ALLIED ECHO: Long-Term Review – Gravel Bike / Road Bike All-In-One?

allied echo review
Allied Echo in Gravel Mode

Meet the Allied Cycle Works Echo, a two-in-one bike; it can ride gravel, it can ride road, its carbon fiber frame and fork are designed and manufactured in Rogers, Arkansas. To better understand how bikes such as the Echo are manufactured, check out our detailed factory tour video of Allied Cycle Works Headquarters, which also covers some of the company’s history.

allied echo review
Allied Echo in Roadie Mode

The Echo is touted as the bike to “go fast everywhere”, pure road performance one day, and gravel the next sans compromises. The Echo isn’t the first bike to attempt this double act, but of the bikes we’ve seen touting these virtues, it could be the fastest of the lot.

Allied Echo Long-Term Video Review

Allied Cycle Works

In this video, JOM of the Gravel Cyclist crew conducts a detailed video review over the long haul, covering the in-depth tech features including the Echo’s flip-chip functionality with demonstration. Multiple wheel and tire (tyre) combinations are tested including 700c and 650b, but it doesn’t end there. JOM utilized the Echo extensively for his fun ride experiences, in states such as Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and to the races, at the 2021 SBT GRVL in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Not your average run-of-the-mill gravel bike review!

allied echo review
Another view of the Echo in Gravel Mode

Additional Tech

The Echo accomplishes the switch between road surfaces with pair of flip chips at the fork and dropout of the bike. The chips adjust the bike’s geometry a smidge, about half a degree at the headtube, and change the fork length and chainstay length by up to one centimetre. The chainstay length flips between 415mm and 425mm. The flip process is demonstrated in the video above.

allied echo review
The Echo’s Fork Flip Chip

In roadie mode, the Echo will fit a 700c x 30mm tyre, however, JOM ran a 700c x 32mm Goodyear Eagle F1 tyre (under review) on an ENVE 3.4 SES wheelset.

allied echo review

The Echo will fit a tyre measuring 700c x 40mm; we tested with the WTB Byway in 700c x 40mm, Panaracer Gravelking SK in 700c x 38mm, Continental Terra Trail (review coming soon), and a soon to market (under embargo at the time of this article), 650b x 47mm tyre.

allied cycle works echo review
650b x 47mm Clearance

Wheels tested with the Echo include the ENVE AR Disc 3.4, ENVE G23 with BERD Spokes, Roval Terra C (Under Review), and American Classic Race 27.5″ / 650b.

allied cycle works echo review
650b x 47mm Clearance

A potential deal-killer for some, the Echo will only work with an electronic drivetrain.

allied cycle works echo review
Shimano Ultegra Di2, one of the groupsets that works with the Echo

More and more bikes for the adventurous road less travelled and so on, are hiding their cabling internally. For SRAM’s eTap wireless electronic shifting bikes, that’s a moot point, but with the hydraulic brake housings, they still exist and you’ll often find them dangling beneath the stem.

allied echo review

Then you have the Echo here, which hides all of that away, in what is arguably one of the cleanest front ends ever seen on a bicycle.

allied echo review

Where exactly are the cables?

allied echo review

The Echo relies on a proprietary stem built in-house by Allied in five sizes, this example is 110mm, which routes the di2 wires in this case, and the hydraulic brake housings, beneath this top plate of the stem, that also does double duty as the handlebar clamp.

allied cycle works echo review

Allied’s system requires a 31.8mm handlebar that internalizes everything, meaning the cables exit at the centre rear of the handlebar.

allied cycle works echo review

The front brake housing runs through the hollow fork crown and exits right near the front brake caliper, whilst the rear brake, and electronic wires, run through a port in the rear of the steerer tube. The video linked above demonstrates how to disassemble the stem.

allied echo review

The steerer tube is completely straight, has no tapering, and utilizes a pretty traditional integrated headset, by Chris King, also made in the USA.

allied echo review

Because of the proprietary nature and design of the front end, you don’t preload the headset with a top cap bolt.

allied echo review

Rather, we have a throwback to the days of the 1″ threaded headset, where you utilize a 32mm spanner / wrench, to adjust the preload beneath the stem, on a threaded collar.

allied echo review
Photo by Allied Cycle Works

Above, the proper Allied-supplied tool to set headset tension and remove / install the flip chips at front and rear.

allied echo review

Seatpost size is 27.2mm, and uses a simple expander wedge to keep it in place. There has been no slippage of the Black Inc seatpost, even after multiple insertions and removals of flying this bike to colorado a couple of times.

allied echo review

The bottom bracket standard is the venerable and proven English thread interface.

allied echo review

Because this is 2021, you have 12mm thru-axles front and rear, and the brake calipers are flat mounted.

allied cycle works echo review

You may be wondering are the brakes affected when you flip the chips around?

allied cycle works echo review

That would be a no, they are part of the interface so assuming your rotors are playing nice, you shouldn’t have to fiddle with caliper alignment once you flip the chips. See the video above for the flip-chip demonstration.

allied echo review

This bike is all performance, and it really isn’t a full-on gravel bike. That means, allied ditched fender mounts, and the option for a top tube mount, but they do have a third bottle cage mount beneath the downtube.

allied cycle works echo review

JOM used to think the top tube mount was useless, but he’s a convert, and would much rather have a top tube mount, versus a third bottle cage mount, or at least have both available.

allied echo review

Thankfully, there are plenty of options for mounting bags if you have the need to carry cargo, which will admittedly kill any perceived aero advantages. One such bag ridden and reviewed is the unique BUCK!T UWMiniBARBag Handlebar Bag.

allied echo review

Finally, this review sample is the stock geometry size Small, which in gravelly mode, has a top tube length of 550.3mm, and in roadie mode, 549.8mm. Visit Allied’s website for the geometry chart for all of the sizes.

allied cycle works echo review

To see how the Allied Echo rides, along with JOM’s findings, you’ll need to watch the video embedded above.

allied echo review
Sludging the Echo
allied cycle works echo review
Roadie mode with Goodyear Eagle F1, 700c x 32mm

allied echo review

allied echo review

Support Gravel Cyclist:
Buy Me a Coffee – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/gravelcyclist
OR
Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/gravelcyclist

Links of Interest:

Don’t forget to Like the Gravel Cyclist Facebook page, follow G.C. on Instagram, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel. We are also on Twitter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.