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Vintage Mountain Bikes

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MISC:   Old school mountain bike pictures posted by: Jeff on 11/24/2000 at 8:12:29 PM
I've posted a few pictures of a couple old schoolers in the readers' web pages section of this site. Not the best quality photos but it's a start. Check em' out!

           Old school mountain bike pictures posted by John E on 11/25/2000 at 11:14:26 AM
Nice collection. I particularly like those good ol' SunTour derailleurs. That 26"/24" tyre combination is certainly unique!

           RE:Old school mountain bike pictures posted by Wings on 11/28/2000 at 2:20:28 AM
Is the 24 in, 26in wheel combination stock? Or did you make that modification? Thanks for the pictures!

           RE:RE:Old school mountain bike pictures posted by Jeff on 11/29/2000 at 1:50:47 PM
Yes, The 24 x 26 combo on the Cannondale SM500 came from the factory. I guess it was to imitate Trials motorcycles. So far, nobody at Cannondale has been able to tell me too much about this bike other that the date the frame was manufactured. Visit Rydjor bike shop's website, they have one too!

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WANTED:   INFO on Redline City Manhattan posted by: mike on 11/21/2000 at 6:07:36 AM
I picked up this old Redline frame, the headbadge says redline city the model is manhattan, its pretty much a cross/hybrid but the folks at redline don't admit to ever making such a thing, it appears to be an early 80s bike with cantilever bosses for 700 wheels and alum. frame that specs out very similar to a current 56cm redline cyclocross.


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FOR SALE:   Marin Palisades Trail posted by: Mark on 11/17/2000 at 5:02:00 PM
Built for Joe Murray, 1984 NORBA champion, all original, $250


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MISC:   ROSS Mt. Whitney posted by: Ricky on 11/17/2000 at 12:08:18 PM
I have an opportunity to buy my old '85(or so) Ross Mt. Whiney back from the guy I sold it to many years ago. He never rode it and I told him I wanted first dibs on it when he decided to let it go. It has a chrome frame and I believe it was an 18". It has been converted to SIS and has a nice set of Wheelsmith wheels. I have the original wheels now. My real question is wheather or not this thing is worth anything from a collectors standpoint? I have pictures that I took just before the first sale. I also have a line on a completely original black & gold Hi-tech Ross I could get cheap. Is this model a popular one with collectors? Thanks for your input!


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MISC:   Diamond Back posted by: Art on 11/16/2000 at 6:57:03 AM
Picked up a Diamond Back (originally two words) Ridge Runner in a trade recently. My neighborhood bike dealer has been selling Diamondbacks for years and he believes that the Ridge Runner was their first MB. Also that there was some copyright problem with the model Ridge Runner. It is a pretty cool lugged frame with early diacompe and suntour components.

           RE:MISC:   Diamond Back posted by Brian L. on 11/19/2000 at 12:55:14 PM
I will be interested to see if you make $$ off of the Diamond Back, Art. Maybe I got rid of it too easily ...

I think that Schwinn beat Diamondback to the punch with the Ridge Runner model. My brother had one (Schwinn) that I found for him at the thrift store. He rode it over some fairly serious terrain up in Alaska, even though it was basically a beater.

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MISC:   Marin Palisades posted by: MC on 11/15/2000 at 4:44:17 PM
All original mid-80s Marin, green with yellow decals, Sakae cranks, thumb shifters, Shimano levers and derailleurs. I may consider selling it.

           RE:MISC:   Marin Palisades posted by Art on 11/16/2000 at 6:56:32 AM
I am curious as to what you think this bike is worth. This aspect of bike collecting is so new, I would be interested in the kinds of prices people paying for, or getting for, vintage mountain bikes.

           RE:RE:MISC:   Marin Palisades posted by Mark on 11/16/2000 at 4:23:34 PM
I think that this new category of bike collecting should be approached carefully because the "Mountain Bike" concept is barely 20 years old. In my opinion, values and collectability should be assessed on several key factors. Certainly, age and originality are factors, but in a bigger way, the most desireable models would be first attempts by certain manufacturers such as Schwinn, Cannondale, GT, Marin, Ross or Gary Fisher to market an off-road bike back in the late 70s-early 80s. These initial offerings, especially those that were hand-built or modified from cruisers or touring bikes, would be particularly collectible. Many times, these companies would pull from their cruiser or touring bike line and convert them to off-road models by adding heavy-duty components and "wider" tires. I have even seen an early Tomassini import complete with a modified long-cage C-Rec triple drivetrain. The Marin that I have is rather special in that it was designed for a 84 NORBA champion. The components were borrowed from a road drivetrain and the brakes are an early Shimano cantilever style that was popular in the 70s. What has evolved from Marin County California and Gary Fisher's "Clunker" is fast becoming the latest rage in bicycle collecting.

