Specialized M2...S-Works vs. Comp?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Specialized M2...S-Works vs. Comp?

    Hi folks,

    I am wondering about the differences between 1990s Specialized M2 Comp frames vs. the S-Works M2 frames. Both are made in the US, both are "metal matrix" - so what makes the S-Works frame different/better?

    Also - anyone know which years Specialized made the M2 Comp in the baby blue color? I want to say 1996-1997 but I don't know if that captures all years. Thanks.

    Here's an example of the M2 Comp (not mine):


    Here's an example of an earlier (1993?) S-Works M2 frame (not mine, pic stolen from this forum):


  2. #2
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    Hey! That's my M2 Team! First time one of my photos has been stolen

    I'll check my Specialized catalogs and see if there was any difference in the different levels of M2 frames.

  3. #3
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    Thanks man! Sorry to steal your picture, but it was a good example :-)

    I remembered that http://www.mtb-kataloge.de has some old Specialized catalogs. Here's what the 1996 catalog says about the two frames:

    S-Works: "S-works bikes aren't built for average riders. They are crafted for the rare breed of hard-core riders who can appreciate the fine-tuned performance."

    Stumpjumper M2 FS Comp: "As close as you can get to a factory racer, without shelling out for a Team Specialized S-Works bike."

    So no real details about how they differ. The dealer spec catalog says the Comp frame is "M2 Metal Matrix Composite, Double Butted." I can't find a catalog with the specs for the S-Works frames from that year.

  4. #4
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    Specialized StumpJumper M2 = S-Works M2

    They came out of the same factory, off the same jigs, built by the same exact welders at the Morgan Hill plant. Same frame different paint and stickers.

    When I was a kid we used to jump the fence behind the warehouse, and dumpster dive for "factory seconds"


    Edit:
    I would go for one of the later (98+ frames) which had the extra gusseting around the head tube. From '95-'97 I remember seeing a TON of returns to the factory for cracked head tube welds in the recycling dumpster.

  5. #5
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    Thanks corprin, that's good to know. So it was really just better components that made the S-Works M2 frames different (plus paint & stickers).

    Man, sounds like some awesome dumpster diving Did you find anything you could use?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoeddy
    Thanks corprin, that's good to know. So it was really just better components that made the S-Works M2 frames different (plus paint & stickers).

    Man, sounds like some awesome dumpster diving Did you find anything you could use?
    Yep better paint, stickers, and build kits. S-Works was the "introduction and testing line" from what I remember. Much like my '06 FSR, chunky welds, and plumbing, but you can see the same geometry in the next year Specialized line. Sometime in the late 90's early '00's most of the production of Specialized frames went over seas. In the begining ALL M2's, and ALL S-Works were made in Morgan Hill. They started to slowly push production overseas as the years went by, but even in '98 the M2 was hand made in MH. Now even my S-Works badged FSR has "designed in Ca, made in Tiwan" on the frame.

    What did we end up with? Well we were young and dumb, and knew nothing of metals and heat treatment...

    My friend pulled out a nice polished M2, had the head tube rewelded, and rode for 3 or so years. Specialized caught wind of what we were doing, and started crushing the rear triangles by jumping on the side of them so the frames would be useless.

    I rode a "future shock" that was built from 4 or 5 "returns" that I pulled out of the dumpster for a few years myself. Most of the things we got out were useless and used for building random crap that we could think of. Street louges, works of art, pogo sticks, etc.

    We would get large quantities that would fall off the PILE behind the helmet/bottle plant. They had bins and bins of these things that would blow off in the wind and land on the RR tracks. Most of them were left over promotional items or "factory blems" but we didn't care, and would end up selling them to other kids around town.

    I still have the bottle cage I found on one of the crushed M2 frames on my S-Works FSR to this day Never sees a bottle, but it's there for sentimental reasons, and when I REALLY need to carry an AZ tea home.

    I wish I still had my old Rockhopper, as it was built from parts scavanged from the recycle and garbage dumpsters at Big-S. Too bad the Fox plant was put in AFTER I got too old for such things.

  7. #7
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    Only the TI/Carbon Epic frames, and the Columbus 7005 team frames for Aqua e Sapone were ever made in Morgan Hill.

    M2-M4 Sworks frames were all built in Portland Oregon at Anodizing Inc. All non S-works frames have always been built overseas.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuspectDevice
    Only the TI/Carbon Epic frames, and the Columbus 7005 team frames for Aqua e Sapone were ever made in Morgan Hill.

    M2-M4 Sworks frames were all built in Portland Oregon at Anodizing Inc. All non S-works frames have always been built overseas.
    I stand corrected, but the Specialized branded M2's were also made in the US, at least when my '97 was... they were.

