Past rides 1

Here is where you’ll find details on the bikes we used to ride.

1992 Trek 9200

This is a very well preserved old bike – but that doesn’t make it a good one. The rear shock is just a stack of elastomers with no damping at all.  I haven’t taken it out on the root-y singletrack yet, so I don’t know truly how bad it is, but, the chain feels like it’s made from a rubber band.

The fork offered no resistance when I bought it, but I pumped air into it, and it held it, so that was encouraging.  Getting all 63mm of that travel is important.

I really enjoy this feature; the left side of the swingarm is a different colour than the right side.  No, that’s not a feature, it was just left out in the sun that long.  Amazingly, the sun didn’t destroy the tires.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I bought this bike since I seem to dislike it so much.  Well, it was $50.  And it’s 99% original.  All the parts are in very good condition, so rather than being ridden hard and not maintained like my Dekerf, I think this bike was just plain not ridden.  At very least, I have a complete set of parts for some other VRC frame I might find for only $50.

DSC_8722Also, I wanted to buy an old suspension bike because the widely available full suspension bike has been with us for 20 years now.  I thought  it might be cool to compare this bike against my Altitude 29, or Dr.Stu’s Norco, to see exactly how far suspension has come.

Niner One9

One summer I decided I had to have a 29er.  And I guess it had to be a singlespeed too, though I don’t recall for sure only looking for SS frames.

Either way I found this Niner frame in Calgary, drove there and back without really doing anything else, and sat out one of the most intense hail storms I’ve ever been in, in the seller’s garage.

It was a great bike; really light, great fun to pedal around on.  It was probably really good off-road too, but I don’t know for sure, because riding off-road on a singlespeed really does suck. Or at least it does for someone as heavy as me.

2001 Rocky Mountain Vertex

When I was at Redbike, I determined that I needed a singlespeed mountain bike.  If you’ve ever worked at Redbike, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Really, this is how you build a bike.  You get yourself a good frame (the Easton Vertex from ’01 was a very good frame), some good wheels (White Industries ENO SS rear and Dia Compe Tsali front on Sun rims), a good fork (crazy light Kinesis aluminum), and then just no-name parts bin everything else.

This was probably one of the best bikes I’ve ever put together.

Kawasaki KMB450

Did you know that Kawasaki made mountain bikes?  I probably didn’t when I bought this.  I’ve seen their name on some really bad department store bikes in recent years, but this was slightly better than department store grade.

I honestly don’t remember if I bought it as a frame, or as a frame and fork, or as a complete bike.  All I really remember is what you see here.

I used a pair of Mavic adapter plates – these moved the brakes up, so that they could work with larger road wheels – and ran Shimano road wheels.  I raided the parts bin, put a squeaky cow on there, and off I went.

This frame looks familiar no?  This was a major upgrade from the Kawi – dropping weight and also being much simpler since I started using a hybrid fork.

What I miss most about this bike was the Vredestein Perfect Moiree tires.  They had a reflective strip on them, and a chevron shaped tread pattern that made a great sound on smooth pavement.  They were very heavy, but also puncture resistant.  And sadly, no longer made.

zaskar100This is v.3 of this bike, with a GT Zaskar LE frame.  It had the Team paint at one time, but was pretty severly beat once I got it.  Usually you can take the paint off of old frames, but a good 20% of this GT paint absolutely refused to come off.

I still have this frame, but I believe it’s broken.

There was a v.4 of this bike too, on a Klein frame, but for some reason, I just never took any pictures of that bike.  It was much upgraded with RaceFace cranks and SRAM shifters.  But, it was stolen and I haven’t revisited the hybrid concept since.  But I should, because all of these bikes were awesome.

1998 Specialized FSR Comp

This is a tale of a bike gone bad.  Maybe it wasn’t that good to start with, but it really should have been better than it was.

img017It’s a Specialized FSR – thousands and thousands were made.  Some with the pretty cool MAX Backbone frame, mine was the cheaper, less cool model, but it did still feature monocoque frame fabrication.  I bought mine used and proceeded to build it with parts from my Stumpjumper.

Here you see it with those parts, but I never rode it with that Palmer edition Manitou because I figured it didn’t have enough travel to match up with the rear suspension.  This was the dumbest decision I ever made with a bike.  Looking back at it, I’m sure it would have been fine.  The Manitou was nothing heroic, but it was a damn sight better than what I ended up with.

I traded that Manitou for a double crown model, that would have been a great match, if it had fit.  The steerer was too short.  I probably should have made more of an effort to find a replacement, but I wasn’t willing to wait on it as it was my primary bike.  I tried to get someone to weld an extension on it.

Pure lunacy.

And it gets worse.

img018I traded the Manitou for a Judy XL.  This was easily the worst fork I’ve ever owned.  There was no damping.  The springs were barely heavy enough, and every ride I went on was a terrible experience.  Not even skateboard stickers could save it.

I may not have owned this for 6 months even.

All the parts went back on my Stumpjumper and I tried to forget about this bike entirely.

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underachieving since 1996