Specialized Allez Sprint doubles down on rings with Expert X2

Criterium-geometry alloy race bike that began as 1x gets traditional gearing

The Specialized Allez Sprint is single no longer.

The bike that debuted last year with a 1x SRAM drivetrain is now also available with a standard double-ring Shimano setup. The Specialized Allez Sprint X2 retains the steep geometry of the original criterium-minded machine, with the same D’Aluisio Smartweld Technology alloy construction where the welds are moved well away from the joints.

For a fraction of the cost of Specialized’s cutting-edge carbon bikes, the Allez alloy line provides a pretty compelling offer: Tarmac-like bottom bracket stiffness, an aerodynamic profile comparable to the original Venge aero bike, a decent weight (1,150g for a 56cm frame) and racy handling. The Allez Sprint X2 is a good option for those wanting a steep-angled race bike that doesn’t cost the earth.

Specialized has two frame geometries for the Allez line. The regular Allez DSW is similar to Specialized’s Tarmac. These models already came with two chainrings. The Allez Sprint frames, however, are built with a steep seat tube and a low head tube.

“This slammed geometry came from the original project’s focus on this bike as an Allez criterium bike,” said Specialized road bike manager John Cordoba. “We talked to criterium specialists about what they would want in a bike, and that’s where the geometry came from. The head tube is shorter. The bottom bracket is slightly higher. And the seat tube is a tiny bit steeper.”

The specialized allez sprint has a lower head tube than the standard allez - which opens up some real estate for the light clamp
The specialized allez sprint has a lower head tube than the standard allez - which opens up some real estate for the light clamp

The Allez Sprint has a short head tube, which can allow for an aggressive, aero position - or a nice option for mounting a light

For a 56cm bike, for example, the Allez Sprint sports a 150mm head tube compared to the Allez’s 170mm, and the seat tube is 74 degrees versus 73.25.

Now, it seems, even those who race criteriums and like this geometry still would prefer two chain rings to one.

Related: Specialized Allez - all you need to know

SRAM has brought 1x over from its well-established place in mountain biking to 700c bikes, finding some receptivity in cyclocross and arguing for validity in road and triathlon. Specialized and other brands are using SRAM 1x on some adventure road bikes, but traditional road bike riders are proving to be a harder sell.

BikeRadar had the chance to test the new Allez Sprint X2 on a 103mi loop outside of Santa Cruz, California. Specialized stacked the deck a bit, providing the test bikes with the aero carbon wheels (the company’s Roval CL60s) and supple rubber (S-Works Turbo clinchers).  

Instead of welding the tubes right down at the traditional junctions, specialized makes bigger bottom bracket shells
Instead of welding the tubes right down at the traditional junctions, specialized makes bigger bottom bracket shells

The oversized, two-piece bottom bracket shell moves the welds further away from the traditional tube-joint junctions, allowing for a lighter, strong frame

Specialized’s claims of Tarmac-like BB stiffness certainly felt valid; the lively bike springs out of corners and doesn’t flex much at all under high-torque accelerations. Perhaps because I've ridden a Tarmac for years and an Allez before that, that I felt right at home on the bike, whether diving into corners or dodging road detritus at speed. Compared to a carbon frame, there is the very slight telltale road buzz feel that comes up through the alloy frame. That’s nothing that dropping your air pressure a bit won’t solve, though.

I did not change my normal fit for the lowered head tube. Instead, the extra space under the stem allowed for the fitment of Specialized’s clip-on Stix LED light, a handy little illumination tools that charges with an integrated USB tab.

Pricing has not yet been released, but it should fall in a similar range of existing Allez bikes — about half the cost of their carbon brethren. Should you want the single-ring Sprint setup, those options are still available. 

Internal routing. now with two cables...
Internal routing. now with two cables...

Internal routing — now with two cables...

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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