Brand New from Specialized, the all-new Allez Disc. Building on the iconic history of Specialized’s much-loved road favourite the new Allez provides more confidence, versatility and performance than ever before.
Peter from our buying team was lucky enough to get his hands on the new Allez pre-launch, and has written up a detailed review on how he found the bike. Check it out below!
Key Specs as tested:
• New Allez E5 Disc frame with rack & mudguard eyelets
• New Allez full carbon fork (no hidden alloy steerer tube here – reduces weight significantly, while helping smooth out the ride)
• Shimano Tiagra 2x10sp hydraulic disc drivetrain, 11-32t Cassette, Praxis Alba crankset (50/34t)
• Axis Sport Disc Tubeless Wheelset, Roadsport 30c tires
• Bridge Sport Saddle, Alloy Bars/Stem/Post
• Claimed Weight: Complete bike ~9.5 kg
• Weight of my 58cm bike as tested: ~9.8kg
Good news readers, the iconic Specialized Allez which many people will have owned as their very first road bike, has been given an update, equipped with these new-fangled disc brakes – about time some may say! And may I say, even as a proud owner of a rim brake road bike, this bike equipped with disc brakes makes perfect sense, and will be a fantastic replacement for the outgoing rim brake model. But what is it like to live with? Well Specialized very kindly lent me one to put through its paces, so read on to see what it was like to ride!
So first, lets stamp on the pedals and get up to speed with the new range. It comes in two models, the entry level Allez E5 Disc, 2×8 speed, mechanical disc brakes, (RRP £1100), and the Allez E5 Sport Disc – 2×10 speed hydraulic disc, RRP £1600. The question I asked immediately was that there was no 11 or 12 speed option – I think there are no immediate plans to release a higher spec model, but in the future who knows, there may be developments in coming seasons.
The premium double butted E5 alloy frame is the same on both models and tips the scales (56cm frame) at just 1375 grams (around 700g less than the Trek Domane AL disc). It has the same geometry as the outgoing model, and as the high-end endurance bike (think comfy all-day riding) – the Specialized Roubaix. However, the top tube on the new model is 2cm higher than the outgoing rim-brake version, so if you’re borderline on stand over height on your current Allez, you may want to consider going one size down.
Rack and mudguard mounts ensure the Allez is capable of getting you to work, not dry, but certainly less covered in muck. And we are talking proper full-length mudguards here. With tyre clearance up to 35mm (32mm with mudguards), it would be rude not to try riding rough roads and even light gravel. I am a big convert to jumping on the gravel bandwagon, and nipping down a bridleway for a short stretch escaping the 4 wheelers is right up the Allez’s street. Luckily our streets are covered in potholes, so you can tick the gravel and roadie box in one with this bike! But this is still a road bike first and foremost. The geometry is road endurance and it’s lighter than its gravel cousins – the main difference in getting rid of those restrictive rim callipers is it opens up a world of increased tyre clearance, and the associated comfort and versatility of having wider tyres.
I think what makes this such a great bike for anyone starting cycling is its versatility – its not dialled in to one specific type of cycling…
Fast commuter, with space for rack, mudguards, & up to 35mm tyres ✅
Lightweight sportive or club run bike, fast road tyres and disc brakes for smashing round country lanes with control & grip ✅
Adventure bikepacking road bike, load up with bags, and bomb down roads and light off-road paths alike ✅
Everyday steed you can chuck outside the supermarket, and not fret about going over 5Nm Torque on the seat clamp or every small knock on your carbon frame ✅
Specialized Allez Disc: First Ride
So, what were my impressions of actually riding this bike? Well my very first ride was a 100km spin with my cycling club through the Surrey Hills, and I was very favourably impressed with the Allez’s road going credentials. The bike is light, the wheels are nice and stiff and accelerate promptly, and the 30mm tyres roll over the aforementioned gravel and potholes with no complaints. Quiet freehub too which is great for being able to have a conversation when riding – some high-end wheels are very anti-social these days, naming no names!
