Specialized Allez Elite 2012 review

All systems go for the benchmark-setting Allez

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £900.00 RRP

Our review

The Allez is still one of the very best sub-£1,000 race bikes around
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The Specialized Allez is the company’s big sales success. Since its launch, the range has always been considered by our testers as the default benchmark of true road bikes at the £700-£1,000 mark. With its combination of light aluminium frame, competent drivetrain and a smattering of well-chosen kit from Specialized’s in-house componentry lines, the Allez has always been a winner in our eyes.

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  • Highs: Proper race bike proportions and superb handling, yet Specialized have managed to dial in comfort too
  • Lows: For the money the Elite has no serious flaws
  • Buy if: You’re looking for a true race bike on a budget

The £900 Allez Elite features the latest incarnation of Shimano’s Tiagra groupset. Combining a compact chainset and a very usable 11-28T cassette, this is the perfect setup for newer riders looking for a good range of lower gears for climbing. What is new for 2012 is the wheel choice: Axis 1.0s, the latest introductory model from DT Swiss. We don’t expect ultra-light at this price, and the DTs certainly aren’t, but they’re well built, with good quality standard cone bearings and solid seals.

What we’ve always loved about the Allez is the geometry. Despite its modest price it’s definitely designed to race. With a sharp head angle and a straight fork it’s brimming with fast, responsive reactions to input. The wheelbase is short with tight chainstays to boot. What’s refreshing about the Elite is that although it’s very much aggressive in poise, it’s also remarkably well mannered as a day-today ride.

For an all-metal frame it has a beautifully smooth manner. Across broken surfaces and coarse roads it’s free of jolts, bangs and vibration. The frame handles a lot of the smoothness but much of the comfort is down to the excellent contact points. The Specialized Body Geometry Riva saddle has a narrow profile and a slim shape overall, but the upper is deeply padded with a large pressure-relieving channel. In fact, we had to adjust the saddle height to allow for the sag when seated.

The compact drop bar and quality tape – fitted to the bike with Specialized’s clever adjustable stem – take plenty of road buzz away, and the big volume Espoirs are among the best budget tyres we’ve seen. The highly patterned tread handles wet conditions remarkably well, while in the dry the soft gummy rubber has excellent levels of grip. Overall, it’s rare to find a bike with proper race geometry that has this much comfort. The fact that you can get all this for under a grand is remarkable.

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This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Allez Elite (12)
Brand Specialized

Description Chainset: Shimano Tiagra compact, 50/34 alloy rings, 175mm arms. Freewheel: Shimano CS 4600 10-speed, 12-28. Wheels: DT Swiss Axis 1.0 aero, alloy loose ball and cone hubs, 24 spokes, radial fr, 32 3-cross/radial rear. Tyres: Specialized Espoir Sport 700x23.
Rear Wheel Weight 1900
Top Tube (cm) 58.2
Standover Height (cm) 81
Seat Tube (cm) 51
Chainstays (cm) 41
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (lb) 20.5
Weight (kg) 9.3
Trail 57
Stem Specialized forged alloy, 12cm, 11/8in x OS
Shifters Shimano Tiagra 10-speed
Seatpost Specialized Sport alloy, micro-adjust clamp, 27.2x350mm
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Specialized Riva, steel rails
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tiagra 10-speed
Available Sizes 49 52 54 56 58 61 cm 52 54 56 58 52 54 56 49 56 52 54 56 58 52 54 56 58 52 54 56 58 52 54 56 52 54 56 58 56 58 54 56 58 54 56 58 61 cm 56 52 54 56 58 52 54 56 58 52 54 56 58 52 54 56 58 56 58 56 58 54 56 58 54 56 54 56 58 54 56 56
Headset Type Integrated aheadset, 11/8in, sealed cartridge
Head Angle 73.5
Handlebar Specialized alloy anatomic, 44cm
Front Wheel Weight 1285
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra 10-speed
Frame Weight 1580
Frame Material TIG-welded A1 aluminium, replaceable gear hanger
Fork Weight 585
Fork Offset 4.5
Fork Carbon blades, alloy 11/8in steerer, crown
Chain Shimano Tiagra 10-speed
Brakes Shimano Tiagra dual pivot
Bottom Bracket Shimano Tiagra, external sealed cartridge
Wheelbase (cm) 100