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  1. #1
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    FL0W's Bontrager thread

    Hi all,

    long time lurker and first time poster. Im finally ready to share my story and some eyecandy with the forum.

    My cycling addiction started in the early 90s riding around Arlington Va. and DC area on a Trek 850 Multitrack, my first mt bike. I never really liked video games. I was always outside exploring so my bike was my most prized posession.

    Just before my freshman year of high school I was blessed by the MTB gods when my mom helped me purchase a 1996(?) Bontrager Privateer Comp with full XT and RS Quadra 21r. I consider this bike to be the single best purchase I have ever made. Unfortunately, I cant find any pics of the old girl, but I will tell you that her silver paint and yellow decals were fantastic.

    At the time, we were shopping Metropolis bikes in Shirlington. They carried Connondale, Klein, Bontrager, and a few other names that I cant remember. My choices were narrowed down to the NOS Privateer on closeout for ~$700 and an entry level Klein with inferior components and extremely bright paint for nearly $100 more. Never underestimate how much the aesthetics of a bike matter, especially at 14 years old. The modern aluminum and vibrant paint of the Klein were much more sexy than the quiet and classy Bontrager. Considering how much I love steel frames now, I know that I chose wisely.

    I soon upgraded to a Marzocchi Z2 BAM and shimano SPDs and rode nearly everyday, rain or shine. I got confident enough on the bike to risk serious bodily injury. Eventually I destroyed the headset and retired the frame after endoing on the landing of a very big jump.

    The next bike was a forgettable Azonic hardtail with a RS Psylo (yes, I was really into dual slalom). Then I built up a nice Salsa Ala Carte while in college. The Salsa has been good to me. Im riding it in the MS 150 from Houston to Austin tomorrow morning.

    Since I learned to shred on Keith Bontrager geometry, I love the way these bikes handle. Today, I have two bontrager frames in different stages of progress. Here is my spare room:


    My most recent purchase is a Race Lite (#7636) that I want to make into a rigid, lightweight 650b or 700c cross-bike. It is currently being pillaged for parts.


    The Race (#7136) I found on ebay a while back. Coincidently, I was near the pawn shop where it was for sale. To my pleasant surprise, it had a few nice vintage components hanging on it and it turned out to be a race model, not a privateer as I had expected. I stripped it, had it blasted, then powdercoated white. I also had Gil, from thecycleshed and retrobike fame, fix up some replica decals.

    I am currently waiting for a m952 BB and new seatpost collar (the collar that came on the bike looks original, but is either oversized or bent from overtightening). Here is the work in progress:

    The fork is a Marzocchi Z2 atom bomb with aftermarket progressive wound springs yielding ~80mm of travel. Im a little bit concerned about the small increase in travel and its effect on the steering angle. I may swap back to the factory springs if Im not satisfied. Anyone have thoughts on this?

    The theme Im going for here is the bike I wished I could afford in high school. I lusted after the sinister grey XTR group forever so its mostly shimano with some other odd bits here and there. Avid arch rivals are a better design just not as sexy.

    I have accumulated almost all the parts for the build so its going to come together quickly. I will certainly post up the progress. This being my first post, Im unsure if my photos will post succcessfully. If not, dont spaz out. Ill get them up asap. Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.

  2. #2
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    Great first post and sweet bikes!

    I don't think the 80mm fork will throw the handling or geometry off enough to matter.

    The white weapon will look great with the XTR stuff. I know what you mean about building the bike you always wanted when you were younger, I always wanted a Redline MXII BMX when I was 12. 25 years later I finally fulfilled that dream. A couple of years back I also built a replica of the first proper road bike I used to race and stupidly sold to fund some travel.

    I laughed when you said "Azonic with Psylos", that's so 2001.

    Those Salsas are a great go-to frame for building a steel hardtail.

    Grumps

  3. #3
    JJY
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    Mike,
    It's John (pscycle_therapy) I was hoping I would catch you here. It is all coming together nice!

    -jy

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    Sloooowly coming together. Im stilll waiting to get a decent octalink v1 BB.

    Grumpy,
    thanks for the welcome. money, of course, is the only thing holding me back from having some sweet vintage bikes form my formative years. A GT box series 24 bmxer would definitely be mine. I used to go nuts over profile stuff. One of my old swim coaches had a gorgeous Team Fat Chance that seemed almost too nice to touch. Nobody ever got permission to ride it. I'll find one some day.

    John,
    you got pm. Thanks for the help.

    here is the cockpit almost ready to string up:

  5. #5
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    Flow- you still in Arlington? If so, you ever make it out to Lake Fairfax or Fountainhead?
    Come ride either of those and you'll see plenty of other older bikes.

