borrow a lot of tech from the stumpy, Specialized have said the bike sits between the Stumpjumper and Enduro in terms of geometry.

6Fattie wheels are out and the humble 29er is in. Its hard to avoid it these days. But in most situations the wagons wheels are the best option. Most of the bikes we were able to see were running the in house Butcher tyres in a 2.6 with grid casing. A burley tyre for a burley bike. The bike is still 6fattie compatible for all you plus tyre lovers. And because the new Levo has the same flip chip as the stumpy you can adjust the bottom bracket height to help avoid pedal strikes.

Along with plenty of new hardware comes new software in the form of a new mode and app. The new mode is dubbed “Uplift mode”. As the name implies its for them boring, gruelling fire roads that give little reward. Putting the bike in uplift mode reduces the torque the motor puts out and gets it to focus on just pulling you up the hill with a very low amount of effort from the rider. The drawback is of course this drains the battery a lot quicker so its not a mode you’ll want to be using too often. The app is an updated version of mission control which is also backwards compatible with older Turbo models.

A bike is the sum of its parts. Lots of changes to the Turbo Levo, big and small have made it a completely different beast to what it was last year. This is what happens when the best gets better.

Available online now, click and collect in your nearest Hargroves store or have it delivered to your door. 

Words: Jack Ingram (Insta @jack.ingram4)

Categories
Clothing Hot Products News

Best Winter Clothing To Keep Yourself Warm

Now the temperature is dropping below freezing and the winter nights draw in earlier and earlier each day, it’s that time of year to pull out your winter clothing. Or if you’re totally unprepared, and have no clue on what to look for then this little guide should help you out. From waterproof jackets to mudguards and fancy bike lights, we’ve got you covered from head to toe.

Jackets

The key to keeping warm this winter is to layer up, and you’ve got to do this smartly! The most obvious one to start with (especially with the English weather’s reputation) is your outer layer. You want a breathable waterproof/windproof jacket that you can slip on and not only feel comfortable but dry. One important aspect to keep in mind is being seen! We’ll go into more details about the obvious ways of doing this (lights), but remember to get a jacket that either has reflective patches or is fluorescent yellow!

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Our pickAltura Attack 360 Waterproof Jacket (£152.99) – This jacket is waterproof (tick), breathable (double tick) and is durable (tick tick tick). Made with Altura’s Shield Technology, offering 3 layers of breathability that maintain your core temperature, and water/wind protection that bounces water right back at the clouds.

Base Layers

More importantly or at least equally as important, is your base layer. Don’t go throwing on any old t-shirt under your jacket as this is going to end in disaster (or at least a runny nose and feeling like pants). T-shirts are generally a bad idea, as they collect sweat and in sub-zero conditions, you will feel the cold way more, as you’re constantly in contact with freezing sweat. There are base layers that wick away sweat from your body keeping you dry and keeping the warmth in.

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Our pickSpecialized 1st Layer Seamless Base Layer (£49.99) – this is perfect for keeping you warm and dry. Transporting moisture away from the skin and creating the perfect microclimate between your skin and jersey. Incredibly comfortable, and is stretchy enough not to cause chafing.

Jerseys

For added warmth, add in a jersey to your layers to make sure your upper body doesn’t lose any heat. There are plenty around that can work in unison with your base layer, getting that sweat away from your body and making sure the micro-climate within your layers stays the same. Again, they are breathable and lightweight allowing protection and comfort.

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Our pickCastelli Potenza Grey Jersey (£174.99) – With reflective piping around the waistband and down the zips, this has you covered for visibility. Not only that, it manoeuvres sweat away from your body and onto the outside layer of the jersey. Combine this with a base layer, you’ll have a train of sweat working its way through the layers of your clothes.

Overshoes, Hats and Gloves

Much like heads, shoulders, knees and toes, you cannot forget about your head, hands and feet! Hats, gloves and overshoes are just a few important accessories to keeping yourself warm when cycling this winter. You lose a lot of heat from your head, so you want to lock that down asap. Obviously keeping your fingers warm is a no brainer, most gloves nowadays are wind/waterproof and some even have reflective strips! Overshoes might not be for every cyclist, but they do keep your feet dry, however. Other good options are the classic thermal socks for warmth and comfort.

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Our picksCastelli Narcisista 2 Shoecover (£54.99) – This reduces cold feet dramatically, lined with fleece to keep the heat in.
Gore Bike Wear ROAD GTX-1 Gloves (£59.99) – Easy to adjust and a perfect fit. These gloves are made from Gore-Tex and even has absorbent material on the thumb to wipe away that sweaty brow.
Altura Windproof Skullcap (£17.09) – A lovely insulated cap, that’ll keep your noggin’ cosy, with bonus reflective trim!

Bibtights and Trousers

To keep those legs pedalling during the winter months bib tights are probably the way to go. Most offer to windproof to keep out those nasty bone-chilling winds, but waterproof tights seem to be few and far between. Not to say that the bib tights do not have any water protection, most brands have a waterproof finish, enabling water to slip off effortlessly. If you want full waterproof protection, the best product for you is a pair of waterproof trousers, that can easily slip on over your normal pair (if you’re commuting that is)!

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Our picksCastelli Nanoflex 2 Bibtights (£109.99) – Padded in all the right places, with the lower inner leg being completely waterproof! The fabric is stretchy, warm and comfortable. Perfect for those longer rides.
Altura Nightvision Overtrousers (£61.19) – Easy to pull over your everyday clothes, reflective trim to keep you seen and a breathable waterproof fabric that will keep you dry. What more could you want?

