The Breezer Series I represents the genesis of the modern mountain bike. Joe Breeze made a very small number of his Series I models, most of which were snapped up by fellow Repack racers and San Francisco area riders. For a short while, Breezers dominated California’s budding racing scene. This ’78 Breezer Series I belongs to Otis Guy – a Bay Area pioneer and racer who was (and is) an absolute crusher on a mountain bike.
After the initial ten Series I frames, Joe Breeze began production of twenty five Series II frames. With no mountain bike specific components at the time, the Series II bikes were built with a mix of parts from motorcycles, BMX bikes, French and Japanese touring bikes, and traditional Campagnolo-equipped road bikes. This Breezer Series II is number 11 and was ridden extensively in Marin on the trails of the Point Reyes National Seashore as well as on classic Colorado rides such as the Pearl Pass Tour in Crested Butte in 1982.
Tom Ritchey began building bikes for the Palo Alto Bike shop and its national mail order catalog in his early years, having built approximately 200 frames before his senior year of high school. It was around this time that he honed his fillet brazing or “lugless” method of fabricating frames, challenging bicycle industry standards for frame tubing diameter which were constrained by fixed dimensioned lugs. By the 1980s, Ritchey had produced over 1,000 frames on his own, including this one predating his use of serial numbers.
In the early 1980's, Sweetheart Cycles in the Los Angeles area was run by "Bicycle Bob" Wilson, before it was purchased by John Parker and turned into Yeti Cycles. Unlike its more refined contemporaries from Breezer and Ritchey, the Moto Cruiser’s rough and ready design was more heavily influenced by BMX, and cost much less. This particular Moto Cruiser was used extensively for about 20 years and with guidance from the original owner, the bike was restored to its original configuration.
Salsa founder, Ross Schafer, famously made a first batch of six bikes. Out of Ross’s six original bikes (of which only five are accounted for). Bike number 6 was built for Terry Holben, the man who made the early Salsa decals. The Pro’s Closet founder, Nick Martin, restored the bike to ride in the annual Keyesville Classic. Nick was meticulous down to the greatest detail, sourcing original build parts to replace parts swapped over the years, and even choosing to ride on vintage tires.
After the initial ten Series I frames and a batch of twenty five Series II frames, Joe Breeze began Series III frame production in 1982. With the commercial success of the Hite-Rite (the original seatpost dropper) beginning in 1984, Joe's time available to build frames became very limited, completing only 24 Series IIIs. The frames had steeper geometry for more aggressive handling, and simplifications which eliminated some of the reinforcement rings. This particular bike was built for an engineer friend of Joe's that helped setup and manage domestic production of the Hite-Rite.
The Sherpa was an early model Mantis built by Richard Cunningham using fillet-brazing and 4130 steel tubes. The finishing on Mantis bikes of this era is a bit unusual because all of the fillets have a webbed shape, with a raised ridge that runs along the center-line of the bike. This particular Mantis uses a Henry James cast fork crown rather than the more common bi-plane forks found on other Mantis bikes of the era (few survived off-road use). With three water bottle bosses and a portage pad, this bike was intended to go anywhere.
This Competition model Ritchey, later known by the name Annapurna, was built for Tom Ritchey's neighbor in exchange for painting Tom's house. At each tube intersection is a faux lug reinforcement that is then fillet brazed to give it a beautiful melted or fluid look. This bike is unique in that it is nearly completely original. All the parts and paint have been carefully polished to bring back their original shine.
This Series III is the 43rd frame built by mountain bike pioneer, Joe Breeze. It was found in a junkyard in 2014. The junkyard owner had planned on crushing the frame when, by a stroke of luck, he asked The Pro’s Closet if it had any value. After discovering what it was, the frame was promptly rescued and then rebuilt with period-correct and New-Old-Stock parts.
This early Swift mountain bike is constructed of fillet brazed steel and features some of the standard mountain bike specific equipment of the time: a Shimano Deore XT and Suntour drivetrain, thumb shifters, roller cam brakes, and bullmoose style handlebars.