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MISC:   Marin Palisades posted by: MC on 11/15/2000 at 4:44:17 PM
All original mid-80s Marin, green with yellow decals, Sakae cranks, thumb shifters, Shimano levers and derailleurs. I may consider selling it.


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WANTED:   Haro Impulse Information posted by: Theron on 11/13/2000 at 4:58:10 PM
Hi. This is my first time here. I've been looking for a discussion grop like this for ages! Well here is my question. I received a bike from a friend. All the parts were there. But it is a really weird frame. It has the distinct Haro bend in the top tube, but the gemotry of the bike is very strange. The front half of the bike has an almost non existant front. (Downtube?). As a result instead of the tradition double triangle look, this bike has only a rear triangle. Sorry this is very hard to explain. But maybe someone knows what I'm talking about. I'm going to try to post a picture in the near future. It's called a Haro Impulse, and my buddy indicated that it was about eight to ten years old. Can anyone lead me to som information on this bike? Thanks!

           single-tube frames posted by John E on 11/21/2000 at 6:29:29 AM
Your description of the frame sounds similar to a Klein Mantra (kleinbikes.com). The Haro website (harobikes.com) had no information regarding earlier models, but you may want to try out the "contact us" button there.

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MISC:   Schwinn Spitfire 5 posted by: Stephen T on 11/11/2000 at 7:11:11 PM
Hey Guys,
What do you all think about a Schwinn Spitfire 5 being an early mountain bike??
What I find interesting is the frame is a cantilever Schwinn,it has a drum hub rear brake ,Carlisle knobbies, five speed
and it sports large spokes.Wow, This bike was made by Schwinn in 1979 -3 years after Fisher and the guys made the
first mountain bikes!!
Mmm, makes you wonder if Schwinn wasn't just testing the waters to see if these things would sell.
What do you fellows think???

           Spitfire posted by John E on 11/12/2000 at 1:23:37 PM
Although the Spitfire was just a hasty rebundling of a frame and components Schwinn already had, I agree that it qualifies as a prototypical mountain bike -- tough construction, multiple gears, heavy-duty brakes, etc. We could almost say the same of the Corvette, a 1960s multispeed cantilever, except for its low-end conventional sidepull brakes and smoother balloon tyres.

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FOR SALE:   ROSS HI-TECH MTB posted by: Mark on 11/7/2000 at 3:18:35 PM
I didn't know that this site existed! I have an all original Ross Hi-Tech MTB from the early 80s in near-mint condition for sale. It is black with gold decals and is a 24" frame. It has friction shifters and narrow-gauge 4130 steel tubing. I don't believe I've ever seen another one like it. Send me an offer...

           24-inch frame? posted by John E on 11/8/2000 at 7:48:59 AM
Mark, are you sure about the 24" frame size? Even a 22" frame is considered very large for a mountain bike.

What components does your Ross have? My current project bike is an aluminum-framed 17" Ross mountain bike, probably from the mid-to-late 1980s. Since the frame (large-diameter Easton tubing, vertical dropouts, etc.) seems far better than the original low-end wheels, fork, and drivetrain, I am liberally upgrading and updating mine with various new and used parts. It will be fun to compare the finished product against my 1988 CrMo (Tange Prestige II) Schwinn KOM-10.

           RE:24-inch frame? posted by Mark on 11/8/2000 at 4:47:13 PM
It's 24" c/c exactly. Suntour components with long-cage rear derailleur--low end stuff, but VERY unique 4130 steel frame with gold trimmed lugs. I had a KOM-10 once but I gave it away because I hated it.

           Ross posted by John E on 11/9/2000 at 1:14:20 PM
The frame size alone should make your bike attractive to a tall cyclist. In the 1980s, Ross did turn out some fairly nice road and mountain bike frames -- quite a departure from their usual product. It sounds as though your frame is significantly better than your components, leaving your potential buyer with the typical "stock" (for collectibility) vs. "upgrade" (for riding) dilemma.

