A year after launching the race-focused Allez Sprint, Specialized has now revamped its classic, entry-level Allez. Two models are available, the Allez and Allez Sport, with carbon forks, clearance for up to 35mm tyres and hidden mudguard and rack mounts. Both are also disc brake-only, which marks the end of rim brakes across Specialized's whole adult bike range. With the entry-level Allez starting at £1,100, it also means you'll now need over £1,000 to buy a new Specialized drop bar road bike for the first time. How does it ride? Read on for our initial thoughts...
The Allez was the first performance road bike created by Specialized in 1981, and back then it was a steel race bike. The first alloy version was seen in 1994, and almost three decades later, Specialized says that the new Allez is the best yet with increased confidence, versatility and performance. It also claims the new Allez is "the lightest in its class" with a claimed frame weight of 1,375g and full bikes weighing between 9.5-10kg in a 56cm frame size.
> Opinion: "Aluminium frames are the work of the devil"
Aluminium road bikes are enjoying a resurgence of interest at the moment and some cyclists (perhaps not Steve in the article linked above, but a good proportion!) are realising that you can get a lot of performance and equipment for your money by sticking with alloy. So, let's take a closer look at what the new Allez has to offer...
> Specialized Allez Sprint vs Trek Emonda ALR — which aluminium race bike will win this epic showdown?
The new Allez features the Specialized E5 alloy frame in similar geometry to its Roubaix endurance race bike, making it suited to endurance rides, commuting or as an entry into road cycling. Specialized says that it's comfortable and confidence-inspiring, but also handles "like a pure race bike".
As we've mentioned already, the Allez frame is said to weigh 1,375g (56cm, painted) and the Allez is claimed to weigh around 10kg with a 56cm frame. With the same frame size, an Allez Sport has a claimed weight of approximately 9.5kg.
Specialized claims the new Allez is "the lightest in its class", though we couldn't help but notice that a Cannondale CAAD Optimo 1 (Cannondale Advanced Aluminium Design), also size 56cm, is said to weigh around 9.0kg; but that has rim brakes rather than discs, so provisionally we'll take Spesh's word for it.
> Is Trek’s new road bike really aluminium?
In recent years we've seen the trend for wider and wider tyres. The new Allez comes with 30mm tyres and has an impressive maximum tyre clearance of up to 35mm, giving the versatility to ride rougher roads. To compare, the outgoing entry-level Allez with rim brakes is equipped with 26mm tyres and has a maximum tyre clearance of 28mm.
Based on previous feedback, there are now hidden mudguard and rack mounts to make the Allez suited to commuting as well as long endurance rides. The recommended max tyre width is 32mm with mudguards installed.
> What are dropped seatstays good for? Should you get a bike with them?
The new Allez also features an angled chainstay bridge, but Specialized says that this is "purely a modern aesthetic design cue" and that mudguards will mount easily to the chainstay bridge.
Specialized says that the Allez utilises endurance road geometry and is based on the Roubaix and outgoing Allez.
Compared with the Roubaix the new Allez has a slightly shorter reach but longer chainstay length. For a 54cm frame, the reach of the Roubaix is 376mm compared to 370mm for the Allez, and the chainstay length is 415mm compared to 425mm on the Allez.
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It is available in seven sizes from 44-61cm and all bikes are designed for 700c wheels/tyres.
Pricing and components: rim brakes are out, sub-£1k Specialized road bikes are no more
The new Allez has two model levels, the Allez and Allez Sport. The Allez is priced at £1,100, featuring Shimano Claris shifting and mechanical disc brakes. It also comes in three colour options: Gloss Smoke/White/Silver Dust, Satin Maroon/Silver Dust/Flo Red and Gloss Lagoon Blue/Cool Grey/Blaze.
The Allez Sport is the more expensive of the two, priced at £1,600 and specced with Shimano Tiagra shifting and hydraulic disc brakes. It's also available in three colour options: Gloss Dove Grey/Cool Grey/Chameleon Lapis, Gloss Tarmac/Black and Satin Tropical Teal/Teal Tint/Arctic Blue.
> The rising cost of cycling
With the Allez being Specialized' entry-level road bike, this means that none of the brand's current model year road bikes are priced under £1,000; a step change from the end of the last decade, when the entry-level Allez retailed at around £600. The Specialized Sirrus flat bar fitness bike is the only model available with options priced at under the magic grand mark across its adult range.
This launch also marks the end of rim brakes across the whole Specialized adult bike range, with only some Specialized kid's bikes yet to receive the disc brake treatment.
Here is the full spec breakdown of the new Allez (the only difference between the two models is the groupset):
- Frame: Specialized E5 Premium Aluminium Disc frame with SmoothWelds
- Fork: FACT Carbon
- Groupset: Shimano Claris mechanical disc / Shimano Tiagra hydraulic disc
- Chainset: 50/34T
- Cassette: 11-32T
- Bottom bracket: BSA threaded
- Wheels: Axis Sport Disc tubeless ready
- Tyres: Specialized RoadSport 700x30c
- Handlebars: Specialized Shallow Drop
- Stem: Specialized 3D-forged alloy, 7-degree rise
- Saddle: Body Geometry Bridge, steel rails
First ride impressions
Jamie was lucky enough to get out and put a few miles in on the new Allez Sport ahead of its launch. Here's what he had to say...
"The new Allez in many ways is a predictable upgrade, but that's not to say it's not very welcome.
Road cyclists of all abilities are turning towards wider tyres and in my opinion, one of the main drawbacks of the outgoing Allez was the tyre limitations especially when using mudguards. The 2023 Allez solves this issue with clearance for 35mm tyres, and perhaps more importantly 32mm tyres with full mudguards fitted. By doing this, Specialized has brought its entry-level machine bang up to date.
Obviously, the lack of rim brake options brings with it the end of an era, and I for one am sad to see them go. I'm sure that this is a point that will stir up plenty of feisty comments, but it is worth remembering that bike brands do tend to be influenced by consumer demand and not the other way around.
Although I was (and am) very happy riding rim brake bikes, I think for the Allez, this move makes a lot of sense. It is after all a bike that for many will be ridden through the depths of winter and on commutes with 'varying' conditions. Therefore, I think that the benefits of such wide tyre clearance far outweighs the weight penalty that disc brakes are responsible for.
Out on the road, the Allez feels every bit the performance endurance bike that it's always been, with tried and tested geometry including that long top tube and stable handling characteristics.
The extended chainstays haven't caused the Allez to lose its spark, and the dropped seat stays are said to improve comfort. Without more miles and back-to-back testing, I'm unable to completely confirm those claims, but I was impressed with the overall ride experience; perhaps partially down to the bike coming with 30mm tyres fitted as standard, helping to soak up the potholed Surrey roads.
Overall, the Allez promises more versatility while retaining the sprightly performance that the Allez is renowned for. I'm looking forward to putting some more miles in back on my local roads."
For more information, you can head over to the Specialized website.
What are your thoughts on this new Allez? Let us know in the comments section below...
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