P one, two and three: What’s the difference?

Hi Lee,

I’m thinking of upgrading my beast of a frame (Azonic steelhead) to an aluminum Specialized P.1, P.2, or P.3 frame.

I’ll probably pickup a used one as there are a lot out there. My question is what is the difference between these frames and which one is best for me? I would use it for messing around in my yard on the pump track, dirt jumps and basic trials stuff.

I’m 6’3″, 190 lbs and will be 45 this year so I don’t get too crazy any more but I still like to jump. Also what is a good cheap fork that you could recommend for that kind of riding? Thanks, Walt

Hey Walt,

All of the aluminum P-frames (1, 2 and 3) are identical for each year.

Get a 2006 or newer model. This most recent generation has the most dialed geometry. Slack front end, short rear end … yummy.

Given your height, make sure you get a size “long.” That should be easy, because Specialized no longer makes the short. Turns out there were foot/wheel overlap issues. (I ride a short, but since I fly low, straight and style-free, my foot and front tire have yet to meet.)

I absolutely love my P.3. With a long seatpost, it’s my most versatile bike. I commute on it, teach on it, pump it, jump it …

The P.3 treats me to 69 degrees of head angle love.

Demonstrating an imaginary Moab switchback at a middle school. If you look at the cactus, you hit the cactus!

This is as much style as I ever get.

With the seat up, the P.3 is all about running errands. With the seat down, it’s all about braaap!

You want a fork that is simultaneously good and cheap? I’ll bet you want light too.

Impossible! But there are good compromises.

– You could run whatever is on your Steelhead.

– Forget the whole 20mm thing. Stick with a standard QR fork and one of your current wheels.

– As a smooth, old rider you don’t need anything super burly. Get a quality XC fork and call it good.

– I’m a big fan of FOX 32mm forks. Get any 100mm version used, and you’ll be stoked. Newer RockShox are good too. I’ve seen Rebas used to good effect.

OK then. Rock it!

— Lee

My original 2003 P.1 didn’t exactly suck. That frame and fork are still being raced in the Mountain States Cup.

12 replies
  1. Walt says:

    Thanks, Lee, that was what I wanted to know. But one obvious remains … Why do they have 3 different names for the same frame?

  2. Tjaard says:

    They don’t have 3 different names for the same frame, they have 2 different builds with the same frame, as they do for most of their bikes(there are I believe 3 aluminum 26″ Stumpy FSR’s). The P1, as it’s name implies, is acutally a single speed.


    PS If you’d consider an XC fork like the Reba, the recon is quite good too, just as stiff and a fair bit cheaper.

  3. matt says:

    if you want to do more DJ’ing and pumping i might suggest getting the chro mo p.1 feels alot better jumping and pumping

  4. Eric says:

    I had an original model P.1 and loved it. So much that I spent all of the dough I made at Veloswap for an end of show deal on an 06 P.3 frame/fork and cranks. Just got it completed yesterday, BooYah!!! It’s a short and I kinda got bummed last week when I put wheels on it enough to check it out, felt super short sitting on it. Now that it’s done and I pedaled around a bit…yeah, baby! Can’t wait to get out on it.

  5. Colin says:

    The p1, 2, and 3 don’t all have the same frame.

    The p1 and the p2 cromo are steel frames, whereas the p2 and p3 are aluminum. I have a p3 and love it, and my friend has a p2 cromo and loves it too. They rock!

    I recommend you ride both, however, because they ride a bit differently. Steel rides awesomely in that it smoothes out the bumps, but i feel far more comfortable on my aluminum frame on the jumps.. probably because I’m just more used to the geometry

  6. zach says:

    Walt if you are looking for a used a frame I have one for ya. It may not be a P bike but it rips it all. Trail, DJ, 4-cross, Street and every thing in the middle. It is an ADDICT and it is about as bad ass as it gets with an adjustable backside you can dial in your wheel base length to what you want it to be. Less then a 5 pound Frame but strong enough for Crankworx. I am building up a new one. addictcycles.com

  7. leelikesbikes says:

    In 2006 and 2007 the P 1 through 3 were all available in aluminum, plus there was the P.2 Cromo.

    In 2008 the P.1 and 2 are indeed made of steel. But you won’t be getting used ones any time soon.

  8. leelikesbikes says:

    I’ve ridden the Addict, and it is very nice. It has perfect geometry and braaapable stiffness.

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