Review – Specialized Allez 2013

Technicalities

Frame: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminium, fully manipulated tubing with smooth welds

Fork: Specialized Aluminium fork, alloy steerer and crown, 1-1/8″

Front and rear Derailleur: Shimano 2300

Number of Gears: 16

Shifters: Shimano 2300 STI

Chainset: Shimano 2300 Compact with 50/34T chainrings

Bottom Bracket: Sealed cartridge, square taper, 68mm

Cassette: Shimano HG-50, 8-speed, 12-25

Chain: KMC Z51

Pedals: Nylon flat test ride, loose-ball, w/ reflectors (suggest these are upgraded!)

Front and rear Brake: Tektro dual-pivot

Handlebars: Specialized Comp, 6061 alloy, shallow bend

Stem: Cast alloy, 4-bolt, 31.8mm

Headset: 1-1/8″ sealed Cr-Mo cartridge bearings integrated w/ headset, 20mm alloy cone spacer, w/ 20mm of spacers

Rims: Axis Classic wheelset

Tyres: Specialized Espoir Sport, 60TPI, wire bead, double BlackBelt protection, 700×25c (suggest these could be a good upgrade area)

Tubes: Standard Presta valve

Saddle: Body Geometry Riva Road, Cr-Mo Rails, 143mm

Seatpost: Specialized Sport alloy, 27.2mm

Seat Binder: Alloy, 31.8mm

UK price: £550

Overview

This is an entry level road bike which I think offers extraordinary value for money from a well respected brand.  Please don’t let the term “entry level” put you off in any way or give you them impression this is a naff bike with lots of corners cut because it isn’t.  It is ideal for someone wanting a sporty bike for commuting or for joining a cycling club with a bit of competitive cycling in mind.  It has components which do the job but won’t set the world alight.  They are perfectly decent well made components which illustrate just how well bicycles have been refined over the last few years!

On the road

It starts with a nicely made frame which will give a lively, firm and precise ride.  The ride is predictable and easy to get used to; for people stepping from MTBs or hybrids this will be like stepping into a Porsche!  It has good quality brazing and I reckon a beautiful eye catching paint job without being too flash.  It’s also a good investment as a winter training bike especially if you’re a high spending racing cyclist.  This is the ideal bike for clocking up plenty of winter miles on salty roads or conditions where you wouldn’t want to get your summer carbon fibre dream exposed too much to the elements.  It is possible to fit training type mudguards although there aren’t threaded eyes for ‘guards and racks as it simply isn’t that kind of bike.

While the components are fairly modest, they are mostly good stuff.  The drive train is based on 8 speed which, for some, will seem a little old fashioned with 10 speed being the norm for bikes costing double.  Again, don’t let that put you off.  The ratios are fine for what the bike is designed for and the compact 34T chainring will help with those hills.  You might be able to invest in a different cassette which goes down to 28T if you need that extra help on steep hills.  Thinking of the cost of the well proven Shimano STI levers on their will make you realise why this is such extraordinary value for money.

The Tektro brakes are perfectly adequate and are well matched to the pull ratio of the levers.  You can upgrade the pads later on if you want and it certainly wouldn’t hurt as you’ll need to replace them sooner or later.  There’s a reasonable amount of feel to the brakes which I think can always be enhanced by upgrading the cables but don’t be discontent in anyway with what’s supplied.

For myself, being a picky kind of cyclist, I could not resist the opportunity to upgrade a few things from the outset but this is just a personal thing.  The pedals are an obvious target for upgrading: the ones supplied are really just for getting you started.  It is almost inevitable that anyone buying this will be investing in some SPD type pedals sooner or later.  The second upgrade would be the tyres.  Again the original equipment ones are fine and seem to “seat down” alright but it’s just that I appreciate some better handling rubber and more importantly some better puncture protection.  Lighter tyres also mean a slightly faster bike; worth remembering.

The saddle is fairly lightweight and certainly looks the part.  It is up to you whether you upgrade this but I’d recommend giving this a good go for a few weeks before making any decision as I don’t think it’s bad at all.  As with any bike, you can improve the feel and handling of a bike by making small tweaks on the contact points – the position of the saddle, positioning of the bars etc.  It has to be said though, the STI levers are lovely and comfortable and ergonomically shaped.

