Those who have been following the blog know that I've been working on an early '80s Specialized Expedition touring bike. I had earlier reported that it was probably a 1984 model, but now I'm inclined to think it might actually be from '83. I was hoping I could find a rosetta stone for deciphering the serial number on the frame, but learned that there is no such thing for old Specialized bikes. Sometimes a number is just a number, and I suppose it doesn't really matter either way. One clue is that I found a spec sheet from 1984 that lists braze-on downtube shift levers, whereas mine was built for clamp-on levers, which were listed in '83. Otherwise, I don't know if there's a way to tell the difference.
As mentioned in earlier posts, the bike was originally a charcoal gray, but as it came to me, it seemed it would benefit from a repaint. I sent it to Jack Trumbull at Franklin Frames in Newark, Ohio. As long as it was being resprayed, I took the liberty of selecting a different color, and chose this metallic burgundy. My replacement decals came from VeloCals, which were of the peel-and-stick vinyl variety, which is exactly what the originals were as well, so they seemed like a fine choice.
I've had detailed posts about some of the components I selected for the bike, including the saddle, wheels, headset, the brakes, rear derailleur, crank, and pedals. (those are all linked, so you can go back and check them if you missed them).
Here's the bike, in ready-to-ride condition:
|The lugwork on the Expedition is very nicely done -- long-point lugs, and really smooth and even, gap-free shorelines. By the 1980s the Japanese had really figured out how to make excellent frames on a mass-production scale. I'd mentioned in an earlier post that I believe the frame might have been built for Specialized by Miyata.|
|There's the Deore MT-60 rear derailleur and the 13-30 Shimano freewheel on Specialized sealed-bearing hubs. The bike would have originally been equipped with SunTour Mountech derailleurs, which unfortunately proved to be trouble-prone -- the rear derailleur's upper guide pulley also served as an extra spring pivot that got gunked up and wore out and could not be serviced (this was exacerbated in off-road use, which as the name implies the unit was designed for). Assuming that someone got a couple of years of use out of the Mountech before it self-destructed, I imagine that this '87 Deore would have been a logical choice for replacement. Simple, durable, reliable, and good-looking, too.|
|Close up of the Specialized touring pedals. I buffed these up to nearly-new looking condition on my buffing wheel. Specialized brand toeclips with Christophe leather toe straps finish the package.|
|My rear rack is an inexpensive no-name stainless steel model - sold under a couple of different brand names, but some people might recognize it as one of the less-expensive racks available from Velo-Orange (Dajia, for $95). I actually found mine from a seller on eBay for about $60. The design reminds me a little of the racks made by Tubus, but at a fraction of the price. The rack only comes in a dull sandblasted finish, which did not match up well with the Nitto rack on the front. I spent a bunch of time with some wet-sanding, using increasingly finer grit paper, then put it on my buffing wheel so it gleams like chrome. It has good adjustability for a lot of different bikes, and I also like the tubular seat-stay struts, as opposed to the flat steel strips used on a lot of other racks.|
Complete Build Details:
Frame: Specialized Special Series Touring double-butted chrome-moly tubing by Tange in Japan. Size 60 cm. frame, center-to-center. 58 cm top tube. 106.7 cm wheelbase, with 45 cm chainstays. 73-deg. parallel angles. 51 mm fork rake.
Crank: Specialized "Flag" Triple (converted to 48/34 double)
Pedals: Specialized Touring pedals, with Specialized steel toe-clips, and Christophe straps.
Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN-52 square taper cartridge unit.
Derailleurs: Shimano Deore MT-60 rear derailleur, Shimano Light Action (FD-Z206) front derailleur.
Shift levers: SunTour Power Ratchet Bar Cons.
Brakes: Shimano Deore MT-62 cantilever brakes with Dia Compe AGC-250 spring-loaded levers.
Wheels: Specialized sealed bearing hubs with Mavic Module 4 rims. 40 spokes rear, 36 spokes front.
Seatpost: Specialized single-bolt micro-adjust.
Saddle: Brooks B17
Headset: Specialized Channel-Seal, steel.
Stem: Nitto Technomic, 10 cm.
Bars: Nitto mod. 176 "Dream Bars," 42 cm width.
Accessories: Nitto M-12 front rack, Taiwanese stainless steel rear rack, SKS Longboard fenders, Sanyo bottom-bracket generator, Schmidt E6 halogen headlight.
It's apparent that I selected a few more Specialized-brand components than what the bike would have been equipped with originally. I consider them upgrades. According to various spec-sheets I've seen for the '83 Expedition, the bars, stem, hubs, and headset would have been from Specialized. The original crank would have been a Sugino AT-triple, with MKS Sylvan touring pedals, while the seatpost would have been a ubiquitous-in-the-'80s SR Laprade. Derailleurs would have been the previously-mentioned SunTour Mountech. In 1983, the shift levers were SunTour "Symmetric" downtube levers, which were supposed to trim the front derailleur automatically when one shifted at the rear. Those also, from what I've read, had some durability issues. I see my Power-ratcheting BarCons as a period-correct upgrade. When I got it, my bike still had the original Specialized-brand (made by Nitto) bars, but not the original stem. But the bars were badly gouged by a previous owner who must have tried to fit them into an ill-fitting stem. The Nitto bar and stem I chose are good replacements.
I could always do some fiddling with the bike, making small changes and adjustments, but on the whole I think this is fulfilling my vision for a classic '80s grand touring machine. Hope you've enjoyed following the project.