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Best Specialized Allez steel frame

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Best Specialized Allez steel frame

Old 10-29-21, 11:32 PM
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Allezedly
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Best Specialized Allez steel frame

I went into the Costa Mesa, CA Specialized store looking for a bike to ride 1.2 miles (2.4 miles round trip) to my daughter’s school. I didn’t see any bikes for sale that I liked but they did have a very stylish bike featured prominently on the wall: a classically-styled Allez in great condition. After browsing the store, this was the only bike that appealed to me at all. I asked about buying it and was told it wasn’t for sale; it is owned by one of the staff members. I left and went to several other bike shops, but I couldn’t get that Allez out of my head.

I returned a few days later and asked to talk to the owner of the bike. He mentioned that his was a 1984. He also mentioned that an 1986 would be better because of better tubing. I went home and did some research. It seems like in 1986 they might have used Tange Prestige. Then I did more research and found that Specialized obfuscated which tubesets they used and might have used different ones even within a single model year.

Online I found a 1993 Allez Pro that was $275. Not in the greatest condition but nothing a respray, tune-up, and new wheelset couldn’t fix. I am a bit disappointed that it isn’t red, and further disappointed that the tubing is “oversized” which I understand to mean that it’s 1/8th inch wider in diameter. I also understand that it is 0.1mm or maybe 0.2mm thicker tubing than the “best” available, so maybe not as high quality or the best strength/weight. On the plus side, I understand that this has the DiNucci lugs, which do seem to be better than the earlier models’.

I have been riding this bike around and it is a great amount of fun and feels lightning fast. (My last bike was a 2010 Specialized Sirrus “whatever is cheapest,” that I used to commute on 2010-2012.) Now I’m actually planning to use the bike as a road bike. However, due to some fit issue, I’m considering trying to find another Allez in a slightly smaller size. I am again wondering: Which (steel) Allez frame is the best, and why?

Is the oversized tubing in the 1993 Allez Pro used for cost-cutting or because it performs better? How does the weight of the 1993 Allez Pro frame/fork compare to the weights of earlier ones? How had the Allez geometry changed over time, and in which specific years? Aesthetically, I like the narrower tubing, but I’d hate to get worse performance, and I do love the DiNucci lugs.

Also, the 3rencho ones seem to be the most sought after, and the mid 80’s ones see to have runner-up appeal. Will the 1993/4 Allez Pro become a collector’s item? The “steel is real” crowd will have difficulty with the aluminum fork, but the novelty of the steel/aluminum combo is probably appealing to others.

If you have info about the details of which years/models used which steel, which years changed the geometry, or any other details, please share. If you have opinions, don’t be shy. Note that I am open to other brands/models but I am hoping to keep this conversation focused on the Allez and any other bikes that used the same exact frames (e.g. I read that in the late 80’s, Sirrus used the same frame).

Last edited by Allezedly; 10-30-21 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 10-30-21, 12:44 AM
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Allez are well-liked in many C&V circles, and yes the 3Rensho built ones are highly desirable. But maybe not for someone looking for ride it a bunch.

How else would you describe the allure of the Allez in that shop, the one not for sale?

A great many bikes would fit you well, and you might enjoy another C&V offering that is just as well constructed as an Allez, maybe even better.
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Old 10-30-21, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by billytwosheds View Post
Allez are well-liked in many C&V circles, and yes the 3Rensho built ones are highly desirable. But maybe not for someone looking for ride it a bunch.
I've heard that some people find 3Rensho bikes to be too stiff. I don't think I've heard that specifically about the 3Rensho-built Allez, but I read it somewhere about 3Rensho bikes sold under their own brand. Is that what you're referring to?

I have a 3Rensho-built Allez, and I enjoy it a lot.



These are relatively uncommon, but someone looking for one would probably find one within a few years. Frankly, apart from the historical interest of the Yoshi Konno connection, I think the non-3Rensho Allez from this same period is probably very nearly as good, possibly indistinguishable while riding. Those are much easier to find. Specialized worked very closely with the Japanese shops that built them to ensure quality and attention to detail. I've got an '82 Sequoia that I love riding. The tubing on that one is some mix of tubes, mostly Tange #2 but with a (thicker) Tange #3 downtube. The reason Specialized "obfuscated" which tubes they were using is that Japanese tubesets were not highly respected in the American market, despite being excellent quality. Specialized set out to make very high quality bikes, and the frame designers (Tim Neenan, initially, joined soon thereafter by Jim Merz and later Mark DiNucci) put care into their tubing selection. I'm sure cost was also considered, but all of the early Specialized bikes had good quality tubing. Honestly, most people (myself included) would be hard pressed to tell the difference between different types of tubing above a certain quality level. Other build characteristics are far more important.

My personal opinion is that the iconic red color of the Allez makes it worth choosing one of the red ones over something later that isn't red, even if the later bike had lighter or more highly prized tubing. Seriously. The color will make you smile much more often than the difference between Tange #2 and Tange Prestige would.

