All posts by aguycalled80

Rocky Mountain Bikes

Rocky Mountain Bikes is my company, always has been.  I still remember seeing them in a shop in Calgary in 1991, and at Revolution Cycles here in Edmonton.

I’m putting together a gallery of as many of their models as I can, and I’m updating it on a Pinterest board;

http://www.pinterest.com/aguycalled80/rocky-mountain-bikes/

Yeah, I know, Pinterest.  It’s just the easiest way, seriously.

It’s mostly vintage Rockys, and the ones I’ve had, but I’ll branch out into newer ones as I go.

Oh, there’s also a board of non-Rockys too;

http://www.pinterest.com/aguycalled80/bicycles/

Vintage GT

Back in the day, I didn’t like GTs.  I didn’t like Triple Triangle, or the LTS and STS bikes, and I really didn’t like the i-Drive bikes.

I can’t say I have a really good reason for that feeling though.

Now though, I’ve completely Flip-Flopped (see what I did there?) and I’d be happy to get my hands on a good GT, like this;

GT

Actually, I did have my hands on this one.  This is a 1991 Tequesta that a good friend of mine bought just a couple of months after I bought my first real bike.  He rode it a lot, and eventually sold it to a friend.

About four years ago he bought it back, and turned it over to me.  I was lucky enough to find a period-correct donor bike for parts, and then with a few new parts, he had himself a like-new, old bike.

I’m going to get him to bring it over next summer so I can take some proper pictures, and then we’ll go for a retro ride with my old Bridgestone.

If I was lucky enough, I’d love to find one of these;

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The Cyclone – or Psyclone – was a high-end steel frame, not sure if all of them were fillet brazed, but some were, that sat at the top of their line along with the Zaskar and Xizang Ti.

I’ve never seen one in person, so I suspect they are very rare.

The Zaskars are far more common, and GTs in general are right up there on the Mt. Rushmore of VRC bikes.

Cyclone source;  http://forums.mtbr.com/gt/gt-frame-build-up-1991-cyclone-made-usa-763025.html

Vintage bicycle abuse

In the UK, one of the more popular VRC brands is Orange.  You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of them as I don’t think they were ever sold here.

From browsing retrobike.co.uk I’ve learned that the Prestige is one of the more popular models;

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As you can see, when they’re done right, they’re gorgeous.

But when they’re done wrong;

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I get the poverty thing.  I’ve done it.  I once put together a bike using a frame I had, and all the parts either came from whatever leftovers I had, and any not quite worn out parts I scavenged from repairs at the shop.

I ended up with a usable single speed, but of course you have to put up with a lot of Zen and The Art of Bicycle Maintenance type crap.    Like this;

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Zen and The Art of Bicycle Maintenance doesn’t exist by the way.  I guess I’ll have to write it…

Judging from the forum post, the builder has intentionally gone with those stupidly narrow bars.  That’s left him with no room to install the front shifter, which is actually handling rear shifting duties.  Also, cantilever brake levers running V-brakes – which I can tell you, doesn’t work that well.

There are also mis-matched wheels, four out of a possible five chainring bolts, and a frame in desperate need of a respray.

I’ve built some pretty sketchy rides in my time, but not anymore.  Or not to the same degree anyway.   When I was Redbike, Cliff told me that he too used to do the poverty thing, but it’s just too much work.  Too much effort to keep these kinds of bikes running.  And you can’t ever sell them, unless you find a buyer that will understand the known issues, and is willing to deal with them.

He decided that he wanted “flawless.”  And after a lot of years building bikes like this, that’s what I want as well.

Vintage Pro-Flex

Pro-Flex was one of the first companies to offer a rear suspension bike.  You couldn’t really call them full suspension – at least not the early ones – because they only had a flex stem up front.

Suspending the bike is different than suspending the bike.

Anyway;

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This is a 1991 550 utilizing an elastomer “shock” in the rear end, and a Girvin Flex Stem in the front.

There’s nothing particularly special about this bike, but when I saw it, it reminded me that I used to see a woman riding around town on slightly newer Pro Flex.  It’s kinda funny to see bikes that were made with serious off-roading in mind log heavy miles as commuters and grocery getters.  And I always liked the look of these early bikes

They’re pretty popular amongst the VRC crowd, I think because of their pioneering of suspension, and for the attention grabbing looks of the later models with Girvin/Noleen Cross Link fork.

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They were eventually bought out by K2 – makers of skis – and still exist, but just as very plain, inexpensive bikes.  Whatever innovation that existed in the Pro-Flex/Girvin/Noleen days is long gone.