I am reasonably happy with my KOM-10, but it is overweight and it has those stupid under-the-chainstay U-brake mounting bosses.

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MISC:   Next? posted by: Art on 11/7/2000 at 10:06:54 AM
What bikes followed the Stumpjumper as mass produced mountain bikes? What smaller companies started to get into the mix in the early eighties?

           "The Birth of Dirt," p. 52ff posted by John E on 11/8/2000 at 8:05:36 AM
According to Frank Berto ("The Birth of Dirt," p. 52ff), Univega and Schwinn got into the act early as mass producers. [p.56] Then, by 1983, "almost all of the major makers were in the market. Centurion, CyclePro, Diamondback, Fuji, KHS, Miyata, Puch, Raleigh, Ross, Schwinn, Sekai, SR, Takara, Trek, and Univega were all supplying mountain bikes ... ." [p. 57]

"[The small-scale builders in 1982] included: Joe Breeze (Breezer), Colorado Bicycle Co. (Roughrider), Charlie Cunningham (Indian), Richard Cunningham (Mantis), Cupertino Bike Shop (Saturn), Barry Konig (Proteus), Erik Koski (Trailmaster), Mert Lawill (ProCruiser), Jeff Lindsay (Mountain Goat), Moots Cycle (Mountaineer), Scott Nicol (Ibis), Glen Odell (Bruiser), Chris Pauley (Tierra), Steve Potts (Wilderness Trail Bikes), Angel Rodriguez (R&E Cycles), Mike Rust (Rocky Mountain Bicycle Works), Erik Sampson (Rock Creek Cycles), Ross Shaffer (Salsa), and Victor Vicente of America (VVA)." [p. 55]

Does anyone else out there own an interesting bit of "dirt history"?

           RE:dirt posted by Art on 11/8/2000 at 6:38:51 PM
Thanks John, that helps a lot. Coincidentally, I found a Jeff Lindsay (Mountain Goat) road bike, lugged frame, Brooks saddle, all Campy at a yard sale. In regards to my earlier post about the Paramount mountain bike, it is really must be a later bike because other than a lugged frame it doesn't have anything unusual about it. The only thing I can say about it is that the cable for the front derailleur runs along the top tube, down the seat tube and them through a pulley and back up to the derailleur. I've seen that before but not very often.

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WANTED:   Fischer Montaire Bottom Bracket Spindle posted by: jim on 11/6/2000 at 8:30:00 AM
Looking for a BB spindle for a mid eighties Montaire, uses sealed bearings. Space between "shoulders" on spindle is appx 45mm. Or if anyone knows of a Fischer dealer who's been around that long, I'll try them direct. Thanks!


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WANTED:   Be on the look out! posted by: Philip on 11/5/2000 at 2:54:34 PM
Does anyone out there come across old school BMX parts when you are looking around shops? If so let me know what you find and I will find a home for them along with a profit for you. Email me at chilphil@ticnet.com


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WANTED:   Stumpjumper Info posted by: Martin on 11/4/2000 at 11:14:36 PM
This is great, I had considered posting here a few months ago but it didn't seem to fit anywhere.
I recently purchased an early '80's Specialized Stumpjumper in mostly excellent condition and with mostly original parts. I'd like to pin down the age and likely original equipment specs for this bike. I don't know that much about early mountain bikes.
It is a "Stumpjumper, Sport XT", all black, with white decals, tube stickers on frame and fork that say, "Special Series Touring, chrome-moly tubing", serial # DS486610. It has those great old forks with a real crown with 'open construction'(I don't remember how that crown style is properly described). It has Specialized cartridge hubs in 'Saturne X-28' aluminum rims (original?), 'Tourney XT' cranks (who made these?), Beautifully beefy Shimano thumbshifters, brake levers and cantilever brakes (no low profile here), Shimano derailleurs (with what I think of as a stylized deer head on them- what is this model called?), and a 5 speed suntour freewheel. I'm quite sure all of the aforementioned is original, but I'm not so sure of the Bio- pace chainrings or the Sakae stem and handlebars. I thought that Bio-pace came out several years after this fork style. Also that the stem and bars would have been of the 'bull-moose' variety (but in one piece or two,aluminum or steel?), which the existing one isn't.
I have already rebuilt the bike into a very nice roadster/cruiser, 15 speed, 24/36/48, plain, round rings, Schwalbe Marathon 1.75 city tires (very nice looking with the white raised lettering, but slightly unusual ride quality), black, square-ish section full fenders, black Brooks 'Flyer' sprung, leather saddle (perfect), and aluminum, swept-back handlebars (the ones Rivendell calls 'Priest bars') mounted "upside down". I really enjoy the bike the way it is and it gets lots of admiring looks and comments, but I would be interested in knowing how it was set up originally and would pick up the parts as they came along.
Thank you for this site and any help it may bring, Martin

