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Specialized Expedition

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Specialized Expedition

Old 09-29-23, 08:08 PM
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Specialized Expedition

Over the summer I finally admitted to myself that my Surly Crosscheck isn't the ideal touring bike. Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent bike, but because it's not purposely built as a tourer, I was never going to transform it into such a machine.

I began looking for a decent used touring bike and quickly learned that the mid -80's were the peak of touring design, function, and elegance. That got me looking for a vintage touring bike of that era: Miyata, Nishiki, Specialized, etc.

I found a local 1983 Expedition in my size. It was in mostly original condition, but with newer tires. I scooped it up and havent looked back.

Of note:
• The Expedition was made from 1983-1986. The '83 had Suntour symmetric down tube shifters. '84-86 had brazed on down tube shifters.
• Mine conforms to the Miyata serial number format.
• This is not a Miyata 1000 clone, as some other touring bikes were (such as the Univega Specialissima). I learned here in BF from PortlandJim, aka Jim Merz, that he designed the Expedition after his own touring builds. If you compare the published geometry for both bikes, the Expedition has slightly different geometry than the Miyata 1000. Finally, Jim confirmed the frame was made by Miyata in Japan for Specialized. Put together, multiple sources of information all point to the same things: not a clone but built by Miyata.

Here it is, as I got it (except I added the cage, bottle, and SPD pedals):


I've since added a Jandd Expedition rear rack that I already had, bought an Arkel lowrider for the front, changed the seat to an old but finally broken in buffalo-hyde Velo Orange touring saddle, fenders, replaced what appeared to be the stock brake pads, etc. This was on an overnight ride to Ipsut Creek, Mount Rainier National Park.


That trip taught me that the stock gearing is not for me. I changed the front middle chain ring to a 36, small ring to 24, and replaced the 6 speed 13-30 freewheel with a 7 speed IRD 13-32 freewheel. Together, I went from a low of 27 gear inches to 20 gear inches. I've also added a cheap Sunlite front rack top (that I already had) for a small platform.

​​​​​Enjoy!

Last edited by hopperja; 09-29-23 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 09-29-23, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by hopperja
Over the summer I finally admitted to myself that my Surly Crosscheck isn't the ideal touring bike. Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent bike, but because it's not purposely built as a tourer, I was never going to transform it into such a machine.

I began looking for a decent used touring bike and quickly learned that the mid -80's were the peak of touring design, function, and elegance. That got me looking for a vintage touring bike of that era: Miyata, Nishiki, Specialized, etc.

I found a local 1983 Expedition in my size. It was in mostly original condition, but with newer tires. I scooped it up and havent looked back.

Of note:
• The Expedition was made from 1983-1986. The '83 had Suntour symmetric down tube shifters. '84-86 had brazed on down tube shifters.
• Mine conforms to the Miyata serial number format.
• This is not a Miyata 1000 clone, as some other touring bikes were (such as the Univega Specialissima). I learned here in BF from PortlandJim, aka Jim Merz, that he designed the Expedition after his own touring builds. If you compare the published geometry for both bikes, the Expedition has slightly different geometry than the Miyata 1000. Finally, Jim confirmed the frame was made by Miyata in Japan for Specialized. Put together, multiple sources of information all point to the same things: not a clone but built by Miyata.

Here it is, as I got it (except I added the cage, bottle, and SPD pedals):


I've since added a Jandd Expedition rear rack that I already had, bought an Arkel lowrider for the front, changed the seat to an old but finally broken in buffalo-hyde Velo Orange touring saddle, fenders, replaced what appeared to be the stock brake pads, etc. This was on an overnight ride to Ipsut Creek, Mount Rainier National Park.


That trip taught me that the stock gearing is not for me. I changed the front middle chain ring to a 36, small ring to 24, and replaced the 6 speed 13-30 freewheel with a 7 speed IRD 13-32 freewheel. Together, I went from a low of 27 gear inches to 20 gear inches. I've also added a cheap Sunlite front rack top (that I already had) for a small platform.

​​​​​Enjoy!
Well being in the PNW, all you need to do now is luck into one of Jim's customs in your size.

The difference between the Surly and the Expedition could very well be the difference between the Expedition and a Merz, they are truly amazing.
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Old 09-29-23, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
Well being in the PNW, all you need to do now is luck into one of Jim's customs in your size.

