BIKE REVIEW – SPECIALIZED ALLEZ E5 ROAD BIKE

Shaun George Reviews

The Road biking scene has exploded in India over the last couple of years with Randonneuring clubs (Audax India Randonneurs) popping up across the country, and the road racing scene picking up in our metros. Being a non-impact sport, cycling is also a great way to burn those calories and stay fit without hurting your body.

If you’re looking to jump into the vibrant road bike scene and are in the market for a high-performing yet entry-level road bike that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, then you’re likely to find what you need in the Specialized Allez Road Bike series. The Specialized Allez series has several bike models to choose from, but we will deep-dive into the entry-level base model in this review.

Specialized Bicycle Components or simply Specialized is an American brand that designs and manufactures bicycles, cycling components, and cycling apparel for riders and cycling enthusiasts. Renowned across the globe for their quality and expertise, we’re super stoked to have an extensive selection of Specialized products in India for our riders.

The company’s products include mountain bikes, road bikes, fitness bikes, gravel bikes, and kids bikes apart from an extensive range of cycling apparel and cycling accessories. Specialized markets its products to both the leisure and professional rider.

SPECIALIZED ALLEZ ROAD BIKE OVERVIEW

The Specialized Allez (vs the Specialized Allez Sport, Specialized Allez Elite and the Specialized Allez Sprint) is the most basic iteration of the Allez lineup that Specialized has.

At a starting price of Rs. 60,000/- in India, it’s a deal too good to be true. A thoroughbred lightweight aluminum-carbon race bike that can do it all. Whether you’re a budding roadie or an experienced rider, the Specialized Allez is the perfect bike for you. Here’s why – It can do anything and everything you want it to do. Featuring a lightweight alloy frame, carbon fiber fork, and mounts for racks and fenders, it’s as performance-packed as it is versatile.

Use it to commute to work, to accomplish long-distance brevets, to race club races or to simply enjoy fast rides on long roads – the Allez won’t disappoint.

THE FRAMESET

The bicycle frame is the most important part of your bicycle buying decision. From our experience of helping thousands of riders jump onto their dream bike – it’s, unfortunately, the least they know about and hence not really considered. Being the only part of the bike that you really do not upgrade, choosing the best frame is the basis of your entire road biking experience.

The Specialized Allez frame sits among the best in the market at this price point. Precise engineering with proprietary thin-walled, lightweight aluminum along with a high-performance carbon fork (remember, not all carbon is equal) delivers a high-performance lightweight frame. Paint finish on the frame is top-notch too. Specialized offers a bunch of paint finishes with the Allez including glossy, metallic and matte finishes.

The Allez frame lives up to its racy name with steep angles and a short wheelbase which gives the rider a snappy and responsive machine under them. On the straights and twisties, the Allez is nimble and sharp – point it in the direction you want to go in and it’ll follow. It gives you that addictive road bike feeling of speed and makes you want to get off the saddle and put the power down. The fairly lightweight bike does a great job of the climbs as well. A wide-ratio cassette definitely helps you spin up the climb.

Although the frame is extremely stiff and resistant to flex under heavy load, it has sufficient compliance and quite comfortable on long rides and rough patches. Often used on brevets and other randonneuring events riders enjoy the comfort and performance that the Allez delivers. An aggressive geometry but still pretty comfortable on longer rides.

What you’ll immediately notice once you’re up to speed and moving, is that the Allez feels really sporty and in its element at all times. The aggressive geometry enables you to push harder and faster on climbs and flats. What impresses even further is the responsiveness of the bike to rider input – it’s instantaneous and super sharp. There is absolutely no delay after you put down power to the pedal. The bike pulls you ahead in a hurry. On long sweeping corners, you can feel the confidence that the bike inspires; wanting you to push it harder.

We’ve known of riders who started out with a basic Allez road bike and then used it over the years, upgrading and riding and finally racing at uber high levels with the same frameset. A true testament to what this bike is capable of!

COMPONENTS ON THE BIKE

Apart from the frame, there are a handful of components that play an important part in the overall ride experience. The Saddle, Cockpit components, and tires are critical. They not only make our ride safe but also deliver higher levels of performance.

