Yesterday pro racing really kicked off for 2019 in Adelaide, Australia with the Down Under Classic, a warmup criterium for the Tour Down Under. But Peter Sagan wasn’t racing on his typical S-Works Venge super bike, instead swapping in the actually affordable Specialized Allez Sprint Disc aluminum aero road bike. So why did Sagan and several of his BORA-hansgrohe teammates race the alloy bike instead?

Specialized Allez Sprint Disc, alloy race bike fit for a pro

Specialized Allez Sprint Disc, alloy road race bike fit for a pro
race photos courtesy BORA-hansgrohe, photos by Bettiniphoto

While the latest S-Works Venge claims to be one of the most aero road bikes ever made, race-proven over numerous victories, lighter than ever before & comfortable, the aluminum Allez Sprint is apparently even stiffer. For all-day racing over varied road surfaces the Venge is undoubtably going to be faster…

Allez Sprint Disc pricing & tech details

Specialized Allez Sprint Disc, alloy road race bike fit for a pro
bike photos courtesy Specialized, photos by Russ Ellis, aka Cyclingimages

But for an hour-long road crit raced in 1.9km/1.2mi circles around Rymill Park in Adelaide, the Bora-Hansgrohe team was happy to give the much more affordable alloy bike a real test. How much more affordable?

Well, the Allez Sprint Disc frameset sells for $1500, and the latest S-Works Venge Disc frameset retails for $5500. Currently, a Sagan Edition of the alloy bike is only offered with rim brakes, but him racing this bike might soon change that.

There is one complete Allez Sprint Disc being sold in the US with a 105 group, plus a few framesets you can build up as you choose.

Specialized Allez Sprint Disc, alloy road race bike fit for a pro

Debuted just this past summer with its addition of disc brakes, the Allez Sprint Disc uses some unique tech to create a bike that turns out to be pro race-ready. Besides thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes which promise a stiffer overall package and improved braking, the bike uses Specialized’s top-tier hydroformed E5 aluminum & unique construction.

More than a material spec, the alloy bike features a D’Alusio Smartweld process that relies on forging the headtube, and even more so the bottom bracket, with additional shaping to meet up smoothly with the aero frame tubes. This moves the welds (and their heating impact) away from the typical joint location to increase overall frame stiffness.

The more budget bike also uses the same top-tier FACT carbon fork from the Tarmac SL6 and the aero FACT carbon seatpost from the Venge.

BORA-hansgrohe Specialized Allez Sprint Disc team builds

Specialized Allez Sprint Disc, alloy road race bike fit for a proThe Bora-Hansgrohe team bikes were set up pretty much just like their standard carbon race bikes. That means a full Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2 groupset with disc brakes, Specialized-branded power meters on the Shimano cranks, K-Edge protection against dropped chains, Dura-Ace pedals & CeramicSpeed bearings.

Specialized Allez Sprint Disc, alloy road race bike fit for a proEven though some of the team were racing their carbon super bikes, at least a few other of Sagan’s lieutenants were also riding the alloy Allez Sprint to set the Slovak champ up for the final sprint. (He ended second for anyone wondering.)

There had been rumor of racing a tubeless version of the deep carbon tubeless Roval wheels, but in the end (according to the race photos) it looks like everyone including Sagan stuck to the CLX 64 tubulars wrapped with Specialized’s Turbo cotton tubular tires.

Specialized Allez Sprint Disc, alloy road race bike fit for a pro

Team bikes had cockpit rounded out with S-Works Aerofly II carbon bars, assorted S-Works saddles, and PRO stems with out-front mounts for their Wahoo Bolt computers.

Besides his obvious name on the toptube, we noticed that this bike Specialized sent us photos of belongs to Australian Jay McCarthy and not Sagan. It has a S-Works Power Arc saddle (vs. Sagan’s fav, the narrower Romin) and a standard PRO alloy stem (vs. Sagan’s more robust carbon setup).

2019 Sagan edition Bora-Hansgrohe S-Works Venge Disc road bike

2019 Sagan edition Bora-Hansgrohe S-Works Venge Disc road bike
c. Specialized, photo by Justin Sullivan

Don’t worry though, the 3x World Champ & current Slovak champion (and his luxurious new mustache) hasn’t hung up his Venge for the season. Specialized painted up a special edition of the brand new carbon super bike for him to race this year, starting with this week’s Tour Down Under.

Specialized.com

27 COMMENTS

  1. No, because aluminum is awesome & super responsive. These frames have proven there worth with substantial wins around the world. Including last years nationals

  2. The only new thing on the bike is the tires. They are NOT Cotton Turbos, which only come in tubed clincher gum wall.
    The tires on the bike are described elsewhere at “26mm S-Works RapidAir tubeless clinchers.” In the photos they look like they’re ‘open tubular’ construction just like the Cotton Turbos and the size, 26mm, is a Cotton Turbo carcass size. But these seem to be a new creature that Specialized hasn’t announced.
    They need something new to even faintly be able to compete with the new GP5000’s, and those Conti engineers they hired away surely know that better than anyone.
    But yeah, Sagan is just helping their marketing here. It’s a high-profile race if for no other reason than its timing, but isn’t a world tour thing, so it’s perfect time to do something like this for marketing. Class Specialized thinking.

