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Specialized Allez Elite Red Hook review

10 Aug 2018

Page 2 of 2Specialized Allez Elite 2018: Launch and gallery

Verdict:

An excellent bike that belies its low price tag; a machine capable of year round riding from sportives to long days out and even crit races

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
• Handles superbly • Looks great • Excellent value • Good for year round riding
Against 
• The brakes are not good and should be replaced with Shimano; possibly a 5* bike with proper callipers

Specialized Allez Elite 2018: Launch and gallery

Words Peter Stuart, June 2017

Specialized has revamped its supremely popular aluminium entry-level racer, shedding weight and changing focus

The Specialized Allez is quite possibly the most ubiquitous road bike on the planet, with its gently sloping toptube almost an icon for affordable aluminum. While it may seem odd to alter a winning formula, Specialized has undertaken a significant redesign of the whole platform.

Taking cues from the Roubaix range of endurance bikes, Specialized has re-evaluated the geometry of the entire Allez range, now offering a more relaxed endurance fit. 

The Allez bikes now sits closer to the Roubaix than the Tarmac in geometry, adding 10mm to the headtube of a size 56, while adding 10mm to the wheelbase.

The chainstays have lengthened to 415mm and the fork rake angle has been relaxed.

It’s the detail of the frame where the really impressive changes have taken place on the Specialized Allez Elite 2018, which target both improved performance and broader functionality.

Fresh Fork

First and foremost on the performance front is Specialized’s FACT full carbon fork. While traditionally the Allez has used carbon fork blades bonded to an aluminium steerer fork, we now see a full carbon fork and steerer.

Across the size range this fork sits at a weight of between 340 and 370g, which will make for a saving of several hundred grams over the part-alloy predecessor.

Together with some tweaks to the frame, it’s seen Specialized pull around 500g off the total weight of the frameset.

The E5 frame uses Specialized’s E5 Premium Aluminium, which was common across the higher spec frames in the previous line of Allez bikes, but is now being used from the very bottom of the range.

Indeed, all the Allez framesets are now identical from lowest price to most expensive.

Despite the entry-level price point, Specialized claims the bike has seen wind tunnel development, which we don’t doubt given the brand’s privately owned wind tunnel at Morgan Hill.

That has influenced the design only minimally, but there are elements such as internal cabling and dropped seatstays that demonstrate aerodynamic considerations.

Easy rider

As well as tweaking the geometry, there are some clear signs that the Specialized Allez Elite 2018 is catering to less racey long distance riders and commuters in practical terms such as the accommodation for mudguards.

Both the front fork and rear stays have fully-fledged muguard eyelets, as well as an eyelet on the bridge between chainstays. It means that a permanent and effective mudguard can be mounted for the winter months. The Allez can also mount panniers on the front and rear.

The Specialized Allez Elite is equipped with Tekto Axis brake callipers with a long reach between the bolt and brake pads, meaning the brakes won’t impede wide tyres.

The bike comes specced with 25mm Espoir Sport tyres on DT Swiss R460 wheels, but could easily fit 28mm tyres.

With the current spec of tyres, an easy upgrade would be a bump to a Turbo Pro tyre which would significantly improve the racey feel of the bike, while the Espoir Sports will function well as a workhorse tyre.

The Elite comes specced with a Praxis Alba 2D crankset with compact gearing, while Specialized has specced a KMC chain. The remaining groupset is Shimano 105, but with the aftermarket brakes and cranks that does account solely for the shifting system and the cassette.

While there is a little compromise on the shifting specification, this is still an impressive package for £1000. Particularly, it will come in substantially lighter than similarly priced alloy competition – Specialized speculate it will come in around 400g lighter than similarly pitched alternatives in the next season.

A wide variety of sizing is available, stretching from 49mm to 61 in three different colour schemes.

We'll be hunting down a sample as soon as possible to get a full verdict of the performance on the road. On the surface, the Allez Elite looks like an excellent option for a winter bike, and for those new to the sport an excellent gateway into competitive riding and sportives.

Page 2 of 2Specialized Allez Elite 2018: Launch and gallery

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