The difference between the Surly and the Expedition could very well be the difference between the Expedition and a Merz, they are truly amazing.
It’s a shame the Jim has abandoned this forum and not available to comment regarding his perspective on the creation of this bike.
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Old 09-29-23, 10:12 PM
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Here it is on the Carbon River Bridge on the same trip, all loaded up on the way home. Somewhere down there along the river is the remains of an old coal mining town, Melmont. There are a few foundations left, but not much else.
​​​​​

Last edited by hopperja; 09-29-23 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 09-29-23, 10:53 PM
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• This is not a Miyata 1000 clone, as some other touring bikes were (such as the Univega Specialissima). I learned here in BF from PortlandJim, aka Jim Merz, that he designed the Expedition after his own touring builds. If you compare the published geometry for both bikes, the Expedition has slightly different geometry than the Miyata 1000. Finally, Jim confirmed the frame was made by Miyata in Japan for Specialized. Put together, multiple sources of information all point to the same things: not a clone but built by Miyata

Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
It’s a shame the Jim has abandoned this forum and not available to comment regarding his perspective on the creation of this bike.
OP clearly stated that Jim weighed in on this, he didn't abandon us, we screwed it up, plain and simple.
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Old 09-30-23, 01:04 AM
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You did pretty fantastic. The re-gearing is probably as ideal as it gets, anything needing lower than 20 gear inches is probably not functional enough to even stay seated on the bike.

I love my stock vintage rides but I redid my Trek 720 with 135mm mountain hubs. Them sealed bearings can go on forever and modern cassettes just offer both a much wider selection of gears and better shifting. If you keep it down to 8-speed cassettes the 8-speed chain will play nice with the old crank. For what is worth my favorite rear derailleur on modified touring rigs is the Shimano M772.
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Old 09-30-23, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
• This is not a Miyata 1000 clone, as some other touring bikes were (such as the Univega Specialissima). I learned here in BF from PortlandJim, aka Jim Merz, that he designed the Expedition after his own touring builds. If you compare the published geometry for both bikes, the Expedition has slightly different geometry than the Miyata 1000. Finally, Jim confirmed the frame was made by Miyata in Japan for Specialized. Put together, multiple sources of information all point to the same things: not a clone but built by Miyata.
So what are the differences between a like sized Expedition and Miyata 1000? From all I could find on the Expedition, which wasn't much, it seems it may have a 1.5 to 2 degree steeper seat tube in the common 54 & 56cm sizes - although it appears Specialized measured frame size CTC whereas Miyata did CTT, so a direct comparison may not be possible. Nevertheless, I'd love to find a 54cm Expedition to try to determine what the "special sauce" might be.
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Old 09-30-23, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano
So what are the differences between a like sized Expedition and Miyata 1000? From all I could find on the Expedition, which wasn't much, it seems it may have a 1.5 to 2 degree steeper seat tube in the common 54 & 56cm sizes - although it appears Specialized measured frame size CTC whereas Miyata did CTT, so a direct comparison may not be possible. Nevertheless, I'd love to find a 54cm Expedition to try to determine what the "special sauce" might be.
I just quoted the Merz part of @hopperja's post for AS's benefit, the "special sauce" would be the magic that is Merz, no need to try and figure it out.

All you have to do is drink the Kool Aid and get on board, simple as that.

IME, the plus factor always goes up whenever Jim gets involved, organically and technically, every time, without fail.

My actual point was that we screwed up and let discussions with and about Jim go off the rails and we lost him, shame on us.
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Old 09-30-23, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano
So what are the differences between a like sized Expedition and Miyata 1000? From all I could find on the Expedition, which wasn't much, it seems it may have a 1.5 to 2 degree steeper seat tube in the common 54 & 56cm sizes - although it appears Specialized measured frame size CTC whereas Miyata did CTT, so a direct comparison may not be possible. Nevertheless, I'd love to find a 54cm Expedition to try to determine what the "special sauce" might be.
Each came in different sizes, with little overlap. Miyata 1000: 50, 54, 57, 60, 63. Expedition: 47, 51, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 65, 68. I picked 60cm below to compare a couple of the measurements. (identical sizes are in bold)

There are some images on this page, one of which includes the Expedition geometry.

Miyata 1000 geometry can be found here, and a lot of other places on-line.

Yes, the geometry is very similar, but it is not the same. My point in drawing attention to this is that the Expedition is not a Miyata 1000 clone as I've often read on-line.

As an example, the Miyata 1000 (60 cm) seat tube angle is 72.5, head tube is 72, wheelbase is 1062mm. Expedition (60cm) seat tube and head tube angle is 73.5 and the wheelbase is 1067mm. I picked this data because I don't think there'd be a lot of variance in how these specific specs are measured.

