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  1. #1
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    Early Mantis Sherpa Project

    Picked this old Mantis up recently. It should be a fun one and will definitely need some new paint!

    It's loaded wtih braze-ons (shoulder strap, rack, Mantis fender and what looks to be a full set up for some generator lights). I need to try and figure out if it was built with a specific system in mind. I've never used or really paid much attention to those old light setups, but it's even got internal wiring inlets down the top tube and a guide on the headtube. I'm gonna see if RC can maybe answer a few questions.

    One thing that the photos didn't really pick up are the neat peaked or ridged fillets at most of the main frame junctions. You can see it best in the 3rd photo.

    Oh, and the spokes as a protector on the right chainstay is kinda neat. I like how it uses the little Campy or Cinelli guides for the spoke nipples, looks like a perfect fit. Gotta be the earliest example I've seen of this and what the other guys later copied.

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  2. #2
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    Oh, and I'll be on the hunt for one of those 3 bolt, Preying Mantis looking stems! If you know anyone that's got one...

  3. #3
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    Sweet project. I love the early ones...
    Seek: Koski Trailmaster. Breezer Series 2, or 3. Fillet brazed Ibis Custom. Cunningham Racer. Otis Guy (but not that softride model). That's all I need I don't need anything else... except... except for an old Mountain Goat bar stem combo. And that's all I need. I don't need anything else. Except.....

  4. #4
    GMF
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    Hey FB - can you educate me on what distinguishes this as a Mantis frame?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMF View Post
    Hey FB - can you educate me on what distinguishes this as a Mantis frame?
    I think the first thing that caught my eye, knowing it was old, was the steeper headtube than was standard back then. But then upon closer inspection the stay ends, the seat cluster, the canti bosses, and the ridged fillets. Oh, and the braze ons for the fender under the downtube also indicate that it's a Mantis.

  6. #6
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Very nice find. I happen to like that color scheme, but certainly, it can not be original, what with the spokes being sprayed and all.

    Congrats, what a cool frame!

  7. #7
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    Our blue one:


    Ridged fillet:


    Stem:



    Ridge-less:

  8. #8
    mountaingoatcycles.com
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    Fender made from a template that RC sent us:


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Ted View Post
    Very nice find. I happen to like that color scheme, but certainly, it can not be original, what with the spokes being sprayed and all.

    Congrats, what a cool frame!
    Thanks. Yeah, it's not bad, but it was poorly done. Had her in the stand today for a look around and sure is a neat one that RC spent a lot of time on. Hopefully I can get some sort of background on it.

    FFB, those are some nice examples and I looked at those when I first found this. Unfortunately mine was not well taken care of. Sure don't seem to be many around. Anyone have a count on how many were made? If RC doesn't have the fender template I might need to get dimensions.

    Anyone have any idea on what might be a cool old light system for this thing?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fillet-brazed View Post
    Thanks. Yeah, it's not bad, but it was poorly done. Had her in the stand today for a look around and sure is a neat one that RC spent a lot of time on. Hopefully I can get some sort of background on it.

    FFB, those are some nice examples and I looked at those when I first found this. Unfortunately mine was not well taken care of. Sure don't seem to be many around. Anyone have a count on how many were made? If RC doesn't have the fender template I might need to get dimensions.

    Anyone have any idea on what might be a cool old light system for this thing?
    I'm not really bottle dynamo-knowledgeable, but I've never seen the mount behind the fork, so it must be a rear-mount, put on the front to save from internalizing the wires. The only remote generators - maybe also partially what the braze-ons are about - I've seen have been mounted at the bottom bracket.

    Rare beast. Look forward to seeing what you do with it.

  11. #11
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    Those bikes are rad! Good scores.

