Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Ride: Specialized Allez Elite 2005 (double)

After selling my mountain bike - which was deprived of mountains for too long - I began the search for my next set of wheels. After an exhaustive search, the combination of a lightweight aluminum frame, carbon seatpost, carbon fork, and a component group that far exceeded other bikes in the price range, I settled in on the Specialized Allez Elite.

My transition area at the Duathlon. 
You can't tell but this is
before installing aerobars.
Throughout its life my bike has gone through various periods of use: the early infatuation daily rides, sporadic casual rides, new girlfriend abandonment, and married life escape vehicle (I'm kidding honey); now it has its new identity as a triathlon bike.  As a road bike, my Allez has always been there when I needed it.  The reliable component group made up of Shimano 105 with some Ultegra sprinkled in has done its job and the bike has required few tuneups.  I've always found it to be a quick ride, well-suited to my frame (I'm 5' 5" and the bike is 48cm), and light enough considering its price.

There is one butt (yeah, I did that on purpose, sorry); I could never quite get accustomed to the stock saddle: the Body Geometry Avatar.  Despite incorporating gel inserts where your sit bones rest, I always found the ride to be a bit hard.  Eventually I swapped it out for a Nashbar F1 Saddle which had a bit more padding and a helpful center cutout.  I used the F1 for a solid year and a half but once I installed aerobars and began to train for triathlons, I made another saddle switch - or should I say lots of switches, until I settled on the Adamo Road.

The Allez is still the only skinny tire bike I've owned, and while I would of course love to move onto a tri-specific carbon bike, I just don't see that happening in the foreseeable future.  In the meantime, I have done my best to set it up as a tri-bike.  After installing the aerobars (Profiles T2+), I had the bike fitted using the Retul system at EBP Cycling Lab in Miami, FL.  The fitting significantly altered my positioning on the bike, dropping my handlebars almost 2 full inches, and adjustments were made to every part possible.  The result has been a much faster ride, and the elimination of a recurring knee pain from longer rides.  Hopefully I will have many more good years with my Allez; even if do get a tri-bike I'll seriously consider holding onto this one and reconfiguring it for more upright riding.


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