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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    1997 Rocky Mountain Spice Upgrade


    I'm new here, 53 yo and have never mountain biked. I am an avid bicycle commuter however, and have some off road experience on a Kawasaki KLR 650.

    I just got a hand-me-down 1997 Rocky Mountain Spice. This is very similar to the current RM Element's; models 30 and 50. This thing needs some work (chain, middle chain ring, tires, shorter stem, cables, etc.) but the frame (Easton Elite aluminum) and wheels (RM Handbuilt) are in excellent condition.

    The front fork is original equipment (RockShox Indy-LT). Needless to say it is horrible. I'd like to replace it with something current, but I find all the choices a bit overwhelming and am looking for some help. Can anyone suggest a replacement fork? I'm assuming something in the 80-100mm travel range that will work with V-brakes? I'd like to stay in the 3-$400 range but am open to all suggestions. I have no brand preference nor have I even decided on air vs. coil spring.

    If anyone knows any history about the RM Spice or the specifications of the RockShox Indy-LT I'd like to hear it.

    Also, if you think I should abandon the idea and get something newer I'd like to know that also.


  2. #2
    007 is offline
    b a n n e d
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    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    I guess where I would start is to get an estimate of what you would need to invest to get this up and running where you want it and compare that to what it would cost you to get a new(er) bike. If this bike needs a new fork, new drivetrain, and new brakes, well . . . you might be pretty close to spending what a whole new bike bike would cost.

    In regard to what you've got . . . I think the answer about the fork is going to depend on if the current fork is threaded or not. If it is, then I would suggest ditching it all together as its difficult to find threaded forks these days, and those that you do find are pretty old and in poor shape. I had a 1998 Gary Fisher Mariln and that had a threaded fork . . . yours very well may be.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    007 - The fork is threadless.

    But you may be right. Maybe I should look at getting a new bike. I rode a Santa Cruz Heckler and it was a dream.

    I'm looking at this RM as a way to dip my feet in the mountain biking waters to see if it is for me without taking a bath. But I am aware at how these types of projects can be an exercise in wallet weight reduction.


    Please keep the opinions coming. Goota run. Christmas dinner is calling.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Back from Christmas dinner :>) I did get an estimate of what it would take to get this thing back on the trail. It's actually not too expensive considering I can do the work myself. The killer is how things change. For instance, it is no easy task finding a new suspension fork compatible with V-brakes that isn't entry level. I know they must be out there, I just don't know where to look. And the rear suspension shock is a "Shock Works". The shock itself only has 1.5" of travel. I'm not sure how this translates into total travel in conjunction with the frame but I'm sure it is on the low side. Here are the specs:

    BikePedia > Complete Bicycles and Frames > Rocky Mountain > Spice

    Bicycle Type Mountain bike, front & rear suspension
    MSRP (new) $1,349.00
    Weight 28.7
    Sizes 16", 17.5", 18.5", 20"
    Colors Yellow front/black swingarm
    Item ID 70880

    Frame & Fork
    Frame Construction Welded
    Frame Tubing Material Easton Elite aluminum
    Fork Brand & Model Rock Shox Indy C LT
    Rear Shock - Shock Works , 1.5" travel

    Component Group Shimano STX-RC
    Brakeset Avid 1D-20 brakes, Avid SD-1.9 L levers
    Shift Levers Shimano STX-RC RapidFire SL
    Front Derailleur Shimano STX-RC top-swing, top-pull/clamp-on 31.8mm
    Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore LX SGS
    Crankset Summit, 22/32/42 teeth
    Pedals Aluminum cage w/clips & straps
    Bottom Bracket Shimano BB-LP26
    BB Shell Width Unspecified
    Rear Cogs 8-speed, 11 - 28 teeth
    Chain Taya TB-600, 1/2 x 3/32"
    Seatpost RMB aluminum
    Saddle Selle Italia Nitrox PD
    Handlebar RMB 2014 aluminum DH
    Handlebar Extensions Not included
    Handlebar Stem RMB forged DH
    Headset 1 1/8" threadless Ritchey Logic

    Hubs Front: Shimano STX, Rear: Shimano STX-RC
    Rims Sun Rims CR18
    Tires 26 x 2.10" Ritchey Mega-Bite Z-Max SC
    Spoke Brand DT stainless steel, 2.0mm straight gauge
    Spoke Nipples Unspecified

    For comparison, this bike with a $400 fork and $300 in parts (chain, tires, cables, stem, middle chain ring) ends up costing me 7 - $800, whereas a 2010 Santa Cruz Heckler is $2,000 + tax.

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