Overall verdict

If you want a decent, fast bike to use for a good blast at the weekends or summer evenings, this could be just right.  If you want a bike to use through the winter where there is a certain amount of disposability to the transmission, this will prove very cost effective indeed.  There are plenty of very positive reviews on the Evans website from people who’ve already taken the plunge and overwhelmingly cyclists do like this bike.  I think Evans do very well in maintaining a professional HIgh Street presence.  Currently priced at just £550 this is a really good deal.  I would add some SPD pedals and you’re off!  For the winter, go back and get some lights and ‘guards for the next seasons’ use.

The only negative aspect is the question of supply.  I remember last year my LBS (who sell these) bemoaning the difficulties they were having in getting sufficient supplies to meet demands since production, shopping etc has to be planned months in advance and sometimes shortages do occur. So, if you want one, bag one while you can!

 

49 thoughts on “Review – Specialized Allez 2013

  1. The bike fells good I’m enjoying it,I have to get use to the presta valve first one I had. It’s a bit challenging.

    • That’s great to know; it’s a decent bike. The presta values are tried and tested and you’ll need to make sure you have the right pump to keep those tyres up to pressure.

    • I have read 9.98kg from in the box. Tyres are 370g a pop and the most obvious place to look for weight reduction.

      Completely agree with the article. Got this bike in January, it’s taken me around 1,000 miles so far with few complaints. Replaced the pedals, tyres (the ones that came with the bike weren’t bad to get you going, but are heavy. The best from Michillin or Continental really do make the difference!) and back break pads, which I wore out in no time at all.

      Great bike to get into road cycling – I’m learning what’s important to me, where I would like a bit more etc. Will make a more informed and individual choice when I upgrade, but as a “pretty good at everything, without costing the Earth,” this bike rules.

      • David

        Thanks for your comment and I’m sending my apologies for not getting back sooner (life has become v.busy and blogging has been put aside for a little while).

        Glad you like the bike, it is good for the money. Seems like we also agree the pedals and tyres are worth upgrading. Exactly when these are upgraded is down to personal choice – straight away or when they’re worn out. Even going fairly upmarket on tyres will never be wasted on this bike but with pedals it is best to keep to a reasonable mid-range pair.

        Hope you’re still enjoying it and if you get the chance please give a little more feedback on how you’re getting on with it – I’m sure others will appreciate it as the stats show this is a popular post.

        Regards, Doug.

  2. Hello ! I have been riding my allez for 6 months and I’m more than happy. I noticed that this specific model ( 2013 allez 16) in not enlisted in the specialized website. Does anyone know why? Though the very similar model allez compact is there. Not that I’m worried, just asking :)

    Second thing is surely a problem, and I’m pretty much sure it occurs in all of this model as I checked it out on other allez too. When I first rode the bike, I was checking the gears. While riding with the 34T chainring infront and the smallest cog ( 8th) in rear, I found that there was serious metal to metal friction noise coming from the drivetrain. My first diagnosis was that it was coming from the chain and front derailleur, as the chain angles up in this gear ratio. So, I put the bike in a trainer and tuned all the derailleurs ( cable tension, High-low limiter) and everything looked fine. Then when I spinned it in the trainer in the 34T-8th cog gear, the sound was there, again. When I looked for the source of the sound, I found out that it was not the derailleurs, but it was the inside of the the big chaninring ( 50T) and the chain. There are some small round shaped metals in the 50T chainring ( My LBS told they are called ‘repeats’ ) . The sound comes when the rear gear is in the 8th, so its maximum to the outside.

    I just wanted to ask, that do i have to sacrifice this combination ? Does that mean that in every road bikes, you have to sacrifice the rear last gear if you put the chain in the front 34T??

    Please enlighten me with your expert opinions. Thanks.

    • Many thanks for your comment Meherdad and please accept my apologies for not replying sooner.

      From what you say, I think the problem is as you describe. When you are running the chain from the smallest chainring to the smallest cog, the chain needs to twist itself at an uncomfortable angle. The same may also apply in running the chain from the outer chainring to the biggest sprocket. Perhaps the problem is worse when you are pressing hard on the pedals?