    We have two at the shop, they are on loan.
    "believe what you ride, not what you read" 94 WTB catalog

  12. #12
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    Hey Trev. Great find.
    Just checking in.
    That is Ron Hartford's bike I'm pretty sure.
    To my knowledge only 3 were made with those braze ons.
    I ordered 3 of the exact same ones for Europa Bikes. There were just a few differences between the 3. Mine had fishing pole braze ons on the right side. John Durst was like Rons's but didn't have the chain protector spokes. RH was the only one to have the spoke chain guards to my knowledge. That was his custom touch. RC never did another internal guide or fork mount gen set. after I broke my fork.
    I think that is dated at 81 or 82. It took us a year to get those bikes. We saw them at the show with no paint and clear coat. I think it was RC's first show. In order for me to get mine I had to order 3 so Europa could become a dealer.
    Ron had both types of racks on the fork. A rear rack and low riders which was different than ours too.
    Ron's original color was Blue.
    Both mine and JD's bike were destroyed before our first ride when JD backed up into a parked car with our bikes on a rear rack. Both were repaired with new main triangles. These were based on my world tour bike design. They all had 72 deg parallels. When mine and JD's were repaired they got a 71 head at my request. Both mine and JD's were 23" frames and I believe Ron's was a 21" C/C. RC refused to put the internal guides back in though.
    I have a set of Mantis crown plates, Reynolds tandem blades and one Yellow head tube sticker left from that era.
    Oh yea. I almost forgot. Ron's did not come with a Mantis stem. He had Richey Bullmoose bars on his I'm pretty sure. I have pictures of these someplace before the first builds and of Ron's fully packed in the picture boxes someplace in my my rafters. I don't think I can post it though even if I scanned it as it is not a internet friendly picture. LOL
    One of these day's I am going to have to get to them and do some scanning.
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  13. #13
    VRC Illuminati
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    Quote Originally Posted by geckocycles View Post
    Hey Trev. Great find.
    Just checking in.
    That is Ron Hartford's bike I'm pretty sure.
    To my knowledge only 3 were made with those braze ons.
    I ordered 3 of the exact same ones for Europa Bikes. There were just a few differences between the 3. Mine had fishing pole braze ons on the right side. John Durst was like Rons's but didn't have the chain protector spokes. RH was the only one to have the spoke chain guards to my knowledge. That was his custom touch. RC never did another internal guide or fork mount gen set. after I broke my fork.
    I think that is dated at 81 or 82. It took us a year to get those bikes. We saw them at the show with no paint and clear coat. I think it was RC's first show. In order for me to get mine I had to order 3 so Europa could become a dealer.
    Ron had both types of racks on the fork. A rear rack and low riders which was different than ours too.
    Ron's original color was Blue.
    Both mine and JD's bike were destroyed before our first ride when JD backed up into a parked car with our bikes on a rear rack. Both were repaired with new main triangles. These were based on my world tour bike design. They all had 72 deg parallels. When mine and JD's were repaired they got a 71 head at my request. Both mine and JD's were 23" frames and I believe Ron's was a 21" C/C. RC refused to put the internal guides back in though.
    I have a set of Mantis crown plates, Reynolds tandem blades and one Yellow head tube sticker left from that era.
    Oh yea. I almost forgot. Ron's did not come with a Mantis stem. He had Richey Bullmoose bars on his I'm pretty sure. I have pictures of these someplace before the first builds and of Ron's fully packed in the picture boxes someplace in my my rafters. I don't think I can post it though even if I scanned it as it is not a internet friendly picture. LOL
    One of these day's I am going to have to get to them and do some scanning.

    That is some invaluable awesome back story right there!

    Jumps the cool factor of the frame even higher!

    KB, if you can get Fillet brazed a pic of how the bike looked originally...I'm pretty confident he can get this bike back to exactly the way it was when brand new.
    -eric-

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpfy View Post
    That is some invaluable awesome back story right there!

    Jumps the cool factor of the frame even higher!

    KB, if you can get Fillet brazed a pic of how the bike looked originally...I'm pretty confident he can get this bike back to exactly the way it was when brand new.
    Yeah, thanks Ken! Great stuff. Would absolutely love to see pics and I've had a Ritchey bullmoose just waiting for the right frame (a Ritchey of course) but maybe it was meant to be for this one!

