Specialized Allez is one of the most popular and well-reviewed road bikes on the market – but with so many models now available and a history than can be measured in decades, which one should you buy? Read on…
The Specialized Allez was first built in Japan in 1979, and it has gone on to become one of the biggest sellers in the US firm's extensive catalogue. That's likely down to a winning mix of lightweight alloy frames, reasonable prices and racy geometry. It's seen as the more affordable version of the multi-Grand Tour-winning Specialized Tarmac, and that's no bad thing.
Fast forward to 2016 and there are no fewer than six models in the Allez stable, ranging from the affordable Allez E5 through the more refined Allez Elite and Comp models, up to the top-of-the range Allez Sprint X1.
The Specialized Allez E5 Sport won our 'best budget bike' grouptest, fending off strong rivals like Cannondale's CAAD8 7, Trek's 1.2, the Merida Ride 200, Giant Defy 3 and Focus Cayo Al Sora. Our tester said the Allez E5 Sport had the finest ride and handling balance for the money (£750/$970/AU$1,399).
For racers, the new Specialized Allez DSW SL Sprint delivers criterium geometry in a smart alloy aero package. It was conceived as a crit rider's special so features aggressive geometry, super-sharp handling and ultimate stiffness.The Allez Sprint's one-piece Hydroformed head tube has been designed to move the welds away from high-stress areas, which makes for a much tougher frame.
The real selling point however is its modest price. If you're looking for something that can take the knocks of shoulder-to-shoulder, high-speed competition, and fear for your expensive carbon in such heated competition, then the SL Sprint might well be the answer.
There are two models in the range, the Expert at £1,500 with a Praxis Zayante chainset, 105 brakes and drivetrain, and the Comp at £1,300 also with a lower level Praxis Alba 2D forged chainset and Axis 2.0 brakes.
If you've got a bit more cash to flash, check out the Specialized Smartweld Allez Elite, which combines a beautiful hydroformed alloy frame made from a blend used on pro bikes not so long ago, with well-chosen contact points, a Tiagra drivetrain and compact gearing.
Also worth checking out from a money-no-object perspective is the Specialized Allez Sprint, made from an incredibly advanced alloy frame that's claimed to be just as stiff as carbon rivals, thanks to the clever use of Smartweld technology around the bottom bracket and elsewhere. When unveiled, we said it's the closest we've seen an alloy frame come to mimicking the shape of carbon rivals.
Check out our full range of reviews and news on the Specialized Allez below, and drop us a line if there's a model you'd like us to cover.