Specialized launch alloy Allez Sprint X1 – is this the ‘ultimate crit-racing bike’?
Specialized unveil £4,000 Allez Sprint X1 - one of the most advanced aluminium bikes ever made
Aluminium ain’t dead. That’s according to Specialized after the launch of the Specialized Edition Allez Sprint X1 – touted as one of the most advanced aluminium bikes the American firm’s ever made.
Regular readers will know we have a soft spot for aluminium as a frame material not only for entry-level bikes, but as an alternative to carbon fibre for riders who want a light, stiff chassis without breaking the bank.
This one might raise an eyebrow with the bank manager, though, and is no ordinary alloy frame, with the complete bike coming with a £4,000 price tag. That’s in-line with some top-end carbon fibre bikes but it represents the pinnacle of aluminium engineering and is a bike, Specialized say, designed to be the ultimate crit-racing weapon, with a spec to match.
The frame utilises the D’Aluisio Smart Weld (DSW) Technology debuted on the Specialized S-Works Allez – a £7,500 aluminium machine – but also introduces a series of aerodynamic tube profiles and a refined geometry to give the Allez Sprint X1 the edge when racing.
DSW sees each tube individually hydroformed to create a seamless and uniform weld which, Specialized claim, helps control the thickness and shape of the material and create a stronger bond, which translates to a more responsive frame. Specialized have developed DSW further on the Allez Sprint X1 by “strategically placing more welding material where it’s needed resulting in an aluminium bike that is more compliant and much stiffer.” As a result, Specialized say the Allez Sprint X1 is the stiffest bike they’ve ever tested.
The frame’s downtube is shaped to sit closer to the front wheel to improve aerodynamics, while the seattube mimics the shape of the Specialized’s latest carbon aero bike, the Venge ViAS, again to reduce drag. The low-slung seatstays are also designed to cheat the wind and, all in all, Specialized, who have their own wind tunnel, say the Allez Sprint X1’s aerodynamic features combine to save 1.3 meters in the final 200m of a sprint compared to a traditional Allez.
Specialized have also tuned the geometry to improve the performance of the Allez Sprint X1 in the hustle and bustle of a elbow-to-elbow crit race. The chainstays and wheelbase have been shortened to create a super-stiff rear triangle able to make the most of every watt when attacking or sprinting out of a corner.
The ‘Rider-First Engineered’ ethos of the carbon Tarmac and Venge ViAS bikes has also been applied to the Allez Sprint X1. Specialized have used size-specific tubes for the downtube, bottom bracket shell and headtube, while also having three uniquely-sized carbon forks to ensure the Allez Sprint X1’s handling is replicated across all sizes.
The frame is dressed in SRAM’s Force 1×11 groupset – one of the few road bikes we’ve seen specced with the single-ring setup. It may limit the Allez Sprint X1’s gear ratios but is well-suited to a crit bike and Specialized have deliberately pitched this as a particularly focused bike geared exclusively towards crit racing (though naturally it’ll ride just as well on the open road…). Otherwise it comes with Roval CL64 wheels and Specialized finishing kit. That includes the practicality of a standard stem, as opposed to the integrated setup on the Venge ViAS, but with Spesh’s aero handlebar.
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