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Would you pay £3K for an aluminium Specialized Allez?

New Allez Sprint is equipped with Shimano’s 105 Di2 12-speed groupset, and is priced at £3,100

Would you be tempted by Specialized’s new Allez Sprint Ltd road bike, equipped with Shimano’s 105 Di2 12-speed groupset, for £3,100? This bike is available in the UK for the first time today.

The Allez Sprint is a performance-focused road bike that’s based on Specialized’s Tarmac SL7, but built around an alloy rather than carbon-fibre frame. With typical self-confidence, Specialized calls it “the fastest alloy road bike in history” thanks to the time the SL7 spent in the wind tunnel – some of that aero-ness having been transferred over despite the change of material.

2024 Specialized Allez Sprint Ltd  - 1.jpeg

When we reviewed it last year, we were full of praise for the Specialized Allez Sprint Comp which was built up with the Shimano 11-speed 105 R7020 mechanical groupset that was current at the time, describing it as a fast race bike with excellent handling and plenty of stiffness. With a bottom bracket and down tube hydroformed from a single piece of alloy, that frame really is a corker, as is the carbon fork.

> Check out our review of the Specialized Allez Sprint Comp 2022

Our only real criticism was that the £2,650 price was high for an aluminium bike equipped with a mid-level groupset.

2024 Specialized Allez Sprint Ltd  - 4.jpeg

Now the Allez Sprint frame is available in the UK for the first time with the Di2 (electronic) version of Shimano 105, with a compact 50/34T chainset and an 11-34T cassette. You get hydraulic disc brakes and a threaded bottom bracket. Nearly everything else on the bike comes from Specialized itself apart from the DT Swiss R470 rims and Supercaz handlebar tape.

> Read our Shimano 105 R7100 Di2 groupset review 

Naturally enough, we’ve requested one for review.

2024 Specialized Allez Sprint Ltd  - 6.jpeg

Would electronic shifting entice you to buy an aluminium-framed road bike for £3,100? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an aluminium frame, of course, and there are certainly others on bikes costing well over £3K. Cannondale’s CAAD13 Disc 105 Di2 is £3,250, for example, while the same bike with SRAM Rival AXS components is £3,400.

> Find out about the best road bikes under £3000 2024 — here are the top picks for your budget 

If you’re interested in 105 Di2, the most accessible of Shimano’s three electronic groupsets for road bikes, it’s available on the new Boardman SLR 8.9 Disc Di2 announced last week. That bike features a carbon fibre frame and at £2,800 looks like an absolute bargain on paper – but no one rides a bike on paper.

2024 Specialized Allez Sprint Ltd  - 7.jpeg

A carbon-fibre frame doesn’t always mean a better bike, but would you want carbon at three grand?

www.specialized.com

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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30 comments

Avatar
james-o | 2 months ago
1 like

I think a lot of people under-estimate how good those Smartweld frames are, or Specialized haven't marketed it well enough. 

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maxdabrit | 2 months ago
0 likes

When the supplied pictures show a dark grainy picture to hide the hideous welds and further disguise the cheap-to produce- one piece headtube assembly... the answer is a resounding NO!

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Wafty Crank | 2 months ago
0 likes

I'd much rather get a Mason Definition at that price (£400 more for 105 di2, £200 less for 105 mechanical) if I was after an aluminium frame

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Dunnoeither | 2 months ago
0 likes

It's a nice ride but it no I'd never buy it. Also there are still way too many decent good-as-new Corona full carbon Ultegra bikes on eBay for the same money or little more.

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galibiervelo | 2 months ago
2 likes

I have the 2021 Allez sprint and love it. Super race bike just under 8kg with some carbon hoops. I broke one carbon frame  and another carbon frame cracked, so Alu shouldnt be overlooked. Would not be keen on the new one as hidden cables are an unwanted headache for the home mechanic

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Bigfoz | 2 months ago
2 likes

I wouldn't pay £3,000 for a Specialized

I wouldn't pay £3,000 for an aluminium bike

I wouldn't pay £3,000 to get 105

So, no. In fact I wouldn't pay £300 for any or all of those variables.

