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
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.