Specialized AWOL Expert 2017

The New 2017 Specialized AWOL Touring Bikes

The big S has just updated their Specialized AWOL touring bikes for the 2017 product year! It’s a minor update: there are some price rises and drops, one less model and a few specification switch outs.

The Specialized AWOL touring bike is the most off-road capable of Specialized’s adventure line of bikes which has been around since 2014. In comparison to other Specialized models, the 2017 Specialized Sequoia is a little more light touring-oriented, while the Specialized Diverge is essentially a road bike with wide tyres. The AWOL is definitely the bike you want for a long haul tour or rough off-road sections.

The AWOL frameset features “swinger” dropouts that are adjustable by 15mm. This means you’re able to run 1×11, 2×11, 3×10, belt drive, internal gear, or single speed drivetrains with ease. The recent modifications to the swinger make the AWOL frameset Rohloff compatible with an OEM2 axle plate. Belt-Rohloff touring bike anyone?

The AWOL’s have a great touring geometry including a low bottom bracket, long 455mm chainstays and slow steering speed (on par with other touring bikes). On the frame you’ll find 3x bidon mounts for all of your water needs as well as internal cable routeing for dynamo lighting. The AWOL is one of the most upright touring bikes available: it’s quite short and tall.

Here’s the scoop on the new models and changes.

The 2017 Specialized AWOL Expert

2017 Specialized AWOL
The 2017 Specialized AWOL Expert comes with dynamo lighting, racks and fenders out of the box.

The top-of-the-line 2017 Specialized AWOL Expert is relatively unchanged from last year, with the exception of the shifters and drivetrain. The bike is now using a Shimano Tiagra 3x crankset (50-39-30t) and 10-speed cassette (11-36t) in lieu of the SRAM 2x crankset last year. The benefit of the triple crankset is that it adds more gear range overall (23-127″), including some lower climbing gears and an extra gear at the top. In order to fit the large-sized cassette on, Specialized used a well-known hack where you match the cable pull of a 9-speed rear derailleur with a 10-speed shifter!

The Specialized AWOL Expert comes with all the touring goodies as standard, including racks (Tubus at the rear), fenders and dynamo hub gear like Supernova front/rear lights and The Plug 3 USB charger at the stem. Specialized have included routing for the dynamo cables inside the frame for a really clean look. Up the back, the Specialized CG-R flex seatpost will keep you really comfortable (these are recommended for ANY touring bike).

The price of the AWOL Expert is US $2500.

The 2017 Specialized AWOL Comp

2017 Specialized AWOL
The 2017 Specialized AWOL Comp is the offroad-ready model.

The 2017 Specialized AWOL Comp remains almost unchanged from 2016. This model is ready for off-road adventures with its MTB tyres, hydraulic brakes and the 1x SRAM Rival drivetrain as standard. Despite not having a front derailleur, the drivetrain yields a 25-104″ range that could be lowered with a smaller front chainring if you were heading into the steep stuff.

Unfortunately the Specialized AWOL Comp has gone up a little, so it retails for US $2100.

The 2017 Specialized AWOL

2017 Specialized AWOL
The base model 2017 Specialized AWOL has had a nice price drop to keep it competitive!

The bike that has benefitted the most this year is the base model 2017 Specialized AWOL. Not only has it received an upgrade to the latest Shimano Sora R3000 triple groupset, but it has had a price drop! The drivetrain has improved in terms of gearing too, with the same 23 gear-inch low gear as the AWOL Expert. The bike uses the awesome dual-piston TRP cable disc brakes to slow you down.

The price drop this year pegs the Specialized AWOL at US $1200.

Want To Compare This Touring Bike With Dozens of Others?

Check out The Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview

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2019 Bombtrack Beyond
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2016 Fuji Touring
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2018 Fuji Touring
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2017 Kona Sutra
2018 Kona Sutra
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2019 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD
2020 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD
2020 Kona Unit X
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2017 Marin Four Corners
2018 Marin Four Corners
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2016 Salsa Marrakesh
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2016 Specialized AWOL
2017 Specialized AWOL
2017 Specialized Diverge
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2019 Specialized Diverge
2017 Specialized Sequoia
2018 Specialized Sequoia
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  1. So are all the AWOL’s compatible with RollOff? It’s not clear to me if the special drop off is only a feature reserved for the frame being sold as standalone for custom mount. Thanks

  2. According to their US site, the swinger dropouts only come on the frameset not the complete. I don’t see them in the picture.

    I am really enjoying your site BTW. The most comprehensive list of touring bikes on the internet.

  3. Shimano actually changed the pull ratio of the newer 4700 Tiagra so you’re no longer able to use the 9sp mtb rear derailleur trick. That looks like a standard long cage Tiagra rear mech on the Expert (which Shimano conservatively rate to 34t max sproket size).

  4. At least they got rid of that major P.O.S. FSA 19mm BB-4000 that was on the 2014, and those total crap Formula hi-lo hubs… Mine is headed to recycling because it seized severely and the threads were beyond repairable after removal…

    ***If anyone is buying a new one I’d ask your dealer to verify that the BB was properly greased before installation!

  5. Will all of these fit 29er mountain tires? I remember when the AWOL was first introduced this was the case. Looking at a (2016?) AWOL elite at my local shop, it does not have the clearance. Was it a different frame entirely?

  6. The official maximum tyre size is 29×2.0″, which is somewhat limiting nowadays as cross country tyres tend to be most common in the 2.2″ width. That said, you’ll see the AWOL Comp comes with 29×1.9″ mountain bike tyres stock so there are options available.

    The steel used in the 16/17 frames is 4130 Cro-Mo. This is not necessarily a bad thing when compared to branded steel tubing; it’s the same type of metal that Surly have been working with for over a decade to huge success.

    The frameset is the only way to get the Reynolds tubing and belt drive compatibility.

  7. Ok thank you for the quick reply! I think my issue is more the tire clearance than the steel. I will keep looking. Your site is very helpful!

  8. I’m 6’4″ and own an 2015 Elite and I had to shortened the stem as it was a bit too long for me (I changed for a 80 mm one). My ride is now much more comfortable. It surprises me that a medium frame is good for you.

  9. I just had the same experience. I am 6′-0″ with a 34″ inseam. (LONG legs). Sitting on another customers, it was clear that the Medium was definitely the bike for me. But then, my torso is shorter than normal. Not sure I am going to buy one as the shop did not have one that I could ride, but it is currently at the top of my list. Great site BTW!

  10. Heya Alee

    I found a great deal on a awol 2017, to the point where I am wondering if it’s not actually a 2016. You know the best way to tell the difference when looking at the machine?

    Btw, this site is quite excellent!

  11. The easiest way will be to see if it comes with a front rack or not. If someone fitted a rack aftermarket, the gear cables will run external to the shifter on the 2016 model, while they’re hidden on the 2017 model.

  12. Yeah, it was the 2016 afterall. Debating if its worth the 300$ Less (it’s new). Or go ahead with the 2017. Any general thoughts?

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