Tour Down Under tech: Specialized’s aluminum ‘Budgie’ Allez
Over the months leading to the first WorldTour race of 2020, there’s been one common theme leading Australian news reports: bush fires. The country has been burning since September, well before what is typically classified as fire season. Hot, dry conditions have created havoc since well before the Australian summer and the effect is felt by many Australians. The fires have also devastated wildlife with an estimated one billion animals killed by the extreme conditions. Enter Specialized’s aluminum Allez.
Specialized has responded by committing to a $100,000 donation to “support wildlife relief efforts”. The bike company, sponsor of both the Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe team, created a TDU limited-edition aluminum Allez Sprint Disc frameset, said to be based on colors of an iconic Australian native bird, the Budgie.
To showcase the bike – and earn some publicity for the considerable financial donation – Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders raced the opening ‘Down Under Classic’ circuit race in Adelaide on Sunday using the TDU Allez Sprint.
Mechanics had prepared the usual range of carbon fiber Venge and Tarmac frames for the team in advance of the stage race, but several riders were issued the aluminum Allez on the morning of what is effectively the prelude to the Tour Down Under. Teams are obliged to contest the race in the South Australian state capital but it is not considered part of the Tour Down Under, and thus not formally part of the WorldTour.
Still, the promotion by Specialized is a rare example of retrograding bikes of a top-tier pro team. The riders didn’t seem to mind.
“The last time I owned an aluminum-framed bike was when I was about 15 years of age,” said Sam Bennett on Sunday morning, moments after riding the ‘budgie’ colored Allez for the first time.
He was immediately impressed. “It’s one of the stiffest bikes I’ve ridden,” said the Irish champion who makes his race debut for the Deceunink-Quick-Step team on the aluminum frame.
“I’m really impressed with it actually,” continued Bennett. “I’m trying to buy it from the team, but I’m waiting to find out if that’s possible.”
The frame is available for a limited time for $1,500.