Next time I'm out, I'll try to take a picture of the drive-line side and add it to the thread.
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Old 09-30-23, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano
So what are the differences between a like sized Expedition and Miyata 1000? From all I could find on the Expedition, which wasn't much, it seems it may have a 1.5 to 2 degree steeper seat tube in the common 54 & 56cm sizes - although it appears Specialized measured frame size CTC whereas Miyata did CTT, so a direct comparison may not be possible. Nevertheless, I'd love to find a 54cm Expedition to try to determine what the "special sauce" might be.
A 1.5 to 2 degree seat tube angle difference is a big deal, considering most angle measurements you will see are between 72 and 74. At least from what I have read over the years, 71 degrees would be consider incredibly slack and 75 degrees would be considered super-steep, at least in a mid-sized frame..

I'm consistently reminded and kind of amazed at how much a millimeter or a degree, or even fractions of them, can make the difference between "this is great" and "this is crap" or "this doesn't work." Case in point: seat post diameters. The classic ones come in increments of 0.2mm. Go up or down one size - 2/10ths of a millimeter different - and it simply won't work, at least not properly.

Keep in mind, I am speaking from the unique perspective of someone who has never held an unassembled tube set or a torch, much less built a frame, and I wouldn't know how to begin to design a frame from scratch. Doug Fattic would tear his hair out if I were one of his students. I've learned a thing or three about frame dimensions over the years, but if one of C&V's resident frame builders chimes in and contradicts me, believe them, not me. But I'm pretty confident that they would all agree that a 1.5 to 2 degree difference in the seat tube angle is kind of a big deal.
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Old 09-30-23, 09:12 PM
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bikingshearer Yes, I'm not an expert either, but I too think 2 degrees in seat tube angle is significant, in that it moves you approx. 2cm forward at the saddle (in a 60cm frame), not considering any change in saddle adjustment. But what is better - 72 or 74? Interestingly, many race bikes are less than 74. I think it depends on what fits a particular rider best, and that riders riding style, whether 72 or 74 degree seat post angle, for example, is better. A 74 degree seat tube angle is not unique in touring bikes in general. I believe the Schwinn Voyageur's of the '80s had steep seat tubes. Many others had shallower seat tubes.

hopperja I do think 2 degrees in seat tube angle is significant, and head tube angle, rake, trail, all of that. 5mm in wheelbase - I don't know. However, a given size Specialized - say 54cm is not the same size as a 54cm Miyata, because one is measured CTC (Specialized) and the other is measured CTT. So a 54cm Expedition is a little over 55cm if measured CTT, so comparing a 60cm Specialized to a 60cm Miyata is not a direct comparison, because they are not the same size.

merziac I think I most closely agree with you. I don't have an Expedition but I do have a 1000, and it's pretty nice, and since I have never found an Expedition in my size, I like to think they are in the same ball park. I don't think the Expedition is a Miyata clone - the don't even come in the same sizes. I just wonder what the tangible differences are. I think it really comes down to which one fits a particular rider and riders riding style best.
As far as that guy leaving the forum, well, I don't think anyone wanted him to. I'll leave that alone.

Last edited by Hobbiano; 09-30-23 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 09-30-23, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano;23030473

[utag=425004
merziac[/utag] I think I most closely agree with you. I don't have an Expedition but I do have a 1000, and it's pretty nice, and since I have never found an Expedition in my size, I like to think they are in the same ball park. I don't think the Expedition is a Miyata clone - the don't even come in the same sizes. I just wonder what the tangible differences are. I think it really comes down to which one fits a particular rider and riders riding style best.
As far as that guy leaving the forum, well, I don't think anyone wanted him to. I'll leave that alone.
Well, I would hope you're right but some of the "discussions" that Jim tried to join in were not us at our best.

Many here struggle to realize there are others who have lived and shaped much of this to what it is today, some with profound influence.

Jim very much occupies that category and should be revered as such, we failed miserably to do that.
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Old 10-02-23, 09:38 AM
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I did not know what the expedition is/was. There is one at a local co-op in the back waiting for me to go through it. I believe its a size 58, because anything bigger than a 56, I gloss over. I think it has custom racks because they weren't the usual blackburn or have any markings on them.

message me for more info.
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Old 10-02-23, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by merziac
OP clearly stated that Jim weighed in on this, he didn't abandon us, we screwed it up, plain and simple.
This may have been before my time here, how did the forum screw it up? I always did wonder why I don't see him weighing in on many posts where him or his bikes are mentioned.

OP - start posting some drive side pics!

