Second Time Around: 74 Allez Road – Erik Nohlin

Second Time Around: 74 Allez Road
Photos and words by Erik Nohlin

In 2014, Specialized and Mark DiNucci released 74 numbered framesets as a celebration of its heritage of Specialized’s 40th anniversary. Each of these frames were auctioned to benefit the World Bicycle Relief. The red throwback frameset came with a custom designed kit including wool jersey, saddle, bar tape, bottle cages, bottles and a flask with the level of detail a company can only afford for something like its 40th anniversary. Mark DiNucci was rewarded Best Lugs and Best in Show at Nahbs for the work on this project. Nothing was saved to make this into a state of the art steel bike. Bryant Bainbridge, the other mastermind behind the 40th anniversary Allez, has described the project as “a black hole of cost” where both the tube set and lugs were designed and engineered from scratch.

The fact that I owned one made me so excited every time I laid my eyes on it – it was simply too good to be true. I was devastated when the bike got stolen in a gutsy smash and grab coup at work right before Christmas. A lone thief smashed the front entrance of the Specialized HQ and disappeared with six bikes before the cops arrived. Not only did I lose a dear bike but I also failed in keeping a promise I made to Bryant Bainbridge, who gave me the frame, to ride that bike forever. It was definitely a keeper, the kind of bike you get once in your life and ride until you die. It was not just another bike to me even though I have access to any fancy bike you can dream of as a designer at Specialized. I put a stupid amount of hours into painting and building the stolen bike. A Campagnolo Super Record RS Team edition group set was gifted from the Astana Pro Team and given a custom paint job matching the frame. It was number 002, a pre-production frame built by DiNucci himself, and I could see myself riding it on Brevets for the next 2 decades.

In the weeks to come, even though we had the thief’s face on surveillance footage, nothing was heard from the police or the private investigator that was hired to retrieve the bikes that were lost. Just as I’ve lost faith, dear “Uncle Mike” (aka Mike Sinyard) told me he had another frame I could get and he dug up one of the warranty frames from a secret stash somewhere. Just in case there would be a warranty return, a full size run was kept and a couple of days later I once again had a 74 Allez, this time frame number 78 / 80, built by the master craftsmen at Toyo in Japan who also produced the first Stumpjumper and the Sequoia.

There was no way I could afford to replace the fancy components so I opted for components I had laying around and crowned the build with some fancy wheels instead of a fancy groupset. The paint job also got a more sober treatment with a deep black metal(lic) gloss and silver prismatic graphics. I added some personal hints of music I listened to while painting the bike, I basically always listen to Watain / Sworn to the Dark while painting.

Last weekend I took it out for the brevet season’s first 300k brevet and after 11 hrs on the bike I can say that my love for modern steel bikes is as big as ever and I know we’ll do many Super Randonneur series together in the years to come. This is a bike to ride all day and all night and I can’t wait for the 400k and beyond.

Frame: Custom Reynolds 853
Fork: Custom Reynold 853
Group set: Campagnolo Athena
Wheelset: Roval CLX32 set up tubeless
Tires: Specialized Turbo 28
Handlebar: Specialized Hoover, polished silver
Stem: Specialized S-Works, polished silver
Bell: Spurcycle
Cages: Specialized
Seatpost: Nitto S-83
Saddle: Specialized Romin Evo
Bartape: Brooks


Follow Erik on Instagram and see more on the 74 Allez project on Red Kite Prayer and on Instagram at #74allezproject


  • Wyatt Cave

    Riser bars belong on mountainbikes. Sometimes on a fixie…

    • Icepick Trotsky

      You must be really fun at parties.

      • Wyatt Cave

        Hey, sorry you and Lenin couldn’t be friends

    • …and e-bikes are motorcycles right!

    • Daniel M

      **gasp** the Sacrilege!
      …Eric, does the bar give more compliance and or more hand positions?

      • It’s an endurance bar that ads stack or if you don’t want that happy stem. I don’t like happy stems or huge stacks of spacers but need the over all stack for my long rides.

        • I’d totally get one for a Surly bike. Their small frames have ridiculous stack heights.

    • I think Erik knows a thing or two about riding bikes. Don’t stress.

  • Trenton South

    This bike is beautiful Erik. My heart broke when I originally heard of the stolen bike and the IG posts for the imminent manhunt of the criminal. I love that you kept it simple and spec’d it out with complementing S products. I still wish the original monterey ice plant color way was somehow implemented/ pushed thru….

    • Ice plant will happen on another bike, still like it!

  • JP Coates

    Pic #9 makes it look like there’s no daylight at all between that tire and brake. What’s the actual clearance like?

    • Adjusted the brakes after this to get some more space. 25 + fender or 28 without is the clearance but these measure 30 on the wider rims.

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  • Meshkat

    I really like this bike. Great build with all the silver Athena 11 speed parts. FYI You seem to be missing the outer piece of the plastic part of the front dérailleur (FD-RE116).

  • AdamBike99

    Huzzah to your bar tape wrapping skillz!
    You may be metal to the core, but damn Erik, you can (w)rap too! LOLs

  • Bluejaystr

    Dude how do i get a hold of those bars? I hope they make ’em wide!

    • Google Specialized Hover Bar, Karbon or Alu, yes wide ones but not 666 Ultraromance wide.

  • Eric Hancock

    Silver Athena looks so good.

  • Julien Nivol

    Beautiful bike! And unique! I don’t usually fancy campy components, but I have to admit, they look good.

  • Harpoonist

    I think I like Erik more every time I hear about him – a Watain fan too!

    • Say They Rode On is the best black metal ballad ever made haha.

  • kermitonwheels

    I miss the paint on the first one too so glad to hear it will make a re-appearance. I’ve said it before but the silver build-out on mark 2 is really sweet. Happy riding Eric.

  • sturtlovinggood

    Damn. This is neat but the original was a beaut. I tried looking out for it online a bit after the theft happened. Did you ever track down your Geekhouse, John?

    • It’s a long story… Hopefully I’ll be able to update yall soon!

      • Gregory Ralich

        Im curious too!

  • aeriolabehaviour

    Love the paintjob! Love the handle bars! Sick bike! Steel is real, bro.

  • Parker

    If you don’t mind sharing your secrets, what was used to polish the bars/stem? I’ve been told to be weary about polishing aluminum but I think that’s undermining the integrity that modern aluminum possesses (assuming the bars and stem are alu).

    • Hey, Stem was never ano’d and I used a stripper to get the urethane of then just a buffing wheel. Bar was bead blasted and ano’d – here I used sand paper to get the structure off, then the buffing wheel. If would def. void any warranty and you should be careful to not sand or polish any delicate parts. The blast structure on the bar was so fine I barely had to remove any material to get it smooth.

      • Parker

        Getting ready to do a build, remembered this bike/post and plan to do some of this. Thank you so much for the advice!

  • stric

    It’s nice to meet people who know Mark and Bryant. I met them first time during Oregon Manifest in 2009 and I fell in love with the bike that Mark made for Bryant. Since then I’ve done some photographic work for them and we became friends of sorts. Mark’s work is legendary in frame-building circles and we still keep in touch. It’s sucks that your bike was stolen Erik. I hate those horse-thieves. My bike was stolen in January too. Even though the thief was arrested and tried the bike was never found. Still… this 74 Alez is a keeper. Beautiful..

  • mr. apodaca APODACA

    Hooooly Shitttt!!!

  • arlcyclist

    Spur bell orientation is on point.

  • Adam Clement

    Pure class! Hope you do get to ride this one to the end of time.

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