           Stumpjumper posted by John E on 11/5/2000 at 12:27:37 PM
Nice find, Martin. I believe "Tourney" was a low-to-mid-level Shimano crank model. The 5-speed freewheel, if original, does indicate very early 1980s or even late 1970s. Check sheldonbrown.com's comprehensive Biopace discussion -- I forget whether he gives the production dates, but he probably knows them.

1980s road bikes typically came through with either all-Shimano or all-SunTour/Sugino/DiaCompe. Component mixtures seem to have been more common in mountain bikes, as the concept evolved. Frank Berto, author of "The Birth of Dirt" and coauthor of "The Dancing Chain," may know more about the original component mix for your bike.

I, too, am glad Menotomy agreed to open up this discussion page, since mountain bikes really were "orphans" previously.

           RE:WANTED:   Stumpjumper Info posted by Ed on 11/5/2000 at 5:42:55 PM
My first mountain bike was a black 1985 Stumpjumper Sport. Yours sounds a little earlier, because of the fork crown (I don't know what it's called either) because by 1985 I think the forks were unicrown, although I'm a little hazy on that. Older Stumpjumpers I've seen had a cast fork crown with a gap in it, if I remember correctly. Also, the Tourney crank would be pre-85, if its original, because the 85 had a Specialized crank. The early 80's Tourney crank wasn't half bad, though (again, if memory serves). The name was applied to a number of quality levels of components. The biopace rings are definitely not original, because I think they came out in 86 or 87. People did put them on aftermarket at that time. My 85 bike had the specialized hubs and X-28 rims, and I think Specialized was making these pretty early, so if they aren't original they are pretty close. I doubt I saw any x-28's made after about 1987 or 88, when rims started getting a lot lighter and narrower. The deer's head derailleurs are Deore XT. I don't think there was just plain Deore (w/out the XT) until later in the game. Finally, I don't know whether Specialized was still using bullmoose bars at the time. My bike had a fairly clumsy-looking alloy stem, I believe Specialized, which is hard to describe: viewed from the top, it was Y-shaped, with perhaps 2 inches c-to-c between the arms of the Y, and two allen bolts per side securing a detachable upper piece that clamped the handlebars down. The bars were alloy mid-rise, not as wide as the widest bars then being used. What else can I remember? headset and BB were Specialized, steel; tires Specialized Crossroads, but I can't remember the width, except it wasn't 1.5 and probably not 2.125 either, maybe 1.9; pedals were the parallelogram shaped Deore silver jobs, which were hard as heck to get clips on-it was before people realized that having your bike stay attached to your feet on bumpy downhills averted more crashes than it caused.

So my guess is your bike is an 84 or 83. Maybe even an 82, but I can't recall if they even made Sports that early. I do remember that Specialized had two levels of bike around 83 or early 84, for sure, because I wanted a mountain bike so badly. It was brutal.

I was really fond of that bike and I rode it a whole lot, enough that the head tube ripped open about 8 months after I got it. Anyway, I hope this is helpful.

           RE:RE:WANTED:   Stumpjumper Info posted by Ed on 11/5/2000 at 5:44:37 PM
Oh, one other thing: Was your bike made in Japan or Taiwan?

           RE:RE:RE:WANTED:   Stumpjumper Info posted by Martin on 11/6/2000 at 12:03:46 AM
Thanks guys, for the info so far.
I was going to mention but forgot: sticker at bottom of seat tube says "Japan". Why do you ask? Were some already made in Taiwan back then? I was told that there were two levels of Stumpjumpers then, the cheaper apparently didn't have the cartridge hubs as well as other differences, I presume just in the parts specs. Mine does have the original Specialized steel headset but not bottombracket. It had been replaced with a cartridge which I replaced with cup & cone bearings. The pedals may not be original; they appear to have 'VP' and some numbers inscribed on them but regardless they suit the bike(with toe-straps). Those rims are really nice-eyeletted too. The cranks, I had forgotten, have 'Takagi--Forged-Japan' inscribed on the inside. The stem is 'SR-Laprade', but the nicest I've ever seen of these, having the recessed longitudinal bars and "neck" (between post and clamp) painted a matte dark grey. The brakes work so well, and the big levers feel really good and comforting, especially in the swept back position. I'm hoping that someone can help decipher that serial number or point me to a chart somewhere, I'd really like to know what year it is. Thanks again, Martin

