Allez Expert or Allez Race... or Tarmac?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by snookers, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. snookers

    snookers New Member

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    Weighing a couple options here. I'd ideally like to spend ~$2500 total and will probably sit pat on whatever that buys me for at least a year or two. I ride about 100 miles a week a mix of hills and flats, most rides are between 30-40 miles long. I've been riding a steel city style bike (Mission Sutro) and am excited to get over to a real road bike geometry, drop bars, and losing some weight off the bike (current bike is 24lbs+). I have pedals/shoes/helmet/pump/etc. etc. so really just evaluating bikes, components, and wheels.

    Weighing between getting the Allez Expert $2200 (full Ultegra + carbon crank/seatpost) or the Allez Race $1550 (105 + alloy crank/seatpost), which would free up money for a pretty good wheelset (~$700) to go with it. If I get the Expert I'd probably get the wheelset in a year or so.

    Expert Ultegra: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/allez/allez-expert#specs
    Race 105: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/allez/allez-race-c2#specs

    The third option would be a Tarmac in 105 or stretch for the Ultegra Tarmac Comp since it's only a $300 gap to go from 105+tiagra crank to Ultegra. Either of these would mean no wheelset for quite some time, so stuck with the stock wheels.

    Tarmac 105: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/tarmac/tarmac-sl4-comp-ultegra
    Tarmac Ultegra: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/tarmac/tarmac-sl4-elite-105

    I've test ridden both the Tarmac and an Allez and didn't find the jump to carbon too daring. Nice, but not totally necessary, maybe down the line if I manage to get my fitness up to some casual races or something, but that's probably years away. I did ride a few other manufacturer's bikes but enjoyed the Tarmac/Allez geometry and fit the most.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    You can probably ride very happily for a few years on the Fulcrum 5 wheelset, on the Ultegra bikes and the Tarmac with 105. $700 isn't going to buy you much, if any, improvement there. Do you want 11 speed Ultegra, or 10 speed 105? Compact on the Allez, or mid-compact (52/36) on the Tarmacs? You could probably talk to the shop about swapping out the crank, if that's an issue. All have 11-28 cassettes. I find a 28t cog pretty useless where I live, but a lot is going to depend on your area and level of fitness for climbing. And in any event, if you have the right tools, it takes about 10 minutes to change cassettes,

    My opinion? Full 11 speed Ultegra (except for the crank) for under 3 grand on a CF frame from a reputable company with a good warranty reputation? I'd take it. Only the crank arms on the Allez Expert are CF---the rings are alloy. Not a huge deal. And you might be able to haggle a bit off MSRP.
     
  3. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest getting a test ride on an Allez and a Tarmac to see what you think. The Allez Race 105 has a lot of bang for your buck, and there are a lot of things you could do with the extra $900. The Allez expert offers enough that you'd likely not have/want to replace anything for a while. It gives you pretty much the same spec as the Tarmac Ultegra for a lot less money.
     
  4. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    Re-checking the specs, I saw that both of the Allez models have the better regarded E5 alloy frame. Spend the money on better wheels on the 105, and you're basically in the same place as you are with the Ultegra, with 10 speed 105. Then again, I'm not sold that 11 speed is "better" than 10 speed, and having ridden both 105 and Ultegra, I don't see a really big gap between the two groups. I haven't looked at the cassette spacings on 11 speed Ultegra in 11-28, but I assume that it's 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-28, or maybe 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25-28. My Madone came with 11-28 in 10 speed Ultegra, and I replaced it with 12-25. I like having single jumps up to the 17 cog.
     
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