      I would suggest two things: firstly avoid using that combination of gears. Even if you didn’t have the chain rubbing against the derailleur, the wear on the chain will be increased considerably and it will need replacing sooner. The same may apply to the chainrings and sprockets. Looking after these components is important as replacements can be expensive – I always like to prolong the life of these for as long as I can. This includes keeping them clean and free from grit, dust etc.

      Secondly, it maybe possible for your LBS to fit a small spacer to move the chain set out from the bike’s bottom bracket shell by about 1 to 2mm.

      I hope that helps, please keep in touch.

      Kind regards,

      Doug.

      • Thank you so much Doug for your kind reply. Though In my other bikes ( A trek 4300, 9 speed drivetrain), this never happen, so I was a bit puzzled. But I guess I can sacrifice a few combinations and focus on my cadence.

        Another query just popped in my head. Sooner or later, this group-set ( 2300) is gonna wear off, so I have to change it. Now, I really love those new model tiagra and 105 with integrated brake and shifters ( I guess they name it brifter?), so my next upgrade would be one of those. They give everything with the group-set, but not hubs. In the allez, it is an axis classic 8 speed hub. Is there any chance it will support an 9/10 speed cassette? Or I have to separately buy a pair of 9/10 speed compatible hubs?

        Hope to hear from you soon Doug.

        Regards,

        Meherdad.

  3. Hi Meherdad,

    You have highlighted an interesting question – why two bikes with similar components and frame design can “feel’ so different? Answering that would require quite some time but sometimes a different chain can make a difference. Bicycle manufacturers will use different chains to go with the Shimano X group set in order to save a little money here or there. Shimano chains are pretty good but we cannot assume they are the best.

    It is always a difficult decision when you get to the stage of the components wearing out on a bicycle and you wonder what to do. Sometimes it is more cost effective to simply buy a new bike as, in some markets, the cost of individual components can be very high.

    I am not sure if the hubs you mention will support a slightly wider cassette – it might be possible and also it might be possible to change the freewheel itself. The frame’s over lock nut (OLN) width is adequate.

    The main thing is to take good care of the transmission – keep it clean – and I recommend changing the chain every 2000 – 3000 miles and then the cassette every 4000 – 6000 miles. That should preserve the life of these components with each other and the chain set as well. It also means that through paying attention to the bike you spot any other problems before they let you down.

    Above all, I always suggest to fellow cyclists that they should enjoy cycling first and foremost. The bicycle is a “means to an end” and not the goal itself – I have a feeling you will be agreeing with me on this!

    Warm regards, Doug.

  4. I have just purchased this bike after trading in my Sirrus Sport which has served me well over the 18 months I have used it to commute to work.

    Now though I have started to do some serious miles over the weekends & opted for the Allez. Can’t wait to try it out.

    As I will probably use this to still commute over winter where is the best place to purchase some mud guards for it?

    Thanks.

    • I enjoy my allez it’s fun to ride. I just have to get use to turning it’s light it turns very easy or maybe I have to much weight on my hands. enjoy!

    • Hi John,
      Hope you like it, do you live in the UK? If so we’re all enjoying some wonderful weather so a great time to enjoy your new bike.

      As for mudguards, I suggest Crud RoadRacer Mk2 for their clever design and ease of use. At the time of writing they are £26.99 and available from Wiggle. You’d be doing me a great favour if you went there via the link in the right hand column :o)

      These mudguards should do the trick, plus they have a chainset guard built in (not essential but helps keep the drive train cleaner.

      Hope that helps,

      Doug.

  5. Hi, loving the Allez compact 2103, it’s a great ride on my weekly 90miles a week commute…tackles hills well and picks up some great speed on inclines. Only gripe I do have is constant chain rub that drives me mad at times. I’ve had my LBS look at it twice but going to try third time lucky before throwing the towel in on it.

    In all this bike is great on you change the pedals for SPD’s and I do fancy changing the tyres next to gain that extra bit of speed.

