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Specialized Allez - Mid-'80s - 62cm - Semi-mystery!

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Specialized Allez - Mid-'80s - 62cm - Semi-mystery!

Old 10-13-18, 11:52 PM
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Specialized Allez - Mid-'80s - 62cm - Semi-mystery!

[EDIT: This is likely a Sirrus with minor modification]

Boy oh boy do we have projects rolling around the apartment here. A few that are complete and off to their second 'states' as adjusted completions, as well as current builds. Nothing changes, eh?

NOTE: Many pictures (if the uploader is willing), many numbers, and much research will be posted--thank you in advance for your help and contributions!

A few weeks ago, on of the Bike Works staff made his regular pilgrimage to the local recycler just south of downtown. Apparently there is a whole section devoted to bikes destined for the Big Bike Rack In The Sky and he plucked two specimens out and hauled them back. I saw them both when I arrived a few days later for volunteer work. One of the guys that works there gets a big kick out of my eagle eye for new (and more accurately: tall) bikes and frames. These two were such examples. A 63cm 1991 Cannondale SC2000 "Pro Series" (paint/decal job not entirely accurate to catalog) in white, as well as a mystery steel frame in the same size (62cm CTT instead of the 63.5cm I hastily measured). I asked if they could set aside the Cannondale as I was excited to get a C'dale crit frame of this era (again) but in my size (63cm instead of a 66cm). They happily obliged. The build for that will be in another thread!

So to this Specialized. Like the Cannondale, it was pearl white, very dirty, and sported a C-Record era Campagnolo headset that was very much overtightened--a beautiful ruin! Long 130-140mm Cinelli stem as well for both. Presumably the same owner for both given the multiple similarities. After mulling over the Specialized frameset (that now hung in the frameset section) for over a week, doing much research and coming up a bit empty, I rode to Bike Works today (Warehouse portion where this was located was open today) and happily picked it up. I am now the happy owner of a semi-mysterious vintage Specialized! Is it worth the hype? How will it compare to my other elite bikes/framesets? These questions are not meant to reek of disrespect, they are just honest.

Serial Number: C 801 - reading laterally across the BB shell
GB825424 - reading longitudinally "around" the BB shell - these were tough to read and thus decipher, but after much scrutinizing at multiple angles with respect to light and reflection, I am very confident that this is the two-part SN

Geometry: Frame size: 61cm CTC or 62cm CTT - the 1988 catalog shows that a 61cm frame size is, surprisingly, the largest they built them!
Head tube angle: 74°
Seat tube angle: 73° - both these angles are consistent with numbers found in their catalogs in various places
Top tube length: 58.0cm
Chain stay length: 410mm
Bottom bracket drop: 65mm
Wheelbase: ~995mm (essentially the same as my crit-geometry'd '91 Cannondale!)

Weight: 3340g / 7.34 lb - frame, fork, and headset - not very light at all given the high-end nature of this race (crit?) frame. Those big Campy headsets don't weigh that much, right? For comparison, my 1985 Ross Signature 294S (Ishiwata 024 tubing) with F/F/HS weighed 7.25 lb. My Schwinn Prologue (Tange Prestige) is 3000g / 6.60 lb!

Date/Year of Production Research Framing:

1986: Last year of top-of-the-BB-shell derailleur cable guides
"S" on seat stay cap is raised/embossed
First year of Taiwan/Giant production due to the yen/dollar ratio upheaval

1987: First year of the under-the-BB-shell derailleur cable guides
"S" on seat stay cap is now recessed

1988: First year of the unicrown fork

I mention these critical points as this frameset has recessed "S" on the seat stay caps and under-BB cable guides, eliminating 1986, and thus opening up the year range to 1987+. The fork crown is lugged and fully sloped, so that eliminates 1988+. So by process of elimination, it could very well be a 1987 model, but I'm still having trouble squaring everything. Here are my questions.

- What model, or specific sub model? I am hedging toward full-fledged Allez
- The front derailleur interface is a braze-on, this eliminates the Allez SE and later Sirrus, though I've seen pictures of a 1987 Allez Team with a clamp-on FD setup, so this is my biggest "what is it?" sticking point. We all know that 99%+ of the time, braze-on > clamp-on = high-end / highest-end. Hence the Allez (no SE "lesser" sub-model) inclination.
- A "7" for the year with a SN full of "8"s is not lining up in my mind. Perhaps the "B" in the SN is the second year of Taiwanese production? No clue.

Your help would be greatly appreciated! On to the photos!

Bringing it home.

Last edited by RiddleOfSteel; 10-14-18 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 10-13-18, 11:58 PM
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What a mess! Pitted headset blues! Lugs are engraved "FO" or "F0" and "G4." What do those mean other than their general place on the frame?

There's a serial number on here somewhere...

Ugh.

