Like the Defy, the Sport sits in the top half of Specialized’s long-established Allez intro-competition range. It boasts a decent frame, sound spec, neat cosmetics and practical componentry choices.
The first thing you notice on mounting the Allez is its size: in contrast to the Defy, our ‘large’ Allez came up closer in size and fit to most medium bikes. But the proportions are excellent, the short stem and shallow-drop anatomic bars giving a naturally comfortable cockpit fit.
Steering reaction speed also benefits from the shorter stem, though it can get a bit too twitchy when you’re turning tight at low speeds. Steering precision and overall accuracy are better than average, too, making pothole-dodging or pack manoeuvring a breeze.
In terms of ride feel, the Allez is a good mid-pack performer. It’s slightly heavy, but it still picks up speed in a determined manner; most of the time it drives solidly from pedal to tarmac.
That said, it does have a noticeable jump and bump reaction if you really stomp the power down, and it’s not as long-day comfortable as the Defy. While you can float it over rough sections or highway holes that you spot easily enough, the ride is less forgiving if you just have to power through.
A significant amount of this ‘chatter’ is down to the stiff-riding Flak Jacket tyres. The alloy-crowned, carbon-legged forks aren’t comfortably compliant, either, and hand buzz and numbness started to creep in once we hit rougher roads for any length of time.
The Sport is the last bike in the Allez range with the more basic A1 alloy frame, before the family makes the leap to smooth-welded E5 tubing. But there’s still plenty going on here to impress; its finish gives it an almost carbon look and the upward-bowed top tube and tall head tube also follow the same layout that Specialized use on their top Tarmac and Roubaix bikes.
It looks a bit weird at first but Specialized reckons the design takes significant sting out of the ride. The rear seatstays are even more dramatically curved inwards to pursue the same shock-softening effect, and convex-curved and tapered chainstays mimic the same wasp-waist effect lower down.
The current vogue for tall head tubes to elicit a more upright position continues here, which, while great for nursing the aching backs of amateur long-haul riders, isn’t much use if you’re trying to get as low and aero as possible. Like the Giant, there are no eyes or clearance for mudguards, but you do get rack mounts at the rear.
Besides the stiff tyres there’s little not to like kit-wise. The Tiagra kit with its easily spun compact ratios is ideal for most riders on mixed terrain and the CXP rims are sturdy stalwarts. The carbon-wrapped alloy seatpost is, however, more of a cosmetic than a weight-cutting advantage at 320g.
The Allez Sport looks great and rides well, but compared to the Giant and other leading competitors, it’s an okay rather than outstanding package.
Frame Specialized A1 Premium aluminium
Forks Specialized FACT carbon-legged
Groupset Shimano Tiagra
Wheels Mavic CXP22 rims; Specialized hubs; Specialized Mondo Sport 700 x 23c tyres
Cockpit Specialized Comp; 3D forged stem
Seating Specialized Comp Road saddle; carbon-wrapped seatpost
Weight 9.56kg (21.09lb) without pedals
Sizes 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm
Contact : Specialized UK 020 8391 3500 www.specialized.com