I haven’t talked about anything new in the world of bikes for some time, so, let’s talk cranks, because I’ve realized they’ve gone through some interesting changes recently.
1996 Shimano XTR group
The Gold Standard in cranks has almost always been Shimano’s XTR. There might be lighter, or cheaper options than XTR, but historically, XTR has given buyers the best compromise of weight, performance, and price.
And generally, they’ve been the best looking too – but I’m not sure that’s the case anymore.
I’m about to indulge in some heavy bike snobbery, but before I do, I’m going to tell you why it’s not snobbery.
Being a bike snob means that you’re only interested in, or only like, certain bikes. High-end, handbuilt bikes of course.
A bike snob would look at a $700 mountain bike and think “trash,” because they know that the only bikes out there worth their salt are made by Artisans. You know, guys that wear hats that only cover the back of their head, and only got one weld done on your frame today because they just weren’t feelin’ it man – between their $8 hand-pressed coffees and $12 artisan sandwiches made from old world grains and organic free-range ham – and you just gotta feel it, you know?
I’m going to make fun of a couple bikes here, but it’s not snobbery. Not entirely anyway. It’s more about usability and building a bike that makes sense.
These two bikes just don’t make sense;
Everything that has ever existed, will eventually be for sale on eBay.
Gary Fisher AC/DC
Today as I looked for anything interesting, I found this unusual Gary Fisher frame. It’s aluminium bonded to a carbon rear end, and the seller states it’s a warranty replacement frame from the Trek factory in Wisconsin.
Looking at it more closely, it has some very interesting details that I didn’t realize were on any production Trek or Fisher at the time.
Rocky Mountain has always had a strong following in Germany. There are some on the Internet that have suggested in fact that sales of their bikes in Germany kept Rocky going in some lean years. There were quite a few special models sold only in Europe, which I believe were probably the result of the strong sales.
Also, there is a massive following for retro Rocky bikes, and really, anything Canadian, in Germany. The website mtb-news.de has some truly incredible retro Rockys and Brodies, and no question there’s a huge concentration of perfect Syncros parts for the early 90’s over there.
Because I know this, it’s interesting to hit eBay Germany from time to time to see what’s there.
Well, it is for me anyway.
Let’s take a quick look at some of these special Germany-only models.
RMB Vertex Ltd.
Here’s a European model Vertex Ltd from about 1998. In North America there was a Vertex T.O. with a red on white maple leaf fade. Europe got this very nice dark blue on white. I have no idea what the parts spec was for this bike, but I’m sure those Syncros cranks are not stock, as they were out of production by ’98. The forks look newer than ’98 as they have disc tabs. It’s a very well put together bike.