Specialized produce limited edition S-Works Allez frame

There’s still life in aluminium yet as Specialized produce 200 limited edition frames, with just 10 coming to the UK

by David Arthur   June 5, 2013  

Specialized have produced this very limited S-Work Allez, which is either one last hurrah for top-end metal frames or the sign of a blossoming future. Just 200 have been produced and of those only 10 will make it to the UK. They're priced at £6,500.

£6,500 for an a bike with an aluminium frame? You might think Specialized are quite mad. Why would you want a highly specced aluminium frame in the first place? Well, for starters aluminium rides very well, and the latest generation frames, such as the Giant TCR SL and Cannondale Caad10, which are the latest evolutions from those manufacturers, show that for a performance road bike aluminium is still a very good choice. Most people want carbon these days, and with the prices of carbon frames lower than ever before, it's easy to see why. We'd still argue that a top-notch alloy frame will ride better than many cheap carbon frames though.

And secondly you can usually get a much better equipped aluminium bike than a similarly priced carbon bike. With less money tied up in the frame there’s more for the groupset, accessories and wheels. This is attractive when money is tight but also if you’ve got a couple of grand to spend. Though this clearly isn't the case with the S-Works Allez, the fact they're building a very small number doesn't give them the economy of scale. But that could be easily addressed if they wanted to put it into full production.

This is an engineering exercise by Specialized’s alloy engineer Chuck Teixeira. He has 30 years of experience with the material and was given the go-ahead to develop a state-of-the-art alloy frame that employed the latest manufacturing capabilities. It’s hailed as their most advanced alloy frame, and uses a new SmartWeld technique to join a forged head tube with hydroformed main tubes, to boost the front-end stiffness. The interface between the main tubes and the head tube creates a stronger and lighter structure. The main tubes are made from E5 alloy and are butted to the thinnest walls possible.

The result is a reported frame weight of 1,200g for a 56cm frame. Specialized decided to give the special frame the S-Works treatment, so it gets a full SRAM Red groupset, Roval Rapide CLX 40 carbon deep-section wheels with CeramicSpeed bearings and S-Works Turbo 220 TPI tyres.

Specialized fit their own Tarmac full monocoque FACT carbon fork with tapered steerer and dress the frame with S-Works finishing kit. We don’t have a complete bike weight. Did we mention the price? Oh, we did... Just in case you missed it, this bike costs £6,500.

Currently the Allez range in the UK consists of three aluminium road bikes aimed at the entry-level, with prices ranging from £550 to £900. Beyond that you’re into the Tarmac range and carbon takes over as the frame material of choice. We’ve no idea if Specialized have any plans to do a longer run of the Allez S-Works frame in the future, but we really hope they do. There’s clearly space in their range of it, and there’s growing demand for highly specced aluminium bikes.

These bikes will only be available at Specialized Concept Stores, find your nearest at http://www.specializedconceptstore.co.uk

28 user comments

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I've got the 2003 S-Works road frame, the smart red semi-aero one with a compact frame.
Beautiful bike.

That Allez is nice, I reckon the price is justified on the rarity value.

posted by crazy-legs [504 posts]
5th June 2013 - 13:38

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I can see why aluminium fell out of favour as carbon became more marketable and people love this years black. I dont buy the engineering costs as the the build costs would have been done for next to nowt if Spesh hinted a production run, loss leaders etc. I am still riding one of the 02 S-Works E5 frames, it is and always has been my only road bike and is awesome - until someone can demonstrate I would go faster for the same price on carbon that is. And it weighs less than this one fwiw. . Geometry, fit and quality will always beat weight and funky aero shapes. Yawn

You are wrong comparing high spec Alu to low cost carbon, a well made aluminium or steel frame will match a carbon race frame in a race. Look at whats going on with Madison. Mind you, the numbers of carbon frames cracking and breaking maybe everyone should go back to tin?

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
5th June 2013 - 13:40

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Pitstone Peddler wrote:
You are wrong comparing high spec Alu to low cost carbon, a well made aluminium or steel frame will match a carbon race frame in a race. Look at whats going on with Madison. Mind you, the numbers of carbon frames cracking and breaking maybe everyone should go back to tin?

I didn't really mean to compare high spec Alu to low cost carbon, my point is trying to convince people that are looking at cheap carbon to consider alloy bikes instead - I'm writing a piece about alloy bikes that will make the point a bit more clearly. High-end alloy is a rival for high-end carbon no doubt

What numbers of carbon frames cracking are you referring to?

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posted by David Arthur [1475 posts]
5th June 2013 - 13:46

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crazy-legs wrote:
I've got the 2003 S-Works road frame, the smart red semi-aero one with a compact frame.
Beautiful bike.

That Allez is nice, I reckon the price is justified on the rarity value.

Id buy one if I could for sure

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
5th June 2013 - 13:59

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David Arthur wrote:
Pitstone Peddler wrote:
You are wrong comparing high spec Alu to low cost carbon, a well made aluminium or steel frame will match a carbon race frame in a race. Look at whats going on with Madison. Mind you, the numbers of carbon frames cracking and breaking maybe everyone should go back to tin?