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Rendel Harris replied to Bigfoz | 2 months ago
1 like
Bigfoz wrote:

I wouldn't pay £3,000 for a Specialized

So if you were offered an S-Works Tarmac SL8 Dura Ace (rrp £12,000) for three grand you'd turn it down?

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Dunnoeither replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

Hmm, an SL8 Dura Ace for 3k is probably stolen and should thus be turned down, too.

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Bigfoz replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes

Yep. Worst case I might (doubtful) take it at 3 and eBay it for more to get a proper bike. 

Yes, I've owned a Specialized. Yes, I've owned a[uminium. Yes, I ran Shimano for nearly 15 years. No, I don't want to return to any of them. WRT Specialized - I won't touch their products after the infamous "Roubaix" spat, worst kind of big business bullying. Aluminium just rides badly, almost as bad as cheap carbon, and has a limited service life as it becomes brittle with age and use. Shimano I found unreliable, unfixable (most components have to be replaced due to scarcity and cost of actual spare parts) and short lived (though it worked beautifully initially)

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Rendel Harris replied to Bigfoz | 2 months ago
3 likes

Well, I've been using various iterations of Shimano since 1985, starting with 600 (forerunner of Ultegra) and I think by now I've used everything from Claris to Dura Ace and all points in between, never had any cause for complaint - the 1985 600 was still running beautifully and needed no repairs or replacements apart from consumables (brake pads, cassette, chain and cables) when I finally sold the bike in 2002, which is not what I would call short lived.

I've had numerous Specialized bikes (six in total), I have two at present in the stable (Tricross and Roubaix Pro) and love them both. Again, I've never had one of their bikes that didn't perform up to or beyond expectations. I do think some of their offerings are overpriced. Yes they didn't cover themselves in glory over the Roubaix issue but they backed down and issued a very fulsome apology, it was over a decade ago now.

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Dnnnnnn replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

not what I would call short lived

I think some of this reputation comes from the STI levers, which - in contrast to Campag's - seem to be considered unrepairable. My first pair of Shimano STIs didn't last long but I couldn't bear to throw them away so they sat in a box for 20 years until the pandemic when I had the time (and YouTube) to figure out that they could be repaired by dislodging hardened grease by blasting WD40 into them! In contrast, I've properly dismantled and repaired a couple of Ergolevers with new spare parts (although it would have been better if their silly plastic levers hadn't broken in the first place).

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mike the bike replied to Dnnnnnn | 2 months ago
0 likes

There was a time when I would eagerly open up my Campag' levers to fix a problem with easily obtainable spare parts, using little more than a household toolkit.  But no more.  Too many components, if you can find someone who stocks them, are press-fit or require special tools.  I've just had two Chorus levers pack up within weeks, both ratchet mechanisms being inexplicably worn.

Meantime my six-year-old Ultegra soldiers on dutifully, benefiting from only the most cursory maintenance. 

I am reluctant to sever a lifetime's connection to the Italian brand but .........

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wtjs replied to Bigfoz | 2 months ago
2 likes

Shimano I found unreliable, unfixable and short lived 

Apart from the inexplicably badly handled pasta cranks saga and the equally surprising failure to produce reliable power meters (neither of which affected me personally) I find the opposite. I have over 50 years experience with Shimano stuff used in the worst of conditions (excepting competitive cyclocross) and it has been very reliable and long-lived and hardly ever needs fixing

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fwhite181 | 2 months ago
1 like

No.

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Surreyrider | 2 months ago
3 likes

Not when you can pick up a carbon Supersix Evo (new model) with 105 Di2 for the same money. Or fancy something titanium.

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Broady. | 2 months ago
2 likes

Chuck some decent wheels on it and that would be more than enough bike for the vast majority of people, just had the 105 Di2 on a holiday rental and it was perfect.