    • @Jeffie, while it is not entirely clear what the exact tire is, they use a Turbo tread pattern and are glued to these wheels with cotton base tape showing. Also notice that they do not have valves with nuts, ruling out any tubeless setup. The RapidAir tubeless clinchers cited elsewhere had prominently large silver valve nuts.

  3. Marketing, no other reason. It was a criterium, not a race and i doubt not a single non-aussie world tour rider really cared if they came in first or last.

      • I don’t see how a affordable alloy frame is marketing, I don’t get how people winning countless races on a bike a quarter of the price is marketing.. shoot I have put 100+ mile days on the sprint frame and I prefer the geo more than my venge or my macs of the past

  4. I’d actually like to see a top-level pro team run a high-end Al bike in a major tour. There will not be a weight penalty as a good Al frame will build to UCI limits anyway. It’ll clearly show how good the material is.
    It would be cannibalistic so it would need to be someone like Bowman.

    • I think that was the 1990s. Lots of teams used aluminum frames. Pretty sure Marco Pantani rode an aluminum Bianchi (won the TdF and Giro in 1998 on one). Cheap and if it suffers damage, no biggie, it’s disposable.

      • So do you think current Aluminum frames are unchanged in performance from their 90’s counterparts?
        Not really sure how your comment is relevant to modern day material choices and designs.

        • Umm… it’s aluminum. I’m guessing the aluminum used in the late ’90s and alloy(s) used today are pretty close with regards to material properties. And the one and only material property that determines stiffness (the modulus of elasticity) is identical between all aluminum alloys. So all things being equal, they probably have similar ride qualities. The biggest influence may actually be the current all carbon forks. And current high-end wheels sets.

          You said you would like to see a top level team use aluminum frames. So I gave you an example. It’s already been done. History is awesome.

          • the only material property that defines that material’s stiffness is young’s modulus, correct. However, how stiff and or flexibility something made from that material is defined by its geometry.

            So all things being equal…except all things aren’t equal as the tube shapes, size and wall thickness of modern Al frames are vastly different than Al bikes from the 90’s.

            Or are you going to argue that a 1992 R1000 rides, and performs the same as a CAAD12? Or that even a CAAD3 rides and performs like a CAAD12?

            So I’d like to see this on modern tech. The gap between Al and CF frames has closed based on that tech. It would be nice to see a modern major tour ridden on Al (“lesser” pro teams already ride Al and steel frames successfully in competition but your average Joe won’t know that as its not televised). It would be good for your average joe that is 30lbs overweight to realize an Al bike vastly outperforms him and there is no need to spend $1000+ to go to CF.
            Again, it would need to be a company without an incentive to sell high margin CF bikes.

    • The closest I can think of is the British Madison-Genesis squad. Probably not World Tour level, I know, but for quite a while they campaigned on metal bikes. It was only fairly recently that Genesis made them the carbon Zero frame if memory serves.

  5. It says right there that is has a stiffer BB. This bike won multi stages at Tour of California last year. Not by Sagan, though.

  6. I wonder how many people who don’t race at a high enough level to worry about the increased stiffness of this frame will get it thinking it will make them faster but maybe not immediately, but over time dislike riding as much because their bike isn’t so comfortable? (Increased stiffness has its drawbacks)

    • In my experience, good Al bikes do not ride any stiffer than good CF. Especially with 25+ mm tires. BB stiffness doesn’t mean it not compliant over bumps

    • I own the disc version and the 1x version of this bike..race and train on it. It’s really comfortable, surprisingly! Great all around, fast bike

  7. I’m just glad they were able to move the housing exits to the actual bottom bracket shell. The old way sucked, and was not di2 friendly.
    Also digging the direct mount derailleur hanger on the Venge.

  8. Proliferation of road tubeless may bring back low cost aluminum, as road tubeless will essentially negate the road feel ‘harshness’ aluminum typically has stated against it.

  9. Or could it be to advertise their shrinking alu frame sales in a desperate attempt to get free advertising (such as this article) ? Naaa…

  10. Attn writer. You could have checked with any specialized sales person to know why they used the allez sprint. It’s the criterium bike of their lineup. Higher bottom bracket, lower stack than both the venge and tarmac, shorter chainstays as well. Thus why it’s a red Hook crit bike. Better handling for tight corners. Boom your welcome.

  11. JBikes is spot on. Modern techniques of hydroforming to shape alloy tubing (stiffness where you need it) and state of the art frame geometry makes all the difference.

  12. I see a few comments stating it is a marketing plow to have him ride aluminum. Some may argue that marketing is the reason why carbon fiber is popular. The whole industry is 90% marketing, similar to other industries.

  13. Best road bike i have ever ridden ( i was owner of Trek 1.7 , Giant TCR , Canyon Ultimate CF SLX , Scott Solace ! This bike is very stiff , too stiff : P , amazing acceleration .

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