Specialized S-Works Ultimate Ti/Carbon- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Specialized S-Works Ultimate Ti/Carbon

    This will probably be the last bike this week. Specialized S Works Ultimate with the Ti lugged carbon frame and full Suntour XC Pro Grease Guard kit. I tried to get a picture of the frame paint which has a beautiful holographic effect in the center of the tubes. It was tough to show the effect but I tried!

    http://www.firstflightbikes.com/1992...d_Ultimate.htm

    I have also started to compile a single page that lists the bike in order by year and them by make. Hopefully this will make it easier to find the bikes.

    http://www.firstflightbikes.com/All.htm

  2. #2
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    Wow! I'd love to see that in person.

  3. #3
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    My Favorite Riding Carbon Bike

    Those Specailized carbon frames were great, both the Ti and Steel versions. I went through several of both and they are still my favorite carbon mtb. They didn't have the dead feel that most carbon frames have. The production versions weren't very light for the materials they were composed of but were a great frame none the less.

    Do you know what year they first started making them 1989 or so?
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  4. #4
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    Yeah, They Look Neat in the Sunlight

    There were 4 different finishes over the years right? Black with irridescant red, black with irridescant purple, Maroon with irridescant green, and black with irredescant gold (with natural ti lugs).
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  5. #5

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    Nice! A good friend of mine glued most of those carbon lugged bikes together back then.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shayne
    There were 4 different finishes over the years right? Black with irridescant red, black with irridescant purple, Maroon with irridescant green, and black with irredescant gold (with natural ti lugs).
    I'm not sure about that.

    Tucker (mtnwing) would be a good one to ask about that as I know he has more than one verson on the Epic carbons.

    I had an 89 with the steel lugs painted black, and natural carbon finish in the middle, pastel colored decals...
    I also have (soon to be in the hands of another VRC regular) a 90/91 Epic Carbon that has the 'natural' carbon look with the school bus yellow decals....

    I know the irridescant hues you're speaking of though...I think the slightly newer ones had that sort of paint scheme...
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  7. #7
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    Not Really Paint

    It was the color of the resin used in the carbon layup. The lugs were painted but that's it.
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  8. #8
    used to be uno-speedo....
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    I owned an Epic carbon road frame for a couple of days. And then broke it
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
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    another point to the ti lugged epic frame, soooo light! real nice find

    eric, sorry keep deleting your mails, UGM again

  10. #10
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    The Production Ultimates weren't all that light

    Quote Originally Posted by scant
    another point to the ti lugged epic frame, soooo light! real nice find
    The one off frames for Ned and other team riders deffinately pushed the envelope but the production frames were about a pound heavier at around 3.2 lbs.
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  11. #11
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    my 04 yeti arc was 3.2lb! thats still pretty light given the age!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shayne
    The one off frames for Ned and other team riders deffinately pushed the envelope but the production frames were about a pound heavier at around 3.2 lbs.
    Ive heard that before, that Ned's frame in 90 was 2 pounds or so. I have a hard time believing that. Unless it was some ultra expensive space age material. If it was everyday materials it would have been a huge risk for Ned to race an unreliable frame. I would gues those steel Epics are in the mid to high 4 pound range. Rumpfy, can you tell us?? My Tomac Raleigh with the Merlin ti lugs and rear end with Easton carbon front is 3.75 pounds and should be quite similar to the Specialized ti ultimate.

    Even today the lightest MTB frame is 2.5 pounds. 2.2 pounds in 1990 would have been REALLY pushing the envelope, not to mention putting Ned physically in danger and his chance at winning the world championships.

    Heck, even with all the knowledge/experience we have with carbon now, the lightest, most high tech, most expensive($8500 complete bike) road frames today barely brake 2 pounds.

    But maybe it was some freak material that allowed the huge weight loss. Who knows.

  13. #13
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    FB I think this conversation came up on firstflight forum a while back. 2.2lb frame weight with average carbon tube costing $800 a piece (in 1990). If I remeber correctly tiny dents & holes in the downtube from rock & stone impacts.

    Given the importance of the event (the first XC worlds) it wouldnt surprise me if spesky went all out to build such a one off, use purely for the race- frame.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fillet-brazed
    Ive heard that before, that Ned's frame in 90 was 2 pounds or so. I have a hard time believing that. Unless it was some ultra expensive space age material. If it was everyday materials it would have been a huge risk for Ned to race an unreliable frame. I would gues those steel Epics are in the mid to high 4 pound range. Rumpfy, can you tell us?? My Tomac Raleigh with the Merlin ti lugs and rear end with Easton carbon front is 3.75 pounds and should be quite similar to the Specialized ti ultimate.

    Even today the lightest MTB frame is 2.5 pounds. 2.2 pounds in 1990 would have been REALLY pushing the envelope, not to mention putting Ned physically in danger and his chance at winning the world championships.

    Heck, even with all the knowledge/experience we have with carbon now, the lightest, most high tech, most expensive($8500 complete bike) road frames today barely brake 2 pounds.

    But maybe it was some freak material that allowed the huge weight loss. Who knows.