I have always been impressed with the longevity of specialized tyres, back when I was turning the spanners we would get well used and abused specialized bikes in for service with the original tyres fitted, they just go on and on. Ok it helps that it was a brand new bike, but the shifting and braking is fantastic on the Allez Sport. The Tiagra shifting is light and crisp, taking its design cues from the new GRX lever blade. The disc brakes have been a standout for me, splashing through puddles, standing up on the pedals, I have honestly not heard one bit of brake rub yet. So the club run was a great success, the Allez could easily hold its own in the group, and felt comfortable after a 3-4 hour ride.
Next was a recovery spin with a friend, whose bike is so aero passing birds turn their heads to marvel at its wind-cheating lines – I swear I saw a pigeon do a double take as he rolled past once! MAMILs have also been known to stare! Here is where I started to be able to notice the effect aerodynamics can have. The upright position of the Allez I was in, while super comfy, was not optimised for an aerodynamic race position, and this combined with the lack of deep section wheels meant riding side by side my friend was freewheeling on a slight downhill, while I was pedalling to keep pace. I was tempted to slam the stem as soon as I got the bike to lower my body and reduce frontal area, but it didn’t really feel like that would be in the spirit of the test, and not how most people would usually ride it. Putting on deep section wheels, adjusting your position, and wearing tight clothing, I reckon the Allez would be able to severely reduce that deficit to any full-on aero bike – if that’s how you wanted to roll.
First weekend done, I moved onto my weekly commutes. To carry my essentials, ok – my sandwiches – into work, I fitted a frame bag to the Allez, which I prefer to a rucksack (even though you do have to do a bit of Tetris with frame bags I find). They add an element of fun when you are late and trying to cram everything in and get out the door!
My commute is hilly country lanes, almost all road in varying states of repair, and an optional short gravel climb on the return. On a wet and slippery steep descent, this bike is way faster than my race bike – because I have the confidence to go faster on the tyres, and brake later. Going down this particular hill on my carbon rim wheels, I have to constantly pull hard on the levers, like some bizarre high-speed grip strength test. Not so with the Allez, after a short 1 minute descent my hands were relaxed and noticeably less effort was required to descend safely. Also I’m too precious to fit the frame bag to the race bike when commuting, another point to the Allez.
If I was keeping the bike longer, I would consider switching to tubeless – the Allez Sport Disc comes with tubeless compatible wheels. The added comfort is the main benefit of tubeless in my opinion, inner tubes are a harsher ride for sure, on every surface. Going home I have a choice, 20% tarmac climb, or 10% gravel climb. Again – I’m too worried about my fancy tyres on my summer bike, so forced onto the road every time. On the Allez I tried both. The 32t cassette allowed me to spin way more easily up the road, and actually, the 30mm tyres were great and really grippy going up the gravel, even out the saddle on a particularly wet commute.
The next week I was cycling round London visiting Balfe’s stores – route ready on my Garmin, and braving the London traffic. This is where I could test the handling of the bike, diving down the Thames towpath, weaving in and around numerous obstacles, over broken paving stones, with stop start riding and getting on and off frequently. The Allez has a nice neutral position, good for fast commuting, and again the disc brakes excelled and make perfect sense for commuting in all weathers. When “parked”, leaning up against a wall, I did find the handlebars would like to make a bid for freedom as often as possible, swerving to one side at the least provocation.
Perhaps it was my large out front camera/Garmin mount, or the elongated head tube compared to what I am used to on the 58cm frame. But its aluminium, you could probably park it by just chucking it at a wall, and it would still be fine! So as not to scupper my chances at writing any more product reviews, I did not test this theory on this occasion.
So after 2 weeks of riding, I will be sorry to give the Allez back. It’s a bike you can just grab and ride everywhere – it excels in almost all scenarios. Of course it’s a jack of all trades and not focused on one particular style of riding, but that’s what makes it so appealing and versatile. I would consider getting the Allez as a commuter and winter training bike as it is actually better suited to those tasks than a lot of much more expensive bikes. I found it freeing to have a bike I was not constantly worried about, “it will get dirty, get a puncture, get scratched…” After the initial ooh I have a shiny new bike phase, and you scuff it up a bit, I think the Allez would be a fantastic bike to live with, because you can use it to do what its designed to do, ride it everyday, everywhere.