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review

Specialized Allez Sport 2023

8
£1,600.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Versatile road bike with flattering handling and a very comfortable ride
Geometry is well balanced
Decent spec for the money
Impressive comfort
Tyres are quite 'dead' feeling
Weight: 
9,550g
road.cc Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in road.cc recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to road.cc recommends

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The latest version of Specialized's Allez Sport is a lot of fun to ride thanks to geometry that flatters your skills and an aluminium alloy frame that hasn't even heard of the word harsh. While the Allez range may not be the budget-friendly option it once was, it is still as upgradable as previous versions, which makes it the ideal bike for the beginner looking to progress.

For more options, check out our guide to the best road bikes, from £300 up to more than £13,000.

Ride

Over the last 15 years I've ridden a huge number of Allez iterations, and as far as I can remember I've never found any of them to be a dud. A simple formula of a quality alloy frame, carbon fork and decent components has always been followed, resulting in the Allez being the likely entry point for many cyclists' journeys up through the ranks.

Thankfully this latest version continues that theme, meaning this 2023 model gives a fun and involving ride for those new to the sport, while still being nippy and edgy enough for those more experienced who want something quick and involving enough for winter training or the commute.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - riding 2.jpg

First up, the geometry is, shall we say, 'middle of the road', but in a good way. There are no steep angles to make the handling twitchy and there is just enough length in the wheelbase to give a stable feel whatever the road conditions.

It is very well behaved, feeling balanced and easy to control, which allows you to push on quickly carving your way through corners and on descents. It also feels planted, which means it doesn't get unsettled by poor road surfaces even at speed. All of this is great for those who aren't the most confident of bike handlers who want to enjoy the downhills or riding as part of a group.

The Allez was never found wanting even for someone like me, though, an experienced rider, in terms of the way it behaved. Okay, it's lacking the precision of some of the top-end race bikes I ride, but unless you are at the sharp end of a race it's barely going to be noticeable.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - riding 3.jpg

On my favourite test descent, the Allez coped well with the off-camber chicane at the top, with just a little bit of lag in the steering compared with the best bikes as the tight right-hander tries to send you wide and into the barbed wire fence at 40mph. But for the target audience the Specialized performed well. As the descent opens up, becoming less technical but much faster, the Allez remained surefooted and responsive to steering inputs.

With the standard tyres fitted, feedback is a bit muted, which does limit how hard you can push the Allez at times, and does take the shine off the whole ride experience overall. But updating the rubber like I did (Goodyear's latest Eagle F1 SuperSport R, currently on test) really unleashes the Spesh's potential.

The overall weight of 9.55kg helps it stay planted on the tarmac, too, although there are obviously sacrifices when it comes to climbing.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - frame size.jpg

A lot of the weight is in the wheels, and once you get them spinning things aren't too bad. Bikes at this price point often have heavy, uninspiring wheels fitted, so the Allez isn't alone here. An upgrade to something lighter will obviously benefit the overall ascending experience, and will allow you to exploit the stiffness on offer from the frame and fork when powering up the climbs.

When riding in the hills, the Shimano Tiagra groupset performs well in terms of shifting, even under load, so you're covered for when you round that corner and are met with an unexpected climb, and the hydraulic brakes allow you to let the bike go on the way down too.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - front mech.jpg

There's little to complain about in terms of comfort, either. Specialized has always delivered when it comes to its alumininum frames, and this one is no different.

It has a smooth ride feel, with absolutely no feeling of harshness anywhere in its build. The compact nature of the frame means you can run more exposed seatpost than normal, which aids comfort a tiny fraction, and the carbon fibre fork brings some compliance to the front end.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - fork.jpg

With all of this talk of relaxed geometry, comfort and compliance, it's easy to forget about the Allez's performance personality, and there is still plenty of get up and go. In fact it responds well if you give the pedals a little tickle, especially if you are already rolling. It carries its weight well, so for short, hard efforts on small climbs or false flats you can still get a shift on, and with plenty of stiffness through the lower half of the frame it's not against a little bit of sprinting action either.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - riding 4.jpg

With all of the above and the inclusion of full mudguard mounts and the ability to fit a rear rack, the Allez has a lot of versatility. It can be ridden in the wet without becoming a handful on slick roads, and if you still want to get the hammer down on your commute or winter training rides then you can.

