Just in: Specialized Allez Comp

Aluminium road bike with some high-end features and a solid 105 groupset

by Mat Brett   December 20, 2011  

The Comp is the top model in Specialized’s Allez range of ‘race-inspired’ road bikes. These are designed to be light, fast and efficient but with half an eye on affordability. That said, £1,200 is clearly still a significant amount of cash to spend on a bike, so what do you get for your money?

Each of the Allez models is built around an aluminium frame. In the Comp’s case it’s what Specialized call E5 aluminium, smooth-welded so the tubes almost blend into one another. The seat tube is double butted and it’s square section down by the bottom bracket.

The idea is that it increases stiffness for maximum power transfer. We’ll see how successful that is when we get the bike on the road. While we’re on the subject of stiffness, Specialized reckon the Allez boasts the same amount of torsional rigidity as their high-end Tarmac SL3 although, of course, it achieves that with a higher weight.

Tapered head tubes have become pretty much universal in the pro peloton, and on high-end performance bikes generally, in order to add extra rigidity up front, but they’re not all that common on bikes at this price. Unlike the other Allez models, the Comp gets a 1 1/2in lower headset bearing rather than the standard 1 1/8in, allowing Specialized to beef up both the head tube and the fork steerer for increased precision. That’s the theory anyway. We’ll soon find out if that translates into accurate steering when we start carving through the bends.

In terms of geometry, the Allez takes its design cues from the Tarmac bikes. We have the 58cm model here and it comes with a 582mm effective top tube which is exactly the same as you’ll find on the S-Works Tarmac SL4. The frame angles are the same too, and so is the wheelbase, although you get a longer head tube on the Allez Comp: 205mm against 190mm. With a 20mm cone spacer on top of that head tube and another 20mm of spacers above that the front end is quite lofty out of the box. You can easily lose some of that height by removing a spacer or two if you want a lower front end - and I'm poised with a set of Allen keys to do just that.

Moving on to the components… Specialized build up the Allez Comp with a Shimano 105-based spec. Top of the Shimano pecking order comes Dura-Ace (including the fancy-pants electronic stuff), next comes Ultegra (ditto), then it's 105. Proven, mid-range stuff that got a major redesign in 2011. And Specialized haven’t just slung on a couple of eye-catching 105 components and made up the balance with cheaper alternatives. No, you get 105 shifters, mechs and brakes, plus a 105 chainset and cassette.

That chainset is a compact with 50/34-tooth chainrings and the cassette ranges from an 11-tooth sprocket up to a 28. That arrangement should get most people up most hills without too much drama and, if past experience is anything to go by, the brakes will provide all the control you need on the way back down.

The wheels are DT Axis 2.0s. That’s DT as in DT Swiss but that's the extent of our knowledge of these hoops so far. They’re available only on Specialized’s complete bikes rather than separately so we’ll be interested to see how they perform, and to open them up to see what’s going on inside the hubs. We’ll investigate and get back to you on that one.

The complete bike weighs in at 9.26kg (20.4lb). On first sight, this looks like a solid bike for the cash. I’m looking forward to getting on board and going for a blast... The last time road.cc reviewed an Allez we said it was a “benchmark-setting entry-level road bike that’ll help you rack up the miles in comfort”. We hope this one proves as impressive.

All will be revealed soon…

 

7 user comments

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It's interesting how much of the frame and fork appear to be crossing over from parent company Merida.

The fork looks just like the Merida Lite, and the top tube and down tube appear to be the same as those found on the Merida Road Ride series of bikes, except that the Merida's have internal routing for the brake cable.

On closer inspection of the photos, the seat and chainstays appear to be identical to the Merida's as well, so I guess the whole frame has in fact crossed over from the Merida Range.

posted by joules1975 [64 posts]
20th December 2011 - 15:32

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Bloody Hell - the length of that Head Tube !

posted by yenrod [100 posts]
21st December 2011 - 14:32

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I'm going to have to go out for a ride on one of these when the demo bikes filter through. I have an aluminium Allez Sport double, and whilst I appreciate the Shimano pieces fitted here are several notches further up the range, I wonder whether it can really be three times 'better' than my £400 2010 bike ...

They just seem to be on an alternating rotation of white / red / black paint for the annual change around.

posted by hirsthirst [14 posts]
21st December 2011 - 14:34

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Language, yenrod! The head tube is 20.5cm on our 58cm test bike. That's tall but not crazy-tall. The head tube is 22.5cm on the 58cm Roubaix.

posted by Mat Brett [1804 posts]
21st December 2011 - 17:30

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Quote:
I wonder whether it can really be three times 'better' than my £400 2010 bike

well, no. it won't be. but that isn't ever how it works, really. that's the law of diminishing returns for you Thinking

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7227 posts]
21st December 2011 - 18:10

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joules1975 wrote:
It's interesting how much of the frame and fork appear to be crossing over from parent company Merida.

Merida isn't Specialized's parent company. Merida own a minority interest in Specialized.

posted by Mat Brett [1804 posts]
15th March 2012 - 16:14

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...but yeah, similar looking bikes.

posted by Mat Brett [1804 posts]
15th March 2012 - 16:45

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