Category Archives: Vintage

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.

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!

Vintage Merlin

I’ve been spending a lot of time on, which is probably the biggest English retro site out there, going through the 250 pages of posts on readers bikes.

Here’s a beautiful Merlin from the back pages;


It’s pretty much perfect.  Not just in the period correctness of the parts, but in the particular brands chosen.  Parts on this bike come from the legends of the industry that are of just the right style for a Merlin.  Like Wilderness Trail Bikes (hubs), Interloc Racing Designs (seatpost), Salsa (stem), Specialized (tires), and Ritchey (fork).

Add in rare black Shimano XT brakes, those fabulous 4-finger brake levers, Mavic rims, Sugino cranks, and a Regina Extra Amercia freewheel – this is some crazily rare piece that I don’t even know what it is – and you have perfection.

It was posted three years ago, but there are some more fabulous pictures here;

I talked about price in my last post, but this is a bike that it would be very hard to put a price on.  I don’t know that I’d ever have the budget to make the builder let it go.  But even then, you’d hope that it’s a bike the owner can hang onto it until he’s able to pass it on to a younger family member, and so on.

No question, this is a 10.

eBay Finds, or, This Blog is Entirely About Gary Fisher Now…

If you’ve been paying attention to my blogging all these years, you might remember that I’ve mentioned often that vintage Gary Fisher bicycles and frames rarely come up for sale.

Things seem to have changed though.

I’ve posted before the seller in the U.S. with the insane, $25,000 price on the Procaliber. Which seems to be an “f-you” response to people telling him his $8,000 price was ridiculous. Today, there are three other vintage Fishers;

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This is a 1987 Procaliber, completely original with Shimano XT parts, chainstay mounted U-brakes, and the most awesome flat handlebar ever.  It’s funny that so many people will mention that their remembrance of vintage MTBs is 150mm stems and 0 or 3 degree sweep handlebars, because I remember these 10 degree bars.  Both of them disappeared from the market, but the big sweep flat bar made a comeback with the Rise of the 29ers.

The price is $700, which is right on the edge of “that’s pricey, but good given it’s condition” and “great bike, but that’s insane.”  And the reason it’s not completely insane is it’s rarity, and it’s place in the history of MTBs.

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Next up is a 1990 AL-1.  One of the first production aluminum bikes, this one, like the Procaliber, is in excellent shape.  It’s a little less original, but has the super cool Fisher Fat Trax tire on the front.

The price here is $950, which is really leaning into the insane.  I love the colour, but if I had to choose, the cheaper Procaliber is a pretty easy win.

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1991 Fisher Procaliber – I’m not 100% certain if that Control Stem is original, but even if it isn’t, the bike is 99% original.  Even the tires and grips, which are very rare to survive this long.   It too is in excellent condition, and has the added VRC cache of being a non-Shimano bike.  Plus for me, 1991/1992 are simply the best years for mountain bikes period.

So, it’s $850, splitting the difference between the two previous bikes.  But is that an insane price?  I don’t think I could ever pay that much for this bike.  But, I can’t say it’s insane, because if this was a Rocky Mountain Vertex, or Altitude, or Thunderbolt of the same vintage and condition, I’m buying it.

It really comes down to if its your brand or not.

Now it gets a little crazy;

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This is a 1990 Gary Fisher Prometheus.  Titanium frame, absolutely 100% original, clearly used, but in very good condition.  The rarest of the rare.  I spend a lot of time on – probably the biggest english website for vintage, retro, classic – and I don’t think anyone there has one.  And they have everything.

The price though is $12,000.

I’ve seen some bikes, like limited run Colnagos with special paint jobs and anniversary Campagnolo groupsets with asking prices like this, and I’ve thought; “I don’t think I’d ever be able to spend that much, but I don’t think that’s an unfair price.”

I don’t know what I think about this though.  It’s amazing but I don’t know if it’s that amazing.

Here it is if you’re wanting to pay the down payment on the guy’s house;