A restoration project by Ted Phelps.

     There's always been a little mystery surrounding the early-to-mid 1980's Specialized Expedition. "Who actually manufactured the Expedition for Specialized?" "Was it Miyata?" "Was the Expedition's 'Special Tubing' actually Ishiwata 022?" (Continued below)

Photos captured using Olympus C-2100 UZ
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     I don't know if these questions were ever answered. But what is known, however, is that these Specialized "land yachts" were among the most sought after touring bicycles from the 1980's. The Expedition and it's very close cousin, Miyata's 1000 model, got the specs just right. From their long, but beefy, chainstays, relaxed frame geometry, special double-butted chromoly steel frames with handsome long point lug work, and all of the brazed-on fittings and eyelets for racks, bottles, and more. The Specialized Expedition even came with internal wiring for a generator and lights! These fantastic framesets were then equipped with the top-shelf componentry that made these, arguably, the best production touring bikes ever sold in the U.S. The equipment list is impressive: Satiny double-walled Super Champion 700c rims with 40 14-gauge stainless steel spokes in the rear and 36 for the front, spinning on silky Specialized hubs, top-of-the-line Sugino AT triple crankset, Specialized Nitto stem and bars, Dia Compe cantilever brakes with Suntour Superbe levers, and selected top Suntour drivetrain components. Those who were fortunate enough to own one of these elite touring machines were the envy of the rest.

     Touring bikes were a big deal back in the day. And these examples by Specialized (and Miyata) were at the top of the heap. All of the others were at least a notch or two below—even the very good Trek 520 and 720 models. That's why the Expedition and 1000 are still prized and sought after today—more than 20 years later.

     This past fall, 2005, I was very fortunate to find what looked like a very nice vintage 1983 Specialized Expedition frame and fork on Ebay. I wasn't even looking for another touring frame—my '80s Zebrakenko Touring with Ishiwata 022 tubing and all is a wonderful touring machine. But, the lure of the Expedition was drawing me. I asked a couple of questions of the seller. I was now sucked in. I placed my bid. And as is typical on Ebay, the bidding got rather hot and heavy near the end, so I placed a ridiculously high final bid in order to secure my prize—and I won! Final price: $190.25. The frame was being sold by a cycling and touring enthusiast from New Hampshire. Anyway, it was now going to have a new owner and a new, restored life.

     It had been carefully packaged, boxed and shipped. When the UPS driver arrived I was anxious to see what all this fuss regarding old Specialized Expeditions was all about. When I pulled it out of the box, I must say, I thought it was rather ugly. It was "battleship grey", of course I new this going in. But it wasn't very clean so it didn't give a very good first impression. But I knew what was beneath the dirt, so I got some cleaning materials together and began to go to work. As I cleaned and then polished I could see the metal flakes shimmering in that grey paint. The paint looked great. There was no damage to the frame and very, very few minor paint chips. The decals were in amazing like-new condition. I began to see how this would make a nice winter project. Perhaps I should have photographed the project each step along the way, but that thought didn't cross my mind until now. So what we have displayed on these pages is the finished, or nearly finished, restoration. What do you think?

Ready to ride,

Ted Phelps

  • Frame: "Special" double-butted chromoly (frame, fork, stays)
  • Stem: Specialized (original)
  • Handlebar: Nitto "Moustache" (New)
  • Seatpost: Sugino fluted (NOS)
  • Saddle: Selle Italia ProLink (used-ebay)
  • Headset: Specialized (original rebuilt)
  • Brakes: Dia Compe "Gran Compe" Cantilever (NOS)
  • Brake levers: Suntour Superbe (original)
  • Shifters: Suntour bar-end (NOS)
  • Crankset: Sugino xD 600 (46x36x26)-(new)
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN73 (new)
  • Front Derailleur: Suntour Mountech (NOS)
  • Rear Derailleur: Suntour Cyclone Mk II-GT (NOS)
  • Freewheel: Suntour Winner Ultra 7-speed (12-34)-(NOS)
  • Chain: SRAM PC69
    • Front Wheel:
    • Rim: Mavic T217CD 36-eyelets
    • Spokes: 36 Wheelsmith double-butted (14/15/14)
    • Hub: Phil Wood 36-hole
    • Tires: Panaracer Pasela TG (700x32)
      Rear Wheel:
    • Rim: Mavic T217CD 40-eyelets
    • Spokes: 40 Wheelsmith double-butted (14/15/14)
    • Hub: Phil Wood 40 hole 130mm threaded for freewheel
    • Tires: Panaracer Pasela TG (700x32)
    • Racks: Surly "Nice Rack" chromoly (satin finish) front and rear

    © Ted Phelps * Photos taken with Olympus C-2100 UZ
    Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute photos from these pages * tphelps@daystarbotanicals.com

    Photo album created with Web Album Generator