Specialized Allez review$750.00

A no-fuss budget bike with plenty of go

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Editor’s note: Certain 2018 Specialized Allez models have been subject to an important safety recall. Voluntary action from Specialized has seen the company recall approximately 13,000 bikes due to a manufacturing defect in the fork crown of affected bikes. For more information on this recall please visit this article.

Specialized’s venerable Allez line lives on in aluminum and still delivers exactly what a cyclist needs — a fun, capable bike that won’t break the bank. Don’t let the sub-$800 price tag fool you. While it might not be the bike we lust after, the Allez is all the bike many of us need.

Specialized Allez highlights

  • £599 / $750 for a bike that’s ready for action is hard to beat
  • E5 Premium Aluminum frame, threaded bottom bracket, internal cable routing
  • Specialized FACT full carbon-fiber fork
  • Shimano 2000 Claris 8-speed drivetrain
  • 50/34 compact chainrings, 11-32 wide ratio cassette
  • Tektro dual pivot brakes with cartridge style pads

Specialized Allez overview

The Allez starts with a great foundation — its E5 aluminum frame and an all-carbon fork. With standard rim brakes, a threaded bottom bracket, and clean, internal cable routing, the Allez frame is worthy of later upgrades and easy to work on.

The SmoothWelds joints are well-executed and the paint is far nicer than I expected. Don’t like the glossy Rocket Red? The Allez is also offered in a steathy, satin black. At the rear of the frame are a set of both fender and rack mounts.

Rack mounts adorn the dropped seatstays on the Allez
Rack mounts adorn the dropped seatstays on the Allez

The Allez’s full carbon fork with bladed, aerodynamic legs looks ready to slice through a peloton. I was impressed that the fork’s steerer is carbon fiber. Most bikes at this price point (and higher) often arrive with alloy steerers to save on cost. Despite the fork’s racy looks, it also features fender mounts as a nod to practicality.

Shimano’s eight-speed Claris shifters and derailleurs shift across the same range as more expensive groups, 50/34 chainrings and an 11-32 cassette, but do it with fewer gears and larger jumps between them. Shifting isn’t as light and crisp as pricier options, but it works reliably and without fuss.

Tektro dual-pivot brakes handle the stopping and they do it well. Cartridge-style brake pads also mean you can easily install higher quality pads once the stock ones wear out.

The all-carbon fork looks great and keeps weight on the sub-$800 bike low. Front fender mounts at a touch of practicality
The all-carbon fork looks great and keeps weight on the sub-$800 bike low. Front fender mounts at a touch of practicality

The Specialized Axis Sport wheels get the job done and seem robust, running true even after some time on dirt roads. The Espoir Sport 25mm tires rolled well enough, but with wire beads and Specialized’s double BlackBelt protection, they certainly aren’t light.

The Allez is rounded out with non-descript Specialized parts including the Body Geometry Toupé Sport saddle, 2-bolt clamp seatpost, aluminum stem and shallow drop handlebar. All perform their task easily and allow for easy adjustment, something riders of all abilities will appreciate.

Specialized Allez ride impression

For the Allez, Specialized employed a geometry closer to its Roubaix endurance bike than to its Tarmac race machine.

The wheelbase is a tad longer and the bottom bracket is little lower than on a Tour de France bike. This makes it a bit more stable. The taller head tube keeps the handlebars a bit higher, something any new or aging cyclist can endorse.

Short reach, shallow drop handlebars are commonplace these days. The aluminum ones on the Allez were comfortable. So too were the reach-adjustable Claris shifters
Short reach, shallow drop handlebars are commonplace these days. The aluminum ones on the Allez were comfortable. So too were the reach-adjustable Claris shifters

None of this is to say that the Allez feels slow though. Weighing in at 20.9 pounds the Allez is light for its price category. The aluminum frame is snappy, eager to respond to a rider’s effort. The carbon fork is perfectly paired to the frame, turning in quickly without ever feeling harsh. In fact, the Allez doesn’t feel harsh at all, an accusation leveled at many aluminum bicycles.

A set of lighter wheels and tires would really spice up the ride. Fortunately, because it uses an eight-speed drivetrain, thrifty shoppers could pick up a set of used wheels that aren’t compatible with newer 11-speed groups. Don’t want to take that on? No problem. Once you wear out the stock tires, consider a pair with lighter, folding beads.

Who is the Specialized Allez for?

The Allez would be a great first road bike for nearly any rider. It’s up to the task of daily commuting, thanks to the fender and rear rack mounts, but could just as easily take on centuries and spirited group rides.

Looking for weight loss or increased physical activity? Buy yourself an affordable bike and get cracking. The experience of riding will help inform your next purchase if you decide to make one. Otherwise, just stick with a bike like the Allez for the long haul. It will perform its duties without fuss.

Stick with a bike like the Allez for the long haul — it will perform its duties without fuss

Some cyclists may look at an affordable bike like the Allez and immediately dismiss it. But it’s worth mentioning that getting out to ride is far more important than what you ride. If you have $800 to spend on a bicycle the Allez is a simply fantastic option. It has no Achilles heel or obvious flaw that needs addressing.

That said, if you have $1,000 to spend on a bicycle, be sure to spend the extra money on a different model (like Specialized’s Allez Sport or Trek’s Domane AL 3). At these price points, the differences in spending $200 more can be large, moving a prospective buyer from 8-speed to 9-speed drivetrains, for instance.

Beyond beginners, another prospective Allez buyer would be cyclists who fly repeatedly to the same locale. Why not buy an Allez and leave it there instead of flying with your bike? On most airlines you’ll recoup the cost of the bike in four round-trips. And you’ll spend less time assembling and packing your bike enjoying time out on the road instead.

Specialized Allez price and availability

At £599 / $750 it’s hard to argue that the Allez is anything but a budget-minded bicycle. But it delivers a lot of performance per dollar. The Allez frameset, in particular, is worthy of far nicer parts, encouraging owners to ride the Allez for the long term. The 2018 model that is reviewed here is available now.

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