Long-standing Specialized Allez is beginning to show its age
The Specialized Allez is the company’s entry-level road bike and comes equipped with Shimano’s eight-speed Claris mechanicals. The Allez has been around for years and is a popular choice as a first road bike, owing to the American brand’s reputation for quality. While other brands may offer more exotic components at this price, remember that you get a lifetime warranty on your Specialized frame. The company backs its products.
Specialized Allez frameset
Specialized makes quality aluminium frames, with the basic Allez no exception. The welds and tube junctions are very tidy and use double-butted A1 premium aluminium. Specialized claims that a breakthrough in weld location allows for a more durable, stiffer head tube junction. In turn, this allows for more material to be removed in lower stress areas, reducing weight.
Available in black, white and the orange we have here, the Allez is a smart-looking bike with an excellent quality finish. I really like the orange option; it stands out from the plethora of black bikes currently out there and reminds my inner eight-year-old of a tiger.
Specialized Allez components
With the Specialized Allez, you appear to be spending most of the £600 price on the quality frame and, dare we say it, the name. Less well-known brands tend to offer a higher spec at this price. The components are very basic — you don’t even get a full Shimano Claris groupset.
The brakes are unbranded, while the saddle, bars and stem are all good-quality proprietary Specialized components. The chainset is a compact 34-50, with the rear cassette 11-32. Although this gives large jumps in the gear ratios, this leads to a reasonable top-end turn of speed and very easy gears for climbing.
Specialized Allez wheels
With many a Surrey lane resembling the surface of the moon, I was pleased to discover that, although budget, the wheels on the Specialized Allez are durable, standing up well to crater impacts on our supposedly first-world road network. The downside to the wheels’ durability is that they are pretty heavy, but I would rather they be heavy and durable than light and flimsy.
The 25mm Espoir tyres deserve a mention too. They really impressed me, being among the best tyres I have encountered on bikes in this price range, with good puncture protection and grip.
The frame is excellent. At this price point, we often suggest you should look for a carbon fork, as it can reduce front-end vibration and improve handling. Despite the fork on the Allez being aluminium, it is surprisingly comfortable and the frame feels stiff.
Handling inspires confidence; the Allez is exciting to ride for such a low-end road bike. Specialized clearly knows what it is doing when it comes to aluminium frames.
The gear changes are very clunky, as a result of the eight-speed mechanism and the large range of ratios. When changing through the 11-32 Claris cassette, it can feel like you are dropping a bag of spanners off a cliff as the chain drops from one gear to the next. The unbranded brakes feel weak too. They will stop you, but the difference in stopping power between these and a pair of Shimano 105 calipers is astounding, to such an extent that brakes would be the first upgrade I would suggest. Fortunately, the quality frame makes up for them.
A great quality bike, that although not perfect would be an ideal first bike for those wanting to get into road riding or enter their first triathlon