Accessories

Last but not least is a couple of accessories that are going to keep you safe and dry (to an extent). Mudguards are perfect for keeping that muddy water from splashing in your face, or worse, up your bum where it might look like you’ve had an accident or two. There is a huge range of lights available, and for the most part, they all do their job quite well. Just make sure you have enough lumens to light up what’s in front of you and a strong rear light.

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Our picksMucky Nutz Butt Fender (£7.50) – In Mucky Nutz’s own words “It prevents soggy arse syndrome”. What more can I say?
Cateye Volt 200 Xc/Rapid Mini Set (£53.99) – This front/rear set is perfect to illuminate those dark country lanes. USB rechargeable and at least 3 hours’ worth of light, will get you to and from work (or out for a nice evening ride).

Hopefully, all this gear will keep you riding even in the sub-zero temperatures. Let us know what keeps you warm whilst out and about!

Categories
Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes Hybrid Bikes Mountain Bikes Road Bikes

Best Bikes Under £500

If you’re looking to buy a new bike for under £500 there are plenty of bargains to be had. It’s also the time of year when brands such as Specialized and Cannondale start to reduce this year’s models as they release details of their new ranges for 2018. Specialized for instance are offering up to 33% off selected models, some of which feature here.

What you should expect from a £500 bike

If you’re looking for the best bike you can buy for £500 there are a couple of things you should consider spec wise. Firstly for that kind of money you should expect it to have a good quality, durable aluminium or frame. The Specialized Rockhopper Sport for example has an A1 Premium Aluminium frame. This means is going to be fairly light and able to handle a few knocks and bumps.

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At the £500 mark, you should also be expecting disc brakes as opposed to conventional V-Brakes. V-brakes still feature on cheaper bikes around the £250 mark so aren’t completely extinct. Disc Brakes however perform so much better, especially in poor weather conditions when it’s rainy and muddy. They also stop you faster and give you more control over your braking so it’s no surprise manufacturers are using these more and more.

Most mountain bikes these days come with suspension forks at the front of the bike to provide a bit of cushioning on bumpier sections of road or trail. It’s important to remember that not all suspension forks are equal. They range from basic to high performance. At the £500 mark, you would expect a functional suspension fork with around 75 – 100mm of travel and if you’re lucky a lock-out mode. Travel refers to how much the forks move up and down to absorb the shock of the bumps in the road. A lock-out feature gives the rider the ability to turn the suspension off. Turning off the suspension is particularly useful on steep climbs and flat sections of a smooth road.

Specialized Sirrus

Specialized Sirrus 2017 Hybrid Bike

Looking to get into shape this summer? Then look no further than the Specialized Sirrus. This hybrid bike is the perfect option for people who want to get out and explore, and keep fit at the same time. The no nonsense approach to design means this bike will give you everything you need, but nothing that you don’t!

With reliable components, and a premium, lightweight A1 frame, you’ll be riding for years to come. And don’t worry about long days in the saddle; with comfortable body geometry components that take the sting out of riding, you’ll be able to push yourself to the limit every time.

Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Dirt curious and looking to find your legs on the trails? Then the Specialized Rockhopper Sport is the bike to live out your mountain biking fantasies. This entry level mountain bike places focus on the long haul performance, and is built to last; with components selected  for their strength and durability, and corrosion resistant hardware, you’ll be able to tackle whatever the trails throw in your direction.

With a lightweight, A1 Premium frame and geometry that’s guaranteed to make you feel planted, confident and efficient out on the dirt, you’ll be climbing the trails and making light work of the descents every time.

Specialized Alibi Sport

Specialized Alibi Sport

Who has the time to be pumping this, and fixing that? No one! That’s why you need the Specialized Alibi Sport in your life. Ready to roll whenever you are, this hybrid bike removes any need for dirty maintenance, thanks to it’s anti rust chain and puncture proof, airless tires that will never go flat, and never need pumping!

With it’s premium A1 frame and body geometry grips and saddle designed specifically for women, not only does the Alibi provide a comfy ride, but also offers a wide range of gears, to help you conquer any hill that stands in your path.

Cannondale Trail 5

Cannondale Trail 5

Ready to fall in love with mountain biking? Then the Cannondale Trail 5 is here to take you on your new journey. After 30 year’s worth of designing bikes for the world’s top racers, Cannondale have learnt a thing or two, and have packed this bike with technology and features that offer fast, confident fun for every ride.

Specialized Pitch 650B

Specialized Pitch Mountain Bike

One of this year’s best sellers, the Specialized Pitch is the bike you need if you want to get off the road, and onto some trails. Equally part-performance driven, the Pitch was created with a light, aluminum frame and quality components; hand selected for their long term strength and capability.

Cannondale Quick Althea 2

Cannondale Quick Althea 2 Hybrid Bike

Ready to explore? The Cannondale Quick Althea 2 is waiting to bring out your adventurous side. Whether you’re looking for a bike to get you from A to B for your daily commute, or you’re looking for something to take on some dirt-road exploration, this hybrid bike is your perfect match in all things adventure.

Scott Aspect 750

Scott Aspect 750 Mountain Bike

Designed to be light, efficient and not too harsh on you wallet, the Scott Aspect 750 is a firm favourite for a reason. Featuring a nifty fork lockout mechanism, disc brakes and Syncros components, mountain bikes perfect for novice riders don’t get much better than this.

 

Specialized Vita

Specialized Vita 2017 Hybrid Bike

The Specialized Vita is your perfect partner in all things fitness. With this hybrid bike, you don’t have to worry about emptying every last pound in your pocket to get out, have a great ride, and stay in shape; the Vita offers a fantastic value bike that will enable you to ride with maximum efficiency, whilst making sure you stay comfortable in the saddle.