What a cluster[dirt]. Minimal lugs though--this I do like.
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Old 10-14-18, 12:03 AM
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Getting it all cleaned up!

"C 801" I swear it's there!


Man, is this thing a repaint? All-white was a color option for 1988 at least. You can see the last portion of the longer SN (the "424").


"F0" and the pitted cup are here again, but this time with cleaned, compounded and waxed paint. Much better.


Top "G4" head lug, pump peg, and very pretty pearl/metallic paint. I do like this color.
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Old 10-14-18, 12:10 AM
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More lug detail for your identification and perusal purposes.

Saving weight (lol) and engaging more threads (I got them all, thankfully) by removing the washer. Honestly, these headsets are huge and a bit goofy on an old steel bike (or at least on something other than an Italian bike), but outside of that context they are quite pretty. Look at that lug!


I am in the middle of adding layers of touch-up paint. Tall lower headset cup! Messing with the geometry I see... Really like the slender and "drawn out" design of the fork crown. Probably my favorite look.


Side view of lower head lug. No forward offset 3Rensho fork crown on this thing!
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Old 10-14-18, 12:14 AM
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A few more detail shots:

Brake bridge diamond reinforcing. Not nearly as lovely as the Panasonic-built high-end Schwinns of the later '80s, but still, a nice touch.


Skimpy seat cluster with the engraved "S" in full view. Standard seat post clamp, unlike the "hitched up" ones that we would see in the '90s' steel Allez.


Braze-on FD detail. 1988 Allez's had these, but with a unicrown fork, so.....?
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Old 10-14-18, 12:17 AM
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All cleaned and ready to be assembled! To solve the indexed headset issue, I removed the 22-per-race loose bearing balls and replaced them with a rubber "caged" 19-per-race bearing ball setup from the other identical C-Record headset that I removed from that '91 Cannondale. Works well! A touch of "gravel" in the spin, but for pitted cups, I'm more than fine with it. Now to figure out what to build it up with!

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Old 10-14-18, 12:42 AM
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Love it! Cant wait to see what you build it into.
I'm also looking forward to the cannondale thread. I finally got to take mine for a short test ride and I loved it!
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Old 10-14-18, 01:33 AM
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Thanks! I have at least one idea for the build--that it be a parts transfer as I don't have a lot of room nor extra cables/housings to build up another bike fully in house. The build would be exploratory at the very least, more permanent should it 'prove its worth' (or really, should I like the way it rides etc).

The Cannondale is nearly done with it's handful of adjustments. Only a wider set of bars is needed to complete it. The initial build (assessed during a 16 mile day broken into four trips, including to work) yielded good results, but begged for immediate update. With my Prologue back up and running, it and my Impulse are my queens of speed with their Prestige tubing and stellar ride qualities. The Cannondale has her virtues, and I do enjoy them, but we are very much in the 'learning' phase together at the moment.
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Old 10-14-18, 07:49 AM
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The serial number indicates that the frame was manufactured during weeks 3-4 of 1988 by Giant of Taiwan, a known source for SBI. It's definitely a 1988, mass production model. C801 is the part number for the bottom bracket shell. This is a more basic shell than that used on the Allez and is consistent with the Sirrus. The fork crown also supports a Sirrus. The red herring is the brazed-on front derailleur mount as neither the Allez or Sirrus, which were SBI's only steel road frames that year, had this feature. I'd say it was 1988 Sirrus with an owner added front derailleur hanger and a re-paint.
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Old 10-14-18, 09:45 AM
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I was getting a Sirris vibe as well. The only thing making me question this is the Braze-on FD mount. Can't recall if the Sirris had that.

Test rode a late 80s model Sirris and it had a wonderful ride.


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Old 10-14-18, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
Thanks! I have at least one idea for the build--that it be a parts transfer as I don't have a lot of room nor extra cables/housings to build up another bike fully in house. The build would be exploratory at the very least, more permanent should it 'prove its worth' (or really, should I like the way it rides etc).

The Cannondale is nearly done with it's handful of adjustments. Only a wider set of bars is needed to complete it. The initial build (assessed during a 16 mile day broken into four trips, including to work) yielded good results, but begged for immediate update. With my Prologue back up and running, it and my Impulse are my queens of speed with their Prestige tubing and stellar ride qualities. The Cannondale has her virtues, and I do enjoy them, but we are very much in the 'learning' phase together at the moment.
I know how that is, I'm in the exploratory mode with my st500. Now that it has a (ugly as sin) protective paint job on it I can ride it around and see how it feels. So far I love it. But I'm comparing to a hiten frame, no prestige tubing in my herd to go against. Haha
What kind of a groupset and bars will the specilized have?
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Old 10-14-18, 12:08 PM
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Thank you @T-Mar for your clarification and insight on this. Glad to know I was heading in the correct direction, somewhat. A repaint, however nice, can definitely hide any work done. It certainly has on my '74 Paramount--the only difference being is that I know what the changes were as I requested them and this very-likely-Sirrus has an unknown history.

