Way back in 2011, a friend at work tempted me into signing up for a local spring triathlon. At the time, I hadn't done any serious swimming, biking, or running, but it sounded fun. The other issue I had was not owning a road bike. The idea of completing the 15 mile bike ride on a hybrid (which I did own) was very unappealing: it would be inefficient and slow. Unable to stomach the idea of handicapping myself in a race against a colleague, I decided to buy my very first road bike.

Although I know now I could have realized the best value by buying a used bike, I didn't know anything about bikes at the time. Therefore, I did what most people do and went into my local bike shop, Bike Barn, during one of their annual sales. I explained my situation, additionally expressing that I wanted to spend as little money as possible, and I was soon on my way with the lowest spec 2010 Specialized Allez for under $500.

I rode the bike for about a month, did a couple group rides, a couple triathlons, and within a few months, stopped all of it entirely to do car racing, boating, and all manner of other things which you can read about in many places elsewhere on the blog here.

Then, sometime in June 2014, another colleague at a new company for whom I work, invited me to do a duathlon (run, bike, run) with him and his neighbor. I was transitioning out of the expensive boating and racing hobbies and it seemed like a fun idea, so I dusted off the old Allez and my running shoes.

Again, I had a good time, so I signed up for a couple triathlons and started riding with the Space City Cycling Club out of Clear Lake, near Houston, TX. After completing the 2 triathlons, I continued to get more serious and bought a fancy triathlon bike. While it was great for time trial type efforts, it wasn't good for group riding. Riding in a paceline while positioned in the aerobars is not only dangerous (your hands aren't near the brakes, which is undesirable while riding 20+mph in a close line of cyclists), but usually strictly against club riding rules, so I continued to ride the old Allez when I went road cycling with the club.

After 6 months of riding decent mileage on a weekly basis, I started to consider purchasing a new road bike. Then, in early January, the group I rode with did an impromptu century (100 miles) ride, for which I was not prepared. Aside from the fact that I was in too poor of physical shape to enjoy such a ride, the old Allez wasn't performing very well. I couldn't get the shifting tuned nicely, the brakes weren't stopping very well, and the heavy, aerodynamically inefficient wheels were not helping. It was bike shopping time.

I consulted with fellow riders in my club, cyclist friends strewn about the country, local bike shops, and of course, the entire internet. I decided that I wanted a Specialized Venge. The only problem with the plan: I was looking at over a $5,000 investment (note: there are cheaper trim levels of Venge, but not with the groupset and wheels I liked). Yikes.

I scoured the depths of my consumerist soul to justify such a purchase, but I just wasn't able. Back to the drawing board.

Having test-ridden a number of bikes during this search, I found that actually, I didn't mind the frame of my Allez. Perhaps a good solution would be to upgrade the frame with all new parts, and in case I wanted a new frame later, they could all be moved over to said nicer, aero carbon frame (like a Venge...). And like that, the plan was in place. I chose and ordered my parts, and made the executive decision to do the entire disassembly and rebuild myself, with a fresh coat of paint in between, to freshen up the look.

The following is an account of the process, in multiple parts. The first part here is the disassembly, with paint and rebuild to follow. I've included component weights where I deemed appropriate.

It's said that any job can be done with the right tools, so I attempted to set myself up for success with a Park Tools PRS-4W mount for the process:

And here's the before image, all chucked up in the vise mount:

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Complete Bike - Before 10,387 22.9 lbs. Full saddle bag, 2 bottle mounts, Garmin mount

Front brake released, and wheel off:

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Front Wheel 1,365 AlexRims S500 with 700C x 23 Specialized Mondo Tire

As I've become more and more serious about cycling, I've realized that keeping one's bike clean is a crucial part of its proper functioning and maintenance. The before pictures here show the bike before I realized this. So it's shamefully dirty. I've earned any derision volleyed my way.

Here's an example of some learning I did the hard way:

As most anyone who's worked on a bike knows, and I know now, the brakes can be removed in one piece by removing the single bolt from the rear of the fork. I didn't see this until much later, so I completely disassembled the brakes from the front in order to remove them. I don't recommend this at all.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Front Brake 178 I assume Shimano Sora, but no label = not sure. Worn pads included.

Even after 5 years, the bar tape wasn't in terrible shape. To prep for the brake/shifter (brifter) removal, I clipped the caps off the brake and shifter cables and released the tension from them as well.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Bar Tape 32 Left side only. Brand unknown.

Before getting too carried away, I took a bunch of pictures of the cable routing to reference when I string it all back together.

It's a triple! 8-speed derailleur in back:

One band clamp with a 5mm allen screw holds the brifters to the handlebars. Once you loosen that, the whole thing slides right off.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Front (left) Brifter 221 Shimano ST-2303 STI
Front brake cable and housing 35 -
Front shift cable and housing 28 -

I liked this shot of the mechanical internals of the STI lever. The red indicator moves left and right as you shift up and down:

I repeated the process for the right side, then unbolted the (4) 4mm allen bolts holding the stem cap that retains the handlebars.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Handlebars 352 2009 Specialized Comp alloy 420mm

I removed the single 5mm allen bolt from the top cap on the fork and steerer, then loosened the (2) 4mm bolts clamping the stem, and removed the stem and spacers.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Stem 198 105mm Alloy -6deg
Spacers, Stem, Bolt 5 Alloy spacers

Although the fork wasn't being held in with any bolts, it took a small measure of medium-soft hammering on the top to get it to release out the bottom of the headtube.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Fork and Steerer 576 Carbon fork, alloy steer tube
Bearings, seals 28 Non-sealed bearings; 22ct. 3mm balls in cage.

Pedals off. Here's the setup I used to weigh everything. It's a food scale that I zero'd with the blue rag:

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Pedals 257 Look Keo Classics. Weight is for both pedals combined.

Next off was the rear wheel.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Rear Wheel with Cassette 1972 8 speed. 700C x 23 Specialized Mondo Tire

To remove the cranks, I used the Park Tool CCP-22 on the non-drive side. It took some effort, but it came off. This bike had the square taper crank and bottom bracket.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Drive-side crank with gears 795 170mm FC-2303. Triple chainring set.
Non-drive crank arm 227 170mm FC-2303

I didn't have a proper chain breaker tool, so I made a couple ill-advised attempts to push a chain pin out with clamps, center punches, and sockets. It didn't even come close to working, so I popped over to a local bike shop down the street, HAM Cycles, and bought a chain breaker tool. Much easier. After who knows how many miles and zero maintenance, the chain went straight in the trash.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Chain 303 KMC Z Narrow

The front and rear derailleurs came off quickly and easily with just a couple bolts. Note the black rear derailleur hanger in the picture below. I set that aside, because it's going back on.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Front derailleur 117 Shimano FD-2303 band-on
Rear Derailleur 274 Shimano RD-2300

Rear brake off. As you can see by the allen wrench position below, I still hadn't figured out that the whole assembly could be removed at once by taking the bolt out of the center on the other side of the frame when I took this picture. I actually realized this right after this picture. Much easier.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Rear brake 176 -

Only the bottom bracket left. The seat and seatpost are staying in for painting. I plan to tape them off, then hang the frame from them.

The bottom bracket was stuck pretty good, so I pulled out some power tools to assist. The socket on my Bosch impact driver is the Park Tool BBT-22 for Shimano 20-tooth BB's.

Component Weight (grams) Notes
Bottom Bracket 317 RPM BB-7420 68mm square taper

That completes the disassembly! Next, it's cleaning and paint. Wait until you see the color I've chosen; controversial at best!

Check out part 2!

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