Erik’s Di2 Alfine 11 Peacock-Nuke Specialized AWOL

Ever since Erik showed me the first sneak peek at his Specialized AWOL, I knew I’d have a blast photographing it one day. Little did I know, however, it’d be in San Francisco. By now, you’ve seen photos and video of this bike here on the site. How could you miss it? With the special Nickel PVD – Physical Vapor Desposition – coating, it pops!

Erik even referred to this bike as a “peacock” in the Transcontinental video. It’s almost so distracting that you fail to notice the Shimano Dura Ace Di2 Alfine 11 speed Gates carbon belt drive set up with hydraulic disc brakes. Or the wicked fat tire clearances.

Other nifty details are the Plug by Supernova, which charges electronic devices but one of my favorite frame details is the special bracket for mounting the rear Supernova light onto the non-drive rocker dropout. And of course, the Fällkniven F1 Swedish special forces-issued knife with its (purple) zip-tied sheath.

Trust me, during our ride in the Diablo Range, I was geeking out so hard on this bike.

Yeah, it’s pretty jamming and what better place to shoot it than Bernal Heights in SF, at sundown, as the sky itself put on a color-assault of its own. Countdown to full nuke… 3… 2… 1…

  • Patrick Murphy

    This set is insane. That bike standing in a landfill or a huffy on that hill would have made for great photos, but I cant even handle the combination right now. I wanna hang #2 on my wall.

    • Yeah, I was a little high too. Which photo? The bottle or the silhouette?

      • Patrick Murphy

        bottle specifically, although both it and silhouette would make a great side-by-side duo. The texture on the bottle is killer.

        • Adam Miller

          Absolutely. Perfect subject/background selection.

  • Tyler Johnson

    This is the coolest bike I have ever seen.

  • ap

    whatever that pvd finish costs Specialized for this one-off is worth it 1000x over in making people want this bike. Looks increible. And there’s a lot going on with this bike but it all comes together and looks great.

  • Tyler Howarth

    Where/how can I get this kind of paint job done to a frame?

    • There is one factory in Taiwan with a tank big enough for a frame. Usually it’s reserved for stems and components…

  • PNT

    best bike made in 2013! and the best photos in beautiful bicycle sets. It’s hard to imagine what conditions would be better to make pictures of this bike.

    • kasual

      Seriously, bike of year for 2013.

  • recurrecur

    nuts nuts nuts

    Is the Di2 battery charged, or can it be charged, from the hub?

    As much as I appreciate light-as-a-feather go-fast bikes, I really wish manufacturers would put more development into these kind of real world, real function, everyday bikes.

    • Adam Miller

      ^Seriously! Someone needs to tell Shimano to design a stealth generator that hides in or near the bottom bracket so that it is invisible and the battery never needs charging.

      (I know, I know … “MY DI2 SHIFTER IS STEALING MY WATTS!”)

  • hans

    the location and lighting in this set is really fantastic man. great work

  • Alan Marshall

    one of your best photo sets yet Mr Watson. The bike, sunset and setting all coming together. Ive already got my AWOL deluxe on order, first inspired by Erik & Recep and more so now by all the coverage on the bike

  • Tyler Shannon

    This is absolutely nuts. What a gorgeous bike, and such a good back drop to shoot it on too. One of the best yet

  • Sean Curran

    I really hope bikes like this become a precedent for the other big manufacturers, as well as spec. itself. Maybe its just pennies in the bucket for them, but it does seem like a good way to connect to consumers, build something cool and original. Much better than suing small bike shops for there names. Maybe they just need more people like Erik, and less of whatever else is going on there.

    • JScriv

      There’s a whole team of kick ass people behind this bike pushing boundaries at the big “S”. Hidden away in that building are a few figures who aren’t all about the lunch ride, strava, and competition. Hopefully this bike helps show the suits on the third floor that good press can come from places other than the finish line or testing lab.

      • tanner

        This is not for or against the big “S” as we are calling it, but I think the lunch rides are an awesome idea. I wish more companies would adpot this. Think how much healthier we could collectively be and how much creative inspiration could be infused into work because of it?

        • JScriv

          As a creative in the industry I can say that without a doubt a ride leads to a more productive afternoon, shit a ride makes anything better, we all know that. You’re just happier. Sitting at a desk is not natural.