Kent Eriksen started Moots Cycles in his Sore Saddle Cyclery shop in Steamboat Springs, Colorado back in 1981. His bikes were designed to go anywhere and do anything. Early Moots bikes had a number of very unique and innovative features, such as the Moots Mounts that allowed cantilever brakes to be position to suit different wheel sizes, “Road Handles” that were an early form of bar ends, radius seatstays for more comfort, portage pads, and big fenders for oversize and tires made by Rich Cast. Beeswax was used in the bolt heads to prevent rust, implying that the original owner intended to plan a worldly trip to an exotic location.
With the Mountain Machine, Velocitech was trying to design the ultimate climbing weapon. It evolved during a time when there were often high climb events that went straight up the side of a steep hill and were generally deemed unclimbable, with the winner being the rider who high marked above all others. Mismatched wheel sizes were already being toyed with but the Mountain Machine took the concept to the next level by using a 24'' front wheel and a 20'' rear wheel. The idea was to both lower the center of gravity and take advantage of the torque provided by the smaller rear wheel, while the bike's extra long wheelbase allowed for a 50/50 weight distribution to keep the front tire planted.
William Jeff Lindsay began offering Mountain Goat frames in 1981, and brought innovative design and a level of artistry not typically found in the emerging mountain bike market. Together with Russ Pickett of Air Art, Mountain Goat would become known for some of the most elegant fillet-brazed frames with the most exotic paint jobs. The Deluxe model always remained at the top of the Mountain Goat line, with its characteristic oval top and down tubes and internal seatpost binder.
The 1985 Potts Limited Edition represents the best-of-the-best from both Steve Potts and WTB. The fork and stem are also fillet brazed which differentiated the bike from other fillet brazed bikes of the time. The bike is outfitted with all of the best components from WTB, including Roller Cam brakes, modified hi-E hubs (before Grease Guard) and custom Suntour shifters modified to mount onto Magura brake levers (front shifter action is backwards).
Ross Shafer wanted his bike brand to be “spicy” and of all the classic Salsa frames he fillet brazed in the 80s, the Ala Carte is especially sought after for their colorful jelly bean and chili pepper paint jobs. This Ala Carte features iconic components like the Deer Head rear derailleur, Cook Bros cranks, and the classic Salsa stem.
Scot Nicol was one of the earliest mountain bikers in Northern California and apprentice to legendary frame builder Charlie Cunningham. He founded Ibis Bicycles in his garage in 1981 when a friend asked him to build a frame. They built innovative bikes through the 90s and had a unique personality. For example, while many companies gave their steel bike tubing sophisticated names (Columbus had "Genius" tubing), Nicol and Ibis called their tubing "Moron" - more on the ends for strength, and less in the middle to keep the bikes lightweight (a.k.a. "butted tubing").
Gary Fisher is one of the original influencers of the mountain bike, and along with Charlie Kelly, who invented the downhill mountain bike race format still used today, started the first company to specialized in manufacturing this type of bicycle. The Competition was built as a true racing machine, with short chainstays and steep angles. Six-time NORBA National Champion Joe Murray started his career riding a Fisher Competition. The paint scheme is a sideways Belgian flag (maybe unintentionally).
Ross began making bicycles in 1946, and by the late 1960s, they manufactured about 1 million bicycles per year, competing with giants like Schwinn and Huffy. In 1982, Ross introduced one of the first production mountain bikes, the Force One, and is noted as one of the pioneering manufacturers of mountain bikes. In 1983 they launched the first professional factory sponsored mountain bike race team, the Ross Indians.
Scot Nicol, Ibis founder and trials enthusiast, made custom trials bikes in his Sebastopol shop, and eventually was able to also have quantities of trials bikes made in Japan and Taiwan. When production split, the bikes made in Japan were called the Trials Comp while bikes made in Sebastopol were called the Trials Pro. They were available with either 20” wheels on both ends or a 24” front and 20” rear wheel. The 24” front was supposedly easier to get over obstacles. Mike Augspurger, co-founder of Merlin, made the magnesium bash guards on the downtube.