  6. Thanks for your review Doug, as a cycling newbie I found it to be both helpful and informative. It convinced me that the Specialized Allez was the correct bike for me to buy and I collect mine from Evans bicycles in Bristol on Monday. I feel reassured that my £550 has been well spent. Thanks again – Dom

  7. Dom, many thanks for your kind comment. Here’s hoping your new bike goes well as you get used to it over the coming weeks. I’d love to know how you get on with it, if you get a chance to come back.

    Regards, Doug.

  8. Thanks for the review, very helpful. I am considering buying this bike. I am completely new to bikes like this so it is insightful and helpful.

    • Bas,

      Thanks for visiting. Apart from my review, others are enjoying this bike and seem to like it. I have just taken a look at Evans site (see right hand column) and these bikes are now available for £495 as the 2014 model is becoming available.

      The 2013 model I review here is a great bike for the money, even more so as it’s in the sale. The 2014 model costs £600 and uses the Shimano Claris group set which I will need to look into. The gear ratios go a little lower with a 30t rear sprocket on the 2014 model but otherwise pretty similar.

      Me? I’d still go for the 2013 model while it is still available but don’t leave it too long.

      Kind regards, Doug.

  9. So I’ve had my Allez for 2 months now & wow. Can’t believe how much it’s made my rides easier. The miles I used to do as a complete ride are now used as a warm up. Not sure if I justify any upgrades as everything seems to be serving me well.

    Can’t wait to get back out on it.

    • John

      Thanks for the comment, made me smile, glad you like it and sounds like you’re fitness is certainly improving with this bike!

      I am hoping to have a ride tomorrow – Bank holiday Monday – and the weather forecast is for a perfect day.

      Kind regards, Doug.

  10. I bought the 2013 model 3 weeks ago from Evans Cycles in Bristol for £550.

    When I ordered it I asked the assistant about the differences between the 2013 & 2014 models.

    He explained that the 2013 version had remained virtually unchanged bar very minor tweaks which I, as a cycling newbie, certainly wouldn’t notice.

    There was one difference which hadn’t escaped me and that was price. The latest model was almost 10% more expensive – Priced at £600.

    I decided that the updates weren’t worth spending the extra £50 and instead used some of the money I had saved to buy some half price OE M520 SPD pedals for £17.49 via the Evans website. Bargain!

    I’ve been super busy at work and alsp moved house this month so I’ve only managed to clock up about 5 miles on my Allez so far but I am delighted with it.

    One thing I couldn’t help but notice though was how vulnerable I felt in traffic. I’ve ridden motorcycles on the roads for over 20 years and raced for almost 15, I’ve topped 190mph on both (closed – honestly officer) roads and race tracks, often surrounded by 40 equally daft individuals but cycling 5 miles through town takes the biscuit when it comes to a feeling of being at risk of serious injury – and I haven’t even fitted the SPD pedals yet! Oh Lord.

    Hopefully I survive long enough to clock up a few hundred miles, at which point I will return here to share my experiences.

    I wish you all a safe and fun time.

    Allez, Allez.

    Dom

    • Hi Dom,

      Sounds like you’ve had a busy time and hopefully you’ll get the chance to enjoy your new bike soon. Good move investing in some SPD pedals, most people have at least one forgetful moment and fall off while you’re getting used to them but don’t let that put you off – almost certainly you’ll never want to go back to riding without them. I fell off the second time I used the bike with SPDs having completely forgotten I’d got them on.

      As you say, clock up some miles and I’d love to hear how you’re doing with the Allez.

      Regards, Doug.

  11. Hi Doug,
    Thanks for this review, it definitely helped me make up my mind!
    My price range was only $500CAD-$1000CAD. A pretty small price range but I managed to find this bike was on sale for $720 and i’m looking into it. I’m sort of a beginner to road bikes, currently I’m riding a borrowed one and so far I’m loving it. One question, you said this bike comes with pedals. If I buy this bike I’m not planning on changing anything on it right away so I’m wondering if the pedals that come with it are fine? Thanks and great review.

    • Hi Maria

      Glad my review has been helpful. I guess you’re from Canada? Check with the bike shop which pedals they come with, it is possible there are variations between different markets in what is supplied. They are probably cheap black plastic pedals to get you started. You can certainly ride the bike with them but they will be expendable.