I didn't really mean to compare high spec Alu to low cost carbon, my point is trying to convince people that are looking at cheap carbon to consider alloy bikes instead - I'm writing a piece about alloy bikes that will make the point a bit more clearly. High-end alloy is a rival for high-end carbon no doubt

What numbers of carbon frames cracking are you referring to?

In my club team of 15, one has swapped his Pinarello when it snapped, one has a crack on a Tarmac and one has done 2 ongoing warranty swaps with Spesh. I recall seeing a crash on telly in the Tour Down Under (sprint early on, maybe stage 4) and the riders bike snapped at the seat stays and the forks, it was in three pieces. When everyone rode aluminium, this just did not happen.

Before Im flamed, i do not dislike carbon, I buy a bike based upon its likely performance and my budget, Geometry, then material quality and build quality combined has the biggest affect on performance IMHO.

I look forward to your review of aluminium. And, the new Hoy bikes, the racy one looks like it will ride well to me. Slack stearer though Sad maybe he will add to the range.

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
5th June 2013 - 14:08

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Quote:
In my club team of 15, one has swapped his Pinarello when it snapped, one has a crack on a Tarmac and one has done 2 ongoing warranty swaps with Spesh. I recall seeing a crash on telly in the Tour Down Under (sprint early on, maybe stage 4) and the riders bike snapped at the seat stays and the forks, it was in three pieces. When everyone rode aluminium, this just did not happen.

Rubbish - I can give the same stories for aluminium bikes. I used to work in the warranty department for a large London bike shop and we saw dozens of cracked/broken aluminium and steel bikes from all brands.

Saying you saw a bike break in a crash is pretty pointless as well - any bike will break if you crash it hard enough. Anyone remember seeing the aluminium steerer of George Hincapie's Trek breaking at Paris Roubaix a few years ago? Bit embarrassing for Trek as they'd been slagging off carbon steerers as dangerous and saying how wonderful alu steerers were...

posted by crazy-legs [504 posts]
5th June 2013 - 14:23

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Pitstone Peddler wrote:

the new Hoy bikes, the racy one looks like it will ride well to me. Slack stearer though

i can guarantee you that it's in no way slack in the steering department. not that i've ridden one or anything. oh no.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7311 posts]
5th June 2013 - 14:28

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After breaking an S-works frame, I replaced it with a Allez frame for a few hundred bucks. All the parts moved over from the S-Works. It's a great bike.

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posted by pedalpowerDC [217 posts]
5th June 2013 - 14:53

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ha ha i do love the specialneedz riders. willing to pay that much money for a bike of that spec. i ride a caad10 which is lighter a than this allez and is superb. £2000 with a decent spec, granted not the zipps but if they did a set up with the zipps and red it would be what 4k at most?

sheeeesh i remember when specialized were decent priced and genuinely innovative.

i like the look of this bike and the high spec aspect but 6.5k

ah aha ha ha ha i bet the designers were high fiving all the way home.

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
5th June 2013 - 15:10

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I seem to recall them knocking out special edition S Works Allez' last year too.

posted by Nick T [789 posts]
5th June 2013 - 15:49

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Pitstone Peddler wrote:

In my club team of 15, one has swapped his Pinarello when it snapped, one has a crack on a Tarmac and one has done 2 ongoing warranty swaps with Spesh

I'm pretty confident that these frames didn't just snap through normal use. No frame would just fold in two no matter what it was made of. If someone told me their frame snapped, I would just assume there had been previous crashes on it that might make their story less interesting to hear.

posted by Nick T [789 posts]
5th June 2013 - 15:59

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I call BS. Lots of us rode aluminum too back in the day and remember cracks and other issues. Anything will break in a crash so that's not really relevant. I really like that both aluminum and steel are making a comeback but am loving carbon fiber on my Giant Defy. First carbon fiber bike I have owned since the Trek 2500 in 1988. Before that I was riding titanium for years and before that mostly aluminum from the late 70's to 90's.

posted by snooks [19 posts]
5th June 2013 - 17:05

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You sound like you are 12...anyway the real value in bikes is Giant.

posted by snooks [19 posts]
5th June 2013 - 17:08

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Yeah I've plenty of experience cracking Alu frames, I've heard carbon can be petty spectacular when it breaks as well..

Ti all the way for me!

6.5k for this bike is ridiculous. They're hoping the limited availability will justify it for fans of the brand..

posted by 700c [556 posts]
5th June 2013 - 17:31

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Not what the point of this bike is really? I agree Al is still a material with a lot to offer, but this is not it. The Al Giant TCR SL reviewed very highly on here a few weeks ago weighs 150g less (lots more work to be done there, Spesh), and costs $1300 (sorry no pound sign on my keyboard!). Even taking that complete bike (as opposed to a frame only), I'm pretty sure I could upgrade it to something 95% as good as this for a lot less than $6.5k!!!! Overall, worst VFM I've seen in ages. Thinking

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [211 posts]
5th June 2013 - 18:53

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Unusually, as the owner of a 2011 E5 Allez Elite and a 2012 Tarmac Expert SL3, I feel reasonably well placed to give an opinion on this one...
Not only does the Tarmac smooth out some of our beautifully finished English roads, but the difference in power transfer is night and day; don't know if it's just 'cos the Tarmac is BB30 though.
What I can say is that, for not one moment, do I regret spending the cash on the SL3 Big Grin
Won't be parting with the Allez any time soon though!

posted by Al'76 [126 posts]
5th June 2013 - 20:17

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If you want perfomance Aluminium...

