Gear News

Specialized Allez Elite – first look

Entry-level alloy bike gets a geometry makeover

When you’ve got a winning formula, it’s a bold move to change it. That was what occurred to me when I’d heard the news that Specialized had effectively given the Allez, its popular entry-level alloy race bike, a heart transplant by redesigning the geometry.

Gone is the race layout that had embodied the old Allez (unless you go with the Sprint version, now its own dedicated crit race bike), and in comes a more relaxed geometry for the new 2018 machine we’ve just received to test.

Fundamentally, that results in a longer wheelbase combined with a taller headtube that should, in the first instance, make handling more predictable, and in the latter provide an overall position that feels more accessible to the type of rider the Allez is aimed at.

Specialized’s popular Allez road bike has been updated and now features a more relaxed geometry

And who is that? Well, Specialized claimed at launch that the decision to rethink the Allez’s geometry was made with first-time buyers, rather than first-time racers in mind, and on reflection that makes a lot of sense. While there are thousands of first-time buyers of road bikes each year, it’s likely that only a small proportion do so with the explicit plan of racing their machine. In the UK this makes even more sense, given that the Allez Elite (and models below in the range) sits beneath the thousand pound threshold for the Ride To Work scheme.

Versatility has also been addressed by the Allez’s redesign, with built-in mounts for mudguards and pannier racks sure to be a welcome addition for those using their new Allez as an all-weather winter bike, commuter or general workhorse. You can also run 28c tyres inside the Tektro Axis calipers if you wish.

The new frame isn’t just concerned with appealing to a more diverse range of riders – it’s taken a serious shot in the arm in terms of weight, too, hinting that it might still have retained the genes of the older, racier bike.

Now, claimed weight is down a considerable 450g in the frame, which results in a not-too-shabby 8.85kg total weight in the £999 Elite model we’ve got here in a 56cm, while the tube profiles have apparently been tidied up to help the Allez cut a more efficient path through the air. Take a look at the dropped seatstays borrowed from the top-end Tarmac race bike. On top of that, you’ll find internal cable routing everywhere except the chainstays.

The Allez Elite has mudguard and pannier mounts, making it a viable all-weather winter bike or commuter

The Allez Elite is equipped with Shimano 105 shifters, derailleurs and cassette, alongside a Praxis Alba chainset. The DT Swiss R460 wheels have sealed cartridge hubs and come wrapped in Specialized Espoir Sport wire bead tyres.

Otherwise, there are two more affordable models in the latest Allez range: the £799 Allez Sport with Shimano Sora components and the £599 Allez with Shimano Claris bits.

Whichever spec you choose, the latest Allez has a job on its hands if it wants to emulate its predecessor for bang-for-your-buck thrill. However, given that the Allez has been one of Specialized’s most popular bikes in recent years, does this redesign actually make it better suited to the type of rider walking out of their local bike shop with one? We’re looking forward to finding out.

Website: Specialized

Something for the weekend showcases our pick of the latest tech to arrive at RoadCyclingUK. You can see more here.


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