There's a 1982 review of the Allez (and Sequoia) here: Road Test/Bike Review (1982) SPECIALIZED Sequoia and Allez

That review seems to say that the Allez had the same tubing as the Sequoia. Specialized labeled them differently, but I doubt that means anything.
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Old 10-30-21, 08:09 AM
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I'll throw my '83 3Rensho Allez out there as well . Finest steel frame I've ever owned and no, not too stiff. Mine has a beautiful springy ride that tracks exceptionally well at high speed yet is also very nimble.
These were built head-to-toe with Ishiwata 019 and are light frames. For instance, my 63cm frame, below weighs the same as a 61cm Trek 760 built with Reynolds 531C.

They are quite rare as only 75-80 were built per year from 81-84 (based upon my research). You buy one if you find one


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Old 10-30-21, 09:09 AM
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Larger diameter tubes have a greater section modulus, meaning that they will be stiffer for a given wall thickness than a smaller diameter tube. It's possible to design a frame with larger diameter tubes that is both stiffer and lighter than a frame made with standard diameter tubing.

The larger is stiffer philosophy dates back to the early Klein aluminum frames of the late 1970s. The problem of adopting it for steel was that it required either fillet brazing or a special set of dedicated lugs. In the mid-1980s ATB manufacturers started manufacturing steel frame with TIG welding, freeing them from conventional tube angles, shapes and diameters. The advantages of oversize tubing quickly became appreciated and road manufacturers started adopting TIG welded oversize steel circa 1990. Some companies, like SBI, had the financial resources for custom designed, oversize lugs.

It would be strange for Specilaized to introduce a improved frame that was actually heavier and evidence indcates it was competitive with other top models of the era. In 1993 Road Bike Action magazine did a road test on an Allez Pro where the reported weight for a 56cm frame was stated to be 3.63 lbs. That's pretty light. For comparison, Bicycling magazine weighed a 56cm Epic carbon fibre frame at 3.46 lbs. and a De Rosa Primato 56cm frame with Columbus EL OS at 4.0 lbs. So, the Allez Pro is no overweight coach potato.

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Old 10-30-21, 10:19 AM
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How can you tell if an Allez is 3Rensho built? Stickers / castings?
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Old 10-30-21, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
How can you tell if an Allez is 3Rensho built? Stickers / castings?
There are a few differences but the most noticeable is the offset fork crown,
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Old 10-30-21, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
How can you tell if an Allez is 3Rensho built? Stickers / castings?
There are a few tell-tale signs. EO Medalist bottom bracket w/out a serial number (none of the 3rensho built Allez's have serial numbers) and stamped with the frame size. Long point beautiful custom lugwork. Offset fork crown is another dead give away. A couple of the years - I belive 83/84 - drops outs were campy. 81/82 I believe these were Shimano.






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Old 10-30-21, 10:38 AM
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Is the 1993/4 Allez Pro frame the lightest steel Allez frame with a horizontal top bar, ignoring the head set and fork? I know they released a “retro” Allez Steel Double much later. Was its frame lighter?
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Old 10-30-21, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Allezedly View Post
Is the 1993/4 Allez Pro frame the lightest steel Allez frame with a horizontal top bar, ignoring the head set and fork? I know they released a “retro” Allez Steel Double much later. Was its frame lighter?
There was a really fancy limited edition Anniversary model, which I think was pretty nice, unsure of weight though.
https://road.cc/content/news/129032-...ez-steel-frame

Then there was the double steel, which was relatively pedestrian TIGed Reynolds 520, which probably weren't that light.
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/al...Text=9010-9156

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Old 10-30-21, 10:48 AM
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Regarding the red color, I agree 100% that red seems like the right color. I bought my silver Allez Pro with the intention to strip the paint, de-rust, and have it professionally resprayed red. My understanding is that you could buy the Allez Pro as a full bike in silver, or as just a frame set in red, so changing the color shouldn’t be considered a crime. The main question is exactly which red paint to use. I suppose most old Allez have faded or otherwise changed shade. Is the red of a modern red Specialized bike the same as in the 80’s, so that I could go into the store with some paint samples and match? Is there a Pantone code for “Specialized Red?”
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Old 10-30-21, 10:53 AM
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Thanks. I forgot the Double Steel is not lugged. The lugs are a hard requirement for me. I don’t line the welded look.
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Old 10-30-21, 10:58 AM
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Regarding the stiff ride: Back when these bikes were new, skinny tires at high PSI were standard, so people cared about frame and wheel and fork contributions to comfort a lot. I am going to try to address comfort in the rear of the bike with the tires (25mm at least, or maybe move the brake bridge to accommodate 28mm), tubes, 17c+ rims, seat, and seat post. Then the stiffer the better, AFAICT.
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Old 10-30-21, 11:38 AM
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When it comes to bicycles, IMHO nothing what one does to their bikes is never a crime (other than rebranding and passing it off as somethig that it is not).....I have a "Red" Allez and would be happy to find a "Silver" Pro.
Best, Ben
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Old 10-30-21, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Allezedly View Post
Regarding the stiff ride: Back when these bikes were new, skinny tires at high PSI were standard, so people cared about frame and wheel and fork contributions to comfort a lot. I am going to try to address comfort in the rear of the bike with the tires (25mm at least, or maybe move the brake bridge to accommodate 28mm), tubes, 17c+ rims, seat, and seat post. Then the stiffer the better, AFAICT.
I’m not suggesting that you should use spray paint, but when I got my Allez some previous owner had sanded the paint off of the lugs, the fork crown, and filed off most of the braze-ons. I found that Rust-Oleum Cherry Red was a perfect match.





