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Specialized Epic Carbon / AL?

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Specialized Epic Carbon / AL?

Old 02-14-15, 07:24 PM
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Johnny 831
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Specialized Epic Carbon / AL?

Not sure this is the thread for this bike, but it's an older Specialized Epic with carbon fiber tubing, and AL forks. All shimano components with Arraya 700c rims, guessing late 80s early 90s. I usually go for older bikes, but this one was interesting and super light. Any thoughts are appreciated, cheers!

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Old 02-14-15, 07:59 PM
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Moved from C&V Appraisals to C&V.
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Old 02-14-15, 08:09 PM
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In its day it was a cutting edge bike. Light and affordable. Specialized sponsored a great team that rode them. Then if I recall they had some issues with the top tube separating at the head tube, or maybe breaking.

Definitely an early look into the future of frames.
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Old 02-15-15, 02:32 PM
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I see no reason to doubt it.
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Old 02-15-15, 03:21 PM
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I had the same bike with yellow lettering. Fast, light, but a bit of frame flex during climbing. Never an issue with tubes.
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Old 02-15-15, 05:15 PM
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I remember selling these back in the day. If I recall correctly they were built for Specialized by Giant. The lugs are designed to fit inside the tubes as well as on the outside of the tube by the "lug" so the bonding surface was very good. The Giant 980C is built the same way and neither bikes had issues with the lugs separating from the tubes. The Trek Composite series bikes had trouble with that, and I had one of them! Flex of these frames was there, but one had to be really digging into it to get them to move, ie, climbing hard or in a real sprint. Overall, they produced a very satisfying ride for early carbon and handled well.
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Old 02-15-15, 05:25 PM
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I rode one of those for four years back when they were new (93 or so). As mentioned, it's a flexy climber. It was also very comfortable on the road despite the aluminum fork. With one of today's 1 inch carbon forks installed, it would be silky smooth. I managed to scare myself a few times on fast descents when the front brake and comparatively stiff aluminum fork would conspire to create lateral flex into the frame on corners. When that flex "unloaded" it would sometimes cause the front wheel to break loose for just a second (a mini high side if you're accustomed to motorcycles at all). But, if you don't plan on going at great speed on descents to get every ounce of speed then no worries. It would be a great century bike, even by today's standards.
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Old 02-15-15, 05:27 PM
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I have always like the look of those lugged carbon Specialized and Giant bikes. I've thought about buying one when I've seen them for sale (or frameset) but then I get scared off about comments I've heard about lugs separating from tubes and overall fragility/lifespan of "early carbon".
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Old 02-15-15, 05:34 PM
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That's what people don't seem to know, that the tubes on many early CF bikes actually went into a socket that has both an inner and outer walls at the aluminum lugs. So it was a much stronger bond than most imagined it would be. Back that up with a threaded section like they did with ALANs and a locking aluminum threaded plugs at the inside of the BB shell as they did on the CF ALANs, you pretty much had to destroy the bike entirely to pull off the tubes from the lugs. Other manufacturers like Giant, Trek and Specialized did not have these mechanical locking features at their bonded joints, but I think, as long as the bike is not put away "wet" after rides, corrosion between the tubes and the lugs will be avoided and the glued bonds will stay mostly good for the life of the frame.
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Old 02-15-15, 05:42 PM
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This is motivating! To be honest, my lady had to convince me to buy it for $80. I grew up in Santa Cruz where I believe Specialized originated, so I guess I have some weird bias. I generally go for older, more obscure brands and in my mind have been shrugging off the idea of carbon fiber bikes. It is really really light tho! So had to give it a chance. Currently set up as a 14 speed? 2x7, and I noticed the "9 speed" front derailleur, so I might try to find a 9 speed rear cassette, or triple in the front? Not sure just yet.

Thank you guys for the comments, fixing it up this evening Should be riding it by mid week if schedule permits. Getting new cables, grip, tires asap, the rest looks pretty solid. My lady is actually looking to ride it as well, as an upgrade from here Motobecane mixte that is awesome, but a little heavy and she would like to step up here mileage. We also have a Panasonic DX5000, and Bianchi Sport SX that are in her size, so we are in good shape for spring / summer. Cheers!
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Old 02-15-15, 05:59 PM
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I've been riding my allez for quite a number of years now with no problem at all.
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Old 02-16-15, 01:31 AM
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I remember that the old Bicycling magazine had a frame-testing machine, and published the flex specifications of the bikes that they road-tested.

The Centurion carbon bike was the flexiest frame they had tested, and the Specialized Epic was one of the stiffest.

I believe that the frame and fork were tested as a unit.

I've had a couple of these and they feel light, stiff, fast. My Centurion Carbon is more comfortable, but the frame feels flexier and the steering less precise and responsive.

I say they're all good. An Epic's aluminum fork is strong and weighs a light 510g.

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Old 02-16-15, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
The Centurion carbon bike was the flexiest frame they had tested

My Centurion Carbon is more comfortable, but the frame feels flexier and the steering less precise and responsive.
Based on my experience, an understatement.

You could wiggle the bars, and it would seem like a simple harmonic vibration would ensue.
You could also get a gyro effect at the fork. I would get visions of that famous film clip with the bridge flopping up and down like ribbon.

However, like Chrome Molly says, as a century bike, few things have been as smooth and comfortable over 100 miles as the Ironman Carbon I had.

On my "test corner," though, anything over 25mph was very close to contact between the fork and front tire.
This, of course, would result in a serious high-side. I avoided this, and never "dived" into that corner again, on that bike.
On the bright side, I took the Vredestein Fortezza Tri-Comp tires off of it, didn't seem to make sense to handcuff a tire like that.

I sold my 56cm Ironman Carbon to a guy who wanted a "workout bike." He rode it around the parking lot, loved it.
He called a couple of days later and said "I simply cannot ride this." I understood (he was a triathlete), and refunded.

Of course, then I built him a steel Ironman tri-bike. Once the kool-aid is tasted, sometimes only a flavor change is needed.
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Old 02-17-15, 11:44 AM
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Thanks for that data point, Robbie.

Although I noted that my Ironman Carbon seemingly lacks the steering precision of most my other bikes, and had a softest-of-all ride character (like a Trek 720 or Alan), I never have had a problem pushing this bike around at speed.

But your mention of the fork flex would seem to explain this, as mine has had a Look fork installed by a previous owner. The earlier Look forks were very flexible, but this one not so much.
And the light 510g Aluminum Epic forks certainly don't seem to flex excessively.
I remember Teledyne bikes with flexible titanium forks also being described as nearly-unridable (funny how the spell-check doesn't think ridable, rideable or unridable are words).

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