City bikes are all the rage these days, and rightfully so. These universal bikes that combine the benefits of a road bike and a hybrid bike allow people to drink the biking Kool-aid without any required spandex. This style of bike can be used for bike commuting as fenders and racks mount up easily, and the fit is not too upright so you can still activate those gluts and go for a longer ride. The Alysa series is Raleigh’s take on city bikes for women. As an aside, Raleigh also refer to them as flat bar road bikes. A few weeks ago I did a quick breakdown of the 2015 Raleigh Alysa line-up, and today we will be focused on one of the higher end models, the Alysa 4.
Key Details of the Raleigh Alysa 4
Sizes: XS, SM, MD, LG (Tested)
Aluminum frame and carbon fork
9 Speed drive-train – mostly Shimano Alivio
Selle Royal women’s seat
Tektro women’s brake levers
Meet the Raleigh Alysa 4
The first thing that grabbed me un-boxing this bike was the color. It is a fabulous color that doesn’t shout “WOMEN’S BIKE” in anyway. This is the level of bike I would be looking at if I was going to be buying an everyday city commuter. Anything under $700 typically doesn’t have parts that will last a daily (or 3x a week) grind. The $400-650 price range I typically recommend to the “interested but concerned” customer. This customer doesn’t know how much they will ride their bike, maybe they have 5 other hobbies, or want to be able to ride around the neighborhood. If you stay in that $4-600 range, the bike is durable and safe but you may wear out parts like chains and wheels faster if you really do get into it.
Things I Loved
Right off the floor of your favorite shop this bike is a great value. Solid parts including the wheels, a relatively comfortable seat (personal preference) and it is ready to tackle your commute or family rides. The size large that I tested fit my 5’10” height well. The stem (and length) of the bike could be a bit longer for my height but that is something your bike shop can easily swap out. On that note, the stem and handlebar sized used on this bike is 31.8mm, which is very industry standard right now. This fact matters for when you need to swap things out, often hybrids have the old style of 25.4mm and shops don’t have a lot of those readily available these days. (31.8 and 25.4mm refers to the size of the middle of the handlebar where the stem clamps down.) The last thing that really jumped out is that the housing color was mixed up to match the accents of the bike. I love this attention to detail!
Things I Would Change
This section is personal preference and coming from someone that rides in the city.
There are only a few things I would change to make this my daily commuter. The first is the handlebars as they are very straight and not very ergo. I would change to something with a sweep back for my wrist to be a bit more comfortable. Next, the current seat is held on the bike with a quick-release seatpost clamp. This clamp allows you to easily adjust your seat height on the fly, but it also allows someone to steal your seat! Finally, I would change out the tires to something more city ready. The Kenda Kwick tires that come on the bike were great to ride on mixed surfaces but for the Denver streets I need something with more Kevlar like a Continental Travel Contact or Specialized Armadillo.
Things You Should Change
There are two parts on this bike I was really unimpressed with. The first and major thing is the pedals. The pedals that comes with the bike is super cheap and has a TON of drag in it that you can feel on flat roads. Do yourself a favor and upgrade to a $25-40 pedal with better bearings. The second part are the grips. You don’t necessarily need to change these out, but have your bike mechanic throw some hairspray on them as mine started spinning on the handlebar right away.
The best compliments I can give any bike is that 1. I would stock it in my store and 2. I would pay full retail if needing this type of bike. I can say both things about the 2015 Raleigh Alysa 4. For $800 you get a solid bike that isn’t too girly, and fits a wide range of people. Depending how you are riding it you may need to upgrade a few things, but that is the fun thing about owning a new bike – making it yours! As my family grows and we need more relaxed bikes to ride to work and the park with our kids this Alysa 4 would be very high on my list of bikes to look at as it will last and looks amazing.
Go Test Ride
Every bike has it’s own personality, go visit your local Raleigh dealer and take one for a spin!
Disclaimer: This bike was provided at no-charge for review. I was not paid nor compensated for review of this bike.