      While Shimano SPD pedals cost as little as £18 here in the UK you obviously need to buy some SPD shoes to go with them and these will cost you quite a bit more. You can get some dual purpose pedals: my daughter has just got some Shimano PD-M324 pedals which are pretty good at £25 – £30 and these can also be used with ordinary shoes, trainers etc. So you could get these and buy some shoes later on?

      Are you buying mail order or locally? If you are buying at a local shop, is there any scope for you negotiate with your local bike shop (LBS)? They might be pleased to sell you a 2013 model to make room for the 2014 versions now starting to appear and compromise on the price of the pedals?

      Keep me posted on how it goes – this is turning out to be a popular blog post and I’m sure others will appreciate other people’s feedback.

      Regards, Doug.

      • Hi Doug,
        I have another question to go along with my previous one:
        How is the aluminium fork? Does it feel much different from a carbon one? I’ve been riding a Giant TCR 1 with a carbon fork so I’m wondering if there’s a lot or a little difference.
        Thanks.

        • Hi Maria
          Interesting question. Yes there maybe is a difference in “feel” but there are other variables that also make a difference. The handling of the bike is as much to do with the geometry of the frame design. Some or marginally more people prefer carbon. Here’s a thread where some cyclists discuss it:

          http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/795387-Carbon-fork-vs-aluminum-fork-how-big-a-difference

          I would honestly say don’t get too preoccupied with these points or else it might take away the enjoyment of cycling. Have you ever noticed how sometimes people spend so much time worrying about the details and endlessly making changes to the bike? They miss out on the immense benefits of just getting out there and enjoying the open road. But I do understand a bike is a big investment and you want to get it right. If money is tight, either will be fine and if you have any spare money, there are always other things to buy (specific clothing, lights, computer etc)

          As before, keep me posted!

          Regards, Doug.

  12. Hi, great review.
    I purchased an Allez Sport back in February. I hadn’t ridden a road bike in over twenty years, but had done a small amount of MTBing, but nothing serious.

    You’re right: changed plastic pedals for SPDs – huge difference.

    Bigger difference still: changed the tyres for Specialized Roubaix Pro. The bike feels smoother, grippier and faster. Easily best upgrade to make.

    I’ve done 3,500km to date and now tackle 50mile outings at 18+ mph average speed.

    It’s a great bike. Highly recommended.

    • Hi Leuan,

      Thank you very much for your comment, glad you agree about the pedals and tyres.

      Can I also say “Wow!” that’s a great mileage you’ve clocked up – 3,500km in about 6 months. That’s brilliant.

      Kind regards, Doug.

      • Thanks Doug,
        The bike makes it relatively easy to cover large distances. Admittedly I’ve become a little obsessed, but I’m very lucky to have a cycling group in my village that are very supportive.
        Ieuan

  13. I’ve bought the bike in August and have been riding it since then. My other bike is a mountainbike and as I didn’t know I would appreciate riding a race bike I didn’t want to spend to much money on my first racing bicycle.

    I must admit, the idea of having a compact with only 16 gears sounded a bit strange at first, but the salesperson convinced me this was more than enough on the flat and also usable in the mountains. Haven’t tested the mountains yet, but on the flat it’s indeed enough.

    I’m more than happy with the bike. It’s handles great, very comfortable and a great looking bike (I have the black one). I did change the pedals and I already bought new tires which will be fitted beginning next season.

    Since I’m using the bike much more than I thought when I bought it, Í’m thinking of upgrading the gears next season, but am not sure yet. Maybe to Shimano 105 or Ultegra. Does anyone have expecience with fitting a triple gearset on this type of bike?

    • Hi Wolter,

      Thanks for leaving your comment, glad to hear you like your bike.

      As far as I know, you could probably upgrade as you outline to a triple and that would give you much versatility. Depending on where you live, you might find the cost of buying the necessary components would put you off. There’s no doubt 105 and Ultegra is very nice but you could argue it is a little too expensive or up-market for this bicycle. Buying an Ultegra drive chain might cost the same as the bike when it was new. You would get better value for money through buying a new bike already equipped with this group set and keeping the Allez as a winter training bike. In other words, I wouldn’t do that upgrade myself on the Allez – it’s too costly for the bike but like I say it might depend on the exact market you are in. Tiagra would be about the right level to go for.