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Old 10-30-21, 12:20 PM
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The only original part on my 1987 Team Allez is the frame, but being built by Tesch and painted by Baylis make it pretty special.
SLX tube and something around 64 built.
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Old 10-30-21, 04:40 PM
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Would love to see your silver allez pro. Is the logo on the downtube yellow or pink? and what size is it? asking since you mentioned the possibility of not keeping it... I've been wanting an Allez Pro for quite a while now, as this was my first bike (got stolen!). Mine was similar to the one Randyjawa displayed on his MyTenSpeed website. Absolutely loved it. It's the only Allez color scheme that I prefer to the classic red one. But this might just be because of my past love affair. I had found the beast abandoned at the dump!
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Old 10-30-21, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
How can you tell if an Allez is 3Rensho built? Stickers / castings?
If you're lucky, the yellow tubing stickers sometimes do actually have 3Rensho in very small print. Not on all of them however.
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Old 10-30-21, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AngryFrankie View Post
If you're lucky, the yellow tubing stickers sometimes do actually have 3Rensho in very small print. Not on all of them however.
It's true, though I wouldn't trust this if the other markers weren't there.



The offset fork crown is the dead giveaway, though it can be hard to confirm in pictures if they're taken at an angle. I think they also always have chrome dropouts. The dropouts on mine (an '83, I think) are Shimano. Caompangolo dropouts seem to be more common for 3Rensho-built Allez.
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Old 10-31-21, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jonny7 View Post
Would love to see your silver allez pro. Is the logo on the downtube yellow or pink? and what size is it? asking since you mentioned the possibility of not keeping it.
I was told it’s a 56cm. All the lettering is yellow. I think that means it is a 1993, based on looking at old catalogs; I’d love to be corrected if I’m wrong about this inference. I cannot post phots yet because I am too new. I’m not planning to sell it unless/until I get a new bike.
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Old 10-31-21, 08:48 AM
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When I was flipping bikes ,many hundreds, I had two of those come to me. Not my size so they left quick but at first I couldn't figure why they looked odd to me. Some one pointed out the fork offset and then it was easy to see.
I don't think Allez was a big seller in my area as I did not see many of them.
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Old 10-31-21, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Allezedly View Post
I was told it’s a 56cm. All the lettering is yellow. I think that means it is a 1993, based on looking at old catalogs; I’d love to be corrected if I’m wrong about this inference. I cannot post phots yet because I am too new. I’m not planning to sell it unless/until I get a new bike.
From my understanding Silver/Gold combo was the only one avaiable for the 1993 Allez Pro. My first Allez (the one I mentioned above) was Greyish-Pink. I've never managed its exact year of fabrication. Only have bad pictures on my laptop:



But I once bought an Allez Pro which surely was a 1993. Sadly when the bike arrived I realized the rear triangle was badly damaged:

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Old 10-31-21, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Allezedly View Post
Is the 1993/4 Allez Pro frame the lightest steel Allez frame with a horizontal top bar, ignoring the head set and fork? I know they released a “retro” Allez Steel Double much later. Was its frame lighter?
Originally Posted by Allezedly View Post
Regarding the stiff ride: Back when these bikes were new, skinny tires at high PSI were standard, so people cared about frame and wheel and fork contributions to comfort a lot. I am going to try to address comfort in the rear of the bike with the tires (25mm at least, or maybe move the brake bridge to accommodate 28mm), tubes, 17c+ rims, seat, and seat post. Then the stiffer the better, AFAICT.

Caring about weight is a tough balance. It's an easy mark to focus on since it it measurable, but it is widely overblown when comparing a couple of quality frames.
One frame weighing 1730g and the other weighing 1880g is something that will be incredibly difficult to sense, assuming both have identical geometry.

Oh, and don't move the brake bridge. If the frame doesn't fit the tire size you need, buy buy different frame. That isn't some easy change.
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Old 10-31-21, 12:15 PM
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If the OP suapects a clearance issue with the brake brak bridge and larger tyre,then moving the brake bridge may not buy extra clearance as there will likely be just as much of a clearance issue with the seat tube and the chainstays. The Allez Pro has vertical dropouts, so you can't just shift the wheel rearward in the axle slots to buy extra clearance in these areas. The frame modifcations will severely devalue the frame.
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Old 10-31-21, 02:36 PM
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I don't really think you can go wrong with a lugged steel Allez, as long as it fits. I've got a late '84 Miyata built Allez that is probably my favourite ride. The early to mid '90s models with the OS 8/5/8 butted tubing are nice. I have three of them and I should probably find a twelve step program to stop fixing them when I find one.

The '80s Sirrus, as far as I can tell, was very similar or identical to the Allez other than the groupset it was fitted with. I've got a couple of those in the rotation too.
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