It appears aluminum road bike frames are coming back in vogue. In July, Cannondale rolled out its latest alloy offering, the CAAD 12. Now Specialized has launched a new version of its popular metal machine dubbed the Allez Sprint. Initially the new bike will come in just two builds and a frameset, due in part to its narrow focus.
This is a criterium racing machine pure and simple, thus the 1x drivetrains. The Specialized Allez Sprint X1 Expert gets SRAM Force 1 (with 50t chainring) and a $2600 price tag. The Specialized Allez Sprint X1 Comp will come with a SRAM Rival 1 (with 48t chainring) and cost $2000. Both bikes boast a S-Works FACT carbon fiber fork for improved stiffness and front end steering response. Frameset alone is $1350.
The key design highlight continues to be what the Big Red S calls its Smartweld technology that was first introduced three years ago. The idea is that by hydroforming the individual tubes of the frame you create a seamless and uniform weld location. This helps control material thickness and shape, which strengthens the tube bonds.
Specialized is taking that a step further this go round, applying the manufacturing technique to the new bike’s bottom bracket, which is claimed to bump up stiffness and strength. The new BB is far bigger than its predecessor, which gives you the stiffness you’d expect and allows for the use of large tube diameters elsewhere.
While the new BB looks like a single piece of aluminum, it’s actually three pieces welded together. You just can’t see the weld marks because of a process that melts them away. The result is a joint that looks more carbon than alloy.