Specialized's Alias shapeshifts between road and triathlon modes

Versatile women's-specific steed for racing and training

The Specialized Alias Comp is a women's-specific bike with a difference, and the clue to that difference is in the name. With the ability to switch the setup between road and triathlon, Specialized has worked to create one bike to suit two purposes.

Aimed at mid-distance triathletes, the Alias Comp is designed to ride comfortably for road training outings, but can be adapted to suit a more aggressive position and style when in triathlon situations. 

Retailing at £2,600 / $3,000 / AUS$3,999, it combines a premium carbon frame and good-quality components with women's specific geometry and finishing kit. 

Frame and forks are constructed from Specialized's lightweight and strong FACT carbon, its second from top-of-the-range material, with an own-brand Comp alloy stem with a 12-degree rise. 

The Specialized Turbo Pro tyres the bike comes with have good pedigree, scoring four stars when we reviewed them a few years back, and are paired with Fulcrum's Racing S-19 wheelset

On the drivetrain front, Shimano Ultegra 11-speed with an 11-28t cassette should give sturdy, silky gear changing and enough range to power along the flat at speed, especially combined with the Turn Zayante 50/34t crankset, which took the editors' choice award in our 2015 best road bike cranksets grouptest. 

The women's comp handlebars feature a shallower drop and shorter reach:
The women's comp handlebars feature a shallower drop and shorter reach:

The women's Comp handlebars feature a shallower drop and shorter reach

Road to tri in a few short steps

The Specialized Alias comes with clip-on aero bars and an interchangeable seatpost, enabling you alter the bike setup to suit either road use or triathlon. As alluded to above, this means when you want to get those long-haul road training miles in, the bike is set to a more comfortable position, supported by a 35mm offset alloy seatpost. 

When it's time to get your speed on, the aero bars clip on and the alloy seatpost can be swapped over for the zero offset carbon model that comes as part of the package. The are also points on the top tube for attaching a bento box for on-bike nutrition. 

Having all these parts included in one package is a new development. Specialized launched the Alias in 2013; originally you could opt for either the tri or road setup, meaning you'd need to have bought the additional parts to swap over for dual use.

Related: Specialized launches Alias road/tri bike for women

We felt at the time that this seemed odd, and Specialized has seemingly rung the changes in response to comments from the market.

Women's-specific elements

The Specialized Alias comes with women's Comp handlebars, which have a shallow 123mm drop and 75mm reach. 

The saddle, a Body Geometry Power Expert, is unisex but tested to suit both men and women. A generous central channel aims to reduce pressure on the soft tissue of your most delicate regions while supporting the body weight in an aggressive riding position. The saddle features hollow Ti rails and carbon reinforcement to keep weight to a minimum.

Related: The science behind Specialized Body Geometry

The Alias also features what Specialized calls its Women's Alias Geometry. This incorporates a steeper seat tube angle which, when combined with the zero offset seatpost, means you can move your weight further forward over the bottom bracket and get into a more aerodynamic race position. The seat tube on the Alias varies from 77 to 78 degrees – more than the 73 of the majority of road bikes. 

The turn zayante 50/34t crankset has enough muscle to get the speed going on flat ground and sprints: the turn zayante 50/34t crankset has enough muscle to get the speed going on flat ground and sprints
The turn zayante 50/34t crankset has enough muscle to get the speed going on flat ground and sprints: the turn zayante 50/34t crankset has enough muscle to get the speed going on flat ground and sprints

Turn's Zayante 50/34t crankset has enough muscle to get the speed going on flat ground and sprints

The geometry is definitely more towards the triathlon rather than road end of the spectrum, but the adaptations should make it comfortable for both. That said, the head tube angle isn't as steep as many tri bikes, which could be to the advantage of those new to the sport as it will make the ride less twitchy and more stable.

Size options

The Specialized Alias Comp is available in five sizes, ranging from 44 to 57 to suit women from 147cm to 180cm in height. Look out for a full review here on BikeRadar over the coming months.

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