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eBay Finds: Specialized Rock Combo

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Drop bar mountain bike makes a great retro gravel bike

Drop bar mountain bike makes a great retro gravel bike (Image credit: eBay)
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True to its time, the Rock Combo runs cantilever brakes

True to its time, the Rock Combo runs cantilever brakes (Image credit: eBay)
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Saddle is original and features rainbow stripe detailing

Saddle is original and features rainbow stripe detailing (Image credit: eBay)
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Imagined on one side of the Pacific, welded together on the other

Imagined on one side of the Pacific, welded together on the other (Image credit: eBay)
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Huge metal quick release, keeps the 26.4mm seatpost in place

Huge metal quick release, keeps the 26.4mm seatpost in place (Image credit: eBay)
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Narrow cassette links to three rings at the front

Narrow cassette links to three rings at the front (Image credit: eBay)
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Crankset is a Specialized ST-2, rotating on a Shimano hollow spindle

Crankset is a Specialized ST-2, rotating on a Shimano hollow spindle (Image credit: eBay)
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With a frame weight of only 2.2kg and steel tube ride comfort, the Rock Combo could be a tidy retro gravel bike

With a frame weight of only 2.2kg and steel tube ride comfort, the Rock Combo could be a tidy retro gravel bike (Image credit: eBay)

Few bikes illustrate the Specialized all-terrain heritage, quite like its Rock Combo.

If you are playing with the idea of a retro gravel bike in your collection, this eBay find from the late 1980s should appeal.

Originally launched as a mountain bike, by contemporary standards, the Rock Combo would qualify for gravel riding duty. If you wish to experience the occasional time warp weekend gravel ride, this size large Rock Combo is your ticket to the yesteryear all-terrain drop-bar experience.

The bike appears to be in excellent condition and even retains an original factory specification Selle Italia Turbo saddle, with its very generous padding structure.

In a world before clutched rear derailleurs, the Rock Combo uses a Suntour XCD 3x drivetrain, linked to a 13-28T cassette. Converting rider cadence to power is a Specialized ST-2 crankset, with 28/38/48 chainrings, driven by 170mm crankarms.

The Rock Combo’s elegant steel tube profiles and fork are contrasted by typically bold 1980s graphics, whilst the chromoly frame’s geometry would not look that out of place on a 2020 model year gravel bike tech chart. It features a 71-degree head angle, which is marginally slacker than most of the current Specialized Diverge range.

Giving the Rock Combo credence as a retro gravel bike, are its drop bars, measuring 440mm in width at the tops and 550mm at the ends. This Specialized drop bar is mounted on a 130mm MTB-3 specification chromoly stem.

One provenance issue is that its original Specialized Hardpack 26 x 1.5in tyres have been replaced with modern WTB 1.85in slicks. There are various fast-rolling 26-inch mountain bike rubber options to return this Rock Combo to gravel riding duty, and some even offer a tan-wall aesthetic, if you wish to achieve the period look. 

Originally priced at $700 when it launched in the late 1980s, the eBay price of $900 appears to be a fair deal, for a Rock Combo which is in very decent condition.