Specialized Allez Triple £589

An ideal first race ride

BikeRadar score 4/5

Unlike many road bikes at this price, the Allez makes precious few attempts at being an all-rounder. Rack mounts? Forget 'em. Clearance for wider tyres? Nope. This is a modestly priced bike with racing aspirations, and the decades Specialized have spent producing aluminium Allez frames haven't been squandered. Our only criticism is the comparatively low top gear, which seems a strange choice on an otherwise racy bike.

  • Frame: A good looking chassis with a carbon fibre fork (9/10)
  • Handling: Offers the uncompromised handling of a race bike (8/10)
  • Equipment: Shimano 2300 works well and adds to the look. We’d prefer a 12-26T cassette (7/10)
  • Wheels: Well thought out for the price. Decent tyres too (8/10)

The Allez has quite a history behind it, with a timeline stretching back to 1979, when the first Allez bikes were made in Japan. Production has since moved, with today’s frame proudly boasting a ‘handmade in Taiwan’ sticker on the down tube. The Triple model is the second cheapest in the present Allez range of six bikes; the same frame with a standard 52/39T double chainset is available for £559.

The Allez is a machine with racing ambitions coursing through its veins, designed to be ridden fast. Even with 23mm tyres there’s no clearance for full mudguards, with no mountings for them or racks. Look further beneath the surface and there are even more race-ready features in its DNA. Specialized have also managed to spec their FACT carbon fork, which is great to see on a bike costing less than £600.

At this price, it’s no surprise that Shimano’s 2300 provides the shifters and front and rear mechs, but it’s good to see the same groupset’s 52/42/30T triple chainset too. This looks and works faultlessly. The cassette is a 13-26T; this gives a top gear of 108in, which is on the low side for a bike that otherwise seems set up as a high-speed machine, and you might find yourself running out of gears if you really crank up the sprints or power down the hills. The double version has the same cassette, though the dearer Allez Sport models have a racier 12-25T.

Mavic’s CXP 22s are tough rims that are seen on bikes much more expensive than this, the hubs are well sealed, and Specialized’s 23mm All Condition Sport tyres are supple and grippy, coping with poorer surfaces well. Wider tyres would offer more cushioning but would be trickier to fit safely given the Allez’s tight clearances.

It might be a few grand removed from the Specialized Tarmac SL3 bikes ridden by the professionals, but the Allez frame has the same tapered head tube design and Specialized say it has the same torsional stiffness. They also say it's 20 percent stiffer than last year’s Allez. While we can’t vouch for those figures, or that the narrow seatstays have increased compliance, we can say that the handling is taut, faultless and feels every inch a racing bike when you put your foot down and start cranking on the pedals.

There’s never any sense of your energy being wasted. The flipside is that you can feel a bit more road buzz through the frame than with some other road bikes at this price. It’s not uncomfortable – the carbon fork will help and all the contact points are good – but if all-out plushness is your main consideration, the Allez probably shouldn’t be your first port of call. If you want a bike for speed, with sharp, race bike handling, this is about as good as it gets at this price.

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