Specialized Allez Disc Road Bike
There aren’t many bikes available today that lay claim to over four decades of continuous production. The Specialized Allez sits in a realm of its own in this regard and for good reason. The first Allez was launched back in 1981 and 42 years later, the latest update of the cult classic has resulted in a road bike that certainly reflects the changing of the times.
With a rich bloodline of success, the new Specialized Allez Disc Road Bike has its work cut out to impress the masses. Specialized claim that its refreshed design ethos had three main goals for the Allez. Confidence, versatility and lightweight.
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Confidence comes from the rider, but the bike is responsible for inspiring and nurturing it. Perhaps, that’s why Specialized opted to embrace the changing of the tides and fit both new models with disc brakes. It’s no secret that disc brakes are the future, which is why you’ll find Tektro mechanical disc brakes on the Allez and a Shimano hydraulic setup on the Allez Sport.
My local roads in Surrey are home to some superb climbs and as the saying goes, what goes up, must come down. It was on those sweeping descents that occasionally end rather abruptly with a junction that I became even more grateful for the update to the brakes. After the usual bedding in period, the pads can deliver a sharp wave of braking power, leaving you to modulate the flow. On the other hand, the levers can still be gently feathered to scrub off small amounts of speed when needed. I imagine it’s this versatile characteristic of disc brakes that prompted Specialized to fit them to both Allez models.
Increased Tyre Clearance
While the benefits of disc brakes are obvious, they do carry a secondary perk that allowed Specialized to double down on its goal of creating a confidence-inspiring bike. Big tyre clearance. The new Allez can play host to 35mm, or 32mm wide tyres when mudguards have been fitted. This is a remarkable step forward from the previous generation of the bike, and also plays into the American brand's goal of creating a more versatile offering. The reliable Axis Sport Disc wheels are paired to Specialized’s Roadsport tyres in a 30c size.
They do a good job of balancing grip and puncture protection while still allowing the bike to feel playful, even when the quality of the tarmac does degrade. It’s this new-found freedom that the wider tyre clearance provides that creates a far more versatile bike than the Allez has ever been before. A set of lightweight 28mm summer tyres will be just as at home on this bike as some all-winter, kevlar lined 35mm tyres.
It’s this ability to play with the bikes' personality which makes it such an enticing proposition, and it doesn’t just stop with the tyre choice. The new Allez has seen an overhaul of its geometry. While it still pays homage to its past, the new model has a lot more in common with its endurance focused stable mate, the Specialized Roubaix. My first handful of the rides consisted of some longer 50 mile loops through the Surrey hills, and it certainly was very comfortable. My shoulders were relaxed, my weight distribution well-balanced, and the Body Geometry saddle kept me in comfort. The bike was a real mile-muncher.
A Versatile Choice
Sometimes, when a manufacturer asks a bike to do too much, it can be left feeling confused. Not here, though, the Allez will deliver for riders looking to complete their first century ride and first race alike. The mudguard and rack mounting points also mean commuters are serviced well, too. In some respects, you almost have to ask what the Allez can’t do. Despite not identifying itself as a gravel bike, the wider tyre clearance means you can tackle very light gravel or hard pack surfaces with ease, however, since the Allez is not a gravel bike, it’s not where the bike excels. The gearing set-ups will tell you that much. You’ll find compact 50/34 cranksets and 11-32T cassettes on both Allez and Allez Sport, a firm favourite for road orientated gearing.
On the Scales
One aspect of the Allez which I think may get unfairly overlooked are the weights of the complete builds. The frame, formed out of double butted E5 alloy, means that the walls of the tubing can vary in thickness. The obvious benefit of this technology is the ability to create strength where needed and strip out unnecessary material in other parts to save weight. This construction method has resulted in a frame that comes in at just 1375 grams. When paired with a carbon fork, the full build Allez and Allez Sport tip the scales at 10 kilos and 9.5 kilos respectively.
After my time with the Allez, the over whelming realisation I was left with was how well this bike will perform for everybody. Whether you're getting into road riding for the first time, looking to get your first disc-brake bike, wanting to tackle a 100-mile epic, start racing or just commute to the office, the Allez will not leave you disappointed. Specialized’s goal to prioritise confidence, versatility and lightweight has well and truly been nailed. The embrace of modern technology has meant that, despite the long lineage, this new generation of Allez will continue to chaperone many riders of varying ambitions onto the roads.