  9. #9
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    From what I recall, the S-Works frames had a few tweaks, mostly to save weight. Things like the seat and chain stay braces being machined down in the middle etc, like an hourglass. Numbers were the same, but milling out a bit of material shaved a few grams, and gave them the lighter weight that racers lusted after....
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuspectDevice
    Only the TI/Carbon Epic frames, and the Columbus 7005 team frames for Aqua e Sapone were ever made in Morgan Hill.

    M2-M4 Sworks frames were all built in Portland Oregon at Anodizing Inc. All non S-works frames have always been built overseas.
    My 95/96 M2 rigid Stumpjumper (not S-works) clearly says "Made in United States" around a US flag on the seattube just under the toptube. Are you saying this was an outright lie by Specialized?

    This is the bike in commuter trim. Decal is under the black strap holding the taillight. I just looked at it.
    Last edited by azjeff; 05-30-2011 at 08:26 PM.

  11. #11
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    say it ain't so....................

    oh goodie. .another Homegrown/Yeti thread

  12. #12
    Neo-Retro Forever
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    Non-S Works M2 frames were also built at Anodizing, Inc. The A1 frames were made overseas.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by azjeff
    My 95/96 M2 rigid Stumpjumper (not S-works) clearly says "Made in United States" around a US flag on the seattube just under the toptube. Are you saying this was an outright lie by Specialized?
    I'm pretty sure he meant frames that were non-M2 and non-S-works were made overseas. AFAIK, all M2 frames were made in the US.

    In other news, I acquired a 1996 Stumpjumper M2 Comp frame just like the baby blue one in the first post. (It has the Made in USA sticker too )

    I've always wanted to build up one of these M2 frames - I rode an aluminum frame in the late 80s (Cannondale) but have been riding steel ever since. Will be fun to try this one out. Hope to build it up later this summer.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by da'HOOV
    oh goodie. .another Homegrown/Yeti thread

    At least we're discussing old(erish) bikes, and showing pics, and learning, right?
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith
    From what I recall, the S-Works frames had a few tweaks, mostly to save weight. Things like the seat and chain stay braces being machined down in the middle etc, like an hourglass. Numbers were the same, but milling out a bit of material shaved a few grams, and gave them the lighter weight that racers lusted after....
    Yeah, I think you're right. M2 was the first generation, and I'm pretty sure that all levels of M2 frames were the same. It's the later models that started to have pronounced differences, the M4, M5. For example, I got this from the 2001 catalog:

    Stumpjumper M4 Pro: M4 Manipulated Alloy, fully butted
    S-Works M4: M4 Manipulated Alloy, fully butted with refined tapers and reduced wall thickness


    Well, "refined tapers and reduced wall thickness" might not be a pronounced difference, but it's a difference nonetheless.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmuff
    Well, "refined tapers and reduced wall thickness" might not be a pronounced difference, but it's a difference nonetheless.
    Simply the fact that they were "massaged" made them cooler
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith
    Simply the fact that they were "massaged" made them cooler
    also means someone second checked alignment and other details.
    WTB: Bomber Z2 1 1/8 steerer, in good to excellent shape OR bomber rebuild kit.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmuff
    Yeah, I think you're right. M2 was the first generation, and I'm pretty sure that all levels of M2 frames were the same. It's the later models that started to have pronounced differences, the M4, M5. For example, I got this from the 2001 catalog:

    Stumpjumper M4 Pro: M4 Manipulated Alloy, fully butted
    S-Works M4: M4 Manipulated Alloy, fully butted with refined tapers and reduced wall thickness


    Well, "refined tapers and reduced wall thickness" might not be a pronounced difference, but it's a difference nonetheless.
    M2 is a different material from the M4... I do forget the specifics, but they are all aluminum with something extra added. M2 frames from what the reps said were basically built with an alloy very similar to tank armor... Hence you see lots of cracked welds on them, the tubes were so stiff they didn't allow the vibrations to dampen out and the welds took a lot of stress.

    The M4 is a 6000 series aluminum to allow them to use more shapes in the tubing (M2's were round tubes) similar to the "Alpha Aluminum" and CU-92 that Trek and Giant used during the same time period.

    All M2's were made at Annodizing Inc. S-works used thinner tubing and were machine out a bit more for weight savings.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the deadbeat dad that knocked her up.

  19. #19
    illuminaughty
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    FYI....I just picked up a Cherry Red '95 Stumpy M2 frame that has a "Made in USA" sticker and also checked my Black '97ish Stumpy M2 Comp frame and it also has a "Made in USA" sticker.

  20. #20
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    Hi, I'm a new user here and not sure if it's worthwhile reviving such an old thread, but here goes!

    I'm looking for a steel mountain bike frame with rim brake attachments and 26" wheels for a bikepacking trip through Latin America. The mid-90s Stumpjumpers look like a good option, but I haven't been able to find much information about M2 vs Chromoly frames from that era. In your experience, are there any differences between durability or comfort for M2 vs chromoly?

    Thanks for any advice on this specific question, or thoughts on other old frames I should consider.

    -Adrian

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