With the new Allez Sprint, Specialized might be about to change the perception that aluminium frames cannot be stiff, light and fast all at once
For many, aluminium frames are seen just as an entry-level option. However, with the Allez Sprint, Specialized is taking huge strides to change this perception. The bad news though is that at the moment there are no plans for the Allez Sprint to make its way to the UK.
Specialized has been pushing the boundaries when it comes to what is possible with aluminium for the last five years. Through its use of D’Aluisio Smart Weld (DSW) technology the American company claims to now have created a frame that retains the stiffness and responsiveness you’d normally associate with an aluminium fame, whilst at the same time providing performance characteristics close to what you’d expect from its popular, but more expensive, Tarmac and Venge ViAS carbon ranges.
Utilising its own wind tunnel, Specialized says it was able to widen its focus from just power transfer and ride quality to also include watt saving aerodynamics. This can be seen by the down tube, seat tube and seatstays which all look as if they have been shaped to slip through the air. Further, Specialized claims that in a sprint the new Allez Sprint will give you a 1.3 metre advantage over the standard Allez; although it’s not clear at what speed or the length of the sprint that this alleged benefit relates.
An area where the Allez Sprint really stands out is its revolutionary two-piece shell DSW bottom bracket junction. Specialized claims that the stiff bottom bracket provides power transfer comparable to its top end S-Works Tarmac.
Building on its experiences gleamed from developing the Tarmac and Venge ViAS, for its US customers Specialized has created six different DSW headtubes along with three S-Works FACT carbon forks. The theory being that whatever size frame you use you should get a comparable ride.
Specialized confirmed that the Allez Sprint is largely focused on the US crit racing scene. This is reflected by both of the full bike offerings being equipped with SRAM 1x which uses only one chainring. The Allez DSW Sprint Expert X1 comes with SRAM Force 1 and the Allez DSW Sprint X1 Comp uses SRAM Rival 1.
I’ve already briefly mentioned the bad news. Specialized has confirmed that at the moment it doesn’t think the Allez Sprint is suited to the UK market. This means that if you want to purchase the rather impressive sounding Allez Sprint you’ll have to go direct to the US. Time will tell whether the Allez Sprint starts an aluminium revolution in the UK.