           RE:WANTED:   Stumpjumper Info posted by Tom on 11/6/2000 at 10:20:22 AM
Martin, I also came into possesion of an early Stumpjumper Sport, light blue with white decals. The bike was my wife's cousin's and, except for tires, he stated it was original. I do know the bike hung in his garage for at least 8-10 years (I counted layers of dust). Specialized customer service speculated that it was an '83 model by serial number, DS34.... I would assume yours to be an '84. Mine also has the "open crown" forks, Specialized hubs with very wide Araya single wall rims (no eyelets), Suntour derailers and shifters, Sugino cranks. I was very interested with how you set up your bike. I just put the finishing touches on mine last night. Revisions from stock include a Brooks B72 saddle, Carradice Lowsaddle bag, SR road pedals, clips and straps, Michelin City Gripper 1.5 tires black with white lettering, Priest bars (I tried them upside-down and did not care for the handling)and black, squarish Zefal fenders. I pretty much kept the drivetrain stock, however I did find a 14-34 5 speed freewheel, the stock is now doing backup duty. My initial impression is favorable, very smooth and comfortable ride. Feel free to contact me off-line to compare notes. Tom

           RE:RE:RE:RE:WANTED:   Stumpjumper Info posted by Ed on 11/6/2000 at 5:29:06 PM
I asked about country of origin because 85 was the last year of Japan production. Amazing. I bought that bike the fall after I graduated from high school, and I still remember the sales pitch.

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MISC:   gearing posted by: John E on 11/2/2000 at 4:55:28 PM
OK gearheads --
1) How do you like to gear a road touring bike?
2) How do you like to set up a mountain bike, e.g., how much lower bottom gear do you need?
3) What was your mountain bike's original gearing, and how and why did you change it?
4) Do your derailleurs have any problems handling your gear range?
5) Any suggestions for our readers?

           RE:MISC:   gearing posted by Wings on 11/2/2000 at 11:06:31 PM
#2 It all depends on your riding environment, muscles, and age. I live in hills and the mountain bike trails have long uphill steep grades with lots of rocks. I built up my bike from scratch and I have 20 tooth chainring with the largest cog = 30. Approx. 17 G.I. It works for me since I ride on steep hills, have weak muscles, and am old.
I do not need a high speed on my mountain bike.
This bike has 27 speeds.

#1 I ride a recumbent: 52, 42, 30. 12- 30 on the rear. My wheel size is 20 inches and I use a Sachs 3x7 which gives a total of 63 gears. In reality, I am now only using the middle chain ring (42). My bike is currently geared a little too much in low gear.

I have no derailer problems on either bike. Shimano.

           gearing posted by John E on 11/4/2000 at 6:22:39 PM
I like 8-tooth drops in front, with 2-tooth increments in back -- most derailleurs work very well with these differences, and the ratio arithmetic also works out extremely well. I hate wasting gear ratios on anything beyond 100 gear-inches or so.

My most satisfactory gearing schemes to date are:
21-speed mountain bike: 48-40-24 / 13-26
18-speed road touring bike: 48-45-34 / 13-24
14-speed performance road bike: 50-42 / 13-26

I built up an experimental 53-50-39 Campy Veloce with an Engagement Ring 50T, but the two outer rings were too far apart for the 3-tooth (half-step) drop. The Sugino-based 48-45-34 works far better in this application, because the ends of the spider arms are narrower than Campy's.

           RE:MISC:   gearing posted by Oscar on 11/4/2000 at 9:03:22 PM
Most of Illinois is pretty flat, so the normal lowendish stock 6 speed Shimano transmissions work pretty well. Years ago I made my mountain bike into a potholeproof city bike with a road triple. Now that it wants to be a mountain bike again, I bought a 14-30 6 speed freewheel. I guess this is basically a touring setup, but it runs me fast through the prairie and I can still climb up a railroad embankment...and hop the rails.

I've raced this bike a few times, and have never come in last.

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