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2021 Specialized Allez Sport review

A great frameset that’s only dulled slightly by a ho-hum spec

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £999.00 RRP | USD $1,200.00 | EUR €1,109.00
Pack shot of the Specialized Allez Sport road bike

Our review

A solid all-rounder but we’d like better brakes for our cash
Pros: Smooth, lively ride; frame finish
Cons: Indifferent brakes; non-tubeless-compatible rims
Skip to view product specifications

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.

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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 Specialized Allez Sport road bike is equipped with Axis 1.0 rim brake
Dual-pivot brakes: the only non-Shimano parts of the groupset.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

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.

The Specialized Allez Sport road bike is equipped with a Specialized Body Geometry Bridge saddle
Body Geometry saddle offers support and pressure relief.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

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.

Male cyclist in grey top riding the Specialized Allez Sport road bike
It’s light and direct, with a stiff rear end making it a thoroughly enjoyable companion on hilly terrain.
Steve Sayers / Immediate Media

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.

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For general road riding, though, it’s a sound choice and a great introduction to cycling.

Specialized Allez Sport geometry

44495254565861
Seat angle (degrees)75.2575.2573.2573.2573.2573.2573.25
Head angle (degrees)71.572.25737373.573.574
Chainstay (mm)420420420420420420420
Seat tube (mm)430460490510530550580
Top tube (mm)501515542552564579591
Head tube (mm)110125140155180215235
Fork offset (mm)47474747474747
Trail (mm)64595555525249
Bottom bracket drop (mm)777777767674.574.5
Bottom bracket height (mm)263263263264264265.5265.5
Wheelbase (mm)97498298399199910141021
Standover (mm)697720745763785813839
Stack (mm)516535552570596627649
Reach (mm)365374376380385390396
Crank length (mm)165165170172.5172.5175175
Stem length (mm)708090100100110110

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

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €1109.00GBP £999.00USD $1200.00
Weight 9.2kg (54cm)
Brand Specialized

Features

Available sizes 44, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
Headset Integrated
Tyres Specialized RoadSport 700x26mm
Stem Specialized 3D-forged alloy
Shifter Shimano Sora
Seatpost Alloy 27.2mm
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
Chain KMC X9
Cassette SunRace 11-32
Brakes Axis 1.0 rim
Wheels Axis Sport