Even I will draw a line somewhere

If I have a thing, it’s the ability to make something from next to nothing. I have enough parts piled up that I can take a $50 bike in need of work, and turn it into something maybe worth $200. But, even considering that, there are times when it’s gone too far.

This is one of those times;


It’s a Rocky Mountain Fusion from 2002. And it’s in terrible shape.

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Bottom bracket “standards”

I’ve written before about the changing standards in the mountain bike world, but I didn’t spend much time in that post discussing bottom brackets. They’ve gone through changes too, like so many other components.

A lot of those changes have improved strength and performance, but I’m not convinced that the current standard is an improvement. And a recent product development meant to “fix” the issues with that standard is making me think I’m right.

A quick review though;

The bottom bracket shell on all bikes used to have threads on either side. You threaded a cup onto one side, slid the spindle in, then threaded a cup on the other side. Then cartridge bottom brackets came along – they had the spindle and one cup as a unit. You threaded that into the frame, and put a cup in the other side to hold it in place. No finnicky tightening and re-tightening was required in order to get the tension just right.

In other words, no expertise required.

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Ellsworth Joker

In the late 90’s, two California mountain bike builders decided to collaborate on a new full suspension bike. They created a new company with a line of three single-pivot bikes. The collaborators were Ellsworth and Ventana, and the new company was Aeon.

Aeon didn’t last that long. I’m not sure why though, as I’m not finding any details about them, apart from this amazing page from 1997 that is somehow still on the Internet. Ellsworth must have wanted to try and make money from this arrangement, as they took over the Aeon bikes and rebadged them as Ellsworths.

They had the Isis with 100mm of travel, and the Joker with 150mm. You often saw the Joker with a pretty burly spec for DH and shuttle run activities.

I also recall them having a high incidence of failure, but, that’s just what I’ve seen. Everyone knows that insert bike name here break all the time, but there are a much greater number of people that have never seen insert bike name here bike break, so it doesn’t mean that much. If you know what I mean.

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How to be a bike mechanic

Years ago, I bought a Dekerf Team ST that was very well used. The fork oil was all over the outside of the fork, the fork crown was cracked, the frame probably had never been cleaned, the cables were messed up, and the wheels… The wheels had a clunk in the front – like there was a loose bearing – and a rumble in the back, which usually means a pitted cone.

And on top of that, the rear rim is very concave on the braking surface – the metal has been worn away and the brake pads will soon break right though the rim. They rim really should be replaced before it breaks.

The problem is  that they’re weird wheels. The nipples are at the hub instead of the rim. The rear is offset bigtime. Getting a new rim to fit these wheel is probably not an option.

Cane Creek WAM

Cane Creek WAM

I was pretty discouraged by all this at the time. They’re Cane Creek WAM Cronos, which was a pretty high end wheelset from the late 90’s. It really seemed dumb that they were essentially garbage.

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