Sean Estes Part I

February 9, 2017

After participating in Eroica California last spring, I fell in love with vintage road bikes. Spending a full day on a 1978 Colnago Mexico, riding everything from dirt roads to mountain passes, I was impressed with how good these old bikes are–smooth and confident, with more than enough braking power.
And my hands felt great even though the bar tape is super-thin and I didn't wear gloves. The steel frame and tubular tires on shallow wheels lend a compliant nature, absorbing most of the jostling we are used to on modern carbon bikes with carbon wheels.
I left Eroica with a clearer view as to how technology has and hasn't advanced in certain ways. Aside from wide-range gearing, ease of shifting and ease of clipping in and out, those old bikes are more than capable of giving anything new on the market a solid run for the money. Above all, I gained an appreciation for the generation before mine and what their riding experience was like.
But there's more to this story. The bike I rode last year was lent to me by a dear friend and mentor, Chuck Teixeira. It was the bike he raced on in the year I was born; 1978. Also riding Eroica California with Chuck and me last year was another friend and mentor, Jim Merz. Jim has played a huge role over the years at Specialized and I am a big fan of his work as a frame builder.
Immediately after Eroica, I set out to track down a bike of my own, so I could enjoy this wonderful event time and again in the future. Not long after, Roman Kilun reached out to me to see if I knew anyone who might be interested in buying an old Allez a friend wanted to let go. As fate would have it, the bike was my size. And even better, it was a 1986 Jim Merz Special Edition. The perfect bike for me, due to its specific history, tying perfectly into the details of my present-day life.
The bike is in good shape with solid paint. Many parts have been changed, so I've spent the past few months tracking down the original bits. Now it's time to begin the restoration process.

Sean Estes is Global PR Manager at Specialized Bicycles. Follow Sean and the progress he’s making on Instagram at @like_the_wheel




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