The Specialized Allez Sport is an entry-level alloy road bike aimed at beginner and commuter cyclists. Well-equipped with mudguard and pannier mounts, and coming in at just 9.3kg, the Allez Sport is a beginner-friendly all-purpose road bike.
The Allez first appeared on the cycling scene in 1981 as a steel race bike, and has been hugely popular ever since.
The bike has since gone through several evolutions, most recently adopting more relaxed geometry in a bid to, in Specialized’s words, ‘redefine entry-level’ cycling with better quality bikes.
The Allez Sport sits in the middle of the range, above the standard Allez and below the Allez Elite.
Specialized Allez Sport: Frameset and build
Consistent across the range, each of the Allez bikes (excluding the Allez Sprint) uses the exact same frame and fork. The E5 aluminium frame has been redesigned in recent years, and Specialized says that the new frame is 450g lighter than previous iterations.
This model is available in three gloss colours – pine green and gold (as shown here), as well as dove grey and black, and arctic blue and black.
The fork is Specialized’s FACT carbon and, like the frame, features mudguard (fender) mounts, a useful feature for both road riding and commuting. A pannier rack can also be fitted to the rear seatstays.
The frame uses internal cable routing to give the bike a sleek aesthetic and help protect the cables from the elements.
Shimano 9-speed Sora shifting is combined with Specialized Axis brakes and Praxis cranks, whilst both wheels and tyres are own-brand.
The Specialized Axis Sport wheels have a decent internal rim width of 21mm and, unlike previous models, are compatible with tubeless tyres. The rims are built onto basic cup and cone hubs, a typical feature on most entry-level wheels.
The Allez Sport comes with 26mm Specialized RoadSport tyres, though the brand says the frame can accommodate rubber up to 28mm wide without mudguards.
Known for its excellent range of saddles, such as the S-Works Power, it is unsurprising that Specialized opted to fit the Allez with its Body Geometry Sport seat. The Body Geometry technology is a trickle-down from the brand’s more expensive products, and is designed to promote blood flow using the recessed channel.
Specialized Allez Sport: Geometry and sizing
In recent years, the Allez’s geometry has been adapted to support a more relaxed riding position, more suited to those new to cycling or wishing for a more comfortable ride.
In comparison to the racier Allez Sprint – which is essentially an aluminium Tarmac SL7 – the standard Allez has a 27mm higher stack and a 4mm shorter reach.
As is becoming more common nowadays, Specialized offers the bike across a wide size range, from 44cm all the way up to 61cm.
Specialized considers the Allez to be a unisex design suitable for both male and female riders. This is a valid enough position when it comes to geometry but our experience suggests many female riders will prefer narrower bars for road riding, as well as more explicitly women’s-specific saddles (although Specialized says the Bridge Sport is lab-tested for both men and women).
As far as sizing goes, I chose the 52cm which, at 168cm tall, is a comfortable fit. The stem is 90mm and, though I typically prefer a longer reach, this makes sense in the context of an entry-level road bike.
Riding the Specialized Allez Sport
As a beginner’s road bike, the Allez Sport is not designed to be spectacular or to wow the rider with its speed. Rather, it is focussed on being comfortable, which it definitely is.
Sitting at 9.3kg on our scales, the bike is no featherweight but, thanks to its rim brake setup, it compares favourably to some significantly more expensive bikes – disc brakes invariably come with a weight penalty.
The bike is nimble and reacts well when sprinting out of the saddle, whilst also being stable enough to feel secure over potholes and uneven road surfaces.
The relaxed geometry promotes a more upright position than more race-oriented bikes, but this position could also be adapted by fitting a longer stem at a later date.
As a narrow-shouldered rider, I found the 40cm handlebars slightly too wide, but this does help create a more stable feel and is a typical width for a 52cm bike.
The Body Geometry Bridge saddle is suitably supple but firm, as with others in the Specialized range, but is relatively long which could be uncomfortable for those spending a lot of time in the drops, though this is subjective from person to person.