      • Sean Curran

        I’m sure there’s plenty of good people there, I’m sure most of them love bikes too.That doesn’t mean the company always operates in a honorable manner or puts out the best products.

        Also, I love the idea of the lunch rides, I also like competition, sometimes but not all the time. These aren’t really the problems that I would have with a company.

        • JScriv


  • Michael Schiller

    that PVD coating is incredible. And the Awol seems like the prefect bike for mixed surface rides and touring too.
    How were those tires? Do they feel pretty supple or stiff? I may have to grab a set of those.

    • They’re not as stiff as the jack brown blues – more like the greens.

  • Ace Metric Cycles

    Can’t say I support Special Ed all too much but this project/bike is insane.

  • I feel deep inside that this is probably the ultimate bike (once they figure out to wire the Di2 battery directly to the dynamo). But I just can’t bring myself to like the way the frame looks. I have plenty of sloping top tube bikes but this is pretty extreme.

    Practicality, I know.

    Deposition not Disposition

    • Thanks for the spell check! Yeah, as I said in my review, I wasn’t into it but I liked having the extra standover for dirt riding. Nothing worse than putting a foot down to shred a corner to have your shorts hit the TT.

  • Jamie McKeon

    oh how do you make it stand up on its own john prolly?

  • Manuel Schuler

    Haven’t seen tied & soldered spokes in awhile… thoguhts john? Is it so that you don’t have to replace a spoke on longer tour?

  • D0rk

    I’ve been really turned off by Specialized over the past few years and pretty much under the assumption that I would never consider purchasing another bike with their name on it.

    This is the one bike that will probably ever be considered an exception to that. I’m not a tourer but i’d buy an aluminum or steel “Crux” with that coating in a heartbeat.

  • Jake Kruse

    A sexy salsa fargo

  • Scott Bellicitti

    What are those little things on the spoke crosses called and for? Have never had anyone tell me what they are.

    • Rena Bariotaki

      it’s old school spoke soldering ,really cool to see it in a modern era bicycle

    • Rena Bariotaki

      Spokes are tied together and then soldered.Some say it makes the wheel stiffer while others disagree. I think it’s a nice touch for a hand builted wheel, it gives this extra bit (more) of your soul in it.

  • Matthew Thompson

    Can we see the rusty one now please?

  • di-douche

    I was under the impression that the DI-douche motor wouldn’t fit with a belt drive system since the belt is considerably more girthy than a chain. Was there any customization to achieve this setup?

  • schue113

    I hope Specialized starts to align themselves with more reputable shops. That is a big problem here in MN. There are no reputable Specialized dealers (the one shop that does carry them carried C’Dale, C’Dale chose to drop them because of the problems they had with them). Specialized is a good brand but has been making some really bad PR decisions lately. The technology is so there but that hand hasn’t been talking to the hand that sells the product.

    • mtnbykr

      c’mon up to Duluth. the ski hut is a great specialized shop.

  • Cassie Soeffing

    Doesn’t Di2 need a battery? Where is it?

  • Sam LaClair

    Do I spy prototype hydraulic brake line barrel adjusters??

  • cainnon

    where is that front rack from?

    • Matt Barr
      • No, it’s a Specialized Pizza rack. Totally different.

        • Matt Barr

          Is that an older design of the Pizza Rack? The current rack offered by Specialized is square on the bottom not triangular and does not attach to the axle. It attaches to the mid fork braze ons. The current rack also has not bosses for the removeabler fence like the racks affoered by Velo Orange and SOMA. The rack on this bike looks nothing like the Pizza Rack currently in the Specialized catalog.

          • Rider_X

            It’s the older version of the Soma Deluxe Porteur rack. I remember seeing it on the WereGoingAWOL blog a while before the Pizza Rack (PZ) made its debut. I think it was pretty influential in the design of the PZ as I have seen Erik experiment with a number of different front rack (e.g, Tubus and Surly) and the PZ doesn’t resemble any of those implementations. That all said, I think the execution on the PZ is slick, looking forward to trying it (Tubus Duo is my current fav) when it finally makes it into the distribution channels.

        • Rider_X

          Pretty sure its an older Soma Deluxe Porteur rack

  • Homero Souza Jr.

    I have Awol speciale
    I want to impress gates
    I dislike the combination…