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  1. #1
    jkp
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    Some Specialized history

    I am finding information on early Specialized roadbikes is hard to find. Here is what I have found, and hopefully others will share what they know. According to Bryant Bainbridge, Director of R&D at Specialized from 1983-1990, Tim Neenan ( Lighthouse Frames) was their first frame designer. Tim Neenan designed the Expedition after a custom touring frame he made for Mike Sinyard ( Specialized owner) . I believe Neenan was also responsible for the Sequoia model. Next frame designer was Jim Merz. The mid eighties Allez bear his name. Was there an earlier Allez that was designed by someone else? The final designer of the lugged steel era was Mark Dinucci ( associated with Strawberry cycles). I believe he was responsible for the Allez Pro and Allez Comp. According the Bryant Bainbridge, 1984 production Allez were made by Miyata, later some smaller factories. From Tim Neenan: the Expedition was made of Tange tubing, the same gauge as Columbus SP- 1mm/.7mm. I find the Specialized lugged steel frames interesting because they combine the designs of talented frame designers with the craftmanship of the Japanese and later Taiwanese builders. Can anyone add to this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkp
    Was there an earlier Allez that was designed by someone else? .
    the first generation allez were designed and built in japan by 3rensho(san rensho) and imo, the most desireable.

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    I designed the Sequoia, Allez, Expedition and Stumpjumper frames. Mike Sinyard and I spent 4 weeks in Japan setting up production. Yes Yoshi Konno built some of the Allezs and Sequoias and they were beautiful frames. I built the Sequoia we sent to Bicycling Magazine for the first road test.
    TimSome Specialized history-posters-003.jpg
    The most beautiful thing about a custom frame is not just what you see, it's what you feel. www.lighthousecycles.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthouse Cycles
    I designed the Sequoia, Allez, Expedition and Stumpjumper frames. Mike Sinyard and I spent 4 weeks in Japan setting up production. Yes Yoshi Konno built some of the Allezs and Sequoias and they were beautiful frames. I built the Sequoia we sent to Bicycling Magazine for the first road test.
    TimClick image for larger version. 

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    You should be proud! Those are 4 great bikes. And with you, eRichie and Dave Kirk sometimes posting I'm too intimidated to say much more.
    Lugged Steel Treks

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthouse Cycles
    I designed the Sequoia, Allez, Expedition and Stumpjumper frames. Mike Sinyard and I spent 4 weeks in Japan setting up production. Yes Yoshi Konno built some of the Allezs and Sequoias and they were beautiful frames. I built the Sequoia we sent to Bicycling Magazine for the first road test.
    TimClick image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for the information on Specialized history. I am very surprised that they do not archive this kind of material and information. I wrote them asking about my Dave Tecsh built 1987 Team Allez and they never even heard of it. If it was older than 1995, they don't have much information. Here is a photo of the catalog and also photos of my bike when I first picked it up...






    It now has white handlebar tape, a black Turbo (1987) saddle and a Dura Ace stem. Did Tecsh build these bikes to specs that you provided? If so, they are very similar to those that Dave himself built his own branded frames to. It has a very tight geometry and is a very quick handling bike. Do you know how many he built for Specialized?

    Thanks,

    James
    San Antonio, Texas

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    I have a steel Allez from '95 or '96. Who would have built a bike around this time?
    thanks,
    scott

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    I mean who would have built Allez's around this time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quattro_Assi_07
    Thanks for the information on Specialized history. I am very surprised that they do not archive this kind of material and information. I wrote them asking about my Dave Tecsh built 1987 Team Allez and they never even heard of it. If it was older than 1995, they don't have much information. Here is a photo of the catalog and also photos of my bike when I first picked it up...






    It now has white handlebar tape, a black Turbo (1987) saddle and a Dura Ace stem. Did Tecsh build these bikes to specs that you provided? If so, they are very similar to those that Dave himself built his own branded frames to. It has a very tight geometry and is a very quick handling bike. Do you know how many he built for Specialized?

    Thanks,

    James
    That has to be the best looking Allez that I've ever seen. I'm jealous. I've always been a fan of the vintage Allez. They are getting harder to find. The oldest that I've been able to find in my size is my current 2000 model with the A1 frame. Great bike, but the frame build is pathetic compared to the craftsmanship that went into the earlier models. In fact, that could be said about most modern production bikes. The old skool detail can be had but you have to go to a custom- builder and even then you not all of them build with that kind of detail in mind. Your bike is a bike worth hanging on the wall. It's not better than a vintage Colnago or Pinarello, but those bikes aren't really better than your Allez either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthouse Cycles
    I designed the Sequoia, Allez, Expedition and Stumpjumper frames. Mike Sinyard and I spent 4 weeks in Japan setting up production. Yes Yoshi Konno built some of the Allezs and Sequoias and they were beautiful frames. I built the Sequoia we sent to Bicycling Magazine for the first road test.
    TimClick image for larger version. 