Wilderness Trail Bikes co-founder and legendary frame builder Steve Potts painstakingly built his signature frames with flowing, fillet-brazed joints. This Signature features the best of Steve's frame building skill, from the fillet-brazed fork to the special gooseneck stem for proper positioning of the drop handlebars. This bike started out as one of three unfinished frames more recently found in Steve's shop and subsequently completed with braze-on details and a new stem. The frame was then finished at D and D Cycles using Imron paint in a classic scheme, and the bike was built with unused vintage parts to represent how the bike would have rolled off the showroom floor in 1987.
The first Yeti frame was known as the FRO. (For Racing Only). Constructed of 4130 Cro-Mo aircraft certified, seamless tubing, and heli-arc welded throughout, the FRO was built to go fast and represented Yeti’s commitment to racing. The Yak package, however, was geared more toward the practical end of the spectrum. It was a modified FRO with rack mounts and a portage pad, turning it into the perfect bike for going long in the mountains.
The venerable Steve Potts provided the Type 2 fork and stem and also was the painter behind the white to blue fade on these early Trek team bikes. WTB Provided the hubs and bottom bracket. The bike shows some wear from use but it’s unknown if it is from any actual race duty, or if the bike was simply a team spare.
Rossin is an Italian classic bicycle manufacturer founded in 1974 and from the beginning it’s had one aim: to win. In doing so, it became one of the leaders in cycling design and engineering. Rossin grew in size and reputation and in the early eighties, leading them in 1983 to provide track bikes to the national teams of Russia and America. The bikes were were the first models ever to be equipped with disk wheels (launched by Rossin in the same year), horned handlebars and sloped upper-tube frames. They are perhaps less well known for mountain bikes, but this Concept is a typical example of the classic Italian workmanship they brought to the table.
The Klein Pinnacle wasn’t the hottest or highest end mountain bike in Klein’s lineup, but it featured a lightweight aluminum frame like the bespoke Cunninghams of the day. If you couldn't acquire, or more likely, afford a Cunningham, the next best thing was to take a brand new Klein Pinnacle, get Steve Potts to make you one of his famous Type 2 forks and stem, put on the best components from Shimano and WTB, and then polish the whole thing to achieve that distinctive Cunningham look. The result is this bike, affectionately called a “Kleiningham.”
Hailing from Massachusetts, Fat City Cycles brought a fresh new East Coast Attitude to the mountain bike scene. Their cartoony logos and bright colors represented the “full-throttle attitude” and “renegade state-of-mind” of the Gonzo mountain biker. The Kicker was short, light, and compact, and it was meant for going fast. The bike’s shortness made it especially nimble when bombing technical descents, which rewarded more experienced and daring riders.
William Jeff Lindsay began offering Mountain Goat frames in 1981, and brought innovative design and a level of artistry not typically found in the emerging mountain bike market. Together with Russ Pickett of Air Art, Mountain Goat would become known for some of the most elegant fillet-brazed frames with the most exotic paint jobs. The Deluxe model always remained at the top of the Mountain Goat line, with its characteristic oval top and down tubes and internal seatpost binder. The Dinoflage paint features dimetridons and prehistoric ferns in the woodland camo pattern.
The first Yeti frame was known as the FRO (For Racing Only). The TIG welded chromoly FRO was perhaps the most iconic Yeti, with its Desert Turquoise paint, top-tube-mounted cables and curved infinity rear triangle design - it was the dream bike for almost every racer wannabe in the sport's formative years. This FRO was raced by one of Yeti's top racers in the '80s, Russell "The Muscle" Worley.
This prototype bike features Steve Pott's signature fork and stem along with the best components WTB had to offer, including roller cam brakes and Grease Guard hubs.
John Tomac is one of the greatest American mountain bike racers and was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1991. He was a true all-rounder, having won major national and international titles in four different disciplines, including medals in both XC and Downhill world championships. Tomac raced BMX on Mongoose in his early career, and when he made the switch to mountain bike racing in 1986 he stuck with the brand. Mongoose started producing the Tomac Signature Edition model in 1987, which reflected his increasing profile within mountain biking culture.