61cm CTC is also the largest size built for the Sirrus. This is so weird to me as there were plenty of other manufacturers that had a lesser and greater model range, and those manufacturers had plenty of 63.5cm and 68.5cm variants that were available and sold. And that was at least by the late '70s and early '80s. Were they seriously not going to cater to the tall humans market?

The textual description of the Allez and Sirrus in the 1988 catalog (the specifications page at the back) is identical, but obviously Specialized is not going to crow about a 7+ lb race frame (unless they were sandbagging it so that they could sell their lighter carbon/aluminum Allez Epic).

Catalog weights for 1988: Allez Epic (6400-era 600) - 20.9 lb
Allez (6400-era 600) - 22.5 lb
Sirrus (1050-era 105) - 23.9 lb (now this starts to make more sense, even given, IMO, the lower-rung 105 vs 600)

Nearly 24 lb for a faster (albeit well-built) road bike--full cromo to boot--is not going to blow the doors off things. For reference, advertised catalog "approximate" weights of 1988 steel road Schwinns were as follows:
Circuit - 21 lb (Columbus SL/SP)
Tempo - 22 lb (Tenax tubing, with 1050-era 105 and a 26.6mm seatpost)
Premis - 22 lb (Tenax)
Prelude - 24 lb (Tenax)

I had, briefly, a 1987 Schwinn Super Sport (Tenax again, of course) that had it's frame/fork/headset weigh a whopping 7.60 lb that went on to weigh a respectable 22.4 lb with a raft of 6400 parts bolted to it. The lugs were nice and not-a-T-shirt-sleeve in appearance (like low-end frames), but the that particular rode incredibly harshly. It sure looked pretty, though. I sold it as a frameset eventually.

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Old 10-14-18, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Buellster View Post
I know how that is, I'm in the exploratory mode with my st500. Now that it has a (ugly as sin) protective paint job on it I can ride it around and see how it feels. So far I love it. But I'm comparing to a hiten frame, no prestige tubing in my herd to go against. Haha
What kind of a groupset and bars will the specilized have?
I started off official grown-up road bike life with a gifted (for helping a family move out of state) 51cm '85 Schwinn World Sport, and have slowly explored nicer and nicer tubesets and components since then. The Prestige stuff has only been on race bikes, so I/we have to look at tubing on the touring bikes.

For comparison, I've built and ridden an '84 Miyata 610 (DB cromo, hi-ten), an '82 Miyata 1000 (DB cromo throughout), an '81 Trek 710 (DB 531 throughout), a '74 Paramount (DB 531 throughout), and a pair of Cannondale STs. IMO, the ST is well within its right to be considered among the top-end tourers. The Cannondale's front end geometry lends a certain grace to the way it handles and steers. In that regard it would be most similar to the Miyata 1000. The Trek and Paramount have more neutral steering but both have Cadillac rides. The ST with its aluminum frame is obviously tauter than any of the steel, so it's ready to move when you really want to, but the long wheelbase ensures an even keel in normal riding conditions. There's plenty of comfort to be had in its ride.

All that to say, you aren't giving up anything with an ST provided it's set up with a nice saddle and tires (the same way it'd be with a nice steel touring frame) and the fitment measurements are ideal for you. I should mention that all but the Miyata 610 I used the same tires (Conti Ultra-Race folding 700x32s) and almost all of them the same rims those tires mounted to. Fairly apples-to-apples, IMO.

As for the build up of the likely-a-Sirrus, I will probably take parts off my '85 Paramount (gasp!). I never weighed the Paramount's frameset (not super light though) before, and it's the same size as the Sirrus at 62cm CTT. I know the Paramount's ride and handling qualities, and I do like them, save for the less playful nature out of the saddle (Impulse and Prologue have shown me the light there). So it will be a not-simultaneous "Battle of the 62s." I have a 70-72° angle 26.0mm stem currently on the Paramount, and it angles down even with the Paramount's 73° head tube angle. With a 74° head tube angle, I may have to switch stem and/or bars because as much as I'd simply like to swap everything over in one easy swoop, I refuse to compromise the aesthetic, especially if I end up liking the bike that the parts are now on. Do it right, once...unless the plan is a super rough draft for single-issue testing (like canti brake power and quietness, which I've stalled on doing with my '91 Cannondale ST).
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Old 10-14-18, 05:52 PM
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Parts Swap

And so it begins, the building up of the Sirrus.

Looks like I finally have the answer to "why was there so much paint and material scraped off the bottom of the brake bridge? Keep in mind these are 23mm tires!!