Frame & fork

The Allez Sport uses Specialized's E5 grade aluminium alloy in its construction, with double-butted tubing (two differing wall thicknesses in the tube) offering many different profiles to benefit their position on the bike – to promote flex for comfort, say, or stiffness for power transfer.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - downtube.jpg

As we have seen on other Allez models, Specialized isn't shy about showing a beefy – some might say agricultural – weld, and that is no different here on this model.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - head tube.jpg

In this light grey paint job, though, it isn't massively noticeable unless you are up close. But if you want super sleek then there are other bikes out there with a smoother finish.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - seat tube junction.jpg

That aside, the paint is tough, and I think it's a good-looking bike. The angled seatstay bridge is quirky, and the internally cabled front half of the frame gives a clean look.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - seat stays.jpg

From a specification point of view, you get a couple of water bottle cage positions and there are, of course, 12mm thru-axles for wheel retention.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - seat tube bosses.jpg

You get mudguard mounts, too, though they aren't quite in the standard positions to make the fitting of aftermarket 'fenders' a straightforward affair, although they are positioned much better than they were on previous iterations.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - rear drop out.jpg

Specialized does sell its own brand of 'Plug + Play' mudguards, which the mounts are designed to be used with. As mentioned above, the Allez will also take a rear rack, so that's your lightweight touring and commuting taken care of.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - fork detail.jpg

Other than that, you'll find that the bottom bracket is a standard threaded affair, while the frame has a tapered head tube to match the tapered steerer of the full-carbon fibre FACT fork.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - head tube badge.jpg

Maximum tyre clearance is an impressive 35mm without guards.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - fork clearance.jpg

Geometry-wise, the Allez is available in a total of seven sizes which equates to effective top tube lengths of 493mm up to 586mm, a better spread than some brands offer.

The bike I rode was a 54cm, which had a top tube length of 541mm, head tube length of 155mm, and a seat tube length of 510mm.

The wheelbase manages to squeeze in under a metre at 998mm, with 425mm chainstays. Stack and reach figures are 569mm and 370mm respectively.

For the angles, we are looking at 72 degrees for the head angle, and 73.25 degrees for the seat tube angle. The fork rake is 47mm.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - front.jpg

Specialized has a detailed geometry table, so be sure to check that out for the larger and smaller models.

Groupset

Probably the biggest news for this latest model of Allez is that there are no rim brake builds in the line-up, with both offerings coming with either hydraulic or cable-operated discs.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - rear disc brake.jpg

This Sport model comes with a Tiagra 10-speed mechanical groupset, albeit with a Praxis Alba chainset and Sunrace cassette.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - crank.jpg

Shifting-wise, this mix of kit has no issues in terms of performance, and you get a decent spread of ratios with 50/34-tooth chainrings and an 11-32 cassette.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - rear mech.jpg

Early Tiagra hydraulic levers had a horrible shape, but a few years back Shimano brought their design in line with the 11-speed 105 models, so comfort is great, especially when spending many miles on the hoods.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - drop bar and lever.jpg

For the brakes, Specialized has specced 160mm rotors front and rear so there is plenty of stopping power on offer.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - front disc brake.jpg

Finishing kit

The rest of the kit comes from Specialized's parts bin, with a 3D-forged alloy stem with a 7-degree rise connecting the alloy bar to the fork's steerer tube.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - stem and spacers.jpg

The seatpost is also an alloy affair, with a quick-to-adjust two-bolt clamping system and 12mm offset.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - rear.jpg

The saddle is a Body Geometry Bridge which I found to be comfortable enough for the majority of riding.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - saddle 2.jpg

Wheels & tyres

The Axis Sport Disc wheelset seems reliable and durable – although rain and wet roads were in short supply when the bulk of the reviewing took place.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - rim.jpg

With a 24-spoke front and 28-spoke rear build, they remained true throughout testing and could cope admirably with poor surfaces. They are weighty, though, and as I mentioned above, something lighter really peps up the performance of the Allez.

It's the same story with the 30mm Roadsport tyres; they're reliable and come with decent levels of grip, but are a bit lacking in terms of performance.

2023 Specialized Allez Sport - tyre.jpg

When they wear out, you'll get some bonus performance from an upgrade to something grippier and lighter.

Value

The Allez range now starts at £1,100 and for that you get the same frameset as you see here but with a Shimano Claris 8-speed groupset and cable-operated disc brakes.

This Sport model is £1,600, which is in line with its main rivals.

Giant's alloy Contend SL Disc range starts at £1,499 with the '2', which comes with the same build as the Allez Sport, as in Tiagra hydraulic groupset, alloy components and alloy wheels.

We tested the SL 1 Disc back in 2021 and were very impressed with it.

Cannondale's alloy Synapse does without the electronic 'gimmicks' found on the carbon models, and a Synapse 1 with a Tiagra hydraulic build and a set of DT Swiss wheels comes in at £1,650.

Trek's ALR is the alloy version of its Emonda, and the Emonda ALR 4 comes with a Tiagra build and similar components to the Allez Sport. Its rrp is £1,750, but a look at Trek's UK website shows that it is currently discounted to £1,575.

Conclusion

With the lack of those rim-braked models, the Allez range doesn't look quite as 'entry level' as it once did, but on a model-to-model basis they are still well priced against the opposition, with little to separate the main players from the list above.

If you do plump for the Allez, though, one thing you will be impressed with is the ride quality. Previous versions of the Allez have always been good fun to ride while still having a focus on performance, and that hasn't changed here. It's hampered a little by the wheels and tyres, but upgrade those as and when, and you have a belter of a bike.

