Review – Specialized Allez C2 2014

specialized-allez-c2-2014-road-bike

 

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.  

The technicalities

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

 

Overview

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.

In use

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.

Conclusion

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).

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23 Responses to Review – Specialized Allez C2 2014

  1. Ashley newby says:

    Hi, I have just bought the 2014 model after reading good reviews on it and expected to pay 600 pounds for it but was lucky enough to get it for 480 pounds last week at cycles uk as they had a sale on. What a bonus a great bike at a great price. Not sure how long the sale is on so get there soon if your after a bargain.
    Ashley Newby
    Westgate on sea

    • doug says:

      Hi Ashley
      Thanks for leaving your positive comment. It sounds like you have got yourself a really good deal.
      If you have the opportunity please could you let me (and blog readers) know how you’re getting on with your new bike?
      Regards, Doug.

  2. Simon says:

    I managed to knock Evans down to £530 but looks like the guy above got a bargain! Got loads of extras as well so very pleased!

    • doug says:

      That sounds like a brilliant deal Simon, amazing for the 2014 model. Let me know how it goes if you get the opportunity, I’m sure some other blog readers will be interested.
      Doug.

  3. Simon says:

    Well its been just over a month and I am currently doing between 90 – 160 miles per week. Pros – the bike is strong and handling is excellent. It’s light but sticks to the road. You can adjust the geometry of your riding position in many ways and it is very comfortable. Cons – the gears just don’t keep in line for more than 3 or 4 rides. I am constantly adjusting them and have had 2 shop visits as well to get Evans to adjust. Not sure whether to change shops/mechanics or speak to Shimano as I’m sure this bike should be capable of more.
    Just moving onto the tri-bar and racing pedals for March so once the gears are sorted I hope to be putting this bike through some serious riding!

    • doug says:

      Hi Simon
      Quick reply during lunch break: I changed my shifters recently and have needed to adjust the gears a few times. I’ll do a post about that soon, including what I think is a solution to gears going out of adjustment .
      Well done on the mileage!
      Regards,
      Doug

  4. Simon says:

    I’ve had the 2014 base model Allez all over Winter. Doing on average 70 miles a week commuting. Did a longer 80 miler in November and just did a very hilly route through Dorking. I’ve done over a thousand miles now and apart from shredding up the original tyres (only 1 puncture though) only had to adjust brakes and replace rear pads in that time. Just developed an ominous creak though, maybe a BB on the way out….the gear issues seen by others may well be due to assembly of bikes without prestretching cables!!

    • doug says:

      Hi Simon
      Sounds like you’re enjoying the Allez and putting it to good use.
      With the gears going out of adjustment, I’ve had that same issues since I have installed Tiagra levers. It’s only the front gears which need adjustment and I think I know whats going on.
      When the cable adjuster is turned (to tension the cable) I think it may turn the out casing of the cable. As this is so stiff it becomes coiled on itself. So when you turn the adjuster, you are adding a twisted tension to the outer casing. This gradually unwinds itself by turning the adjuster and in doing so it unscrews itself with the adjuster, hence you’re losing some cable tension.
      I’ll see if I can do a more detailed post soon.
      Doug.

  5. Flo says:

    My left shifter stopped shifting after my 1st ride and haven’t had time to take it in. Other than that, love my first road bike. I got it for $800 CAD.

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  7. dave says:

    i didnt think shops could discount on a bike through dealership,untill the new years bike was available.otherwise you end up with pyramid sales.

  8. Jonathan Edwards says:

    Hi Doug, I hope you are well. I am currently looking for a new bike and I keep getting guided towards specialised. I am currently Torn between the Allez sport 2014 and the the sect euro sport disc 2014 at Evans cycles (I need to purchase through Evans for financial reasons). What are your thoughts on both.

    A bit of info on me. 25, keep fit often, used robes big runner but knees can’t take the impact anymore. 6’3 weighing 90kg (not sure that helps).