    I would think if the frame was that light...he'd have to replace frames every race.

    I have to say, I was very impressed with the weight of my Epic when it was built up.
    90/91 frame, steel lugged...right around the 4 lb. range (I'll have to get an exact weight).

    It had a pretty simple spec when it was built up and it was a 24 lb. bike easy...not bad for dated parts/frame.

    The ride was very nice. Not harsh at all...you could feel how the carbon frame reacted different to trail input...kind of a 'dull' feel, unlike the harshness of aluminum frames (Older Cannondale's with pepperoni forks come to mind).
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  15. #15
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    We the people ...

    " would think if the frame was that light...he'd have to replace frames every race."

    for the 1990 world champs. I wouldnt be surprised if they built Ned a frame to be used solely once, just for that race

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by scant
    " would think if the frame was that light...he'd have to replace frames every race."

    for the 1990 world champs. I wouldnt be surprised if they built Ned a frame to be used solely once, just for that race
    mmm....doesn't seem like it. I've got an MB Action where they 'test ride' all the actual bikes that won at the worlds (Herbolds Miyata, Juli's Yeti, ect...)I'll check to see if they say anything about the weight of the frame...but they didn't seem to imply that it was an over the top, no expense spared, super bike.

    I should scan and post that article...
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  17. #17
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    Jeff, Serial # Should be inside the Drive Side Dropout

    I noticed on your info sheet that there wasn't a serial number. All the Ultimates I've owned had them stamped inside the driveside dropout. Might be partially filled in since you have painted lugs. The number of the last frame I owned was either 3485 or 8485 and it was from 1994. I think the last production run before the limited edition run with the numbered badge and Ned's signature.
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  18. #18
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    yeh I remeber that MBA feature well

    I suppose there could be a 1st time where MBA got their facts straight? LOL

  19. #19
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    Quote Originally Posted by scant
    " would think if the frame was that light...he'd have to replace frames every race."

    for the 1990 world champs. I wouldnt be surprised if they built Ned a frame to be used solely once, just for that race
    I wouldnt be surprised either. Its a fairly common roadie practice dating back to at least the '60's.

    And yes I believe some of his frames were intended for 1 use only. The just over 2# frame supposedly had near infinately thin tubes. I had an atricle on it but I think it got lost when my school e-mail account was closed
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  20. #20
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    Am I regurgating this info from jim mertz off firstflight? or did it all come to me in a dream?


    been a long day & gotta ride home in the torrential rain/ darkness real soon

  21. #21
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    S-Works Carbon Weight

    ....which was basically the Ultimate with Steel lugs and a bit different than the Epic. The last S-Works Carbon I owned weighed in at 4lbs even bare frame with steel seat binder bolt in a 19" size.
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  22. #22
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    Yes, I do remember the FF thread

    Rain ride sounds good...well any ride at all sounds good to me at the moment
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by scant
    " would think if the frame was that light...he'd have to replace frames every race."

    for the 1990 world champs. I wouldnt be surprised if they built Ned a frame to be used solely once, just for that race
    I dont really buy the one race thing either. For one, carbon doesnt really have a fatique factor, nor does ti. Also, if you engineer a bike to last for 2-3 hours of pounding, your taking a risk that it will not quite make it through all the way and you better hope your engineers get it right. And you also better hope you dont end up with Ned coming back on a stretcher. Not to mention the lost chance at winning which is why youre there in the first place. On top of all that, another very important factor is that for a brand to have a VERY high profile frame failure like that would hurt bad.

    Im not ruling it out that the frame weighed 2.2 pounds. My guess is that that weight was exaggerated. But, I very well could be wrong on that assumption. Call me a skeptic.

  24. #24
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    We the people ... so I mailed Jim Merz...

    ... & this is what he had to say. Pretty cool being able to mail people like this!

    "Regarding the bike Ned rode at the worlds. The frame for his bike did
    indeed weigh 2.2 lbs. It was my idea to do this frame. At the time I was
    working with Dupont on the 3 spoke road wheels. Dupont was really putting a
    lot of effort into this project, using Cray super computer to do FEA for
    the wheel for instance. They had a workshop making parts for space, very
    nice cost no object stuff. I asked if we could get some of the carbon fiber
    used for this work to make a bike frame. Some of this material cost $2000
    per lb.! Very high modulus compared to the everyday carbon fiber.Besides
    the cost, the drawback is it gets more brittle as the modulus goes up.
    Anyway, I chose a fiber that was about 2 time the stiffness of the normal
    fiber we were using and made the wall thickness 1/2 as thick. It rode
    great, but was sensitive to damage. Ned put a hole in the down tube from a
    rock off the tire. The lugs were made by Peter Johnson. This was the grand
    daddy of all the current Seven, Merlin, and other Ti/carbon frames. Way
    ahead of it's time.

    Feel free to share this.

    Jim Merz
    Morgan Hill"

    no small claim to fame, helping design the frame that Ned won the worlds on

    ta

    scant

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by scant
    ... & this is what he had to say. Pretty cool being able to mail people like this!

