The Lisa RD is another solid, reliable bike from Kona. It makes a great general purpose road bike specifically designed for women riding for fitness, doing sportives and the occasional race. It is both comfortable and nippy, and for your £1000 you get a good amount of strong features.
The first thing you notice about the Lisa RD are the bladed spokes on the Mavic Aksium Race wheels. At the £1000 price mark this more aerodynamic feature seems like a big bonus compared to the other bikes at this cost, but to be absolutely fair, this only really matters if you are a pro racer as it could only end up saving you a tiny 44 seconds over a 40km ride (Source: Sheldon Brown website: Bicycles and Aerodynamics by Ranier Pivit, Radfahren, 1990). However, they do look good - and if that gets you out riding more then that's a bonus in itself. Add in the very grippy Continental UltraSport 700x23C tyres and this whole caboodle encourages you to power down on the pedals and take corners even faster.
Perhaps the best feature of this women's specific bike is the small tweaks Kona make for the five different frame sizes offered. Put simply before I bombard you with the details, the smaller frames have smaller handlebars, stems and cranks and vice versa with the larger frames. Here's the detail, skip this next paragraph if it scares or bores you! The 44-49cm frames have a 380mm FSA RD-320S handlebar, 90mm FSA OS-190LX stem and 165mm FSA Omego crank whereas the 51-53cm frames have a larger 400cm handlebar, 100mm stem and 170mm crank.
I tested the 51 cm frame and found it a very comfy set up - I am 5ft 7 and of an average build. It seems obvious and necessary to change the size of all the major bike parts associated with the fit for shorter or taller people on different sized frames, but no other bikes in this price bracket seem to offer this adjustment. For example, neither the Cannondale Synapse Alloy Feminine Tiagra, the Eddy Merckx AFX-1, the Trek Pilot 2.1 nor the Scott Contessa Speedster 15 list bike fit adjustment in relation to frame size in their specifications.
The ride on the white Selle Italia X2 Lady saddle felt bum-friendly. The Kona Carbon forks also help to create a smooth and comfortable ride and have taken everything in their stride from small bumps to even the odd (very slow!) kerb drop. There are 20 gears to choose from (Shimano 105 cassette 12-25, 10spd), offering you a good choice for moderately rolling countryside lanes to city commuting and fitness riding.
Using this bike in a few mini-triathlon 10 mile road races, I found the drop handlebars are not low enough for getting down really low and out of the wind on races. However this is not really what this bike is designed for - for general road riding and fitness training the drops are great. They are not so low as to be intimidatingly racy, but there if you want a slightly faster, more aerodynamic position on descents or even just as you glide along the roads to work.
As with all road bikes that I've ever ridden, pushing the left gear shifter to get into the highest gear (getting the chain on to the largest chainring) is difficult. The angle and strength that you have to push the lever with, using your left hand while riding fast, often downhill, always makes this move tricky, slow and tiresome. In this case the shifters are Shimano, but I write this on all my road bike reviews in the hope that one day a manufacturer might pick up on this and invent a faster, easier method of gear changing!
The Tektro brake callipers with Shimano 105 levers are fine, easy to use and brake adequately, but sometimes they feel a little soft - you have to really clamp down hard to actually bring the bike to a complete halt, so that's just something you factor in at lights and road junctions.
This bike isn't the lightest out there weighing in at 20.28lbs (9.198 kg) but as usual from Kona, this is a reliable, strong ride with a hoard of quality components that will last you for years. It's good value for money and due to Kona's sizing adjustments for small and large frames, you will hopefully be able to find one that fits you perfectly. Better still, if your employer doesn't currently subscribe to a Cycle to Work Scheme then this bike, which sits at the top end of the current Cycle to Work budget, is the perfect reason to convince them otherwise.
At a glance
|Verdict||A solid, strong and comfortable road bike with quality components that makes a good value choice for general road riding, fitness, commuting, sportives and the occasional race|