Specialized, a bikemaker that built its brand by driving the leading edge of cycling technology, chose to celebrate the brand’s 40th birthday with a steel road bike. But don’t for a second think this Allez is simply a throwback, or anything less than a high-performance race bike. It relies on classic lugged steel construction and traditional craftsmanship, but Specialized threw its 40 years of experience behind the design to make a completely modern steel frame that celebrates innovation in lieu of dwelling on the past and relying on nostalgia.
Specialized tapped one of its original frame designers, Mark DiNucci, to create the frame. Now a custom frame builder under his own name, the bike industry veteran designed a lugged frame with that high-end steel that should ride like a modern road bike, but with the lively, nuanced feel that carbon fiber lacks and steel is prized for. DiNucci picked Reynolds 853 heat-treated steel tubing, renowned for strength and damage resistance, and then ordered custom butting for each tubeset of the six sizes (50, 52, 54, 56, 58, and 60cm) to fine-tune the bike’s ride quality.
Only 74 frames are to be built, in honor of the company’s founding year. Each will bear the California brand’s distinctive red and an 80s-era Allez downtube logo. If the Allez name sounds familiar, it was Specialized’s first line of road race bikes and continues today. In fact, the $970 aluminum Allez Sport is an ideal entry-level road bike. The 40th Anniversary Allez, however, is a different beast, more on par with the S-Works Allez Di2 ($8,000, complete with carbon wheels).
The frames are available only as frameset packages, not complete bikes. While Specialized leaves the wheel and drivetrain choices to you, the package includes a Specialized logo merino sweater, two cycling caps (in winter and summer weights), an S-Works Carbon Toupe saddle, a custom leather saddle bag, and leather bar tape.
The complete kit is on sale now via eBay through October 8th. The $4,000 price is steep, even compared to custom-built steel framesets. But Specialized invested in details big and small, from custom-tapered lugs to commissioning the boutique Japanese bike factory that built its first Stumpjumpers. Perhaps even more impressive: $1,000 of every purchase is donated to World Bicycle Relief. The charity group improves lives throughout rural Africa by providing sustainable bikes to improve healthcare, education, and economic opportunities.