Recycling the past: Specialized Expedition

specializedex15Here’s John Ringham the night he joined dozens of people to pedal Bushwhacker’s bicycle inventory from the old Metro Centre store to the new Junction City building. This is his personal bike: an early 1980s Specialized Expedition, complete with wingnut-secured Kirtland handlebar bag.


If Specialized reissued a modern version of this touring machine, it would sell them in no time. Note the three water bottle cages, hill-busting granny gear, chain stay-mounted generator (it’s below that plate that looks like it should bolt to a kickstand) and historic black-plate Vitesse Cycle Shop sticker. The front wheel has 36 spokes; the rear, 40.

specializedex18Time travelers rejoice. The SunTour MounTech derailleur–Disraeli Gears says it was the first derailleur designed for a mountain bike–is still on the job. Sure, it’s the first thing I’d replace, but it is a beautifully sculpted piece.


The bike’s ready for indoor training, too. Here’s the bracket for the Racermate wind trainer. Remove the Expedition’s rear rack, fit the Racermate fan assembly to the bracket (the fan rolls on top of the rear wheel) and attach the bicycle to a stationary base.

specializedex17A couple of parts survive simply because they’ve never been given a decent funeral. I’d put these popcorn gum hoods in that category.


Other components soldier on because they were built to last, like the SunTour bar-end shifters, or forgot to wear out, like the Grab On-style foam grips (but surely those aren’t original to the 1980s, are they, John?)

And, oh yeah, I still want an Expedition. Maybe something around a 54-centimeter frame?

About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
This entry was posted in Equipment, Other bicycles, Report from the road and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Recycling the past: Specialized Expedition

  1. Tim says:

    Those Expeditions are great bikes! I have a similar Miyata 1000 (Miyata built the Expedition for Specialized, by the way) and love it. I’m also the moderator of a Yahoo group devoted to those two bikes (and similar 80s touring bikes). You might check it out here:

    • Thanks for writing. I was being given the grand tour of the new shop when I stopped, not to see the latest Di2 drivetrain or Surly fatbike but to take a closer look at a 30-year-old bike. I liked it back then and I still do. And I’m checking out your group, too.

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