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Specialized Allez E5 Sport review

17 Nov 2016
Verdict:

A value-packed Shimano Sora alloy all-rounder

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£675
For 
Well made and comfortable, high-quality new Sora components, strong and durable wheels
Against 
On the heavy side, ride is solid rather than exciting

Specialized makes no bones about where it’s going with the Allez E5 Sport. It says it's taken ‘the no-nonsense approach’ in speccing the alloy-framed all-rounder with Shimano Sora components, durable Axis wheels and budget Espoir Sport tyres.

By combining relaxed geometry and a build aiming for longevity at the expense of scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs excitement, the plan with the Allez E5 Sport was to create something that 90% of riders can gel with 90% of the time. They’ve even lopped £75 off its price for 2017.

Frameset

The Allez’s aluminium frame – beautifully finished with smooth welds at the tube junctions – is a stiff act. Its straight FACT carbon-fibre fork eliminates a good deal of road chatter and adds decent steering response up front. The trademark curved toptube is in full effect.

All cabling is externally routed, with the front and rear mech cables equipped with adjusters at the down tube for fine-tuning of ratios on the fly. A short 120mm head tube aids connectivity with the road, while a relatively small rear frame triangle encourages you to put the pedals down harder.

It’s a stiff and taut set-up; a measured head angle of 74° compounds this, allowing quick handling, while a 73° seat tube angle cants you forward, encouraging big efforts.  

Groupset

Sora is used for most of the Allez’s groupset, notably the shifters, the 50/34 chainset, and both the front and rear derraileurs.

The compact chainset matched to a budget-friendly Sunrace 11-32 cassette gives a very wide spread of gearing options. With Sora it’s arguable that, with the right cassette, 18 gears is plenty.

It certainly gives newer riders a less complicated ride. Axis brake callipers are strong performers in this package, giving predictable stopping power and modulation in an affordable build.

Finishing kit

Specialized’s own alloy finishing kit is used throughout and we approve. The narrow drop bars, 420mm in diameter, are particularly pleasing in use, giving decent leverage and a comfortably padded expanse of bartape.

A 27.2mm alloy seatpost dials out much of the vibration inherent in aluminium frames, while the Toupe Sport saddle is – as always – a delight.

Wheels

As with the finishing kit, the hoops are designed to deliver thousands of fuss-free miles. The Axis Sport rims are solid, flex-free and tough.

Wrapped with Espoir Sport rubber they offer exceptional ride quality. The 25c tyres fitted here allow you to roll round corners with confidence, offering solid grip and soaking up bumps, contributing to the overall sensation of a bike that’s designed to let you get the maximum joy from the simple pleasure of riding.

The ride

The E5’s ride on the opening miles of our test loop enforces the impression that this is a bike built to carry you as far as you like with a high degree of comfort.

Turns are taken swiftly, but with the utmost confidence, the easy-going nature of the bike immediately making itself known. Even after a few hours in the saddle, our initial assumptions about ride quality and comfort levels held true.

The trick Specialized has pulled off, often missed by other alloy bikes, is a combination of well damped and padded contact points.

It doesn’t offer much opportunity for KOMs, but if you’re looking for a ‘no Garmin’ bike, on which to accompany mates on long Sunday rides, then this is it.

With an all-up weight of 9.38kg for our size 52 example, it’s no weight-weenie, but there’s still enough rigidity below the top tube to encourage big out of the saddle efforts, and the bike responds well to sprints once those robust wheels are up to speed.

Climbing is made as easier by the fitment of an 11-32 cassette, which gels particularly well with the compact chainset providing a ratio for every occasion.

As for the way in which the shifters deal with swapping these gears, we could have sworn we were using Shimano’s 105 groupset; Sora has taken a real step up in performance and aesthetics this year.

Special mention should go to the brakes, too, the Axis callipers hauling the Allez up with more controlled power that you might not expect of a £675 bike.

Because of the almost perfect balance of this bike, the handling is superb. OK, so it doesn’t excite in the same way a superbike does, but equally it doesn’t have a tendency to scare the bejesus out of you with a sharp steering head angle and twitchy cornering nature.

It’s a simple matter of pointing it a corner and powering round – especially entertaining on downhill sweepers on our test loop, where the Allez hung with bikes costing four times the amount. Key to its confidence-inspiring nature is the amount of feedback it supplies.

The connection at the front end, as you might expect from the measured head angle of 74°, is direct. It also almost entirely vibe-free. The Allez communicates the road surface to you without feeling harsh.

We’ve zero problems with the Espoir tyres, as well. In fact they’re well matched to the package, and add to the comfort levels with 90psi and a bulging contact patch acting as secondary suspension.

Ratings

Frame: Finely finished aluminium beauty with carbon forks. 8/10 Components: A quality mix of Shimano Sora, Sunrace and Axis. 8/10 Wheels: Virtually indesctructable Axis Sports do a top job. 7/10 The ride: In short? Comfort and joy – just like that old Christmas carol! 8/10

Verdict: The Specialized Allez E5 Sport has been designed to let you get maximum joy from the simple pleasure of riding, and succeeds at doing just that.

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 538mm 534mm
Seat Tube (ST) 490mm 490mm
Down Tube (DT) N/A 628mm
Fork Length (FL) 369mm 384mm
Head Tube (HT) 120mm 120mm
Head Angle (HA) 73 degrees 74 degrees
Seat Angle (SA) 74 degrees 73 degrees
Wheelbase (WB) 974mm 983mm
BB drop (BB) 72mm 72mm

Spec

Specialized Allez E5 Sport
Frame Specialized E5 Premium aluminium frame
FACT carbon fork
Groupset Shimano Sora
Brakes Axis 1.0
Chainset Shimano, 50/34
Cassette Sunrace, 11-32
Bars Specialized shallow drop, alloy
Stem Specialized, alloy
Seatpost Specialized, alloy
Wheels Axis Sport, Espoir Sport 25c tyres
Saddle Body Geometry Toupe Sport
Weight 9.38kg (52cm)
Contact specialized.com

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