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2022 Specialized Allez Elite reverts to SRAM Rival 11-speed groupset from 2014

The use of this aging groupset has led some to suggest that supply issues have forced the move away from Shimano

Specialized’s popular Allez road bikes have been refreshed for 2022 with some new colours and interesting spec choices, but most of the 2021 features remain unchanged. One surprising alteration, though, can be found on the Allez Elite, which moves from the highly popular Shimano 105 R700 groupset to SRAM’s rather dated 11-speed Rival groupset which launched way back in 2014.

> What are your options when you can’t find the bike component you’re looking for?

In recent years, groupset manufacturers have focused increasingly on electronic and disc brake groupsets. Many would argue that this is where the market is headed, but this focus has left bikes with mechanical shifting and rim brakes dressed in groupsets that often haven't been updated for some time. 

There is also a price increase of £100 on this bike which takes it to £1,349, though that is still an affordable price in today’s road bike market.

Allez Elite - £1,349

2022 Specialized Allez Elite

The Allez Elite has gone from using Shimano’s 105 R7000 11-speed groupset, launched in 2018, to SRAM Rival, launched in 2014 . Shimano components have been increasingly difficult to get hold of due to the serious strain placed on the supply chain, which has led some to speculate that it is those supply issues that have forced the move to 2014’s SRAM Rival groupset.

While SRAM provides the parts for the shifting, braking is dealt with by Axis 1.0 callipers and Praxis supplies the chainset in the form of the Alba model.

Elsewhere, the Allez Elite remains unchanged from the 2021 model and is still the most affordable unisex road bike in the Specialized range to roll on DT Swiss wheels.

A KMC X11 EL chain is a solid component choice that should provide plenty of silent miles of use.

Allez - £899

2022 Specialized Allez

The range still starts with this base Allez, though the price has jumped up by £100, and for your £899 you’re getting an aluminium frame, FACT carbon fork, Axis Sport wheels and a selection of Specialized finishing kit.

The frame and fork have some neat features that we’re pleased to see, but also ones that you’d only have found on higher-priced bikes a few years ago. The threaded bottom bracket is great for riders that are looking at the Allez as a dedicated winter bike. Specialized’s OSBB might have been good for stiffness, but I personally found it often made quite annoying noises when ridden through the winter.

Internal cable routing gives clean frame lines and while a fully integrated front end would have been right up to date, the easy servicing of a headset that isn’t also hiding wires is more appropriate for this bike.

Finally, Specialized has worked 26mm tyres into the frame and fork to give you a more compliant ride over broken surfaces. There’s a growing body of evidence that tyres up to 28mm are faster too, so there is a potential speed increase to be had as well.

Shimano’s Claris 8-speed groupset takes care of the shifting and the 50/34T chainrings combine with a SunRace 11-32T cassette to give a wide range of gears.

As with all of the Allez bikes, you’ve got mounting points for full-length mudguards and a pannier rack which, when combined with the sub-£1000 price, means that this bike will continue to be popular with people looking to get a bike on the Cycle to Work scheme.

Allez Sport - £1,099

2022 Specialized Allez Sport

The Allez sport has also been treated to that £100 price increase, and it still sits in the middle of the range with a Shimano Sora 9-speed partial groupset. Like the Allez Elite above, the Allez Sport uses Axis 1.0 brakes and a Praxis Alba chainset.

> When will Britain’s bike shortage end?

The Allez range looks set to be available in sizes 44 through to 61, though we’re not yet sure about an availability date. The question remains though; is Specialized's choice to spec SRAM Rival components because of supply chain issues? We've asked Specialized to comment.

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gary p | 2 years ago

I was browsing the Argon-18 website, and noticed they are exclusively offering SRAM drivetrains on any of their pre-built configurations, at least for the North American market.  From Rival mechanical (with cable discs on one entry level model!) to Red eTap AXS, it's SRAM at all price points.  I don't know if Shimano shut them out because they don't do enough volume, if Argon went with SRAM over pricing, or they just thought SRAM would actually be able to deliver components on time, but it's noteworthy. 

Sevenfold | 2 years ago
1 like

Long time Sram user. Rival 10 speed on my Boardman (2009 version with Rival 10 speed recently upgraded to Force 11 speed as AXS way TOO expensive). No issues with anything after around 4k miles this year. Rival 10 speed is still on the Condor & still works faultlessly 9 years on. 

Christopher TR1 | 2 years ago
1 like

Definitely an improvement! If only they hadn't ruined the geometry.

huntswheelers | 2 years ago

Nothing wrong with Rival... decent, reliable group... Robust

xernobyl replied to huntswheelers | 2 years ago

I've read bad things about the front derailleur. I've only used 1x rival, which I had no my previous bike. I like shfting mechanics, but prefer the wide Shimano levers ergonomics.

Welsh boy replied to xernobyl | 2 years ago

I have read bad things about SRAM front mechs too.  But I will only voice my opinion based on personal experience and not what I read on some uncited source.  Please, if you are going to comment on something have some experience of what you are talking about and dont just regurgitate something you have read somewhere.  I have used Rival, 105 and Ultegra Di2 front mechs and the best without any doubt has been the Rival, so much so that it was a deciding factor when replacing my Di2 with Force levers and rear mech and a Rival front mech.

jaymack replied to Welsh boy | 2 years ago

In which case you've been very lucky. I had 10 speed Rival for years. The front mech' was awful & soon replaced with an Ultegra 10 speed front derailleur. While I loved the 'clunk' of the shifts and still prefer double-tap mechanism, the Sram product just took too much fettling time. The rear mech' needed far too much adjustment compared to the 9 speed 105 it replaced. I was delighted to see the back of it when I eventually went back to 105 & 11 speed last year. I want to ride my bike not fiddle with it. 11 speed 105 has had minimal adjustment, save a new chain, with about 3,000 km on the clock. Double-tap is a good idea poorly executed, I'm afraid I don't want Sram on my bike ever again

Welsh boy replied to jaymack | 2 years ago
1 like

I would suggest that you have been unlucky, I have used Apex, Rival and Force for years and they have all been very reliable. 

check12 replied to xernobyl | 2 years ago

I use a force front derailleur and it's fine nicer to use on that you don't have to trim it to use the 11 in the small ring or the 28 in the big ring, would recommend a chain catcher but my front D came with one fitted as standard, unsure about the rival ones 

mattsccm replied to check12 | 2 years ago

Been running Rival since 2014 on at least one bike, 4 since 2018. Front mechs are fine. Need to trim on cross chaining isn't an issue, partly of course because it souldn't happen. That's bad useage. Hacving said that all ine run happily big to big. Can't say I would ever run small to small. Poor use of gears that. 

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