    "Regarding the bike Ned rode at the worlds. The frame for his bike did
    indeed weigh 2.2 lbs. It was my idea to do this frame. At the time I was
    working with Dupont on the 3 spoke road wheels. Dupont was really putting a
    lot of effort into this project, using Cray super computer to do FEA for
    the wheel for instance. They had a workshop making parts for space, very
    nice cost no object stuff. I asked if we could get some of the carbon fiber
    used for this work to make a bike frame. Some of this material cost $2000
    per lb.! Very high modulus compared to the everyday carbon fiber.Besides
    the cost, the drawback is it gets more brittle as the modulus goes up.
    Anyway, I chose a fiber that was about 2 time the stiffness of the normal
    fiber we were using and made the wall thickness 1/2 as thick. It rode
    great, but was sensitive to damage. Ned put a hole in the down tube from a
    rock off the tire. The lugs were made by Peter Johnson. This was the grand
    daddy of all the current Seven, Merlin, and other Ti/carbon frames. Way
    ahead of it's time.

    Feel free to share this.

    Jim Merz
    Morgan Hill"

    no small claim to fame, helping design the frame that Ned won the worlds on

    ta

    scant

    Cool info, thanks. I figured it would have to be some sort of ultra-expensive, space age material. I wonder if those materials will ever be used on production bikes. It sounds like we've still got weight to shed on frames. So was there only one of these ever made? Where is it now? Is this the same one MBA tested after the worlds? According to MBA, it should be.

  26. #26
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    errr.. I dont really want to go bugging Jim as he was so good to help out with the above info. He's on VATB mailing list if anyone else wants to ask
    Kinda guessing but I wonder if MBA did get the exact same bike to test? Would specialized have divulged that it was a special one -off?.Would MBA have divulged it was a one-off? I thought Neds bike was in the smithsonian? The fact that the epic looked so stock, I suppose unless you knew you had the pucka 1 off (& the low weight) it would be pretty difficult to tell?

    I guess all pros throughtout time get custom tweaks that only become apparent as well as the more blatent bikes (tomacs fat chance, myrahs ritchey/FAT, tim goulds chas roberts etc) Always interesting to hear of the little tweaks tho I always liked the extended seattube on henriks ritchey P-team...

    hell it was only earlier this week I discovered that tomacs 96 giant alu hardtail was made by yeti! LOl (see www.yetifan.com)

    ta

    scant

  27. #27
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    Old carbon designs & bleeding edge engineering

    Quote Originally Posted by scant
    I guess all pros throughtout time get custom tweaks that . . .
    Not to take anything away from the designers of this bike (it was way ahead of it's time and very cool) but it sounds to me like this bike was "underbuilt" by any modern safety or enginneering standards for an XC mtb, even for a one off single race bike.

    From the statements about rock damage and knowledge of other carbon bikes of that era and this, it's seems fair to speculate that they were pushing the bleeding edge with minimal test data to validate what they'd built. In defense of their efforts - it was obviously a success if they won the worlds and it's also worth mention that almost no-one in the industry truly had their ducks in a row when it came to good carbon construction until the mid nineties. Certainly none of the lugged carbon bikes held up so they weren't alone.

    Also worth mention is how "often" bikes of all materials and makes would break at the races back in the early nineties. It wasn't so unusual back then to see stuff underbuilt and I don't think the sport or the bike companies were quite as hypersensitive to the possibility for their pro racers breaking equipment. I vividly remember watching a DH race at Mount Snow around 93 and I'd say around 30% or more of the pro class reached the bottom of the hill with broken equipment of one sort or another.

    As for the materials, there's definately high end high modulus carbon (in aircraft grades - same stuff they make 50 million dollar planes out of) being used today in the road bike market and I can't and won't believe the carbon used then for this project was truly better than the stuff used today in the best highend carbon bikes. The very lightest carbon road frames are around 1.85 pounds or so. Remember too this is 14 years later and a road bike frame . . . Scott USA is one of the best at making carbon bikes and there top of the line road frame in a 54 cm is around 825 grams. Carbon tube manufacturing techniques have come a long way too vs techniques then. We also know stories of the "heavier" production epic's breaking. Ben Parlee and Craig Calfee are two of the current crop of guru carbon wizards building meticulously crafted handmade carbon road frames today and their lightest creations to date are just under 2 pounds. Ben use to build multi-million dollar america's cup yachts and spars from carbon before getting into biking, so again it wound really surprise me if the carbon being used is anything less than top shelf by todays standards.

    I've got three of these consumer version epic mtbs here in various vintages. As I recall the ti/carbon limited frame I've got here was around 4 pounds before I built it up. I also have a very old Ubrake enabled/disabled one that I'll have to check the weight on.

    I think in summary if this bike did way 2.2 pounds it was quite a manufacturing feat, but also a gamble with a lot of luck that it made it to the finish in one piece. That said, Specialized has had a long commitment to R&D and their current generation of carbon road bikes including the Tarmac are among the most advanced and nicest riding you'll find.

  28. #28
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    you're right mtnwing!
    a few of your key words "underbuilt" "pushing the bleeding edge"
    "obviously a success" "won the worlds"

    I think that just about sums it up

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