And I thought these only went to 1985? Or were the 85 models still being sold in the 86 catalog?
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Old 10-02-23, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself
This may have been before my time here, how did the forum screw it up? I always did wonder why I don't see him weighing in on many posts where him or his bikes are mentioned.
No need to dredge specific threads: people can be abrasive passive aggressive (if not actively aggressive) @$$h0les for no good reason and to some it can get tiresome.
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Old 10-02-23, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself

...



And I thought these only went to 1985? Or were the 85 models still being sold in the 86 catalog?
Interesting. Google results seem to all link to the same story, a guy who said he got a 1986 Expedition from his uncle who bought it around the time it was new, posted at different places on-line. I am not able to find how he determined it's an '86. Here, here, and here, all appear to be the same person.

I said it was made from '83-'86, but this is purely based on what I've read on-line. I've also read it's a Miyata 1000 clone, but it's not. All that said, I have not been able to confirm it was actually made in '86. I've seen Specialized catalogue scans from '83, '84, and '85, and thus have no doubt it was made those years.

I suppose we need a link to a 1986 Specialized Catalogue scan. I can't find one.
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Old 10-02-23, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by hopperja
Interesting. Google results seem to all link to the same story, a guy who said he got a 1986 Expedition from his uncle who bought it around the time it was new, posted at different places on-line. I am not able to find how he determined it's an '86. Here, here, and here, all appear to be the same person.

I said it was made from '83-'86, but this is purely based on what I've read on-line. I've also read it's a Miyata 1000 clone, but it's not. All that said, I have not been able to confirm it was actually made in '86. I've seen Specialized catalogue scans from '83, '84, and '85, and thus have no doubt it was made those years.

I suppose we need a link to a 1986 Specialized Catalogue scan. I can't find one.
I've not needed to look for them before but have read that these catalogs are elusive. I also remember reading the 1000 clone thing, but I think I've mostly read that as debunked, as you say.

And someone was kind enough to PM me the Merz info.
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Old 10-02-23, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by abdon
No need to dredge specific threads: people can be abrasive passive aggressive (if not actively aggressive) @$$h0les for no good reason and to some it can get tiresome.
Disagree on this, if we don't take stock of events, we are likely doomed to repeat them.

We squandered this one in epic fail fashion, one of very few that come along that we sorely could not afford.

Again, shame on us.
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Old 10-02-23, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
Disagree on this, if we don't take stock of events, we are likely doomed to repeat them.

We squandered this one in epic fail fashion, one of very few that come along that we sorely could not afford.

Again, shame on us.
The fact that he was accused of intellectual property theft as well as having his contributions marginalized with no one other than myself, who was also immediately attacked, defending him sealed the fate for his continued contributions. Just a small example of the crap slung in his direction. Because he partnered with a major manufacturer to bring high quality bikes to the masses and well as supporting the development of modern tech, a vocal few accuse him of being an apostate or sellout especially to the C&V fanatics.


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Old 10-02-23, 03:50 PM
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Please, let's not continue to re-hash this. I started this thread to talk about my 1983 Expedition that I've grown very fond of over the past 300 miles. At a minimum, let's stay focused on the Expedition, generally. Thanks.
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Old 10-02-23, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by hopperja
Please, let's not continue to re-hash this. I started this thread to talk about my 1983 Expedition that I've grown very fond of over the past 300 miles. At a minimum, let's stay focused on the Expedition, generally. Thanks.
Well no one is happier than me that you have found this, it is a great find and is no surprise as we have established.

But when you touch a nerve and folks respond then it is what it is, good, bad or otherwise, sometimes we excel, sometimes we fail epically, no controlling where it goes.

You obviously benefited greatly from Jim's council and we will continue to lament his departure.
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Old 10-02-23, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by hopperja
Please, let's not continue to re-hash this. I started this thread to talk about my 1983 Expedition that I've grown very fond of over the past 300 miles. At a minimum, let's stay focused on the Expedition, generally. Thanks.
Sorry, OP, I was too curious

Keep the pics and anecdotes coming please.

Also, was wheelbase the issue with your cross check as a tourer?
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Old 10-02-23, 04:32 PM
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Now would be a good time to flood this thread with more pictures of your Expedition, OP. We haven't seen the other side (drive side).
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Old 10-02-23, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano
Now would be a good time to flood this thread with more pictures of your Expedition, OP. We haven't seen the other side (drive side).
This might be a BF first. We are 23 posts into a thread and no one has pointed out the lack of a drive side pic until now . . .
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Old 10-02-23, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
This might be a BF first. We are 23 posts into a thread and no one has pointed out the lack of a drive side pic until now . . .
I got you covered in post #14
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