WIN­NER Spe­cial­ized Allez Elite › Re­designed Allez ex­cels in its new all-round role

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

Six bikes, one win­ner. But as you can see from the uni­formly high marks, these have proved very hard to sep­a­rate. With £1000 be­ing such a cru­cial price point, com­pa­nies put a lot of ef­fort into cre­at­ing very good bikes, and this close-fought bat­tle is the re­sult.

If you’re look­ing for speed over ev­ery­thing else, Merida shows that it’s pos­si­ble to make a gen­uine aero road bike at this bud­get, with good han­dling traits and enough com­fort for longer rides. It’s a sim­i­lar story for the Can­non­dale Op­timo. It’s fun, fast and feisty, and has Shi­mano’s up­dated 105 groupset. Plus, if you’re look­ing for some­thing racy it’s a great place to start.

Pin­na­cle’s Pyrolite is an ab­so­lute blast, as well as be­ing ul­tra­com­fort­able and very ver­sa­tile. You could em­ploy it on tar­mac and trail, as a com­muter, an old-school tourer or a new-age bikepacker. It’s fab­u­lous fun too.

We broke the bud­get for the Rib­ble En­durance, but wanted to see whether it’s worth splash­ing out on hy­draulic discs. It is. Great brakes top off a com­fort­able bike that lives up to its ‘En­durance’ name.

The fi­nal two are fa­mil­iar faces in Cy­cling Plus, and on Bri­tain’s roads. De­servedly so. Gi­ant’s Con­tend re­placed the pop­u­lar Defy and is a wor­thy suc­ces­sor. A few tweaks to last year’s de­sign make for even more com­fort and eas­ier climb­ing, and its wider tyres and a lower bot­tom gear are wel­come ad­di­tions for the real-world climber.

Spe­cial­ized’s win­ning Allez Elite has a lot in com­mon with the Con­tend, as it pri­ori­tises longdis­tance com­fort, prac­ti­cal­ity and ver­sa­til­ity. The new ge­om­e­try is slightly less ag­gres­sive and ideal for the ‘more ma­ture’ rider. It’s a fast, com­fort­able bike for com­mut­ing, train­ing and leisure rides and it looks ab­so­lutely su­perb.

The Spe­cial­ized Allez Elite is a fast, com­fort­able bike for com­mut­ing, train­ing and leisure rides

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