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wtjs | 2 months ago
5 likes

I used to believe this stuff about alu frames being harsh, and I'm still very pleased with the steel and titanium frames I have. However, one daughter brought her Uni bike home for me to renovate for other daughter and it was a Carrera El-Cheapo Alu frame. Although it's a small frame (and therefore even stiffer, if we believe that theory) I could ride it comfortably with its original too-long stem (I changed that), saddle right back and more upright position. I couldn't detect much difference from the steel and titanium frames. I would now be quite happy to buy an alu bike now, after a short test ride on something similar

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thrawed replied to wtjs | 2 months ago
5 likes

The idea that frame material matters for vibrations comes from the days of 21mm tyres pumped up to 120 psi. Nowadays with wider tyre widths and lower tyre pressures 90% of the road buzz is filtered out before it even reaches your frame material.

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henryb | 2 months ago
1 like

If you're prepared to spend £3k on a non-carbon bike though, there are a lot of very high-end steel and titanium bikes to choose from

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Xenophon2 replied to henryb | 2 months ago
3 likes

Matter of priorities and use.  To save cash, I'd ditch the electronic shifting, get myself a 105-equipped Triban at half the price and be done with it.   Had I done that, the cash returns from -in my case- my cycling to work scheme would have seen me break even in 7 months and actually gain cash from riding a bike after.  Now THAT would be a first.  But since I went with Ti and electronic shifting, break even was pushed to 3 years  1  if nothing expensive breaks, that is.

I also used to drink the kool-ade about alloy frames feeling harsh or dead and while material properties mean that those frames do start with an inherent disadvantage, a well-designed alloy frame will easily beat cheap carbon or shoddily made steel. 

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Zjtm231 | 2 months ago
0 likes

3k you must be joking?!
105 disc groupset is not about £550, hunt wheels £300...so will they want over 2k for frame saddle and bars. Hilarious pricing

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mark1a replied to Zjtm231 | 2 months ago
2 likes
Zjtm231 wrote:

3k you must be joking?! 105 disc groupset is not about £550, hunt wheels £300...so will they want over 2k for frame saddle and bars. Hilarious pricing

I'm interested in where one can get a 105 Di2 groupset for £550...

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Moist von Lipwig replied to mark1a | 2 months ago
0 likes

yeah, cheapest you can get it at the minute is £1k.

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2old2mould replied to mark1a | 2 months ago
0 likes

Saw Di2 105 for around that price during Black Friday.

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to Zjtm231 | 2 months ago
1 like

It's an interesting point you raise.

Whilst Di2 will set you back £1k, not £550, add up similar wheels around £400, and decent finishing kit at £350, you are actually looking around £1350 for the frameset, including forks headset and seatpost. That's kind of where I'd expect top end alloy to be. 

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OnYerBike replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 2 months ago
0 likes

You can buy the Allez Sprint Frameset - RRP £1,500. 

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Reiver2768 | 2 months ago
4 likes

Good aluminum will always be better than cheap carbon.

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Jimmy Ray Will | 2 months ago
0 likes

I bought a £1,500 Pinarello Prince SL frame back in 2004. I think £3k for a performance alloy race frame and electronic groupset is fairly reasonable.

I'd be keen to ride this frame to get a feel for its speediness. From people I know that have the Di2 105, the feedback is incredibly positive, with most questionning the need for Ultegra.

So for me, its a likely yes. 

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Xenophon2 replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 2 months ago
1 like

Can't compare 105 with Ultegra electronic shifting but in the SRAM universe I've ridden wireless from Rival via Force to Red and by and large I concur. 

You lose some weight, gain some comfort (incrementally smoother shifting) and what I'd call 'comfort features' (fluid damping, cage lock) as you go up but by and large, what you gain certainly doesn't compensate for the huge price difference.

Only people for whom it might make a difference are pros, and they don't buy their own kit so....

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Surreyrider replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 2 months ago
1 like

And in turn those with Ultegra Di2 question the need for Dura Ace...

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