SPECIALIZED ALLEZ SPRINT LTD VS SPECIALIZED TARMAC SL7 SPORT
In this comparison, we're looking at two distinct models from Specialized: the Allez Sprint LTD and the Tarmac SL7 Sport - Shimano 105. The Allez Sprint LTD, known for its speed and agility, incorporates Smartweld technology for a robust and responsive ride. It's ideal for riders seeking a fast, race-oriented experience. On the other hand, the Tarmac SL7 Sport is an all-rounder, balancing aerodynamics, lightweight design, and ride quality, making it suitable for a variety of racing and road conditions. Both bikes showcase Specialized's commitment to innovation, but cater to different aspects of road cycling.
Both the Specialized Allez Sprint LTD and the Tarmac SL7 Sport - Shimano 105 are versatile road bikes, each suited for different types of events:
Specialized Allez Sprint LTD:
- Criteriums: Its design prioritizes speed and agility, making it ideal for short, fast-paced crit races.
- Sprint Triathlons: Good for athletes who prefer a road bike setup over a triathlon-specific bike.
- Club Rides and Training: Its robust build and responsive handling make it a great choice for regular high-intensity training sessions.
- Road Races: Particularly in scenarios where speed and bike handling are crucial.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 Sport - Shimano 105:
- All-Around Road Racing: Balances aerodynamics, weight, and comfort, making it suitable for diverse road race formats.
- Gran Fondos and Endurance Events: Its design ensures comfort over long distances without sacrificing performance.
- Hilly and Mountainous Terrain: The lightweight frame and aerodynamic design are advantageous in climbing and descending.
- Time Trials and Triathlons: While not a TT-specific bike, its aerodynamics can benefit riders in time trial events or triathlons, especially if paired with aero bars.
Both bikes can be used in a variety of settings beyond competitive racing, such as leisure riding, fitness training, and commuting, depending on the preferences and needs of the rider.
Jump to conclusion
1. Price | Weight | Material
2. Frame and Fork
5. Wheels and Tyres
6. Cockpit and Seat
First off, the price. The Allez Sprint comes in at £3100.00, and the Tarmac SL7 Sport is slightly higher at £3250.00. That's a £150 difference, placing them quite close in terms of cost.
If this is your budget range for a new bike, which one should you consider buying?
Well, there are few key factors to consider: What type of rider are you? Do you prefer a carbon or aluminum frame? And would you go for electronic or mechanical shifting?
Both bikes are well-suited for fast road riding and lean towards the racier side of the spectrum. They might not offer the same comfort as an endurance bike for long rides or on uneven roads. The Allez Sprint is particularly geared towards criterium racing, requiring a bike that's sturdy, crash-resistant, and agile. The Tarmac, on the other hand, has a history in the pro peleton, being used in events like the Tour de France. This model, though, is a lower-spec version of the Tarmac, and the SL7 has been overtaken by the newer Tarmac SL8. The downside of the SL8 is its steep starting price of £6000.00, which is nearly double what I would typically spend on a bike.
You could ask whether you prefer an alloy or carbon bike, but the decision isn't quite that straightforward. The Allez is equipped with the electronic 12-speed Shimano 105 Di2 groupset, while the Tarmac features the mechanical 12-speed 105 groupset. So, what's more important to you: electronic shifting or a carbon frame? Keep in mind that the electronic Di2 105 groupset on the Allez has 50/34 tooth chainrings, whereas the Tarmac comes with 52/36 tooth chainrings, though both use the 11-34 cassette. Check out the visual comparison above and the gear ratio calculator, which shows the difference the chainrings make.
It's important to note that the Tarmac is constructed from what Specialized calls FACT 9r carbon. For comparison, the S-Works Tarmacs use FACT 12r carbon. While it's tough to quantify the differences, there's likely some significance to it. Specialized has started to list weights for their bikes, which is helpful. However, neither the Tarmac in this review nor the Allez have their weights specified. We can speculate that the differences between FACT 9r and FACT 12r might be in terms of weight and stiffness. It's also reasonable to guess that the Allez could be about 1kg heavier than the Tarmac, but this is just an estimation.
The Allez Sprint is put together using Smartweld technology, which according to Specialized is what makes this bike so special - however if I have one niggle with the bike its the rather ugly welds at the front end, could they maybe be smoothed and made to look less agricultural in future versions?
The geometries of both bikes are quite alike, in sizes 56 the Tarmac being just 3mm lower in stack height and 1mm shorter in wheelbase. So, as you can see, their geometries are indeed very similar!
Both bikes feature the 2021 S-Works Tarmac Carbon seat post, made from FACT Carbon and with a 20mm offset, which is a nice addition.
The Allez, equipped with the Di2 groupset, has its brake hoses secured by the bar tape and routed underneath the stem before entering the headset. On the other hand, the Tarmac, with its mechanical gear shifting, features gear cables and brake hoses that are semi-integrated beneath the stem and go into the top cap of the headset, resulting in a less streamlined appearance.
Following the frame and groupset in importance are the wheels on a bike. In this case, both bikes are equipped with DT Swiss R470 rims and Specialized hubs. The best way to describe these wheels is that they're decent enough. There aren't many detailed specs available, but a similar set of wheels might cost around £300. This suggests they are reliable but likely on the heavier side. So, both bikes could benefit from a wheel upgrade, once you've adjusted to the initial expense of spending around 3k on the bike.
Both bikes are fitted with Specialized's own Turbo Pro 26mm tyres. These tyres are decent and likely to be quite durable. However, depending on your riding style and budget, you might consider upgrading to faster tyres, especially since these are race bikes. For selecting quicker tyres, you could visit the website https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com to make a more informed choice.
To summarize, as someone who enjoys racing, fast-paced group rides, and chaingangs, I'd be quite content with either the Allez Sprint LTD or the Tarmac SL7 Sport, though I'd consider upgrading the wheels and tyres. As for which one I'd personally go for - it's a toss-up between the allure of the Di2 groupset on the Allez and the carbon frame of the Tarmac. I'd probably lean towards the Tarmac, as a few selective upgrades over time could really enhance its capabilities. That said, the Allez Sprint is definitely a bike I'd love to have in my collection, perhaps with a unique custom paint job. Happy days indeed!