    It would be great to know what you or anyone else thinks?

    Thanks
    Jon

    • doug says:

      Hi Jon

      I’ll give this some thought and post a proper reply in the next few days. In the meantime, other readers might have some suggestions….

    • doug says:

      John
      Please accept my apologies for not replying sooner!
      Both of these bikes are good. At the time of writing Evans are offering the 2014 Allez at £500 and the Allez Sport at £600. Both are reduced.
      The extra £100 for the Allex Sport is Sora components and I’m not sure I would get too excited about it but I dare say it is a little better but it’s still at the modest end of the range. Otherwise the main difference is a carbon fibre fork. This will save you a little weight and improve the feel of the bike, you might notice a difference on rough roads at speed.
      Lots of people like Specialized and with good reason and some look down their nose as well, probably because of their popularity. I’m sure Evans will look after you well.
      Whichever you buy I don’t think you’ll regret it. The important things are to enjoy riding often and allocate some money for pedals, shoes etc.
      Hope this helps
      Doug

  9. Barry Ensten says:

    The Secteur is now discontinued, the front end is very high. As you are young the Allez would be the better bet.

  10. john says:

    I just bought the 2014 allez and must say for my first road bike im very Impressed.
    Had an issue with the gearing when I first got the bike which I sorted myself and now have had done 100+ miles and not had to touch since.
    Very responsive on the turns and holds the road well.

  11. At 65 years of age I have been a keen cyclist for 50 years plus. I bought the base model Allez 7 months ago as I was fed up with my Ridley carbon being so soft and noisy (Excalibur). I have a Bianchi hybrid ally which has led me to believe ally can actually be nicer than carbon at the lower end of the market.
    The Allez has been fabulous. It has a great ride quality (56), and very fast steering. The handling is very much race bike, not tour. The transmission was a real eye opener for a base model, way better than expected, and I was really pleased with how well the wheels rolled. Even though the wheels are entry level, they are laced really tightly.
    Upgrades. The bike is great as is, and I had expected to use it as a hack, but the frame is so good I am using it as my ‘best’ bike. Single speed is my thing, so I have fitted an Exzentricator BB, Mavic Aksium wheels, carbon seatpost, and 105 crankset. Like this, it’s perfect for me and probably saved me a further £1500 on a top carbon frameset.
    Is this the best value bike out there? Yes!

    • doug says:

      David,
      Many thanks for leaving your comment – your bike sounds really interesting! Seems that you’ve taken a good bike with the Allez and turned it into something quite unique with some classy components.
      Do you have a photo you could post here? I’m sure some of the other Allez owners would be interested in what you’ve done.
      Regards,
      Doug

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  13. Hi Doug,
    I just got given a 2014 Specialized Allez last week as a Christmas bonus from by bosses; one of whom is a very strong rider. The gift totally blew me away as I have been wanting a road bike for over a year. I went out on it for the first time yesterday and, despite the heavy winds we are currently experiencing here in Norfolk, when I got on it and started to spin, well, it just felt right. I am 51 and only getting started on what I know will be an enjoyable way of excercising, socialising and having a hobby – finally! Will keep you posted on how I get on over the next few weeks and months. Cheers, Brian. HaperWells Wines.

    • doug says:

      Brian
      Wow! Getting a road bike as a Christmas bonus sounds great and it sounds like a present you will value for many years ahead. I like your positive attitude!
      Good to know it felt good. Be prepared to play around with the position of the handlebars, brake hoods and saddle to fine tune your riding position and then you’re all set for some great rides.
      Yes please let me know how you get on – I’m sure many other blog readers will be interested as well.
      Regards,
      Doug

  14. I definitely will, Doug and thanks for your kind reply and advice!
    I very much look forward to keeping you updated on my cycling progress.
    Look forward to reading more of your blogs, too.
    B/w’s
    Brian

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