The Specialized Allez Compact provides an excellent entry-level road bike for a reasonable price.
The Allez combines many of the features of its higher-end models, like the Tarmac. For example, the geometry of the frame angles and head tube lengths are virtually the same. The main difference is the bike’s frame material: The Allez has an aluminum frame with carbon fiber forks, while the higher-end models consist of carbon.
- MSRP: $990
- Frame: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum
- Fork: Specialized FACT-carbon with aluminum steerer
- Stem: Aluminum
- Handlebars: Specialized Tarmac Comp, aluminum
- Front Brake: Tektro forged alloy, dual Teflon pivot
- Rear Brake: Tektro forged alloy, dual Teflon pivot
- Shifters: Shimano 2300
- Chainwheel: 50/34
Specialized seems to make terrific bikes at every level, with the Allez Compact no exception.
I tested out the Allez on a number of rides, from a two hour, 30+ mile ride to a full day, 100+ mile bike rally around the surrounding North Texas areas. Overall, the Allez handled both rides well, and was especially smooth and fast on well-paved roads. Part of the smoothness comes from the fork (the portion that holds the front wheel). The fork’s made of carbon, not aluminum, which removes a lot of the ”road buzz” you find on other aluminum bikes.
Granted, you’ll notice more vibrations on less smooth surfaces (the aluminum frame doesn’t handle those types of surfaces as well as a carbon fiber or titanium frame). This is something normal, though. You’ll find that with all aluminum frames.
The Shimano 2300 shifters provide easy shifting through the bike’s gears. A beginner with little experience shifting road bike gears will master them within a long ride or two. The Allez consists of a double crankset. I would have liked to have had more gears available, as I had to muscle through some 22% grade hills. The double crankset does make the bike lighter than one with a triple crankset. If you live or race in an area that’s relatively flat, the double crankset will work fine. Many elite riders aren’t crazy about triple cranksets anyway (they call them “granny gears.”)
I tried a number of different sitting positions and they all felt fantastic. The seatpost, while it looks like it’s carbon, is actually also aluminum, though. So you will notice some bumps in the seat every now and then.
That said, the stock seat is all right, but not terrific (as is the case with most standard seats that come with road bikes). I didn't notice a whole lot of problems on rides under two hours. However, once you get into longer rides, you'll want to think about perhaps upgrading your seat.
The Specialized Allez Compact, at its MSRP price of $990.00, is undoubtedly one of the best entry-level bikes at a cost-effective price.
Overall, I found the Specialized Allez Compact a wonderful entry-level road bike. The Allez consists of a wonderful design and decent components, all of which are easy to upgrade as your skills improve as a rider.
Think about upgrading to clipless petals, perhaps a better seat, some bottle holders, and a great bike computer, and you'll have a competitive racing bike that could easily serve you for the next decade.
As is the case with most good road bikes, components and equipment only play a certain part in how fast one can ride. The biggest factor in how fast you ride is the motor (or in other words, you).