Today’s Readers’ Rigs is something different than most editions – Adam from California is in love with his rig – that’s nothing new for a contributor to this column but he hasn’t sent us pics and a story about his pimped out racing bike with carbon wheels and gadgets galore. No, instead he’s sent us a story about his vanity styled training bike, an all black stealth Specialized Allez E5.
Name: Adam Naguib
Location: Redwood City, CA USA – riding for Kensington Cycling Club
Bike: Specialized Allez E5 Smartweld (2013)
Groupset: SRAM (Mostly Rival, some Red and Apex)
Wheels: Easton EA70 SL
Pedals: Garmin Vector 2
Saddle: Specialized Toupé
Weight: 18.1 lb (8.2kg)
When did you buy it?
What made you choose this bike?
I had been riding a wonderful Schwinn as my training bike when I lived in NY. The weather there was horrendous January through March so I wouldn’t use the Tarmac I had at the time for training. The geometry was a little bit off on the Schwinn so I was looking for a replacement. I naturally looked at Specialized’s Allez range but, to be kind, Spesh have never been the best at style and color schemes. Then, at the back of 2012 they announced their new method of Aluminium manufacturing for frames and had this beauty. When I saw the black on black I had to have it.
What modifications/additions have you done?
I changed most of what came from the store. I wanted everything in the black theme for nothing other than vanity. I wish there was a better reason, but probably not. First thing I did was swap out the functionally excellent FSA SLK chainset for a SRAM red double simply because I wanted matching black chainrings. I think that was a more sideways move as I doubt there was any performance benefit.
I swapped out the stem for my size, then ripped out the terrible Axis 2.0 OEM brakes that came on the thing. I replaced them with black Rival brakes, which were nothing spectacular, not bad either. Just to experiment, I swapped out the brake pads for Swiss Stop’s FlashPro BXP pads for alloy rims. My advice to anyone – get those pads. Best $30 upgrade ever – they take a regular set of brakes and take them to Dura Ace level at a fraction of the cost.
I took off the OEM Axis 4.0 wheels that came with it- not a bad set of OEM hoops really. I replaced them with some really useful Easton EA70 SL wheels. They’re a great weight (~1550 g) and super solid as training wheels. A great set for a training bike. The tyres were altered too. I swear by Vittoria Zaffiro treads on a training rig. They are heavy, are not particularly comfortable or fast, and weigh a lot but, they get very, very few punctures. I have had instances where I have worn a pair of them out after ~18 months of sold mileage and in that time maybe only had one puncture, even through horrendous weather and conditions. They are perfect for the bike’s purpose.
Finally, I swapped out the metal seat post for a carbon version. A metal bike is cool, but after 3 hours your butt knows about it. The carbon seat post really helps, it doesn’t make the bike float, but gives you longer in the saddle before the metal frame’s harshness really begins to bite.
What components are you running?
SRAM (10-speed): Rival brakes, shifters, rear derailer. Red crankset. Apex front derailer.
How many miles/kilometers do you do a year?
Really varies on the terrain but around 12-15,000 miles.
What do you love about this bike?
This bike is a fantastic training bike. Super solid. If you are going to head out in any type of crappy weather for 5+ hours this is the machine. The bike looks fantastic. It isn’t the most comfortable ride ever (anyone who tries to claim that carbon and aluminum bikes are in the same league for smoothness or comfort is lying) but not harsh either. The bike’s best feature by far is the handling. Specialized really nailed it with this geometry. The bike corners superbly and has great handling. The wider width rims contribute to that too.
Favorite riding area?
I live in the Peninsula in the Bay Area of California- one of the USA’s top riding destinations. I am totally privileged to be able to use this place for my training and racing. The place that may be the dearest in my heart as far as riding is the Catskill Mountains, New York (about 2 hours north of Manhattan). Totally beautiful, isolated, fantastic wide roads, no traffic. Everyone should go there.
Favorite riding experience on your bike?
Racing. The amazing things that can happen in races. My favourite might be when I got talked into doing a stage race in Killington, Vermont. I had no real plans for the race so on the first day attacked from the gun. Didn’t manage to win the stage, but did stay away for 63 miles (the stage was 72) and scooped up enough sprint competition points to win the green jersey for the entire event. The best part was being on a massive, wide road in the middle of Vermont on my own, the field was about 2 minutes back and way out of sight. No traffic. The lead car in front of me, my own personal SRAM support car behind me and the moto ref riding next to me giving me time splits. It was the closest I will ever get to being a pro.
For this bike, not sure I will. It is exactly how I like it with all parts fit for purpose. I might get dragged into the 11-speed revolution at some point but I see no real benefit so won’t unless forced.
Doing the vanity upgrades was totally worth it. Makes me so happy just to look at this thing. I have other bikes with all sorts of cool stuff on (electric gears, Zipps, Dura Ace..) but this one just looks so damn cool – the perfect bike to prepare for the Northern California road racing season with my great club, the Kensington Cycling Club. Check them out here!
Thanks to Adam for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you walk into the room just to stare at? Well how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Send us a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to [email protected] and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.