The rear brake outer cable is routed in a straight line from frame to caliper, likely done to reduce the cable friction from additional bends. I found that my left leg occasionally knocked against the outer cable whilst riding, mostly when coasting, which proved irritating.
As with the saddle, this will vary from rider to rider and is likely only an issue in specific height/size configurations.
Shimano rim brakes are excellent but the Axis calipers Specialized specs here are less impressive.
The braking performed less well than expected in wet conditions , with the pads lacking enough bite to feel punchy, and the calipers flexing and creating a slightly spongy feel. The brakes get the job done but are simply not as good as Shimano’s own brakes.
The gearing is suitably low enough for most climbs and, with two gears on the front and nine on the back, offers a good selection range to choose from without any huge jumps from one to the next.
If you’re looking for an entry-level road bike with a frameset that’s worthy of upgrades as you progress, the Specialized Allez Sport could be the one for you.
The bike would be a good fit for someone looking to try their hand at road cycling but who also wants to use it for day-to-day activities.
The frameset is well-equipped to handle both road riding and commuting alike, with the option to fit mudguards making it practical – the tight clearances mean fitting some guards won’t be easy, however.
With many beginner bikes coming in at closer to 10kg+, the Allez Sport is light enough at 9.3kg to handle hillier rides without hampering the rider, and could be fitted with panniers without making it unreasonably heavy.
The 11-32 cassette also offers a big enough range of gears to handle a broad spectrum of road riding terrain.
Though the Axis brakes are fit-for-purpose, better rim brake combinations do exist which may be a better choice for heavier riders or those planning to ride in all weather conditions.
The bike also has limited tyre clearance so is not ideal for those looking to venture off-road or simply fit bigger tyres for a gentler, plusher riding experience.
Specialized Allez Sport spec
Specialized Allez E5 alloy frame
Specialized FACT carbon fork 1-1/8in to 1-3/8in taper
Shimano 9-speed Sora
Specialized Axis 1.0 calipers
Shimano 9-speed Sora
Shimano 2×9-speed Sora
Praxis Alba 50/34T
Praxis 68mm BSA
Sunrace 9-speed 11-32
KMC 9-speed chain
Specialized RoadSport 700x26mm
Specialized Body Geometry Bridge
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Photography: Honor Elliot
Specialized Allez Sport alternatives
As third tier in the range, the standard Allez differs only slightly from the Allez Sport, with 8-speed gearing and Tektro brake calipers. For those looking to experience the same E5 alloy frame with a cheaper price tag, the Allez could do the trick.
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Specialized Allez Sprint Comp
The Allez Sprint Comp has been dubbed ‘the world’s first alloy superbike’ by Specialized. With more aggressive geometry and a lighter overall weight of 8.8kg, the Sprint Comp is the Allez’s racing cousin.
The bike also features a Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake groupset and Specialized Power Sport saddle, aimed at those wishing to ride fast whilst still using an alloy frame.
Cannondale CAAD Optimo 2
Cannondale’s answer to entry-level road cycling, the CAAD Optimo 2 sits in the middle of the Optimo range. At a slightly higher costprice than the Allez Sport, the Optimo 2 comes equipped with a Shimano 10-speed Tiagra shifting and brakes, and an FSA crankset.
The Optimo 2 uses similar geometry to the Allez Sport, with a 15mm higher stack, and is fitted with Vittoria Zaffiro tyres.
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Canyon Endurace 6 RB
At only 8.7kg, the Canyon Endurace 6 is a lightweight endurance bike, with a full Tiagra rim brake groupset and Fulcrum wheels. The Endurace fully embraces the long-distance elements of road riding, with a more relaxed overall geometry and a few extra frame mounts.
As a direct-to-consumer company, Canyon typically able to offer cheaper prices to their competitors but this usually comes at the cost of bike availability and long lead times.
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