    So what kind of lights and generators did you guys use? Maybe there were a few options on the market and I'd guess they more or less mounted up the same way? I know nothing about those things but do remember seeing them when I was a kid.

    Might have to do a vintage night ride/camping/fishing trip once I get this baby back to spec.

    By the way I'm not Trev, that's "Fillet Brazed Forever".

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainlyfats View Post
    I'm not really bottle dynamo-knowledgeable, but I've never seen the mount behind the fork, so it must be a rear-mount, put on the front to save from internalizing the wires. The only remote generators - maybe also partially what the braze-ons are about - I've seen have been mounted at the bottom bracket.

    Rare beast. Look forward to seeing what you do with it.
    Interesting. Once I find out what light this thing was designed around I can maybe start to figure out the way he had this configured.
    Last edited by Fillet-brazed; 03-08-2012 at 08:34 AM.

  16. #16
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fillet-brazed View Post
    Interesting. Once I find out what light this thing was designed around I can maybe start to figure out the way he had this configured.
    It looks pretty funky being on the inside of the fork. It's almost like the light projected between the fork blades. Maybe he was running a spokeless wheel?
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  17. #17
    GMF
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    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux View Post
    It looks pretty funky being on the inside of the fork. It's almost like the light projected between the fork blades. Maybe he was running a spokeless wheel?
    That is just for the generator - the kind that rolls on the side of the tire. The light would have likely been bolted to the fork crown. I used to have a more ghetto version (clamped to the fork leg) of that on an old commuter bike of mine. It did OK, but nothing compared to today's LED lights. It was nice always having the light there, though.

  18. #18
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMF View Post
    That is just for the generator - the kind that rolls on the side of the tire. The light would have likely been bolted to the fork crown.

