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Specialized Road Bikes - what is R&D thinking?(16 posts)

Specialized Road Bikes - what is R&D thinking?Fez
Mar 7, 2003 8:57 AM
This is kind of a followup post to this one:

BergMann "Most Progressive Road Bike Frame Designer Over the past 5 yr" 3/7/03 6:51am

Cannondale has refined their alum frames over 2 decades, Trek has stuck with and refined OCLV for 10 years or so, Litespeed has done a lot with tube shapes, but they stick with Ti (the aluminum bikes are an addition, rather than a replacement for Titanium bikes).

But what is the deal with Specialized? They have dabbled in just about every frame material except titanium. I remember old steel Allez bikes, lugged carbon Allez bikes, M2 metal matrix?? bikes, M4 bikes, aluminum bikes and I think some of the new bikes are steel again? Is Specialized the most trendy bike company, constantly changing, but never perfecting frame designs?
re: Specialized Road Bikes - what is R&D thinking?AaronL
Mar 7, 2003 9:34 AM
They way I see it, Specialized has refined their road frames over the years. Yes, they did build steel bikes (and some of them were quite well made) and they started using Aluminum with the M2 frames. But the M4 was a second generation, then came the Festina gig and they took that knowledge to the consumer. I don't think they have jumped from one fad to another at all.

I had one of the earlier M2 road frames, which was a great frame, rode it for 5 years until it cracked. Spec sent me an E5 as a warranty replacement and it is head and shoulders better than the one it replaced.

I think the real difference between Specialized and the other big companies is that they are not afraid to go out on a limb. Look at the Foco steel road frame they offer this year, how many other of the big bike makers are putting out a high-end steel frame? I think it's cool that they have it. If it wasn't a compact, I'd buy one.
M2 and M4 are aluminium, just different alloys. (nm)Allezcomp
Mar 7, 2003 9:54 AM
M2 and M4 are aluminium, just different alloys. (nm)AaronL
Mar 7, 2003 10:21 AM
Uh, yes I know that, that's why i said "Spec started using ALUMINUM wih the M2 and the M4 was second generation."
Mar 7, 2003 9:58 AM
The early 90s steel bikes are well regarded. Almost never hear anything bad about them.

Most of the others seem to fail at some point, depending on how much use and stress they see.

The carbon (lug failures) and M2 (cracks) seem to come to mind. Someone recently posted a cracked M2 as a joke Nick post. Holy crap! I would have soiled myself if my frame cracked like that while I was riding. Imagine trying to explain that one as JRA to the bike shop.
Mar 7, 2003 10:19 AM
That wasn't a cracked M2, it was crashed.

Sure, Specialized bikes crack, so do Bianchis, Giants, C'dales, Treks. They all have issues. The failure rate for gossamer frames is quite high.

Oh yeah, the old Allez carbon bikes. There again, Spec went out on a limb with those bikes. They did have some issues at first, but they were ironed out later. I remember when they first came out in 1986/7 and the Sunkyong team had them. Thurlow was on that team and had one, he was still riding that bike many years later. It must have been pretty nice for him to keep riding it when he had his choice of team bikes.
new steel Alleztarwheel
Mar 7, 2003 10:29 AM
The new Foco steel Allez looks great to me. I'm not a big fan of compact frames, I like the looks of this one. It's nice to see one of the big companies making a lightweight production steel frame as well. Plus, you can buy it in more sizes than S, M and L. I keep asking my LBS about these, but they haven't received any yet. I'd be curious to see if Specialized would sell the frame alone, and for how much.
My shops got emScot_Gore
Mar 7, 2003 10:54 AM
I walked in a couple months back and they had one leaning on the front counter. The conversation went like this:
Me: "What's that ????,
Shop: "It's a steel Allez"
Me: "Really, it looks new"
Shop: "It is new"
Me: "No, I mean brand new, you know, just built"
Shop: "It is"
Me: "No way, No way"
Shop: "2003 Model"
Me: "No way, it's a Specialzed"
Shop: "They built in steel this year."
Me: "No way"
Shop: "yep"
Me: "gotta give credit for taking chances !!!!"
Taking chances on steel?indymac
Mar 7, 2003 10:58 AM
Call me a daredevil...

Business & market wise it's a chanceScot_Gore
Mar 7, 2003 11:37 AM
Specialized investing and building a steel bike is a little like CocaCola going into the dairy business.

Pasturized, No RBST, 2% CocaCola - sounds like something you'd want to buy, right

Business & market wise it's a chanceAaronL
Mar 7, 2003 11:50 AM
Unless, of course Coca Cola had built its business in dairy and then got out.

Specialized started with steel bikes, so my guess is they still remember what it takes.

This is all moot since they don't actually "make" the bikes. Cipo et all are made for them in Morgan Hill, but the rest are all outsourced.
Cipo's outsourced now*****teoteoteo
Mar 7, 2003 6:04 PM
Gary Yokota was building frames in-house until last year. This was the info that given to me while I was speaking with a national sales manager. The info was later reiterated by another corporate officer in a phone conversation that Cipo had just won a race on a Taiwainese produced frame that was made specifically for him.

****Of course they could have been lying--at the time they were really pushing us to carry their road line-up.
new steel Allezteoteoteo
Mar 7, 2003 2:24 PM
We roll these out the door quite often at my shop. Very nice bike for the money. The ride qaulity is nice and the only thing I'd change is the wheels (not a Shimano Wheel fan).
re: Specialized Road Bikes - what is R&D thinking?xcandrew
Mar 8, 2003 12:55 AM
Like AaronL mentioned, Specialized doesn't build bikes, they import bikes of their design from different suppliers. This means that they don't have manufacturing equipment specific to building any type of frame and are free to go with any material or technology that their designers come up that they think they can market. I remember when I was getting into cycling as a kid in the early 80's that they were call "Specialized Bicycle Imports" or SBI.
Trek is the SameHeron Todd
Mar 8, 2003 8:42 AM
Trek has had aluminum and steel road bikes all along. In fact, when you look at their Klein and Lemond brands, they have a lot of aluminum, titanium, and steel.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776
re: The AL Allez and M2..jrm
Mar 8, 2003 9:20 AM
Where some great bikes. I owned both of um. But it seems like specialized ripped off Giants compact design once the UCI allowed compact frames. So Specialized didnt make any leaps into stardom in design only feed on the race on sunday buy on monday marketing philosophy.