Verdict

Versatile road bike with flattering handling and a very comfortable ride

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Specialized Allez Sport

Size tested: 54

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Stem: 3D-forged alloy, 31.8mm, 7-degree rise

SeatPost: Alloy, 2-bolt Clamp, 12mm offset, 27.2mm, anti-corrosion hardware

Saddle: Body Geometry Bridge Saddle, steel rails

Seat Binder: Bolt-type, Rack Compatable 31.8mm

Tape: Specialized S-Wrap

Handlebars: Specialized Shallow Drop, 70x125mm, 31.8mm clamp

Cassette: Sunrace, 10-speed, 11-32t

Chain: KMC X10, 10-Speed

Bottom Bracket: Praxis 68mm BSA

Crankset: Praxis Alba - 50/34t

Shift Levers: Shimano Tiagra Disc 4720, 10-speed

Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra, 10-speed

Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra, braze-on

Inner Tubes: 700x28-32, 48mm Presta Valve

Wheelset: Axis Sport Disc Tubeless Ready

Tyres: Specialized Roadsport, 700X30c

Brakes: Shimano Tiagra, Hydraulic disc - 160mm rotor

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Specialized says, "Four decades after the first Specialized Allez hit the road, the new Allez is the best yet. Lightest in its class,* it delivers more confidence, versatility, and performance than ever before – to more riders than ever before. Whether you're looking for premium alloy, want a bike for weekend rides and fast commutes, or if you're just beginning your road journey, performance road starts with Allez.

LIGHTEST IN CLASS: Starting with premium butted and double-butted E5 alloy, the Allez frame tips the scales at just 1,375** grams for a quick and nimble feel on the road. Plus, the full carbon fork reduces weight even more (no hidden alloy steer tube here) while helping smooth out your ride. And with modern, thoughtful build choices, it's no surprise the Allez is also the lightest in its class.

INCREDIBLE CONFIDENCE: This premium E5 alloy frame is light, fast, durable, and, did we mention, gorgeous? The excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio coupled with the unmatched stopping power of all-weather dual-piston disc brakes delivers ultimate confidence at any speed. Plus, we've used the legendary Roubaix bike's endurance geometry to deliver unrivaled comfort for long miles and stable handling while ensuring the Allez can still dissect a winding road like a pure race bike.

VERSATILITY and PERFORMANCE: Just as capable of getting you to work or class, as it is checking off your local KOM or weekend group ride, racks and fender mounts ensure the Allez is versatile enough for whatever road you take it on. With tire clearance up to a beefy 35 mm (32 mm with Fenders), you'll be ready for the roughest roads and even light gravel. If those roads get steep, Allez has a wide gearing range to keep you comfortably spinning so you can ride efficiently."

It's an impressive all-round road bike with a stunning ride quality from the aluminium frame.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

There are two models with this frame in the Allez range, the standard Allez for £1,100 and the Allez Sport. There is also an Allez Sprint Comp that uses a different frameset, and costs £2,900.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

A very well made frame and well finished, although the chunky welds might not be to everyone's taste.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

From Specialized:

Frame

Specialized E5 Premium Aluminum, flat mount disc, rack and fender eyelets, fully manipulated tubing w/ SmoothWelds, internal cable routing, threaded BB, 12x142mm thru-axle

Fork

Specialized FACT full carbon, flat mount disc, 1-1/8" to 1-3/8" taper, fender eyelets, 12x100mm thru-axle

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry of the Allez is endurance biased rather than full-on race, with slightly slacker angles, especially at the head tube. A short wheelbase keeps things nippy, though.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The stack and reach figures are fairly typical of bikes of this kind.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes, overall comfort was very impressive. The alloy frame has no harshness to it which allows great feedback too.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

It's not as stiff as a carbon fibre race bike, but there were no points during the review period that I felt it lacked the stiffness I required.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Thanks to the stiffness of the frame, overall efficiency and power transfer are good.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling is well balanced, with a front end that's quick enough to tackle most descents at speed, without feeling twitchy.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The saddle was comfortable overall, and the bar width/diameter all worked well on longer rides.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The wheels felt tight enough for general sprinting duties, and I had no issues with bar or stem flex.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

Lighter wheels and tyres would increase the efficiency.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

A good selection of kit. The Shimano Tiagra shifting offers practically the same performance as 105 but without the extra sprocket on the cassette, and the inclusion of a Praxis crankset has no effect on shifting overall. The brakes are powerful and smooth in operation.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

Decent wheels for training and commuting – especially in the winter months. They're durable, if not exactly the most responsive wheels I've used.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

Just like the wheels, the tyres are a bit weighty, which hampers performance, but they are reliable and durable.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

A good selection of basic components that do the job.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Allez Sport is a similar price to the equivalent Cannondale, Giant and Trek builds mentioned in the review.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
5/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's very good: an excellent frameset fitted with a decent level of kit, and ripe for upgrades over time.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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