Steel is Real

The rebuilding of an early 1990’s Specialized Allez road bike. The frame is made with a beautifully lugged, double-butted, American-made, True Temper chrome-moly steel. These frames were designed by Specialized in California and were labelled as their Direct Drive tube-sets. There is some indication that at least some of these frames were built for Specialized by 3Rensho of Japan. Nevertheless, it was most likely built by Giant in their early manufacturing facilities in Taiwan.

Many bike reviewers and aficionados have stated that the steel frames from Specialized in the mid-1980’s to early 1990’s were second to none, and were every bit equivalent to the Italian (Columbus Sl) or British-made (Reynolds 531) frames of that era. As one who actually rode some of the higher-end frames from the likes of Bianchi and Gardin, I can unequivocally concur with this sentiment. The bike is currently equipped with Dura Ace components and a Mavic wheel set. The installation of brake and derailleur cables and set-up still needs to be done along with taping the handlebars and other minor odds and ends.

This winter I plan to build a set(s) of period-specific Ambrosio and/or Mavic tubular rims with a Campagnolo Record seven-speed hub-set(s). I am still looking for an early 1990’s Selle Italia Turbo saddle, matching Dura-Ace (7400) crankset, and rubber hoods for the Dura Ace brake levers. In the Spring of 2017, I hope to make a compare and contrast review of a modern carbon Specialized Tarmac versus the “old school” steel Specialized Allez.

Any advice or assistance would be greatly appreciated. A special thank-you goes out to the folks at Dutch Cycle in Regina for all their help and advice over the last three decades.

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