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