The Specialized Allez has been a go-to entry-level £1,000 road bike for new riders for years as it consistently offers a good balance of performance and value.
Previous incarnations of the Allez were more race-oriented, but the current model is less aggressive and so more beginner-friendly than ever. Specialized updated the Allez for 2018 with this dropped-seatstay design and the 2021 bike still looks fresh in its satin grey livery.
The welds are visible but not offensive, and semi-internal routing, with gear cables running through the down tube and out at the bottom bracket, make for a tidy appearance without compromising too much on serviceability.
I’m always pleased to see rack and mudguard mounts on a bike like this, as it’s likely that plenty of prospective buyers will be considering the Allez as an all-rounder for commuting by bike, rather than something for pure road riding.
Clearances for mudguards are tight, however, to the point where fitting full standard guards won’t be easy.
This generation Allez’s geometry is distinctly endurance-oriented, with 380mm of reach and 570mm of stack on the 54cm frame tested. With a 100mm stem fitted as standard on this size, the riding position is upright and not intimidating. Incidentally, like other Specialized models, the Allez is sold as a unisex design.
Rising costs are a trend across the bike industry today, and a price tag that would have bought you close to mid-level 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset not so long ago now yields 9-speed Sora, which sits two rungs lower on the groupset hierarchy.
The good news is that, sprocket count aside, Shimano Sora is a very competent drivetrain that looks and feels similar to its costlier siblings.
In fact, only the shifters and derailleurs are Sora – the crank is a handsome Praxis Alba unit that sits in a matching bottom bracket.
The Allez’s other notable deviation from groupset-matching parts is the brakes, which are Axis-branded rim-brake calipers.
The wheels are Axis branded too, and they’re pretty basic but entirely adequate, with 17mm internal rims rolling on budget cup-and-cone bearing hubs.
We tend to praise brands for fitting wider rims than this, but these are fine for the job at hand – although can’t be converted to tubeless.
The Allez Sport’s in-house finishing kit all looks good and the Bridge saddle offers a decent amount of support, as well as a pressure-relieving channel, although seasoned riders may prefer something a little firmer.
Spec details become less significant when you turn a pedal, because the Allez is extremely likeable on the road.
While it doesn’t feel quite as refined as the very best aluminium road bikes, it’s pretty darned smooth, helped by the ample volume of the stock tyres and those dropped seatstays.
It has a light and direct ride quality, with a stiff rear end making it a thoroughly enjoyable companion on hilly terrain.
Although it has ‘only’ nine sprockets at the back, the gearing range is more than ample, with the compact 50/34 crank and 11-32 cassette combining to give you a low bottom gear that will see you right on the toughest climbs.
If there’s one area in which the Allez is lacking, it’s the rim brakes. The Axis calipers will certainly stop you, but they feel slightly wooden and flex visibly when you pull hard on the levers.
The frameset looks lovely and, while the choice of components isn’t exactly impressive for the money, everything works well enough. Taken on its own merits, the Allez Sport is a very good bike that meets the needs of new riders, and doesn’t embarrass itself next to more expensive rivals.
In fact, it’s good enough to justify significant upgrades as components wear out.
However, while the frame mounts add some versatility, limited clearances and underwhelming brakes make the Allez Sport a less obvious choice than some of its competitors for commuting and other all-weather riding.
For general road riding, though, it’s a sound choice and a great introduction to cycling.
Specialized Allez Sport geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.25||75.25||73.25||73.25||73.25||73.25||73.25|
|Head angle (degrees)||71.5||72.25||73||73||73.5||73.5||74|
|Seat tube (mm)||430||460||490||510||530||550||580|
|Top tube (mm)||501||515||542||552||564||579||591|
|Head tube (mm)||110||125||140||155||180||215||235|
|Fork offset (mm)||47||47||47||47||47||47||47|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||77||77||77||76||76||74.5||74.5|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||263||263||263||264||264||265.5||265.5|
|Crank length (mm)||165||165||170||172.5||172.5||175||175|
|Stem length (mm)||70||80||90||100||100||110||110|
How we tested
We put four of the best aluminium road bikes you can buy right now to the test on our local road loops and testing grounds.
The Cannondale, Kinesis and Bowman all come with disc brakes and are priced between £2,000 and £3,000, while the Specialized has a much lower price tag and a spec that includes rim brakes.
Also on test
- Specialized Allez Sport: £999 / US$1,200 / €1,109
- Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105: £2,250 / US$2,300 / AU$3,499 / €2,299
- Kinesis Aithein Disc: £2,680
- Bowman Palace 3 Ultegra R8000 Disc: £2,750
|Price||EUR €1109.00GBP £999.00USD $1200.00|
|Available sizes||44, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm|
|Tyres||Specialized RoadSport 700x26mm|
|Stem||Specialized 3D-forged alloy|
|Saddle||Specialized Body Geometry Bridge|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Sora|
|Handlebar||Specialized Shallow Drop|
|Bottom bracket||Praxis M30 threaded|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Sora|
|Frame||Specialized E5 Premium aluminium|
|Fork||Specialized FACT carbon|
|Cranks||Praxis Alba 50/34|
|Brakes||Axis 1.0 rim|