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…
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.