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Building Jamie’s Specialized Allez Sprint - A disc brake aluminium crit racer

Magura brakes, Zipp wheels, custom 3D printed parts and a lot of swearing…

When you get a brand new bike in the post, but you’ve had the bits to build it lying around for weeks, my advice would be to avoid trying to build it on a Friday afternoon. Especially if the build needs to be filmed, or there are beers to be drunk.

Also, don’t ask Liam to help unpack, he will chuck small parts in the bin.

My Allez Sprint Disc frameset has been on order for longer than I can remember… When I saw that the geometry was going to be pretty much identical to my Tarmac SL7, I was really keen to build one up as a crit racing machine to try and avoid another astronomically expensive carbon frame repair…also N+1…I had many of the parts lying around, so was hoping that the cost wasn’t going to be too bad, but as always with these things, I’d rather not add up what I’ve ended up spending.

The build centres around a 54cm Allez Sprint frameset in Chameleon Oil Tint/Black and maybe it’s best to just not talk about those welds…they are quite sizeable.

> Review: Specialized Allez Sprint Disc

Ahead of receiving the frameset I’d been carefully studying other people's builds and decided that something really had to be done about the brake hose integration at the front end. I therefore finally put my engineering degree to good use and designed a 3D printed upper bearing cover. This, in my mind, not only looks better but also means that I don’t have spare holes (designed for mechanical shifting) just asking for dirt and water ingress.

The top of the bearing cover pairs to a Tarmac Sl7 spacer and matching 130mm/-12 degree stem to integrate the cables and hide them from the wind. That tidy finish did mean a bit of extra work when building the bike but I’m pleased with the end result.

For the groupset, I opted for a Shimano Ultegra R8070 11-speed Di2 groupset, though there are a fair few other parts that I have drafted in from the parts bin. The reason for sticking with 11-speed is that I still have other bikes using this system and want all my wheelsets to be interchangeable. 

> Staff Bikes: Dave's Custom Dward Single Speed

The crankset, you may have noticed, is not Ultegra or in fact Shimano at all. Instead, a Quarq Dfour power meter is paired with 52/36T Dura Ace rings and carbon Quarq D2 DUB crankarms in a 170mm length. Having had my fair share of dodgy power meters I’m now a stickler for a Quarq as I’m yet to be let down by one.

The other variation that is sure to gain some interest is the ‘Shigura’ setup. That’s what mountain bikers lovingly call it when Shimano levers are paired with Magura callipers. The callipers in question are MT8 SL FMs, they’re not only lighter than their Shimano counterparts but have some superb machining and build quality whilst, in my experience, making less unwanted noise. This is a setup that I’ve been running on my Tarmac for quite a few years now, rumour has it that Chris Froome copied me…

> Chris Froome ditches Shimano for Magura brake callipers

It has to be said that like many aluminium frames the internal routing is not the easiest with the Allez Sprint and it did provide plenty of opportunity for swearing. Space around the bottom bracket area is particularly tight so routing the brake hoses and Di2 wires through wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had on a Friday afternoon. Watch the video above for my not-so-helpful advice on the matter…

At this point, Liam came over and helpfully told me that he has a couple of routing tools at home which would have saved me hours. Thanks, Liam. 

Stopping a build halfway through is always annoying, but everyone else in the office wanted to go home for the weekend and so we picked up again on Monday morning. Thankfully, the bars were routed in good time and the brakes were quick to bleed. After that, it was a simple case of popping the wheels in, aligning the brakes, indexing the gears and wrapping some bar tape. That’s Jo Burt Kinesis tape that I’m a big fan of, grippy, comfy and just a tiny bit reflective.

The total build time was far longer than expected. The total cost isn’t something I want to think about and Andrew, who edited the video above, had a great time making it look like we knew what we were doing, he’s good but he’s not a magician…

Make sure you head over to the Youtube channel and give us a follow to make sure you don’t miss the upcoming ‘staff bikes’ episode featuring the Allez to run you through the finished thing.

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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