A lot of components on the Specialized Allez are designed and manufactured by Specialized themselves, unlike a lot of other bicycle brands that go with generic OEM parts. Specialized is well known for Research and Development in the Bike Fit department and their concept of Body Geometry (BG) – products that are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to increase performance, improve comfort, and reduce chances of injury. Designed by a passionate group of physicians, engineers, and athletes all Body Geometry approved designs are rooted in science so that riders can be one with their bikes.

Sounds great and the brand delivers!

Saddles are often a sore point for most riders. The Specialized Body Geometry saddles are medically optimized for comfort and safety by preventing nerve damage and numbness. We love the fact that Specialized invests heavily into understanding rider sit bone measurement and constantly iterates on their saddles. The handlebar tape is comfortable and plush for Indian road conditions.

The Jagwire coated cables are also super slick and have minimal resistance within the housing. Small things – but braking and shifting are crisp and buttery smooth every time.

The stock pedals are the basic nylon, loose ball bearing type that most new bikes roll out with. Most riders immediately upgrade to a clipless system depending on their pedal and cleat preferences.

WHEELSET

Wheels are important – they heavily influence the handling and responsiveness of the bike. A good set of wheels can be an important upgrade to any road ride. Good wheels are light, stiff, help you climb better and improve aerodynamics to power along on the flat without breaking a sweat. Durability is also an important aspect.

The Allez comes with an Axis Sport wheelset that uses a 20-spoke pattern at the front, and a 24-spoke setup at the rear. Axis is an in-house brand owned by Specialized. The Axis sport wheels are solidly built and provide good rolling on the flats. They aren’t the lightest wheels around but are durable and bomb-proof. Great for training, commuting and weekend riding.

A standard cup and cone bearing is what you get on both the wheels. This is a basic yet highly serviceable bearing type.

Out of the box, you get some sticky Specialized Espoir Sport tires (700 X
25C) that are a really solid pair of training tires – grippy with a good level of puncture resistance. A 60tpi construction isn’t going to offer you the most supple ride but it is fairly compliant for our road conditions. The tire has wire beading which makes the pair slightly heavier than we would like.

GROUPSET

Specialized has an Allez for everyone – catering to everyone’s requirements, needs, and budgets. The range starts from the base model with the Shimano Claris 2400 8-speed that is built to last over the long haul. An even spread of gears and ratios with an 11-32t cassette keeps you spinning over the climbs as well.

The fact that the Claris is an 8-speed groupset means that the spacing between cogs is wider and as a result, the shifts are not as smooth as say on a Sora or Tiagra groupset. Nonetheless, the shifts are accurate as the bike comes with a medium cage derailleur. This is what allows for the accommodation of the 11-32t cassette.

The Claris groupset is extremely durable and simple & cheap to maintain. Shifts are reliable and accurate, as long as you keep your drivetrain clean and well lubricated. A 9 or a 10-speed groupset would be a lot snappier but this is still a great enough investment for someone just starting their journey into road biking.

WARRANTY

Specialized believes that the “rider is the boss”. That is why they offer a global Lifetime warranty on all their frames. Other Specialized-branded products (as well as frame paint and graphics) are covered by a two-year warranty.  It’s important to note that the lifetime warranty is applicable only on manufacturing defects and not on wear and tear parts or accidental damage. Also, the lifetime warranty refers to the lifetime of the product under normal usage scenarios.

ALLEZ SPECIFICATION

Frame: Specialized E5 Premium aluminum
Forks: Specialized FACT full carbon
Brakes: Tektro/Axis 1.0
Groupset: Shimano Claris
Wheels: Axis Sport
Tires: Espoir Sport, 700x25mm
Saddle: Body Geometry Toupe Sport
Weight: 9.35kg (approx)

OUR VERDICT

The Specialized Allez is the perfect road bike for the rider who wants a versatile bike at a budget-friendly price. This do-it-all road bike is suitable for centuries, commuting and racing. A simple Claris groupset is ideal for beginners and also ensure that service costs aren’t high. Upgrades to consider over a period of time would be a lighter set of wheels and some nicer brake pads. Overall, the Allez E5 is the ideal bike for someone looking to enter the world of road biking.

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