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    I tip my hat to you on the design of these frames. I recently purchased a beautiful time capsule quality 1983 Stumpjumper Sport. I don't know if you had a hand in this model, but it is outstanding.

    In addition, I have been looking for a top quality Expedition or Sequoia to no avail. I have seen some on line from time to time, but nothing available. One of these days!!!

    By the bye, very nice work with Lighthouse Cycles.
    Last edited by gomango; 02-23-2010 at 06:33 PM.

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    To answer your question, Tecsh was contracted to build 100 Allez's and 100 Stumpjumpers but he was never able to successfully bridge the gap from custom builder to production builder and his delivery faltered. We eventually got something like 65 of those Allez and to date yours is only the 3rd I have seen. Geos and materials were all provided by us, Dave did all the frame assembly. The bikes were then assembled in Calif one at a time. If you have any further questions, I would be happy to oblige.

    Regards, Bryant Bainbridge

  11. #11
    jkp
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    Specialized history

    My favorite bike is my Jim Merz Allez SE- can you tell me who made it? I have read bits and pieces you have written elsewhere, and much appreciate the information you share. Please continue to enlighten us. Thank You, Kelly

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    Your original post is correct. The SE was originally made at Miyata and very nicely executed. Lack of flexibility on the makers part (unlike most at the time, we wanted to specify all the details) led to moving the bikes to several smaller Japanese builders while it remained in Japan. In '86, the dollar tanked against the yen and I was faced with starting my development season with only one model in Taiwan but rapidly moved all but two bikes there within the follow few months simply because of the crash of the dollar. I don't remember the exact numbers, but the dollar lost close to half it's value in very little time. This one moment virtually wiped out the Japanese bike industry and forced everyone to help show the Taiwanese what 'good' looked like. We later made Allez & the Sirrus at Giant, where Mark DiNucci literally spent a month living in the factory, showing them how to braze and produce decent bikes.

    -BB

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    So Bryant, did Giant made the 90's steel Allez and the carbon Epic? And is it true that only the early Allez carbon frames had the carbon tube and lug separation problem? Thanks

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    Giant did make the early 90's steel Allez with slightly oversized tubes. (Dinucci designed lugs, BB shell, DO's & Tubeset) & the 1st carbon Allez. We worked with them for 2 years to develop that bike. At the time, the Taiwanese government had determined that Taiwan would become a global leader in Carbon fiber and made huge investments in those that would pursue it. Giant was perhaps the first recipient in the bike biz. I remember when we hired a bike developer from Trek, he mentioned that they had put one of those Epic's on a testing machine expecting it to fail in short order and were shocked by the fact that they couldn't break it. Despite looking crude by today's measure, those were really nice riding bikes.

  15. #15
    jkp
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    Allez Epic

    I have one that I have ridden sparingly for several years. I`m no lite weight, and it hasn`t come apart on me. I did add an early TIME carbon fork to it- the carbon fork complimented the carbon frame nicely, for a further enhanced ride. I`ve been told the one that were going to come apart did so early on, those that survived should not be a worry. JKP

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    My is a 93 Epic. Love the ride, very compliance over bumps, yet still has decent power transfer, great for long ride. I ride it every chance I get, and I am 215lbs. I don't think weight is the cause of separation on those frame. I think it is galvanic corrosion between the aluminum and carbon. On my, I noticed Specialized wrapped something over the carbon tubes, me think fiber glass, probably to prevent the aluminum lugs to have direct contact with the carbon. I was just wondering if the early one was constructed the same way.

  17. #17
    jkp
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    Allez Epic

    I believe the later ( and safer) models used a darker material in the bottom bracket lug. I am in the same weight range, though I have to admit, I choose my rides with this bike to be on flatter terrain because of the reputation. That said, I recall one post of much heavier, ex college football player riding one, without bad results. Other companies used similar carbon tube, metal lug construction, and I think they all had occasional separation issues. JKP

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    Don't know anything about the 93. I was out during that period. The 80's bikes are pure carbon. Sometimes an outerlayer is put on to protect the unidirectional fibers. Not sure if that was going on in 93.

