"Lots of bicycles pass through our test team over the course of a year, but few drop-bar bikes this year have impressed us with their versatility like the Allied Echo. Riding a fast group ride on the road? Go for it! Need to fit some wider tires for a day of gravel? It has you covered! Want to race some cyclocross on an autumn morning? Yep, it can do that too! The Echo easily changes between categories with a couple of tools and a few minutes of spare time. Plus, the frame and fork are manufactured in the USA."
Bicycling Magazine recently published its impressions of the Echo after a number of their editors rode the bike for several months. Upon reading the review, they definitely put the Echo through its paces. Exploring the reaches of the Echo's versatility on unpaved roads, smooth fast asphalt, and even a couple cyclocross races, the Bicycling staff effectively spanned the range of what the bike can do. So what did they think? Read on to catch some of their key takeaways.
Tested: The Shapshifting Allied Echo
"Whether at coffee stops, on group rides, or even on the car rack in traffic, everyone wanted to chat to us about the Echo. Maybe it’s the bike’s clean lines and satin wineberry paint upgrade? Or the ability to change up the geometry from gravel to road? But often the questions pertain to this being one of the few American-made carbon frames you can buy...
"You read that correctly: Allied designs, manufactures, and paints the Echo (and its two other drop-bar models—the Able gravel bike and the Alfa Disc road bike) at its Bentonville, Arkansas, factory, where about 35 employees produce more than 1,000 framesets annually. This includes the frame’s small parts, like the beautifully crafted and intricate hidden-cable stem used on the bike...
"But making a bike in the U.S. doesn’t automatically make it better than a bike made in any other corner of the world. So, how does the Echo ride? In short, beautifully, as should be expected from an over $7,000 bike with electronic shifting. What sets the Echo apart from other endurance road designs or fast gravel bikes is its ability to shapeshift between the two with relative ease. Simply reposition the dropout inserts at each end of the bike and the Echo takes on two very different characters...
"When paired with 28mm tires and lightweight road wheels the Echo feels fast. It rides lighter and more nimble than its looks and listed weight might suggest. The handling in road mode resembles that of a bike purpose-built for smooth high-speed corners and long climbs. A quick peek at the geometry numbers revealed the reason...
"Spending a little time swapping the flip-chips at the rear dropouts and fork transforms the Echo into a more gravel-capable machine. With the chips flipped, stack and reach both shorten by 5mm, while the chainstays lengthen by 10mm and the wheelbase grows 14mm. The headtube and seat tube angles also both slacken by a half degree. Most importantly it allows fitment of tires up to 40mm wide.
"Paired with 40mm rubber and some wide rims, the Echo is well suited for those long jaunts across wide-open farmland or even exploring some class-4 roads...
"Compared to the rather staid bar, post, and saddle, the Allied internally cable stem is a piece of functional art. Unlike some other hidden cable systems where the brake lines route through the stem and swapping stem lengths requires rerouting/bleeding of brakes (I'm looking at you, Cervélo), Allied's design allows for quick stem swaps. It's a particularly handy feature if you're the type of rider who might want to change stem lengths to compensate for geometry differences when changing between the Echo's road and gravel positions..."
*The full review on Bicycling is available In mobile 'Reader View'
Bicycling's Echo Test Bike Build Details
Fork: Allied Echo Carbon Fork, 12x100mm thru-axle, flat mount disc, adjustable geometry
Frame: Allied Echo, internal cable routing, 12x142mm thru-axle, flat mount disc, adjustable geometry
Drivetrain: SRAM Rival eTap AXS 12-speed
Crankset: SRAM Rival AXS, 46/33T
Cassette: SRAM Rival XG-1250, 10-36T, 12-speed
Brakes: SRAM Rival Hydraulic Disc, 160mm (front & rear) rotors
Wheels: Industry Nine UL250 CX
Tires: WTB Vulpine, 700c x 40mm, Tubeless Ready
Saddle: Ergon SR10 Comp
Seatpost: FSA Energy, 27.2mm diameter
Handlebar: FSA Energy Compact, 42cm width
Stem: Allied Echo, 110mm extension
Headset: Chris King NoThread