This may sound counterintuitive, but Specialized is making a renewed push into aluminum frame road bikes, going so far as to encourage people to choose the race-ready Allez Sprint Expert X2 over comparably priced carbon fiber Tarmac models. And while surely there’s an economic angle here (this is business after all), the argument in favor of the Allez Sprint is pretty compelling.
In the near term Specialized is set to drop of the price of the frameset from $1350 to $1100 (including carbon fork, headset and Venge ViAS aero seatpost), and launch a new eye-catching gold/Nordic red paint scheme. (They say more fun colors are on the way, too.)
Come July, the Big Red S will roll out complete 2x builds with Shimano Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra drivetrains. Expect pricing of those bikes to be in a similar range to the current Allez Sprint X1’s, which heretofore was only available in 1x set-ups that sell for $2600 with SRAM Force and Axis 2.0 wheels, and $2000 with SRAM Rival and the same alloy wheels. At the same time the X2 bikes launch the 1x offerings will be transitioned to frame only.
“We wanted to make a statement when we launched last year,” explained Specialized’s Eric Schuda of the initial Allez Sprint unveiling when the bike was only available with 1x set-ups geared specifically to the criterium racing crowd. “But the 1x was not super commercial so we’re bringing in 2x set-ups in July for what will be an early release of 2017 models.”
Who’s This Bike For?
Schuda characterizes the Allez Sprint X2 as a bike for the discerning rider on a budget. “Think collegiate racers or shop employees,” he explained. “Sure you could get an entry level carbon bike, but honestly the Allez Sprint with Ultegra is better bike in my opinion. For around $2000 you get great parts, good wheels, and the bike will last longer.”
For the sake of comparison, the $2400 Tarmac Elite is spec’d with Shimano 105 and Fulcrum S-19 wheels. Frame weight of the Allez Sprint is 1150 grams for a size 56cm with anodized finish. Paint will add a little to this bottom line, but Schuda claims it’s still lighter than a similarly priced carbon Tarmac.
The other selling point, which carries over from the original Allez Sprint, is that the frame comes together using what Specialized calls D’Alusio Smartweld technology, which it claims delivers lighter tubes with better rider quality and stronger more consistent welds. Without going too inside baseball, this is achieved by moving the welds away from joints, which makes it easier for welders to lay bead and also stiffens the connection point.