Specialized Awol Touring Bike

3.67/5 (3 Reviews)
MSRP : $1350.00

Product Description

No matter the terrain or adventure, the AWOL is up to the task. The Cro-mo frame is plenty stiff with enough compliance for all day comfort and the integrated rack/fender mounts assure you have the option to always ride prepared.

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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Rom a Recreational Rider

Date Reviewed: November 30, 2016

Strengths:    Great ride quality, surprisingly good handling, supreme fun off road, 2.1" tyre clearance, heaps of versatility, solid parts spec on the base model, brilliant frameset and handlebars, effective front rack.

Weaknesses:    Heavy, stock Sora triple is ok but the levers and cranks flex a fair bit and gearing is too high, stock seatpost has a poorly designed saddle clamp, chainstay cable guide needs to be flipped when fitting really big tyres.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike primarily as a backpack-less commuter. It came ready to roll with front rack and decent spec. It wasn't long before I was venturing off road on some pretty savage rocky/loose fire roads and even with a set of bald cx tyres it acquitted itself well. On road it handles well unloaded or with a front load. I commute with a single front pannier and it handles fine despite the asymmetry. I haven't tried a rear load.

The weight becomes conspicuous on really steep road climbs, but the whole setup is stiff enough that you can alternate between standing and grinding or sitting and spinning. The weight seems to largely disappear off road.

I've since embarked on an extensive upgrade project:
- the seatpost was replaced immediately with a spare single bolt post, because the dial to adjust saddle tilt is all but unusable with a non-cutout saddle; I've since gone to a Thomson post and there's no going back from that.
- the Sora triple has been replaced with 105-5700 10sp STIs, CX70 front mech, XT 9sp rear mech, 11-36 10sp cassette and Sugino 46/30 double crankset. Thanks to some recent advice from Epic Cycles in Brisbane, it shifts perfectly.
- the stock TRP brake pads have made way for Deore resin pads and I have some semi-metallic pads to try next. I've found the Spyres really difficult to bed in.
- I've got a range of tyres: 2.1" Maxxis Ignitors for really rough/loose stuff (when fitting these, the chainstay cable guide needs to be flipped 180 degrees to get the cable out of the way of the tread), 40mm Schwalbe CX comps for fast off reading, 45mm Specialized Fat Boy slicks for dirt roads and theoretical loaded touring, and excellent 32mm Panaracer Gravel King file treads for commuting.
- next will be some lighter and stiffer wheels, a Thomson stem, lower profile headset and new disc rotors.

As you can probably tell, the original parts selection hasn't really floated my boat, but the frame is a lifetime keeper. It's my favourite currently-owned bike, despite sharing garage space with a $6k mtb and a $7k road bike. Only a dearly departed steel De Rosa holds a more tender place in my affections.

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Price Paid:    $1450.00

Purchased At:   Epic Cycles

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by knull a Recreational Rider

Date Reviewed: July 9, 2014

Strengths:    Great geometry and design

Weaknesses:    None so far, but list price not cheap.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is actually quite interesting, because the top tube length and reach is somewhere between a mountain and a road bike. The stem is really short. This design works extremely well, the bike rides great, very stable and effortless, perfect for touring and commuting. The handlebars are perfect.
Everything else is what you expect. It's very heavy but bombproof. Somewhat expensive. Group very basic, a Rival would have been nice.
However, the design is really good, especially the frame and bars. I would consider buying only these and build a super bike with better wheels, a hydraulic disc road group and good fenders & rack for a super touring bike.
I bought a second wheel set and plan to upgrade the group in a year or so, the frame deserves it.

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Price Paid:    $1700.00

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rick Hecksel

Date Reviewed: June 19, 2014

Strengths:    I purchased the 2014 Limited Addition AWOL Transcontinental. I have number 77 of the 100 built worldwide. The ride on the steel bike is suburb. I feel that I am setting in a cockpit instead of top of a frame. The Gates belt drive is so very smooth and quiet, and using it for a commuter I appreciate having a non-oily drive system. I was a little concerned about having the panniers hanging off the front wheel, but after carrying 25 pounds of groceries home from the store the system worked just perfect, I could barely feel any impact from the weight. With the built in lighting system I am never concerned about charging of batteries or hanging out past dark and not having my night gear with me.

Weaknesses:    The only weakness in the bike is the weight, but I knew that when I made the purchase.

Bottom Line:   
I would have rated this bike a 4 out of 5 but I am very upset with Specialized customer support or should I say no customer support.

Upon the purchase of the bike the Shimano Alfine, 8 speed internal rear hub would act like it was skipping gears. My LBS tried on three different visits tried to get the rear hub adjusted for which they were unsuccessful. It was determined that the rear hub is defective.

The LBS was told by Specialized that this was a warranty issue and they would have to take the issue up with Shimano. When the shop contacted Shimano there response was it was a Gates Belt Drive issue, and thus the vendors were blaming each other.

When I buy a car from Ford I go to Ford with a warranty issue. Why doesn’t Specialized stand behind their product? As long as the vendors are blaming each other I have a $3,000 bike that can’t be ridden.

This is a very limited production bike and the LBS just can't just swap parts with another bike.

With the lack of customer service from Specialized I will never purchase another one of their bikes again.

Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

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