A student in mechanical and aeronautical engineering and one of the founders of Wilderness Trail bikes or WTB, Charlie Cunningham was a mountain bike pioneer who valued nimbleness and gear selection. He designed and built his first mountain bike in 1979, choosing to experiment with custom components and lightweight heat treated aluminum when bikes of the time traditionally used steel. Cunningham made bikes were rare (only about 200 made) and one of these Racer models would have set you back a mind boggling $4200 in 1980s money (about four times the price of Bridgestone’s MB-1).
Between December of 1989 and January of 1990 the Braunstein-Quay Gallery in San Francisco hosted a show called The Art of the Mountain Bike. A number of Northern California mountain bike frame builders were asked to put together their most artistic versions of their work, which were displayed at the gallery. This is the Otis Guy from that exhibit. It was finally restored after being rescued from 15 years of obscurity, boxed away in a hoarders collection.
Richard Cunningham originally offered the Mantis XCR as a fillet-brazed, all-steel frame in 1983, and then with an aluminum front triangle and a steel rear end beginning in 1984. The idea was to capitalize on the best traits of each material. Sometime around 1989, the elevated chainstay or EC version of the frame was first offered, which solved the dreaded chain-suck problem. The XCR is exceedingly rare and the rarity factor of this bike is perhaps only undone by the fact that from a distance it is virtually indistinguishable from the Sherpa which is a somewhat more common of the early Mantis bikes. The two bikes only differ by the slightly more aggressive geometry of the XCR, 17" chainstays vs. 18" on the Sherpa and a longer standard top tube for a more racy feel.
When John Parker founded Yeti he knew a lot about fabrication, but very little about making bikes. So he hired the Herting brothers, Chris and Eric and later, Frank "The Welder" Wadleton. This Yeti FRO prototype was made by Chris Herting for his personal ride - circa 1988/1989. The story goes that Chris Herting built the bike a bit tougher, with extra gusseting at the bridge which joined the seat stays to the bottom bracket shell - a weak point where early Yeti frames would often crack. The frame would be an extra large model today, which was a size that was never offered in Yeti's John Parker years. Herting signed his work by TIG-welding his initials onto the bottom bracket shell.
Salsa has dabbled with titanium since the old days, with a handful of titanium Ala Carte’s being crafted by titanium frame experts, Merlin Metalworks. Titanium offers unique characteristics that other materials of the time just couldn’t match. It’s lighter, stronger, corrosion resistant, and provides ample ride compliance.
Ross Shafer made his mark creating the Salsa mountain bike brand, along with a line of small but crucial bicycle parts. His designs landed him, in 1991, in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. The name Scoboni comes from Shafer’s history during the genesis of the mountain bike. He rode with a bunch of bike fanatics in northern California, and nicknames were bestowed on everyone. His was “Rosco,” and that morphed into “Sco,” and then into the Italian-ish “Scoboni” - an embrace of goofiness. It’s a name that perfectly encapsulates the man and is likely one of the great sources of his and Salsa’s success.
Gecko Cycles was founded in 1983 in Santa Barbara, CA by Ken Beach. He raced downhill, designed several products including a long throw thumb shifter for Shimano, a chain tensioner for downhill and tandem bikes, and long cage front and rear derailleurs, and also worked for Chris King and Richard Cunningham. He’s built and painted the majority of his frames in his small home shop, mostly on his own to ensure the highest quality. Y-File It refers to the joints which are fillet brazed, but not filed.
Doug Bradbury started building innovative aluminum mountain bike frames in Manitou Springs, Colorado around 1985. Compared to his earliest bikes with very tight and steep geometry, this bike has a longer top tube and a slacker (67°) head tube angle. The wheelbase is also a couple of inches longer than comparable bikes at the time. Characteristic Bradbury features include the asymmetric 145mm rear axle spacing, 115mm front axle spacing, 90mm wide bottom bracket shell, seat stay mounted U-brake, and triple clamp fork.
While the Fat Chance put Fat City Cycles on the map, it was the Yo Eddy Team that arguably earned it legendary status. The company's existing bike at the time – the Wicked Fat Chance – put more of an emphasis on comfort. The Yo Eddy Team, on the other hand, prioritized chassis rigidity and handling precision with a bigger down tube and larger-diameter, non-tapering stays that were finished off with those trademark conical ends. Completing the ensemble was the Yo Eddy Team fork with its similarly non-tapering, straight blades and distinctive TIG-welded, segmented crown.
