The Cutting Edge of 1995

Thanks to the tremendous time waster Pinterest, I found this very old feature about even older bikes. It’s a review of a 1995 book called Pro Mountain Biker, and it’s posted on Singletracks.com.

Reading this feature, I get the impression that the writer is knowledgeable of old bikes, but he often skips over important details. Details of the kind that makes me think he’s not that knowledgeable of old bikes.

It is very confusing!

Foes Fab LTS

Foes Fab LTS

Here’s the first item – the Foes Fabrication LTS. Foes was way ahead of the curve on rear suspension. Their Weasel ran 6 inches of rear wheel travel when forks had only 3 inches. And the LTS featured a futuristic aluminium monocoque. There are two LTS’ in the Singletracks feature, neither identified as such, and both with what the author describes as “weigh reducing” holes in the frame.

Add more lightness

Add more lightness

I’m no engineer, and I’m guessing neither isĀ the Singletracks writer, so I’m going to cut lots of slack here. Holes generally equal drillium – a special branch of cycle weirdness where you drill tons of holes in every part you can, and save very little weight. But you will probably lose massive amounts of rigidity and performance instead! So much of cycling is mental, so of course drilling tiny holes everywhere makes you think you’re faster before you even get on the bike.

But in the case of the LTS, the holes are part of an effort to strengthen the frame. Notice the divot that the hole sits in? That provides stiffness to an otherwise totally flat sheet of metal, which could be pretty noodly without something to stiffen it.

The bike also appears to be rebadged as a KHS, which was probably for their DH team as I don’t recall them ever licensing the design for sale as a KHS – but no mention of this in the article.

Gary Fisher and klunker

Gary Fisher and klunker

The second thing that grabs my attention is this picture of Gary Fisher and one of his klunkers from the Repack days. Fisher, Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, and others modified any old Schwinns they could get their hands on for mountain use. This meantĀ adapting touring bike parts, and motorcycle parts to cruisers made in the 40’s so they could get up, and down, the mountain faster.

There was a Klunker made by Gary Fisher bikes in 1996, but this bike is not that bike. It’s clearly got some TA cranks and motorcycle brake levers just like they used to use in the late 70’s. The ’96 bike had cantilever bikes, and Shimano parts.

So, yeah, it’s Gary Fisher’s klunker, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Schwinn.

Yeti Paul Tracy Thermoplastic

Yeti Paul Tracy Thermoplastic

There is also the Paul Tracy thermoplastic Yeti. Tracy is a Canadian race car driver who won the CART title in 2003, and also feels he won the 2002 Indy 500. Well before this, he worked with Yeti as a test rider, and his thermoplastic framed AS5 is well known as a unicorn in vintage circles. Our intrepid man at Singletracks doesn’t seem to know much about it though.

Muddy Fox Interactive Ultra

Muddy Fox Interactive Ultra

One last thing; this utterly mental Muddy Fox. MF was (is?) an English brand that is not well known here in the colonies. This early attempt at full suspension seems to rely on just one shock, and apparently, hitting a bump with the front wheel will cause the rear suspension to compress. I expect this would feel terrible. And I’ve ridden a Trek 9000, so I know terrible.

I can’t think of any good reason to do this. I’m thinking the rear suspension would also feedback against the fork. Why would you ever build a bike where the two wheels fight against each other?

This really does look like one of the worst bikes I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, I enjoyed this feature for all the crazy vintage bikes – definitely check it out if you haven’t already – so please don’t take this as me trashing another writer. It just had an odd tone; like the things he didn’t seem to know would be impossible to not know given the things he did know, if that makes sense.

I’m sure Singletracks is great and can I write for you guys? Please?

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