Specialized Allez E5 Elite review

The Allez still brings the go

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £900.00 RRP | USD $1,150.00

Our review

It’s not exceptional value but the Allez remains a solid entry-level racer
Buy if, You want an affordable machine that’s ready to race
Pros: Stiff, exciting ride
Cons: Average spec, not the smoothest
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Editor’s note: Since posting this review certain 2018 Specialized Allez models have been subject to an important safety recall. Voluntary action from Specialized has seen the company recall approximately 13,000 bikes due to a manufacturing defect in the fork crown of affected bikes. For more information on this recall please visit this article.

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Is the Specialized Allez the Ford Focus of road bikes? Consider the evidence: it’s been good but not exceptional value; it’s a solid performer; it’s pleasant looking without being too daring or challenging by current standards; and it’s everywhere. There’s nothing exotic about the Allez, but it’s been successful because it’s always been a very safe choice — does it still stack up?

The E5 Elite is the most expensive of the regular, non-DSW Allez variants, meaning that it’s got a conventional aluminium frame rather than a wackily-welded D’Aluisio SmartWeld one. It’s similar in overall appearance to the carbon Tarmac, just a little less slick thanks to external cabling and visible welds where the tubes meet, and the tubes are massive.

The Allez’s price puts it at entry level, but in geometry terms it barely differs from the racy Tarmac

I’m not complaining — the Allez is £800 cheaper than the entry-level Tarmac and it’s a good looking thing with harmonious lines and minimal frippery. Everything is easily accessible for maintenance and there are even mudguard bosses at the rear, although annoyingly there are none up front. In any case, clearances are reasonable, with room for at least 28mm rubber. (In fact, the Specialized 25s it comes fitted with measure more like 27mm anyway.)

Specialized has taken a rather piecemeal approach to the spec with the latest 10-speed Shimano Tiagra bits doing the shifting, and braking coming from Axis (Specialized own brand) calipers.

The former is predictably competent while the latter are adequate rather than good — they do flex a bit — but they win points over the standard Tiagra items inasmuch as their pads are stiff cartridge units rather than one-piecers.

I’d normally moan about non-groupset cranks just because I like collars and cuffs to match, but the understated Praxis ones look rather nice in a functional sort of a way, and I’ve no complaints about their shifting behaviour either.

The Allez’s price puts it at entry level, but in geometry terms it barely differs from the racy Tarmac. Reach and stack on a size 54 are 387mm and 548mm respectively, so a fairly long and low position is achievable, although if you want to get properly aggressive you’ll need to swap out the 20mm conical headset spacer for something shorter and fit a longer stem.

The ride is racy too, indeed the Allez is an impressively stiff bike that climbs with enthusiasm. It does remind you sometimes that it’s not the most sophisticated of frames — don’t expect a huge amount of compliance from either end — but if it’s thrills you’re after then there’s a lot to like.

Stamping on the pedals and lunging for finish lines either real or imaginary reveals a liveliness and sense of purpose that isn’t a given at this price point and that’s in spite of some pretty basic wheels; those Axis clinchers aren’t the stiffest things in the world and some rear brake rub is evident with the pads running close.

If bimbling around bumpy backroads is your thing, the Allez probably isn’t ideally suited to your needs. It definitely isn’t the most refined bike in the world but for my money it has enough fizz to be enticing.

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If you want a bike for spirited club rides or a spot of racing it’s a solid place to start, and while it’s not a screaming bargain, its frame is certainly upgrade-worthy.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Allez E5 Elite
Brand Specialized

Available Sizes 49cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 61cm
Rear Tyre Specialized Espoir Sport 700x25mm
Top Tube (cm) 54
Seat Tube (cm) 47.5
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Wheelset Axis Sport
Weight (kg) 9.4
Trail 7.4
Stem Specialized 3D Forged alloy, 100mm
Shifters Shimano Tiagra
Seatpost Specialized alloy, 27.2mm
Seat Angle 73.5
Saddle Specialized Body Geometry Toupé Sport
Rear Wheel Weight 2000
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Bottom Bracket Praxis threaded
Headset Type Unbranded
Head Angle 72.5
Handlebar Specialized Shallow Drop alloy
Front Wheel Weight 1360
Front Tyre Specialized Espoir Sport 700x25mm
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Frame Material E5 Premium Aluminium
Fork Offset 3.5
Fork FACT carbon, alloy steerer
Cranks Praxis Alba 172.5mm, 50/34
Chain KMC X10
Cassette Shimano Tiagra CS-HG500 12-28
Brakes Axis 1.0
Wheelbase (cm) 98.5