      Hope that helps. Keep me posted with what you decide.

      Kind regards, Doug.

  14. Hi Doug

    I’ve owned an Allez since late may this year and absolutely love it, the bike is fast, responsive and able to handle everything I’ve thrown at it from clocking up miles around Essex where I live to tackling mountains in North Wales. So far its good for 930 miles without a single upgrade although pedals are top of my list. The review plus all the comments are really invaluable as they’ve given me some great ideas how to improve my pride and joy.

    Thanks

    Paul

    • Thanks Paul. From the WordPress stats I can tell everyday many people are searching out for reviews like this, so I’m pleased it’s helped.
      I have been checking out the 2014 model and will blog about that soon.
      Keep cycling!
      Doug.

  15. Hi Doug,

    I got my Allez on the ride to work scheme almost 6 months ago. I wish i had gotten a road bike sooner as its so much more enjoyable than my mountain bike.
    I changed the pedals straight away and rode it all summer with no changes. I recently upgraded the wheels and tyres and in my opinion the bike is now perfect for me. I have done just over 1000 miles so far and hopefully many more to go on it.

    Regards
    Kerry

  16. Pingback: Review - Specialized Allez C2 2014 | The Cycle Hub

  17. I got my Specialized Allez as part of my works cycle to work scheme back in August 2013. Considering its an ‘entry level’ bike I think it’s amazing!
    Looking to upgrade my pedals in the Christmas sale and then go from there.

    Great article, thanks!

    • Hi Dan

      I’m really pleased you like your bike! Plenty of others are like-minded and you’re not alone. Yes upgrading the pedals is a natural thing to do and now is a good time (maybe go via my affiliate link?). Think of £25 upwards, plus shoes).

      All the best,

      Doug

  18. Hi Dan

    I just bought a 2013 model for my 13 year old son. It was on sale and came with upgraded continental tyres. Anyway the pedals need to be upgraded but worried about what pedals are the best inexperienced riders. I just fell into shimao and I am happy with them but what about other brands,makes etc.

    Eric

    • Hi Eric,

      Hope your son likes her bike.
      I brought some Shimano SPD pedals from wiggle.co.uk, they have a sport pair which are half price at the moment, but I purchased the light action as I read that they’re easier to use if you haven’t had clipped pedals before. I haven’t used them yet as I need to buy some shoes.

      Cheers,
      Dan

  19. Hi, can anyone recommend what tyres to upgrade to? Planning on doing a few 70-80 mile Sportifes in west wales and would like faster tyres…also what brake pads should I look at? As you can tell I’m new to this game with only a years cycling done so far.

    • Deano, I tried Michillin, but they weren’t tough enough. My Continental GP4000s got their first roll out today and they’re highly recommended. I switched to jagwire refillable cartridge breaks which are good because you can see how much pad you have left

      • I’ve replaced the original tires after about 700 km for a set of Continental grandprix tires which have now been on the road for about 1.000 km. I’m very content with them and am sure to be using continental tires in the future again. In fact already have bought a set of 4000s for the next tire change.

  20. Hi Doug
    I’ve notice the tyres on my allez compact 2013 bike are Bontrager, I bought it new from my local bike shop although at sale price, is this the stand and tyre normally fitted by Allez?
    Thanks. Tracey

    • Hi Tracey,
      From memory these bicycles were often fitted with a basic tyre, normally anonymous. It sounds as if you have an unexpected ‘upgrade’ which could because the shop had swapped the tyres for some reason, or less likely because they were fitted to a batch of bicycles in the factory and might depend on where they were being shipped to.
      Hope you like your Allez!
      Regards,
      Doug

      • Thanks for your prompt reply, I had read your info on the allez before i got it and the bike had a lot of really posative reviews, I am enjoying the Allez although still struggling on the hills, that’s prob more my fault than the bikes!
        Cheers again. Tracey

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