Specialized Allez 2012 review

Superbly finished

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £575.00 RRP | USD $729.99

Our review

Great race bike ride from one of the best frames available at this price
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Allez, allez! You can see why Specialized are such a dominant force in the cycling world when they produce bikes like this. Our seen-it-all-before mechanic George was impressed with just how well thought out the Allez is, and how well finished, too – inside and out. The quality here wouldn’t shame a much dearer bike. 

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With its carbon fibre fork, the Allez could be seen as the Tarmac-junior; yes, carbon Tarmacs are lighter, but the geometry is virtually identical, with frame angles and head tube length the same, the Allez’s front end a tiny 3mm shorter. The seatstays are dead straight, there’s no extended head tube and no mudguard eyelets, so it may not be the best choice for sportive rides or commuting. What it does have, though, is superb race bike handling. 

The carbon fork and padded gel bar tape keep road buzz under control without separating you from the road, and Specialized’s new oversize Tarmac alloy bar is stiff and efficient, combining with the stem and fork for fast, precise handling. The fork and bar are the same as on dearer Allez bikes, and a real treat on a bike at this price.

Rapid direction changes are a doddle and acceleration’s not bad, though for such a racy bike the top gear provided by the 50/34-tooth chainset and 13-26t cassette is a little lower than we’d have liked, a 12-25t cassette being a more natural pairing for the compact. The standard 27.2mm diameter seatpost is more forgiving than larger diameter designs.

The Tektro brakes are typical of a £600 bike, but these come with metal cartridges which are superior to the solid rubber blocks of most of the Specialized’s competitors. The wheels do the job without raising the pulse, combining stainless spokes with Alex 480 rims. The tyres are a cut above the norm, though: Specialized’s own Espoir Sport rubber, the same as on the £900 Allez Elite. These offer great grip in wet and dry conditions and are a top choice for year-round riding.

Though we’d appreciate a higher top gear, it’s hard to fault the Allez’s ride. Comfortable contact points, great handling, a smooth, fast ride no matter what the road surface is like – all on a bike with ideal handling and perfect geometry for the aspiring roadie.

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This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Allez (12)
Brand Specialized

Description 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm sizes,. Specialized Espoir Sport 700x23 tyres
Rear Wheel Weight 1940
Top Tube (cm) 56
Standover Height (cm) 80
Seat Tube (cm) 49
Chainstays (cm) 41
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (lb) 21.6
Weight (kg) 9.82
Stem Specialized 10cm alloy OS
Shifters Shimano 2300
Seatpost Specialized alloy 27.2x350mm
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Specialized Riva
Rims Alex S480, alloy hubs, loose ball and cone; 32 stainless spokes, 3-cross
Rear Derailleur Shimano 2300 Sora medium cage
Bottom Bracket RPM square taper steel sealed cartridge
Headset Type 1/8in integrated sealed cartridge
Head Angle 73
Handlebar Specialized Tarmac shallow anatomic 42cm
Front Wheel Weight 1360
Front Derailleur Shimano 2300
Frame Weight 1540
Frame Material A1 Premium hydroformed and butted aluminium.
Fork Weight 568
Fork Carbon blades, alloy crown and 11/8in steerer
Cranks Shimano 2300 compact 3-piece, 50/34, 175mm cranks
Chain KMC Z
Cassette Shimano HG-50, 13-26 steel 8-speed
Brakes Tektro forged alloy dual pivot
Wheelbase (cm) 100