All posts by aguycalled80

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 I’ve learned that the Prestige is one of the more popular models;


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

But when they’re done wrong;


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;


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.


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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.


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.

80’s Big Sale

It’s time for me to clear out the garage as I have a bunch of projects that I want to sort out, and no money to do that with.  So I’ve gathered up all the newest and shiniest gear I have, and before it goes on eBay, I thought I’d display it here.

Let’s start with the biggest and best;


1. 2010 Rocky Mountain Altitude 29, size large.  Shimano XT 9 speed shifters and derailleur, Race Face cranks, Stan’s ZTR rims with tubeless Continental Mountain King tires, Fox fork.

I really like this bike – it just rolls over everything – but given the type of riding I do, when I ask myself if I’d rather have this, or my 20th Anniversary Blizzard running, and my Dekerf built up, and maybe some other vintage machine, the answer is clear.

I would entertain trades on this bike for an older, XTR equipped 26er.  Don’t care about the brand, or if it’s suspended or hardtail, I’m looking for parts here.

2. Single speed wheelset; front is a silver Chris King disc hub, black spokes, and silver Mavic 717 rims.  The rear is a polished White Industries ENO eccentric single speed hub, black spoke and 717 rim.  It’s the older style ENO with a thread on freewheel mount.  This wheelset can be used with either disc or rim brakes, and I have the eccentric mount adapter for it too.  I might also have road spaced dropouts too.

I would entertain offers to part this wheelset out, but, if I did, I’d be keeping the rims, because a good rim brake compatible rim is becoming hard to find.  And I would also be interested in trades for a good rim compatible geared wheelset.  Like an old Crossmax for instance.

3. Vicious Cycles steel fork.  Black, disc-only, meant for a 26″ wheel, but I think it’s tall enough that it’ll work on 27.5″ as well.  It would probably also work on a disc-only CX bike.  I have put a 700c wheel in it, but there’s no clearance with a 29er tire.

4. Frames!  Small Norco Bush Pilot with fork and Campagnolo headset.  That’s right, Campagnolo on an entry-level mountain bike.  That is how it’s done.  Large and extra-large Fisher Marlin frames circa 1998, rim brake only, both of which I’ll probably repaint before I sell, but let me know if you’re interested, you can pick the colour maybe?  GT Zaskar LE, size 20.5, possibly broken.  If you want this, it’s yours.  It’s not pretty, but it was great before I maybe broke it when it was on the roof of my car.

5. All kinds of parts; SRAM 10 speed, 42T chainring (new).  SRAM composite v-brake levers (used). SRAM X.7 long cage rear derailleur.  Manitou X-vert fork (used).  Redline CX fork (used, disc and rim compatible).  Marzocchi Z.1 Drop-off 20mm fork (used, disc and rim compatible).


Vintage Rocky Mountain

This certainly isn’t fancy, but it’s out there getting the job done in our freshly arrived winter.


It’s a Sherpa from 1998 or maybe ’97, and I found it doing some winter bike commuting duty at a school.

That Manitou fork was definitely not stock that year, or any year for that matter on a Rocky, but it’s nice to see one out in the wild.  The seat does not look good.  It looks like the cover came off it five years ago, and weather, or possibly rodents, are working on the padding now.

Most shops will have seats that were swapped off of new bikes, and will sell them for $20.  I guess this rider is unaware.

It does seem to be faring a little better than the last old Rocky I found in the snow.


Funny how similar they are, with the racks and destroyed seats.

Come on people – these old Rockys deserve better!