It’s Halloween – the perfect time to check out some spooky weird vintage mountain bikes!
Today we’ll take a quick look at the haunted Slingshot, and, the bike that only THE DEVIL could ride, the Whyte PRST-1.
I advise any readers now with heart conditions or weak constitutions to leave now lest you be struck down by these horrifying and crazy bicycles!
Before we get started, I need to mention that there is a bike company called Spooky. You may have even thought I was going to talk about them, because how perfect would it be that I have a post about Spooky on Halloween? I totally don’t wish that I only just now thought of this instead of the other idea I had…
Anyway, they made some very cool bikes, and had the legendary Frank Wadelton (aka Frank the Welder) work for them, but I’m saving them for a later date because there’s a lot to process in the story of Spooky.
On to the spooktacular Slingshot bikes!
Slingshot originated in Michigan when Mark Groendal discovered that his minibike was haunted!!
Groendal had accidentally ridding his motorcycle over a cemetery, awaking an ancient evil hellbent on taking the down tube off his bike!
Actually, no – it had a cracked down tube. This lead it to ride much more smoothly that normal. He began to experiment with frame designs that had a cable instead of a tube.
This lead to the bike pictured above that has a cable attached to a coil spring instead of a down tube, and a 3M scotchply “spring” at the top tube/seat tube junction.
This 3M “spring” offered a lively ride, but only after a naked virgin doused it in the blood of a live chicken.
What was truly terrifying about the Slingshot though was that some people felt it could save pedaling energy in the spring, and return it to the rear wheel somehow. Probably SATAN.
People actually had a lot of good things to say about its ride, but, like many other weird innovations in early mountain biking, it never really caught on, despite Slingshot sticking around until 2011.
Their website eeirly says “What happened to the spring?” – BUT NEVER EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED…. Seriously, it doesn’t actually say why they stopped using it. Also, it doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2011.
The mainstream cycling media won’t tell you the story of this next bike. It’s simply too much for the average person. I know the truth though – it was designed by THE DEVIL.
Whyte was born when two designers, waiting out a typhoon in an airport, challenged each other to design something better than the telescopic fork dominating the industry. Months of fruitless work led them to consulting the considerable design chops of THE DEVIL – who had previously worked on both the ’83 Renault and ’87 Brabham Formula 1 cars.
The designers who had previously been working for Marin cycles, struck out on their own as Whyte, after having signed away their souls to THE DEVIL in an elaborate ceremony in Sussex, England.
The PRST-1 was actually pretty successful, and great to ride, offering a tuneable amount of brake dive in the front end. Something that is really hard to even imagine. Unfortunately, the designers in their hubris, neglected to read the fine print on their contract with THE DEVIL, and he collected their souls before they could begin work on the second generation in 1999.
Or maybe, the Fox Forx debuted, with such terrific performance over previous forks, that the elaborate Whyte front end was simply unnecessary.