    BTW-the comment that 'I think they all had occasional separation issues' is not correct. In fact the only separation issues were limited to the first shipment of bikes. That thing was over engineered to beat the band. In fact, it could have been significantly lighter, but at the time we wanted to be multiples over the safety factor since there was simply not a lot of experience in the market yet. BB

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    jkp
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    Allez Epic

    I have watched these fairly closely, since purchasing mine a couple years ago- there do seem to be quite a few around still- which must speak well of the structural integrity. A friend has several Specialized mountain bikes of the same construction ( one with titanium lugs) - which I would think is a tougher test. I am glad to hear they were so over built- I`ll stop babying mine. JKP

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    Quote Originally Posted by spokesniffer
    Sometimes an outerlayer is put on to protect the unidirectional fibers. Not sure if that was going on in 93.
    Here is a picture of the layer of over the carbon tube. Any idea what it is and it's purpose?


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    I have truly enjoyed reading this thread. I have a 60 cm Specialized Allez SE from 1986 in the blue with yellow accents scheme, bought from Two Wheel Transit authority (how's that for retro?) and I loved it back in the day. It was my first racing bike, and got me through many criteriums and long day rides. It still sits there in the garage with much of the original Shimano 600 gruppo gone from breakage. Seriously, the derailleur came part and the right indexed lever exploded. I still have the original Specialized seatpost, bar and stem, although the bar is now gracing my Lemond. The bike, however, remained a proven performer, comfy over the long haul, and for a long top tubed bike very able to handle criteriums.

    Do you know why I bought the Allez? Great product placement there in American Flyers. I wish mine had been the red Prestige tubed model, but I couldn't afford that. They turn up from time to time on the Bay of Evil, and their prices are steadily rising.

    Gentleman, you guys designed a winner. She will eventually get restored. To this day, it is the only bike I've ever ridden that fit me perfectly.

    Robert

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    I have really been enjoying this thread as well. It's great to hear from the designers on how things came about. I've been riding the same 80's or early 90's Specialized road bike for 15+ years and it's still my one and only road bike - I've put thousands of miles on it and still love how it rides. As a starving student I bought the frameset used and built it up with used 105 and Ultegra parts. The lugwork looks identical to Tim and Quattro Assi's Allez photos above. Same seat stay lugs, no rack braze ons, pump pegs...except...mine has a unicrown fork. The serial number is CG0069 8H12 (but it's hard to make out the 3rd digit due to paint). It's been stripped and painted a couple times but I seem to recall it was a red and white Sirrus when I got it - but I'm not positive. If anyone can help me identify the year based on my description I'd love to learn more about the bike. Is it the same frame, geometry and tubing as the Allez?

    Thanks for any insight/suggestions.

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    redunant post deleted - i thought the first one did not get submitted but it just took a while to upload.
    Last edited by holamateo; 08-04-2010 at 07:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by holamateo
    I have really been enjoying this thread as well. It's great to hear from the designers on how things came about. I've been riding the same 80's or early 90's Specialized road bike for 15+ years and it's still my one and only road bike - I've put thousands of miles on it and still love how it rides. As a starving student I bought the frameset used and built it up with used 105 and Ultegra parts. The lugwork looks identical to Tim and Quattro Assi's Allez photos above. Same seat stay lugs, no rack braze ons, pump pegs...except...mine has a unicrown fork. The serial number is CG0069 8H12 (but it's hard to make out the 3rd digit due to paint). It's been stripped and painted a couple times but I seem to recall it was a red and white Sirrus when I got it - but I'm not positive. If anyone can help me identify the year based on my description I'd love to learn more about the bike. Is it the same frame, geometry and tubing as the Allez?

    Thanks for any insight/suggestions.
    I would need to look at my catalog to see if the Sirrus geometry was the same. I want to say it is more relaxed. My Dave Tesch build Allez would make a good crit bike so I doubt your Sirrus would be that aggressive. As far as same tubing, I know it was not made with the Columbus SLX tubing mine was made with. Even the other Allezs were not made with it. The lugs are very plain looking, nothing fancy at all, so they probably look the same. Whether or not they are, who knows? Even Specialized doesn't seem to have the info on it, I've asked. They are no help. I do know it was originally painted by CyclArt.
    San Antonio, Texas

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    Apart from your Tesch masterpiece, the stock mid to late '80's Allezs were built with Tange Prestige tubing (the stock red American Flyers Allez), or a lower grade "Specialized Special Series" racing tubing for the Allez SE. I've always wondered what that meant, but since it was a Japanese manufactured frame, I've wondered if it isn't a mid-grade Tange or Ishiwata tubeset. I just went and looked at mine in the basement of doom and there are no identifying tubeset markings other than that "Special Series" decal on the fork blades.

    As for the Sirrus, I have no idea, but I would imagine it was in the same tubing category as the Allez SE. In fact, might the Sirrus be the Allez SE just repackaged and redecaled? It came out about roughly the same time as the first carbon Allez Epics, so as the stock Allez moved up the food chain to carbon, might Specialized have created the Sirrus to fill the Allez SE gap and have a clearly delineated procuct lineup?

    Just wondering aloud.

    Robert

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