In the late 80's and early 90's, bike companies were pushing the boundaries and challenging the preconceived notion that a mountain bike had to be built in the classic double diamond shape. The Japanese manufacturer, Koga-Miyata was among the companies challenging the norm. Other brands experimented with elevated chainstays but the unsupported bottom bracket created an incredibly flexible frame. Koga-Miyata approached the problem with a sizable gusset welded from the bottom bracket to the down tube. This gusset made the Ridgerunner Alloy one of the sturdiest alloy elevated chainstay designs.
Juli Furtado's professional mountain bike career may have spanned just seven years but she won three UCI World Cup overall titles, and scored an unprecedented twelve straight World Cup wins before her health forced her into retirement. Her first pro mountain bike, the 1990 Yeti FRO is one of her most iconic bikes. Vintage mountain bike specialist Mike Wilk discovered the bike after a long search and painstakingly restored it as close to the original build as he could using a single photo, several interviews, and some old fashion deduction.
There was probably no more serendipitous or powerful combination in early nineties mountain biking than Juli Furtado on the Yeti C-26. The C-26 was John Parker’s vision for the future of mountain biking, carbon tubes bonded to steel lugs. It was still a Yeti in spirit and appearance, but lighter and faster. It features the first iteration of the Manitou fork, a custom FTW (Frank the Welder) stem, the classic Hyperlite bars, and a Shimano drivetrain. Only 11 (maybe 12) original C-26s were produced.
This Tree Frog was the 2nd production (consumer) version of the rare trials bike from Yeti and a passion project for Yeti’s famous Frank the Welder. The name came from another welder John Parker worked with from Disney Studios, nicknamed “Tree frog.” While the total production numbers for both team and consumer bikes are not known, the number 10 is commonly thrown around by ex-Yeti folks.
Ross Shafer wanted his bike brand to be “spicy” and of all the classic Salsa frames he fillet brazed in the 80s and early 90s, the Ala Carte is especially sought after for their colorful jelly bean and chili pepper paint jobs. The original owner of this bike even anodized the upper headset to match the stoplight jelly bean paint on the frame.
The idea of a full-suspension mountain bike was still in its infancy back in the early 1990s but that didn't stop Manitou founder Doug Bradbury from making one that could keep up with the best hardtails of its day. The simple design mimicked the basic profile of rigid frames but with reconfigured suspension fork legs in place of the usual seat stays, plus the requisite pivots behind the bottom bracket shell, above the dropouts, and up at the seat cluster. This particular example belongs to former pro Travis Brown, who raced the Manitou FS during the 1992 season. Travis and Doug configured this bike in ways that were well ahead of their time, like the zero dish rear wheel, long top tube and short stem.
The Klein Attitude was first introduced in 1990, and it fully captures the unique mountain bike experience proffered by Klein, with thin-wall oversized aluminum tubes, an ultra rigid fork, and a fancy paint job. This bike requires that the rider be actively in control, and in return the bike provides a light and nimble feel and snappy handling. The uniquely rigid ride is the right choice for short ride. The bike has features ahead of its time like integrated headsets and press fit bottom brackets. This bike has a Campagnolo drivetrain. At the time the Italian brand was still trying to compete in the new mountain bike marketplace against the Japanese.
Juli Furtado's professional mountain bike career may have spanned just seven years but she won three UCI World Cup overall titles, and scored an unprecedented twelve straight World Cup wins. She raced this Yeti ARC (Aluminum Racing Componsite) during her second and final year with John Parker and Team Yeti in 1991.
The Specialized Stumpjumper M2 is the bike Ned Overend rode to the lead in the NORBA National point series, along with two World Cup victories. The team edition Stumpjumper was constructed from Specialized's M2 alloy, a mix of aluminum and aluminum oxide that was light and durable. A Specialized Future Shock (which was manufactured by RockShox) provided a miniscule 50mm of air sprung travel up front. The early 90s were also the era of the tension disc rear wheel, which used kevlar strands instead of spokes. Bystanders could hear the top racers before they could see them thanks to the drum-like pounding of the rear wheel when it went over obstacles.
