Specialized Allez Sport £699.99

Eminently upgradable entry-level road bike

BikeRadar score4.5/5

With a light frame and a decent parts pick, the Allez Sport's even-tempered ride makes it a good basis for future upgrading.

Ride & handling: easy to live with

Other bikes might be stiffer and sharper in the steering department, but the Allez Sport is easier to live with on long rides thanks to better shock dissipation.

At this price some bikes’ handling can be on the dead and wooden side, but the Allez still has the lively and exciting character that has made it a previous winner at the entry level £499 price point. In terms of feel and general excitement, it trails the Cube Peloton in this price bracket by a whisker.

Frame: clean, light & simple in aluminium

There are no carbon bits or even smooth welding to tempt the eye here, but this simple 100 per cent aluminium frame continues to impress.

The A1 butted tubing is formed to an attractive hourglass shape when viewed from the rear, and the head tubes on all the Allez range are longer than  on most similarly-priced bikes.

There are six sizes available, from 49cm to 61cm, so all but the very tallest and shortest riders are catered for and the website provides a sizing chart based on rider height.

Our 58cm Allez Sport is large compared to other similarly-proiced road bikes we’ve tested recently, but it’s nearly as light as the smaller sized Raleigh AirLite U6 Comp frame. It’s likely that the 56cm version would bring the frame-only weight under 1400g.

This makes it a great prospect for those contemplating a course of serious upgrading as funds allow, starting with lighter wheels to boost performance on the climbs.

Equipment: decent lightweight finishing kit wrapped round Shimano Tiagra

That said, the Allez Sport already majors on quality and lightweight finishing kit components and it only narrowly trails both the 105-equipped Cube Peloton and the 50 quid costlier Raleigh AirLite U6 Comp in terms of gear and parts weight, helping to compensate for the lower tier Tiagra gears.

The use of an 11-28 9-speed cassette gives the Allez Sport a greater range of gears than all but those with triple chainsets, though the larger gaps between the gears will have some stronger, more experienced riders wishing that they had Shimano’s 12-25 9-speed cassette instead.

If you really want or need a full triple gear system, you could drop down to the £549 Allez 27 model based on the same frame and fork and equipped with the very capable Shimano Sora 9-speed together with 11-28 cassette and lower spec wheels.

Wheels: maximum reliability

The Allez Sport’s Jalco Dynamics 270 wheels are also fitted to the costlier Allez Elite model and use a minimalist 24/28 spoke combination with all spokes, front and rear, built to the tried and trusted crossed pattern for maximum reliability.

The rims are a little heavier than the more recently conceived designs from Mavic and Shimano, but we have yet to hear of any problems with them.

The Mondo 23mm tyres have steel beads so they’re not in the same league of lightness as the B’Twin’s Hutchinson Top Speed Kevlars but there’s nothing in it in terms of the supple ride. The relatively small air space and the inner tubes’ tendency to lose a little bit of air over a period of time does mean they are prone to pinch-type punctures if the pressure is allowed to drop below 100psi.

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