Specialized Rock Combo: Rebuild to *almost* original specs + Maiden Voyage

specialized rock combo rebuild
Maiden Voyage for JOM’s Specialized Rock Combo

From a Magazine Review circa 1989:

“Specialized’s new Rock Combo hybrid is a dawning class of bicycle. With ATB drop bars, bar-end shifters, seven-speed index shifting, Hardpack tires, light 26″ 32 spoke wheels, and tough, oversize triple-butted chromoly frame, the Rock Combo is truly a go anywhere, do anything bicycle.”

Specialized Rock Combo Video

In this video, JOM of the Gravel Cyclist covers the features of the Specialized Rock Combo in great detail, along with footage of his maiden voyage on the bike following a rebuild to almost original specifications. What’s next? You’ll be seeing the Rock Combo ridden in JOM’s wild, crazy and fun adventure / exploration videos, and it may appear at some future gravel events.

specialized rock combo rebuild

Continued from the retro review above:

“Amazing Climbing Ability”

“After putting in lots of miles on the Rock Combo through a wide variety of terrains, the attribute that really surprised me is its climbing ability. The leverage that can be applied to the rear wheel from pulling on the drop-bar brake hoods produces truly superior traction on steep hills – more than any flat bar bike I’ve ridden.”

specialized rock combo rebuild
Specialized BB-1 Handlebars, Suntour GPX Brake Levers

“Another advantage is the number of hand positions available. With the Specialized “Combo” bars, I counted five basic positions with several smaller variations. On long rides, this makes the difference between staying comfortable or becoming fatigued. And of course, by riding the drops you are more efficient in the wind.”

specialized rock combo rebuild

“Getting Technical”

“For technical off-road riding, the Rock Combo’s with a lot of height and not much reach is ideal. This lets you unweight the front wheel more easily, letting it roll over obstacles like rocks and logs. Once this position is found, it is possible to negotiate 98% of the hardest technical descents which are rideable with flat bars. I recommend taking descents that are rough or have steep drop-offs in the drop positions for the most secure hand hold and the best leverage on the brake levers.”

specialized rock combo rebuild

“I found the Rock Combo’s relatively long top tube and front/center keep the bike stable during single track high speed descents, while its 72 degree head angle provides quick steering for dodging obstacles and maneuvering through sharp turns. With a 42″ wheelbase almost identical to my race bike and 17″ chainstays, this bike is more stable on steep descents.”

specialized rock combo rebuild
Suntour Bar End 7-Speed Index Shifting

specialized rock combo rebuild

“A Blast on the Road Too”

“On the road, the Rock Combo is a real comfort. It soaks up bumps well, and the ride doesn’t seem punishing like most road bikes. A function of the fatter tires, longer wheelbase, and more moderate angles than found on most racing bikes, no doubt.”

specialized rock combo review
A water crossing or two during the maiden ride

“The Rock Combo is a gas to ride. This bike really is a lot of fun, particularly on the fire roads and smooth singletrack. It’s a blast if you need to cover some road to get to the dirt.”

specialized rock combo restoration
Specialized triple crankset, 48 / 38 / 28 chainrings

“In short, this is an ideal bike for combination on/off-road riding. The Rock Combo should be considered a high-performance off-road bike whose handlebar positioning lets you excel in climbing. It is also an excellent choice for both on and off-road touring. I’d even use one for winter training.”

specialized rock combo restoration
From the original magazine review

Additional Photos

specialized rock combo rebuild
Suntour XCD 6000 Front Derailleur
specialized rock combo rebuild
Suntour XCD 6000 Rear Derailleur
specialized rock combo restoration
Specialized English Thread square taper bottom bracket
specialized rock combo restoration
Suntour XCD Front Hub
specialized rock combo restoration
Suntour XCD Rear Cassette Hub
specialized rock combo rebuild
13-30 Cassette, stock was 13-28
specialized rock combo restoration
Panaracer GK SK in 26 x 2″, Diacompe 984 brakes
specialized rock combo restoration
Heaps of tyre clearance
specialized rock combo restoration
Tyre clearance is still good at the rear
specialized rock combo restoration
Specialized GX23 rims, 32 Wheelsmith spokes
specialized rock combo rebuild
Specialized SV-2 Threaded Headset

specialized rock combo rebuild

specialized rock combo restoration
Specialized Seatpost Binder / Quick Release
specialized rock combo restoration
Thru-axles didn’t exist in 1989, Suntour Quick Releases

Support Gravel Cyclist:
Buy Me a Coffee – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/gravelcyclist
OR
Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/gravelcyclist

Links of Interest:

Don’t forget to Like the Gravel Cyclist Facebook page, follow G.C. on Instagram, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel. We are also on Twitter!

One thought on “Specialized Rock Combo: Rebuild to *almost* original specs + Maiden Voyage

  1. And it only took the bike industry 25-30 years to catch up. Actually, there was an article decades ago now in one of the print mags about “métisse” bikes, which were another gravel bike ancestor; IIRC these had ~35mm-ish 700c tyres with flat bars. Now both 700×35+ and 650bx47+ are pretty mainstream, rather than outliers.

    Finally, can I ask what white bar tape *exactly* you’re using that doesn’t get disgusting? (I’ve never found one that doesn’t end up being grey.) Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.