The Specialized Allez has been around for a number of years now. It set about making a performance comeback for aluminium material with the Sprint - but updates to the range now aim to offer the best value for money in the entry level market
The Specialized Allez Elite forms part of the all new Allez range and has had the American brand pretty excited at the prospect of potentially being the best £1000 bike money can buy.
The new Allez has been dramatically changed from Elite level down. There’s a lesser emphasis on pure racing with a more ‘wide range’ geometry that should work for the majority of cyclists. Specialized says that this hasn’t detracted from its racing form, however, with the bike still able to adopt the slammed position, which can match its more aggressive partner that is the Tarmac.
It is all to ensure it will offer maximum comfort and confidence when riding according to the American brand.
Frame: Specialized Allez Elite
Moving away from the old style frames, the new Specialized Allez Elite follows trends set by the new Tarmac, Diverge and Venge Vias. The rear stay has been dropped to meet the seat tube much lower down, which is said to help the Elite give better compliance and comfort at the rear.
What Spesh is most proud of though is the inclusion of a full carbon fork. Similar to a previous version of the S-Works fork, it weighs in at around 350g. This includes mudguard eyelets, which again nods towards where this bike stands. More for the everyday rather than an aggressive racer.
Performance is still in the mind of the Allez Elite though and, along with that full carbon fork a tapered head tube and hydroformed tubing, keeps things relatively lightweight. 8.65kg to be precise, a smidgen heavier than the Boardman Team Carbon which also sits at the £1000 price point.
Let’s get the wheels out of the way as they are the biggest disappointment on this bike. The DT R460 wheels felt heavy and killed the ride. I swapped these out for something carbon and faster and I could really tell the difference.
Shimano 105 gearing (hoods and mechs) works nicely and is nice to see at this price point, though the Tektro Axis brakes are something of an anomaly. My hands started to hurt trying to get these to stop me, which I’m putting down to the lacklustre wheels and brakes calipers combined.
Handlebars, stem and saddle are all Specialized’s own and work well. Although you don’t get a Shimano 105 chainset (a pet hate of mine), the Praxis Alba 2D chainset is fine and works. Something has to give to get a lower price point.
If climbing is on your mind then the Specialized Allez Elite might be the bike to go for. A tiny 50/34 – 11-32 is supplied. You’ll be able to climb Everest on that!
The full carbon fork really helps the ride here. What sometimes dogs an aluminium bike is the ride quality, which is often let down by road buzz. The fork does a good job of taking away from that rough ride feel and helps the frame maintain a good level of stiffness at the front end to give a very stable ride.
Part of my testing saw me ride the S-Works Tarmac and the Specialized Allez Elite back-to-back (albeit shod with a set of high end Roval wheels, which aren’t supplied with the bike for £1000) and I was pleasantly surprised.
Apart from looking great, it danced up hills and flew down them. The key difference is that the bike didn’t feel as zippy. Change of direction is slower but cornering is assured and it is very stable at all speeds, which gives a confidence inspiring ride as you always feel comfortable in its ability to handle fast paced situations.
But the wheels supplied are very disappointing. The DT R460 feel laboured, heavy and lacklustre. Whip these off if you have the cash to spare.
Value wise the Allez Elite is a solid purchase and value for money is high. What you have to consider is the potential to upgrade and the fact that the frameset with its carbon fork could become a solid crit racer with the right componentry. As I said above, a swap out for some tasty wheels transformed the ride and I’d happily race it.
Though if budget is limited to £1000 and you won’t be upgrading, it is worth a shop around. You could live with the build as is but you will, eventually, want to change it.
Specialized has done a great job on its new Allez, I'd say the frameset is one of the best you can buy at this price point but it isn't THE best you can buy. Typically at this price point you need compromise and Specialized really has with the wheels and brakes here. It is an amazing frame though and topped with the full carbon fork works very well.