Basically yep I guess everyone knows what I'm going to say before I've said it.

Devil

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
5th June 2013 - 20:28

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So someone in the group I sometimes ride with has just had to scrap his Ti road bike cause a big crack developed in the down-tube - not even near a join! He tried to get the crack welded up, but it didn't last.

posted by Paul J [594 posts]
5th June 2013 - 21:10

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owned an Allez which eventually cracked in the weld around the BB shell after too many miles of punishment on rough UK roads

Specialized UK were good-as-gold on the warranty, could not get me an Allez in an acceptable timeframe, so offered me free-of-charge an upgrade to a Tarmac Comp (USA edition) frameset, so say I was happy was an understatement

moving the same parts from my old Allez to my new Tarmac is interesting (my Tarmac has threaded Euro BB rather than BB30) as its a true comparison, riding the 2 different frames on the same harsh roads I ride on

Tarmac does not feel stiffer under power when sprinting / climbing, but has a "softer" feel when encountering rough road surfaces, the Allez could feel a little harsh in those encounters

bear in mind my Allez was the basic A1 (6XXX) tubeset, the S-W frameset in this article uses a heavily manipulated E5 (7XXX) tubeset with some fancy welding and finishing

I have actually ridden one of the bikes in this article as we've had one in our bike store for 2+ months. We've had comments from customers that its expensive for an alloy framed bikes, until we point out the bling kit hung on it, and then look at the CF S-W bikes with same kit which are £8,500

its got a very dialled ride feel, which does not feel dissimilar to my carbon fibre Tarmac, and that is a major achievement for aluminium alloy!

from what I understand, Chuck T was the main man at Easton Aluminium for many years and was the driving force behind their RAD MTB tubeset and other special heat treated, manipulated tubesets before being hired to the big red "S"

posted by hampstead_bandit [123 posts]
5th June 2013 - 22:03

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Interesting, here in Australia as well as the limited edition they are selling the same frame in a 'race' model with either 105 or rival at a reasonable price. I believe the limited bikes with red sold out very quickly.

posted by bigant [39 posts]
6th June 2013 - 4:05

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Saw one of these in the Speccy Concept Store in Covent Garden. Pretty tidy it looked, too, although if I was ever going to spend that much on a bike it would never be anything other than a custom frame. Seems crazy to pay upwards of £6K for what is basically an upmarket cookie-cutter frame, however it might ride. That said, Chuck T is a bit of a ledge and I guess this is one for the serious Speccy anorak with money to burn, no different to all those special edition Les Pauls that Gibson makes, a bike for the connoisseur.

PS: Can we have a bit more debate on frame materials please? It never gets boring. Much.

PPS: Not moaning but this story was in Cyclist weeks ago. I thought web media was supposed to live or die on how quickly it can turn stories around compared with print titles?

posted by Yennings [210 posts]
6th June 2013 - 5:36

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Surprising that Dave forgot to mention the Road.cc "Bike of the Year" was made of aluminium.

Canyon Ultimate AL:

http://www.canyon.com/_en/roadbikes/bike.html?b=3081

posted by Canyon UK [6 posts]
6th June 2013 - 11:43

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The Princpia Rex was LESS than half with Red- 3000 and the frame is nicer. Granted no Zipps but you can 2 or 3 pairs of Zipps for 3500. All this bike does is help make Mike Sinyard rich...

Bryin

posted by Bryin [16 posts]
6th June 2013 - 13:29

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Genuinely surprised how heavy this frame is for all the advanced engineering quoted. I have a 57cm frame built from fairly normal Columbus Airplane tubing and it weighs 1250g

posted by TomvanHalen [33 posts]
7th June 2013 - 18:39

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just wondering why the forks are carbon......

posted by duzza [44 posts]
7th June 2013 - 19:09

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I'm still laughing at all the 6k+ bikes I see in my local dealer. There's an awful lot of middlemen getting rich off the middle aged itch some of us are scratching.

posted by sq225917 [18 posts]
9th June 2013 - 12:08

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Has anyone actually ridden this bike?

The new Allez doesn't feel very stiff in the BB because of the OS/tapered head tube. The head feels stiff but not the BB.

posted by dogcc [104 posts]
23rd July 2013 - 19:57

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Six and a half grand for a bike with mechanical dura ace? Limited edition? Until they do a full production run....

I paid 1700 for my Canyon and it has di2. Ultegra admittedly but even so.

posted by Tom Amos [241 posts]
27th February 2014 - 13:41

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