I have been meaning to publish this review for several months but here it is – the Specialized Allez C2 2014 model. Following the worldwide success of the 2013 model this is worth checking out if you’re in the market for an entry-level road bike which has some promising possibilities. You might also like to check out my review of the 2013 model by clicking here.
- Frame: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminium, fully-manipulated tubing
- Fork: A1 Premium Aluminium Fork, alloy steerer/crown, 1-1/8″
- Front Derailleur: Shimano 2400 Claris
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano 2400 Claris
- Number of Gears: 16
- Shifters: Shimano 2400 Claris STI
- Chainset: Shimano 2400 Claris
- Chainrings: 50 & 34 teeth
- Bottom Bracket: Shimano, Octalink spline
- Cassette: Shimano HG-50, 8-speed, 11-30
- Chain: KMC Z51
- Pedals: Nylon flat test ride, loose ball, w/ reflectors
- Brakeset: Tektro, dual pivot
- Brake Levers: Shimano 2400 Claris
- Handlebars: Specialized Comp, shallow bend
- Stem: Cast alloy, 4-bolt, 31.8mm clamp
- Headset: 1-1/8″ sealed Cr-Mo cartridge bearings integrated w/ headset, 20mm alloy cone spacer, w/ 20mm of spacers
- Grips: Specialized S-Wrap, w/ bar shapers
- Wheelset: AXIS Classic
- Tyres: Specialized Espoir Sport, 60TPI, wire bead, double BlackBelt protection, 700×25c
- Saddle: Body Geometry Riva Road Gel, 143mm
- Seatpost: Specialized Sport, alloy, 2-bolt, 27.2mm
- Seat Binder: Alloy, 31.8mm
- Weight: Not Specified
Like it’s 2013 predecessor this is an entry level road bike for cyclists who are looking at a modest way of getting a well sorted bike and straight into the sport without any fuss. It has an aluminium frame and fork which is what you’d anticipate at this price bracket. The geometry of the frame is set for a lively, responsive ride which is suitable for sportives, day rides and brisk short rides. The Shimano drive chain is new for 2014 and in conversation with the guys at the LBS they have a positive view of it. Otherwise there appear to be only minor revisions.
The UK price is around £600 and at the time of writing (January 2014) I think you’ll be lucky to find it cheaper, especially if you buy from a decent supplier (which in my view is very important). A personal view here is to willingly pay an honest, fair price for something; get the right balance between being prudent, careful and against begrudging someone making a profit from you.
The Allez is available in the a good range of frame sizes – 49, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 61cm. Should be okay, therefore, for 99% of male cyclists. There are a couple of different colour ways, obviously down to personal choice and availability.
It’s worth mentioning for women cyclists, there are women-specific bikes around including the Secteur Elite (which is pretty good but a bit more expensive). However I think some women could get on well with the Allez but I’d advise being open minded about changing the saddle and possibly the handlebar stem. Petite women may need smaller STI levers and indeed a women’s specific frame
For all cyclists – men and women – the Allez is perfectly valid and can be the sole bike in the shed. If you’re a little more prosperous it is also a very worthy second “hack” bicycle that could be used as a semi disposable bike. By that I mean it is sometimes nice to keep the carbon beauty for events and use a second bike, like the Allez, for training or commuting. You can fit mudguards, lights and the usual accessories to complete the package.
The LBS guys like this bicycle and anticipate a good level of sales. They tell me the STI shifters are the main improvement with the second gear change lever being just inside the brake lever (you push the brake lever to go onto a larger sprocket and the smaller inner lever to come back down). This is an improvement within the new Shimano Claris group set which I think looks nice overall.
While still on the subject of gears, it is still 16 speed. Some people might imply 20 speed is the norm and anything less is naff. Don’t take any notice! Yes having extra gears might be nice but you’ll still enjoy cycling just as much with these. The double chain set has 34 and 50 teeth chainrings which is referred to as a “compact”. The cassette cluster at the back has a good range from 11 to 30 teeth. The great thing about this is the wide range – I’d be surprised if you needed a higher gear. The benefit of this set-up is you get a pretty low gear- about as low as you’re going to get without having a triple chainset. This will help your hill climbing and you should be able to get up almost any hill.
The handling is precise and agile owing to the geometry. It’s also pretty stiff so you don’t lose much power through the frame flexing when you stomp hard on the pedals. You might feel a bit “vibrated” and “jarred” at the end of a long day in the saddle and this is arguably a draw back of aluminium frames – but there are plenty of advantages too!
Speaking of pedals, the ones supplied with the bike are best thought of as “demonstration” pedals i.e. buy some others straight away. Bicycles like this require some commitment and that includes getting clipless pedals and the shoes to go with them. I’d suggest starting off with the Shimano SPD type.
Continuing the theme of upgrades, once again the tyres are worth upgrading. Whether you wait for them to wear out is up to you but you can do a lot better than the original equipment ones. Better tyres might save a little weight, have a better ride and resist punctures.
Another great entry level road bike from Specialized. At £600 in the UK it’s a fair price although at the time of writing, you might be able to pick up a discounted 2013 model which could be tempting – is there really £100 worth of difference between the 2013 and 2014 models? Maybe not.
If you take a look at my review of the 2013 model, make sure you read through the comments from other cyclists. Many of whom have bought this bike and like it.
Buying either the 2013 or 2014 version is unlikely to be a mistake if you are looking for a half decent road bike. They’re available from Evans and many Local Bike Shops (LBS).