The Specialized Allez range consists of great entry level road bikes and a crit racing machine - we help you choose the right model for you
The Specialized Allez road bike has stood the test of time as a model family, with early versions appearing as far back as the late 1970s.
It’s a well known, and well loved, platform that provided the first springboard into cycling for thousands of riders – and it continues to do so.
Whilst some models within the family are still purpose designed to provide an excellent introduction to cycling, the range also includes some race tuned machines created with full throttle riding at front of mind.
The new 2018 models have been released and are on sale – however, as explained below, the geometry has changed and there are still 2017 models on the market if you’re keen to invest in the older style.
The Specialized Allez 2018: highlights and prices
For 2018, the range consists of five key standards – with prices ranging from £599 to £1600.
The three more value orientated E5 models, under the names ‘Allez E5 Elite’, ‘Allez E5 Sport’ and bog standard ‘Allez E5’ represent the traditional Allez values, whilst the top end ‘Allez Sprint Comp’ model takes on a much more race focused approach.
Being a consistently best selling bike for the American giants – and indeed for retailers all over the world – the Allez has received a lot of design hours.
The 2018 Allez E5 models received a major facelift this year. The biggest upgrade is the introduction of a new, full carbon fork, which the brand say weighs in at 350g and mimics one which you would have found on S-Works bikes not too long ago.
The geometry has also been adjusted – it’s less aggressive than that which you’d find on models from 2017 and before.
Using ‘wide range geometry’, the set up is designed to be more friendly to first time buyers – allowing a broader group of riders of all shapes and sized to find the right fit. This said, the bike can be slammed to ride much more like the aggressive Tarmac race bike. Alterations include a slacker fork and headtube angle and a longer chainstay for additional stability.
The 2018 models also include eyelets for mudguards and internally routed cables – along with hydro formed tubing which keeps the weight low.
With the new geometry and mudguard mounts, the Allez E5 models can make good commuters and all sit below the cycle to work voucher threshold.
The Allez Sprint models haven’t seen any real change, though for 2018 the two bike range has been reduced to just one. The Sprint has a much more aggressive geometry when compared with all other Allez bikes; it’s designed for out-and-out crit racing and disregards comfort in favour of full throttle speed at every avenue.
Pitched as a welding technique designed to re-invent the way alloy was viewed as a frame material, its a form of welding that moves the joint away from high stress areas, providing, in their words a better “balance of strength, rigidity and weight”. Effectively it makes the front end lighter and stiffer.
Here’s a look at the key models in the range. Since the 2018 bikes are fairly new on the market, there are generally still 2017 bikes around if you’re keen to invest in the more racey geometry of days gone by…
Specialized Allez E5 road bike: £599
Available in a head turning red or more understated black, the entry level E5 retails at £599, sitting at a very wallet friendly price point for a quality road bike.
Specialized has fitted the new top end full carbon fork plus a carbon seat post – these will reduce vibrations from the road and cut the overall weight.
The levers an derailleurs are Shimano Claris 2000 STI – giving you eight gears with a Sunrace 11-32 cassette and 50/34 rings on a Shimano RS200 chainset – this gear set up offers you lots of options in the hills but the wide spaced cassette will feel clunky to racers who want to find the ideal cog.
The brakes are Tektro calipers, with Axis Sport wheels and 25mm Espoir Sport tyres – these are all reliable and trustable, though far from premium.
The 2017 bike – still just about available but likely to sell out soon – shares largely the same spec, with the older fork and older more aggressive geometry.
Specialized Allez E5 Sport road bike: £799
Moving one step up the run, the Allez E5 Sport comes in at £799 and features the same frame as the entry level model, with refined components that will drop a little off the wight and make shifting crisper.
The shifters and derailleurs are Shimano Sora, this time with a nine speed 11-32 cassette – one extra gear is afforded by the slightly higher end set up.
The compact chainset comes from Praxis whilst the same Axis Sport wheels are used. The 2017 model shares largely the same spec, but with the older geometry and heavier fork.
Specialized Allez E5 Elite road bike: £999
Topping out the Allez E5 family, dressed in a blue and red or plain black paint job and improved components, is the Elite model for £999.
The key distinguishing feature is the addition of Shimano 105 shifters and an 11-32, 11 speed cassette. The greater number of gears will provide smaller gaps between gears whilst still leaving plenty of downshifting potential in the hills thanks to the same wide ratio. A Praxis bottom bracket and chainset still comes with a 50/34 compact chainset.
As per all models, the saddle, stem, bar tape and handlebars are all provided by Specialized – who invest heavily in their BodyGeometry technology designed to offer a more anatomically optimised experience.
You can still find 2017 versions, but the 2018 models now supersede them and have the upgraded fork and new geo…
Specialized Allez Sprint Comp road bike: £1600
The old Allez has always been considered an excellent option for an entry level criterium racer – owning to the geometry and resilient properties of alloy. With the SL Sprint models, Specialized took it up a gear to create a race-first model.
The frame is lighter and stiffer, thanks to the use of Smartweld technology at junctions. The geometry has been tweaked, with a shorter stack, and indeed a shorter reach and wheelbase. All this adds up to a more head down, nippy ride.
This is really more of a crit machine than a ‘fist bike that could do alright in a race’. In fact, Specialized used this frame to make limited edition fixie bikes for racers at the Red Hook Crit – and racing doesn’t really get more aggressive than that.
Specialized call this the ‘stiffest alloy bike we’ve ever tested’ – with influence coming from the World Tour winning Tarmac and fork sizes that alter in line with the frame size for improved handling.
An aero curve at the downtube is complimented by a Venge carbon aero seatpost. The Praxis chainset features a semi compact 52/36 chainset with an 11-28 cassette (racers might want to adjust that). Axis 2.0 brakes complement a Shimano 105 set up with Axis Elite wheels and 24mm Turbo Pro tyres.
For 2018, the model consists of just one option – the comp at £1600, but there are still 2017 versions left on offer.
Which Specialized Allez should you buy?
With four models to choose from, it’s easy to understand the conundrum.
The Specialized Allez E5 models will all be reliable rides for commuting, sportives, club runs or just enjoyable spins around the lanes. The wide ratio geometry means this bike can suit a selection of needs – from club runs to sportives to commutes.
When it comes to choosing between a £599 and £999 spend – it’s all about how much incremental differences in performance matter to you. The more you spend, the lighter the overall bike will be, and the crisper you’ll find the shifting and breaking.
The Sprint bike really is for a completely different rider: these are bikes for racers who are happy to forgo comfort – and the choice between the two price points comes down to how much you value quick shifting when it comes to the race for the line.
A word on the Specialized Allez and the Specialized Dolce
It’s often believed that the Specialized Dolce women’s bike is the women’s ‘version’ of the Allez. Not so.
The Specialized Dolce is the brand’s entry level women’s machine, in the same way that the Allez is their unisex value orientated price point family. However, the Dolce is a much more sportive orientated ride, with a higher stack and shorter reach. Irrespective of average differences in male and female anthropological data, it’s designed to put a female rider in a more relaxed position.
These characteristics, along with buzz dampening Zertz inserts at the fork, make for a smooth and stable ride. However, a female rider after a more race driven bike – a bit like the Allez – may want to look at the Specialized Amira if she were considering a women’s specific model from the range.
Alternatively, the Allez could be tweaked to suit a female form with narrower handlebars, a saddle change, and perhaps shorter cranks for some riders.