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Specialized CF Epic Road bike. Do I have to worry about 30 y/o CF?

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Specialized CF Epic Road bike. Do I have to worry about 30 y/o CF?

Old 09-07-21, 12:05 PM
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Specialized CF Epic Road bike. Do I have to worry about 30 y/o CF?



Anyone have one of these? Before I went to look at the bike, I assumed it was lugged steel. Still wanted it because of the full Campy group, but was curious if I had to worry about 30 y/o CF.

edit: also, a good place to find replacement hoods for the Campy stratos brifters?
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Old 09-07-21, 12:11 PM
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Nab it if it fits. Your major areas of concern will be the bonded joints, which should give you plenty of warning before a failure. Ride it but chase down any creaks or groans to see where they're coming from. Pay close attention to any obvious points of impact.

Trek had a series of bonded carbon bikes as well in the early 90's with the usual complaint being that the ride can be harsh. Trek only had the main triangle as CF, while the fork and stays were aluminum. Current wisdom is that the main triangle can be aluminum or steel, while the stays and fork are carbon for their greater flexibility.
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Old 09-07-21, 03:06 PM
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Hmmmm.

Originally Posted by dpicare26 View Post


Anyone have one of these? Before I went to look at the bike, I assumed it was lugged steel. Still wanted it because of the full Campy group, but was curious if I had to worry about 30 y/o CF.

edit: also, a good place to find replacement hoods for the Campy stratos brifters?
I used a mid-90's 2120 which certainly spent a lot of time outside exposed to UV, (as the clear coat was ratty), and likely some time soaking in sea water, (as evidenced by the corrosion of the aluminum bits, the likes of which I'd never seen.) After cleaning and refreshing it became my "Beater Bike" and it never let me down, no matter how much I overloaded it. Trek used overbuilt CF "tubes" because they had no clear notion of their durability, (CF being a new material in a new application). Experimenting on Customers can be Costly!

I've read where very early ones had "separation issues" at the BB joints, so keep an eye for that. Like the guy said falling as he passed the eighth floor window when asked how it was going, "so far, so good!"

I've retired the frame as I found the ride "uninspiring." But it did survive my abuse! And I can be quite abusive, to wit:

Originally Posted by onyerleft View Post
CF holds up better over time than steel due to rusting. The only possible exception is if the bike is left out in the sun for years on end (UV rays), which obviously isn't the case here. Just sayin.
I am unaware of any Scientific Evidence supporting these assertions.

Steel and Aluminum have long, rigorously documented histories of being used in stressful environments for extended durations.
CF, not so much. Early CF used a variety of epoxies to bind the carbon fibers. There were no SOPs for the production of the fibers, either, at that time. CF has only been used in Bicycles since the early 1970s.
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Old 09-07-21, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by onyerleft View Post
CF holds up better over time than steel due to rusting. The only possible exception is if the bike is left out in the sun for years on end (UV rays), which obviously isn't the case here. Just sayin.
This is complete BS/uninformed statement in terms of steel holding up due to rusting. lots of people on this forum are riding 40,50,60 plus year frames

any bike left out in the elements for years on end is going to have problems, but even then I would personally bet on the steel being more able to get back to runnin.
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Old 09-07-21, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
This is complete BS/uninformed statement in terms of steel holding up due to rusting. lots of people on this forum are riding 40,50,60 plus year frames

any bike left out in the elements for years on end is going to have problems, but even then I would personally bet on the steel being more able to get back to runnin.
Don't take it seriously. It was a troll post, as are most of the person's posts.
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Old 09-07-21, 07:07 PM
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Uhmmm.... make sure the bike was not regularly put away wet after rides. Moisture is one of the things that can kill the glued bond between the lugs and frame tubes, due to galvanic corrosion between the CF and aluminum.
If you see dark crud creeping out between the tube and lug seams.......run away....
Some lugged CF bike were worse with this than others, but the good news is, IIRC, Specialized did make some effort to improve the seal between the elements and the lug seams by painting over the lugs on their later version of this bike. Plus, I think they also added isolating material (I think it was fiberglass) between the lug sockets and the CF tube ends to minimize chances of corrosion.

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Old 09-08-21, 12:47 PM
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I've been through 2 Epic CF frames, back before I decided steel was the material for me. Both failed at the bottom bracket/down tube joint due to galvanic corrosion/dissimilar materials The first one was a first generation Specialized CF, the second generation supposedly "fixed" this per @Chombi1's post. This was a second gen model, check to see if there's any bubbling of the clear coat at all of the joints. If not, it's good (for now).
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Old 09-08-21, 03:43 PM
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Thanks for all who have replied so far. As for the hood replacement. It seems like the Campy Stratos were only used for one year (1994) before Stratos was replaced with Avanti. So not sure if I can find the exact hoods I need. I have never really worked with Campy, so don't know much about their compatibility. These hoods look like my best bet. agreed?