Man, there is just no room here. Also, I still really like this paint.


Mid-build-up.
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Old 10-14-18, 06:18 PM
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In the end, it was a casual "down and back" to build this bike up, and I needed only 1 hr 15 min to complete the task. [take the parts down off one frame, and put them back on another]

Final weight came at a healthy 10.21 kg or 22.47 lb. Boy do I sound lame, slightly begrudging a fully STI-equipped bike at only 22.47 lb. My '85 Paramount was just over a pound lighter, so there you go. In the general scheme of things, 22.5 lb is light and more than acceptable for a vintage roadie with STIs/Ergos.

The test ride for this bike went well. A very good "introduction" that concluded with me needing to only make very minor adjustments. The extra weight of the frameset did not hamper the bike's performance. It never felt harsh--just the opposite. Sure-footed, stable, very solid, yet comfortable and accommodating over quite crummy pavement. Quite eager to dance and rock out of the saddle--much more so than my '85 Paramount which gave this Sirrus its components--and it didn't matter where you were in the gear (behind or on top of it). For steering, it was lighter and smooth at low speeds and "swooping" at high speeds. Lean into it at 20 mph, and feel it perform the 'dive' you want and then swoop up and out of the lean/curve.

This bike basically channeled my Davidson Impulse. Eerily similar! So when I got back home, I immediately hopped on the Impulse for a back-to-back test. Indeed my feeling was correct, though in the end, the Impulse proved superior as it was even lighter and more playful upon out-of-the-saddle acceleration and climbing. The Impulse's steering is a touch lighter at lower speeds and remarkably neutral through a faster turn. Some bikes 'take' your front wheel on an aggressive turn and others loudly communicate that "you steer it!" The Sirrus feels heavier, the Davidson more lithe, which makes sense. Enthusiastic out-of-the-saddle behavior is an appreciated characteristic of mine, of which the Impulse and Schwinn Prologue are supreme at manifesting. Steering characteristics are their own thing, and I typically have no preference, preferring to enjoy that part of a particular bike.

I fully endorse someone getting a vintage Sirrus as they will be rewarded with quite a bike!

As to the fate of this Sirrus, I honestly don't know. It's similarity to the Davidson puts it in an odd position. Hilariously, both bikes are 1) white 2) Campy headset-quipped yet... 3) with Shimano drivetrains 4) have black wheels/a general "panda" color scheme 5) minimal (to none) with graphics. In a lot of ways, the Sirrus is a junior Impulse from my experience here. High praise, but I may just find myself choosing the Impulse as it's "the better bike." Again, this is some proper first world problems stuff. The Sirrus would be just fine as a person's or my only bike. As to the "Battle of the 62s" it...sank the Paramount, at least when it comes to what I like from a bike. Dang.

Picture of the assembled Sirrus. Pardon the saddle angle (tilted back after settling) and handlebar angle (looked more normal when building it). Good looking bike for sure.
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Old 10-14-18, 11:56 PM
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Nice writeup, Dan. I live vicariously through you on these things and always appreciate your thoughtful analysis. Also makes me want to finally dig out and put all my 'modern' (Ultegra 9-speed/Ksyrium wheels, etc) parts I've been picking up here and there onto some old steel frame.

Maybe I should finally say the hell with it and build my Merckx that way so I can stop *****ing about the terminal mediocrity of the C-Record stuff that's currently holding it back. Something's gotta give, there.
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Old 10-15-18, 08:44 AM
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Looks great! I'm typically not a fan of white bikes, but that thing has class.
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Old 10-18-18, 10:11 PM
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As I as reading your initial descriptions and pictures I kept thinking, “This looks just like my ‘88 Sirrus with a repaint.” And I would never question a @T-Mar serial number reference.

PS - I see you now, @Hailstorm_7 - welcome to the forums!
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Old 10-19-18, 08:27 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by mountaindave View Post
As I as reading your initial descriptions and pictures I kept thinking, “This looks just like my ‘88 Sirrus with a repaint.” And I would never question a @T-Mar serial number reference.

PS - I see you now, @Hailstorm_7 - welcome to the forums!
Thanks, Dave.
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Old 10-19-18, 06:30 PM
  #20  
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Is that paint Peugeot-ish ?
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Old 10-21-18, 09:58 PM
  #21  
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Thanks, guys! Sorry for the slow response--I was out of town visiting family for much of the last week (which was a lot of fun) and was thus unable to access BF. The Sirrus is indeed a classy looking bike, especially if you put shiny pieces on it! I am leaning toward the Sirrus frameset's fate being that of residence in a new loving home. It's been fully gone through, built up, and vetted, and is thus worthy to continue to be on the road, providing many smiles to its new owner. From Shimano 105 and a clamp-on FD to C-Record Campagnolo and a braze-on FD mount--movin' on up!
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