    Ahh... that makes much more sense!!
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  19. #19
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    I think they were Sanyo generators that ran on the side of the tire. I have seen them at Walmart. The light was mounted on the stem or on the front of the front rack and was about 3" diameter. I still have a couple of them. When they were mounted on the rack they through too much of a shadow and made every rock look like a huge hole in the ground. They did work well with a head lamp combo.The rear had a bullet shaped light that mounted to the bracket brazed on the SS. I quickly learned that no light was needed as the rocks seam to go in at night. There were some stragglers crossing the road on occasion, LOL Tail lights were not my thing either. I would just rather not be seen till the cars were past me. I acn't tell you how many night runs we did without lights and even put up some of our best DH times in the dark without them.
    I used those same lights for my head lamp setup. 6V generator with a 5.2V bulb? They also had the same lamp with a 6V bulb if I recall and that is the one that I used for my 7.2 nicad headlamp setup called the Nocturnal. I'll have to go in the shop and look to make sure on the voltage. I know right where they are amazingly enough. LOL Now the milk crate of photos is another story and I am sure they are 16' in the air someplace in a pallet of boxes.
    Ron had one of the first Richey's made and had the Sherpa painted to match. Sorry, I thought you were Trevor. Do you know of Europa bikes in Van Nuys Calif? I can't remember the owners name at the moment. You know us seniors that weren't supposed to live past 24, well here I am still kickin and regretting my youth sometimes. LOL
    Those Sanyo generators are hard on tires and when you got in the mud they would rip right off and take out spokes plus they made a ton of noise.
    Tthose Sherpas had more than 30 brazeons! What a true work of art those fillets were.
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  20. #20
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    Well I thought I knew right where they were. Found lots of other cool stuff though including 2 new carry straps. One original Mantis and one custom made one that is a poor copy.
    Ron's bike no doubt had a Titanium Duo-Par rear and silver Magura brake levers. Araya x7 rims with butted spokes with blue and red or maybe all black alloy nips. JD and my bike had Tomasellie Racers which I found plus un-opened new hoods.
    Still looking for other goodies including pictures. I know I recently saw those lights. One was mounted on a helmet. I know I have some DuoPar parts laying around someplace too. I found some rims still in paper wrappers. Better take a peek! I'm getting a good case of vertigo up here climbing around all the pallets of "junk".
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  21. #21
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    I found the light 6V 3.4W Halogen Power Light. I'm pretty sure there was a lesser voltage one too but finding it is another story.
    Also found the picture box and managed to get them down. Looked quickly in the albums but only found picts of his 2 Richeys. One with a carry strap. I can't tell for sure now but I am pretty sure it is a Ritchey. The Mantis pictures are buried in one of the dozen of envelopes and may be just negatives.
    Ron also had a XCR which was red but this is a Sherpa for sure.
    Now for the arduous task of going through with a negative scanner to see what I have.
    This is going to take a few years so don't hold your breath.
    I'll post a pict of the light later.
    The rims in wrappers are RM20's which he may have run as well and probably did if they were of that era. My Sherpa has them on it.
    What really makes me think this was Ron's bike is the spoke chain guard. That was defiantly his idea and I don't think RC made another 30+ braze-on bike out side of our order.
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  22. #22
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    I'm having trouble dating these exactly. The 2 bikes on the table are when we got ours. Ron's is not in the picture but you can see the same brazeons. My bike against the wall (the Beach behind Europa) is the repaired bike and is dated 6-83. I thought it took a year to get this bike back from RC and I rode a Overland that he gave me until the repairs were done. You can see that he then put the Gen mount on the rear stay instead of on the fork. There was also no internal guides. All the racks were painted to match the bikes and RC vowed to never do that again too.
    I believe the bikes were ordered in 82. By looking at the brakes of the bikes on the table dates them in 83 I think but we may have had pre production prototype Shimano's which makes since and therefor the bikes could be late 82.
    Ron is pictured with his bike. This is the only one I can find of him so far riding what may be his Mantis. I have some doubts though as the front rack may not be a rear blackburn. Still looking through the thousands of photos I found.
    Sure is cool looking through all these pictures and memorabilia.
    I'm pretty sure Ron was using Mafacs and Micro Lights on his Mantis. RC took better care of us then he did Ron. Lets see if I can find some more picts. Ron worked most of the time and drank the rest and rarely got out on his bikes. I do have a few touring picts of him so far but they are all of him riding his 2 Ritchey's so far. He later woke up dead from OD of alcohol.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Early Mantis Sherpa Project-light.jpg  

    Early Mantis Sherpa Project-light2.jpg  

    Early Mantis Sherpa Project-ron-h.jpg  

    Early Mantis Sherpa Project-mantis-6-83.jpg  

    Early Mantis Sherpa Project-img030.jpg  

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  23. #23
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    Found some Mantis frame parts. I got a several BB shells, a few sets of CS and SS dropout plugs, fork crown w/ 2 sets of blades in another box and a several 3/4" integral seat binders that I used on some of my Plainwrap and Y-Bikes too. The 5/8" dia ones with a SS reinforcement were for my Slickrocks and Survival bikes. As you may know I made parts for Mantis bikes at my shop as well as apprenticed at his shop for a time in 88. RC was a best man at my wedding.
    Still no luck on a photo of Ron's Sherpa. I can't look at all the slides and negatives but did find dozens of pictures of my early bikes from the very first bike I made, the first MTB one and the first Plainwraps and Y-Bikes to the first dozen or so of the fully filed bikes before they were called Geckos. Been busy scanning those. Glad this thread got me motivated to dig through the box. Been a long day. Even found boxes of old stickers, tube sets, Genesis drop outs and various other parts. I my just put together a few bikes for the hell of it. Not sure the Genesis can handle disk brakes with the .028" wall stays so may have to stick on a new set of Graftons I found with some Kooka levers.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Early Mantis Sherpa Project-mantis-parts.jpg  

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  24. #24
    velocipede technician
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    diggin that camo one
    looking for 20-21" P team

  25. #25
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    KB,

    Great pictures and info! Thank you so much for posting.

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