Edit: they (EC-RE500) seem to be sold out everywhere. I'm ok with a knock-off, like Hudz, but I can't seem to find what I need with them, either.

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Old 09-08-21, 04:33 PM
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I had a 1989 "Epic Allez" carbon bike. I rode the crap out of it and then sold the frame in 2002. The problem was with these early "bonded" carbon lugged frames is that a bonded joint would eventually fail, usually catrastrophically. I do not know if they fixed that with later models but it was a real issue through at least 90 or 91.

On a side note I replaced that with a 2002 Pegoretti Palo Santo. What an eye opening difference! That steel bike was such a joy to ride. Looking back now I think that the carbon bike was starting to feel a little dead and the Pego was just so good! That experience sold me forever on steel!
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Old 09-08-21, 04:43 PM
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The painted lugs/tubes are the generally assumed safer or fixed ones. I had one of these as well. Aside from some fisheye bubbling here and there in the clearcoat, it was in great shape. Totally silent, and a wonderful ride! 60cm (62cm CTT more or less) was too small for me (saddle to bar drop too much), but one if large enough, would have been a keeper. Lovely steering and handling as well. Great comfort, aluminum fork included (I've had Cannondale road/race frames around this time, also with aluminum forks, and those forks felt good--never harsh). That red one you're considering is beautiful!

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Old 09-09-21, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
This is complete BS/uninformed statement in terms of steel holding up due to rusting. lots of people on this forum are riding 40,50,60 plus year frames

any bike left out in the elements for years on end is going to have problems, but even then I would personally bet on the steel being more able to get back to runnin.
I could not agree more. I'm definitely a steel-phile.
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Old 09-09-21, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
I had a 1989 "Epic Allez" carbon bike. I rode the crap out of it and then sold the frame in 2002. The problem was with these early "bonded" carbon lugged frames is that a bonded joint would eventually fail, usually catrastrophically. I do not know if they fixed that with later models but it was a real issue through at least 90 or 91.

On a side note I replaced that with a 2002 Pegoretti Palo Santo. What an eye opening difference! That steel bike was such a joy to ride. Looking back now I think that the carbon bike was starting to feel a little dead and the Pego was just so good! That experience sold me forever on steel!
I believe this is a 1994. thanks for the perspective.
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Old 09-09-21, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
The painted lugs/tubes are the generally assumed safer or fixed ones. I had one of these as well. Aside from some fisheye bubbling here and there in the clearcoat, it was in great shape. Totally silent, and a wonderful ride! 60cm (62cm CTT more or less) was too small for me (saddle to bar drop too much), but one if large enough, would have been a keeper. Lovely steering and handling as well. Great comfort, aluminum fork included (I've had Cannondale road/race frames around this time, also with aluminum forks, and those forks felt good--never harsh). That red one you're considering is beautiful!

Very nice!

This bike in question is also too small for me. I normally don't see vintage specialized bikes come up too often, so this piqued my interest. Also, it's always good to have a project.

A friend of mine recently expressed interest in training for a triathlon. He does not have a bike. Of course, he has asked if he could borrow one of mine. Being a good friend, I said yes. But I'm still apprehensive, so have been looking at a possible entry bike for him to train with.
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Old 09-09-21, 04:06 PM
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I had a '96 which I rode until it got stolen in 2014. Great bike with no frame issues.
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Old 09-10-21, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Uhmmm.... make sure the bike was not regularly put away wet after rides. Moisture is one of the things that can kill the glued bond between the lugs and frame tubes, due to galvanic corrosion between the CF and aluminum.
If you see dark crud creeping out between the tube and lug seams.......run away....
Some lugged CF bike were worse with this than others, but the good news is, IIRC, Specialized did make some effort to improve the seal between the elements and the lug seams by painting over the lugs on their later version of this bike. Plus, I think they also added isolating material (I think it was fiberglass) between the lug sockets and the CF tube ends to minimize chances of corrosion.
I had it completely disassembled this morning. I compressed the seat stays and chainstays and tried to stress the frame in other ways. I did not find anything out of the ordinary. Also, the BB was in incredible shape, leading me to believe it was never exposed to the elements for a period of time. I think it will be fine.
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