This team-issued Slingshot was 1 of 18 made for the 1992 race season. Slingshot bikes use a unique mid-frame suspension system. The conventional down tube is replaced with a steel cable suspended from a spring. There is a hinge on the top tube right in front of the seat tube. The idea is to use the spring and cable system to return the energy lost during the pedal stroke. All of the energy is returned since there are no frictional or damping losses in the spring system.
Jody Weisel, then editor of Mountain Bike Action, contracted John Parker to build a bike for a three-part magazine series called, “Building the Ultimate Bike” after sketching an elevated chainstay design on a napkin. Mountain Bike Action called it “the bike of the future” and thanks to three months of publicity, calls from customers requesting their own “ultimate” bikes began to flood the Yeti workshop. Yeti adopted the Ultimate name and brought the bike into production with the addition of their signature one-piece loop rear end. This bike has a Campagnolo drivetrain. At the time the Italian brand was still trying to compete in the new mountain bike marketplace against the Japanese.
While the Fat Chance bike put Fat City Cycles on the map, it was the Yo Eddy Team that arguably earned it legendary status. The company's existing bike at the time – the Wicked Fat Chance – put more of an emphasis on comfort. The Yo Eddy Team, on the other hand, prioritized chassis rigidity and handling precision with a bigger down tube and larger-diameter, non-tapering stays that were finished off with those trademark conical ends. Completing the ensemble was the Yo Eddy Team fork with its similarly non-tapering, straight blades and distinctive TIG-welded, segmented crown.
Clark-Kent's got its title from Pat Clark and Dean Kent, the two owners who founded the brand back in 1989. This is one of the first fat bikes, built for the Iditabike race, a 1,000-mile point-to-point event crossing snow-covered Alaskan tundra. True mega-wide fat bike rims were many years off, however, so manufacturers improvised by pairing two, or even three, rims beside each other and mounted up multiple tires in order to create the wider footprint that would keep the bike and rider from knifing through soft snow and losing speed or control.
This Yeti ARC ASLT was the weapon of choice for one of Yeti’s brightest stars: Missy “The Missile” Giove during the 1993 Downhill World Cup season where she piloted it to 3rd overall and 3rd at the World Championships in Metabief, France. Yeti was one of the early adopters of suspension on mountain bikes. Up front is a custom Manitou 2 fork and in back is a custom Risse air shock driven by a single pivot linkage. Missy later gave the frame to a restaurant in Durango, CO to be hung as a piece of memorabilia. It was then lost from the public eye after the restaurant closed down. Fortunately, Durango collector and Yeti guru Mike Wilk rescued the frame from the former owner’s basement and restored it to its former glory.
Jacquie Phelan was the NORBA champion three consecutive years - 1983, 1984, and 1985, and is one of the most important and successful women in mountain biking, having been inducted in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1988. She also happens to be married to fellow mountain bike pioneer and WTB founder Charlie Cunningham. Considered by many to be one of the best-handling steel bikes, the WTB Phoenix frames were constructed by Steve Potts and were built with rigid Type II forks and one inch headsets. Later bikes eventually got suspension corrected geometry and larger headsets.
John Tomac is one of the greatest American mountain bike racers and was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1991. He was a true all-rounder, having won major national and international titles in four different disciplines, including medals in both XC and Downhill world championships, not to mention his time with the road racing powerhouse, Team 7-Eleven. His Raleigh Signature model features a RockShox Mag SL Ti Fork and a tension disc rear wheel, which used kevlar strands instead of spokes. Bystanders could hear the top racers before they could see them thanks to the drum-like pounding of the rear wheel when it went over obstacles.
