QOTW: What Vintage MTB Do You Ride?

It doesn't get much cooler than old-school mountain bikes. Sure they're a bit tough to ride, but that's what makes them fun! What's in your garage? Spencer tells the story of his '83 Stumpjumper.

Vintage MTB QOTW

Written by
Spencer Powlison

Published on

Posted in
Vintage

I’ve got vintage mountain bikes on the brain. We just dropped an awesome video tracing the history of Ibis Bikes. TPC Founder Nick Martin just produced a story about the genesis of the Yeti Ultimate. I’m cooking up a feature story on a modern brand that’s inspired by old-school steel style (stay tuned). And spring is here.

So this week’s question: What vintage mountain bike do you ride?

Tell me all about it below in the comments. Our fancy Disqus tool lets you upload photos, so you know, spare us 1,000 words and show us a picture! Next Monday, I’ll randomly select a winner from our comments. That person will get a limited edition TPC x Leadout handlebar bag. Don’t worry, it’s compatible with Bull Moose bar/stems.

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As for myself, I’ve been riding a 1983 Stumpjumper for a little while. Sometime in 2017, I got a hankering for a vintage mountain bike. I can’t say why, and honestly, I didn’t know what I was looking for. My bike experience is extensive but skews modern.

I did some eBay browsing and decided to get a Specialized Stumpjumper. Yeah, I know it’s not as rare as most vintage bikes, and some could accuse Specialized of lifting key design elements from the pioneering bikes of Breezer and other original builders. But it was my first vintage bike, so best to start basic.

Too bad eBay only shows the last three years of your purchase history because I forget what I paid for my 1983 Stumpjumper Sport. Surely it was less than $500. Either way, it was in good shape at a good price.

Stumpjumper on the mountain

I had to do some basic work to get it rideable out of the box. The old cup-and-cone bottom bracket was roached. Vintage authenticity be damned, I put in a cartridge BB and never looked back. I added some fresh tires. Happily, Panaracer makes a reproduction of the old Smoke/Dart combo, tan-wall and all. I put in some fresh cables, new grips, and a new chain. The only stumbling block was the stem wedge, which was rusted into the steerer tube. With a lot of PB Blaster and a little persuasion, it popped out with a few taps from beneath the fork crown.

A few friends deserve call-outs for helping me tie the build together. Jim over at Vecchio’s bike shop here in Boulder gave me an old Avocet saddle that was in mint condition. Ken, who works for Vittoria on the East Coast, sent me a new-in-packaging Hite-Rite. 

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This is the year when I’m going to get back into riding this Stumpy a bit more regularly. Back in 2018, I rode it at the Leadville Trail 100 for a video series I produced for VeloNews. (In fact, that’s one reason I ended up at TPC.) Maybe this summer’s rides won’t be that ambitious, but it’s time to slow down a little and enjoy some chill, old-school rides.

I’m sure plenty of you can one-up me with a far more intriguing and rare vintage mountain bike from your garage. Leave me a comment and a photo, and thanks!

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