Jody Weisel, then editor of Mountain Bike Action, contracted John Parker to build a bike for a three-part magazine series called, “Building the Ultimate Bike” after sketching an elevated chainstay design on a napkin. Mountain Bike Action called it “the bike of the future” and thanks to three months of publicity, calls from customers requesting their own “ultimate” bikes began to flood the Yeti workshop. Thus, the Yeti Ultimate was born. This Ultimate was built specifically for John's (tall) brother Matt and was the only XL Ultimate ever built. Yeti welder, Chris Herting had to modify the frame's geometry to make the tubes fit the unique configuration. This is the only Ultimate with a reverse-sloping top tube and a GT-esque triple triangle.
Tinker was probably the most striking figure in early 90s mountain bike racing. He looked like a comic book character come to life, and he proved his speed and skill out on the race course. The Storm Klein Adroit was as iconic as he was. Like him, it was easy to pick out of a crowd with its custom purple cloud and lightning bolt paint job. Tinker raced this particular Adroit in 1993, his final year with Klein, and the year of his first UCI world cup win at Mont St. Anne. It has all the features that made Klein frames far ahead of their time: an integrated headset, press-fit bottom bracket, and internal cable routing.
The Yeti ARC superseded the venerable FRO as Yeti’s ultimate racing machine and this example includes one of the early Manitou suspension forks. These forks relied on elastomers or polyurethane bumpers to provide damping and compliance and helped propel the likes of Juli Furtado and John Tomac to victory. This ARC also has plenty of bright anodized Ringle and Grafton components, as dictated by the fashion of the early 90s, and a pair of early HED Wheels.
Merlin, founded in 1986, was one of the earliest makers of titanium mountain bikes. The Newsboy was designed to look like classic cruiser frames of the 1950's with a few added twists to make is more rugged. It is still more a beach cruiser than a true mountain bike, and it’s unlikely that you would ever find someone using the Newsboy for some serious riding. Especially since production of the original in 1994 was limited to 100 units, making it quite valuable.
Before platform valving in rear shocks, bicycle frame engineers went to all sorts of efforts to build pedaling efficiency directly into the suspension design. Few bikes exemplify those efforts better than the incredibly expensive Cannondale Fulcrum DH used on the World Cup downhill circuit in 1998. Unwilling to accept the kinematic compromises of multiple chainring sizes, Cannondale instead developed a complex jackshaft drive system and a short dual-link rear end with roughly 6in of travel. Up front, Cannondale adapted its Headshock suspension fork into the dual-crown Moto DH fork. Cannondale ultimately made less than a dozen Fulcrum DH machines in total.
The 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia was only the second appearance of mountain biking at the Games. Hardtails still reigned supreme, and even front suspension was occasionally skipped by riders looking for the lightest bikes possible. Travis Brown, the 1999 NORBA National XC champion, went against the mold and brought a completely new prototype full suspension bike from Trek, the Fuel. Trek didn't want to miss a chance to show the Fuel's design to the world, so what would typically have been a raw frame had custom paint and graphics applied in order to make it look more production-ready than it actually was.
This bike was an experimental test mule during the 2005 race season. The drivetrain is an early cross-country dedicated 1x9 system, part of an experiment during the 2005 season to validate the 1x drive train concept for XC racing. Travis raced every 2005 event on a 1x9 system and results showed that a much smaller gearing was required than the Trek team thought, but that the compromise in gear range was a reasonable trade off for loss in weight and improved simplicity. Travis Brown won the Marathon National Championship with this Top Fuel as well as the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
The design premise of the Trek 69er isn’t new, a larger (29”) front wheel for improved rollover paired with a smaller (26”) rear wheel for acceleration. Travis Brown knew the benefits of the new larger 29” wheel size and was the inspiration behind Trek’s design. The large front wheel is paired with a custom 100mm Maverick DUC 32 fork with the 24mm thru-axle hub, helping it easily monster truck over any trail features.
Yeti Cycles debuted their radical (for the time) C-26 super-bike in 1989. Yeti's material of choice back then was 4130 chromoly, but Chris Herting, the man behind the C-26, needed to look at other options in order to bring his newest creation to life. A partnership with Easton meant that he had access to their trick C-9 tubing that consisted of a thin aluminum core tube that was then overlaid with a unidirectional, high-modulus carbon fiber wrap. This special bike was built by Chris 20 years later, using the same tubing after discovering some left over from the original production run.