  6. #6
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    Nice post. I have a Bontrager in partial build mode in my bike room as well. I think everybody should, really. :-) There was a bike store in Houston that stocked them in the 90's, and I never really got them out of my system. Kleins either for that matter. But the Klein's I always liked were boring and solid colors. I should probably get one of those for my bike room as well. Sigh...

  7. #7
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    OK, here she is...


    I grew impatient and couldnt wait any longer so I took some m750 shifter pods from the salsa to get her all wired up. I have some m952 pods on the way to complete the xtr drivetrain.
    Crappy phone pics...



    The ride is pure joy. The stiff front fork and the steel frame make for a very stable bike. The steering is not quite as fast as the HTA would suggest, but I think its very agile. No problems climbing or descending (who am I kidding, this is Houston). The fork is 17.5" or 445mm axle to crown but sags 10mm with me on it. BITD, I rode my privateer with a Marzocchi z2 and this bike feels so familiar to me. More to the point: since I learned how to ride fast on a sled similar to this, I dont think i'll ever feel as comfortable on anything else.

    I was unsure how the decals would look since they didnt come out exactly how I prescribed to Gil. They have more of a grey background than the silver I wanted, but still look very nice in sunlight. Scoring the Z2 fork and the control tech stem set up the color scheme. Even though I dont usually like chrome, Im pretty thrilled with how it came out.

    Final build spec:

    frame: 96 or 97 Bontrager Race serial number 7136
    fork: 97 Marzocchi atom bomb w/ speedbomb springs and enduro seals
    wheelset: mavic crossmax
    crankset: m952 w/ srp Ti bolts and blue anno caps
    BB: Ultegra BB6500 109.5mm
    rear derailleur: m952
    front derailleur: m739 (working great so far with the 9sp)
    cassette: m952
    shifters: m952
    brake levers: avid speed dial Ti
    brake calipers: avid arch rival w/ koolstop salmon
    headset: cane creek classic 100 threadless
    stem: control tech
    handlebar: easton monkeylite carbon fiber low rise
    seat: SI flite genuine gel Ti
    seatpost: thomson
    seatpost collar: thomson (i have original but its fubar)
    tires: Kenda kwicker 2.1
    pedals: m747

    Its definitely not a weight weenie build but this bike is bulletproof. I'll weight it soon and post better pics once I get the shifters.

  8. #8
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    FL0W's Bontrager thread-img_20130721_133807_689.jpgFL0W's Bontrager thread-img_20130721_133936_324.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FL0W's Bontrager thread-img_20130721_133916_116.jpg  

    FL0W's Bontrager thread-img_20130721_133857_232.jpg  

    FL0W's Bontrager thread-img_20130721_134031_681.jpg  

    FL0W's Bontrager thread-img_20130721_134001_820.jpg  

    Last edited by FL0W; 08-13-2013 at 02:11 PM. Reason: re-do pics

  9. #9
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    Nice, looks even better filthy

  10. #10
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    That looks fantastic! Gil is doing pink/purple Bontrager decals for my XXL Race. I know I know...but it will be cool in it's own way. Certainly not as cool as yours though. :-)

  11. #11
    JJY
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    The build turned out super nice! What is the next project? I'm in love with the black & white images. It showcases the white, chrome & dirt theme perfectly.

    -John Y.

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    Thanks for the comments guys. I was fooling around with the camera after a ride and I didnt even know it was set to black/white until I tried to upload them.

    Im really enjoying it along with the weather lately. The last 2 weeks of scattered rain storms have cooled things off nicely and I've ridden this bike as much as possible. The pics look like they were taken in Washington state! The next pics of the bike will probably be in scorching sunlight at 100*

    Rolando, I am trying to decide how to refinish another Bonty frame. The themes from the factory were always 'no-nonsense' to go along with KB's designs. I sometimes think that I want to go way outside the box on this next one. Maybe a crazy metallic or pastel color. Im looking forward to what you have in mind.

    John, it's the hotrod I always wanted, with some modern improvements (carbon bar with a nice sweep, awesome headset, and cnc'd seatpost). The next one is probably going to be a 97 litespeed obed. I have started accumulating parts for it and it is going to be 'somewhat' period correct like this one. The Race Lite deserves to be much more period correct and so it will take a lot longer to gather up. I also want it to be a singlespeed. I also need to finish converting the Salsa to my dedicated town bike and install the manitou mars on my girlfriend's ride.

  13. #13
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    Great story! I wrenched at Metropolis during the summers from 1989 -1993.

    Funnily enough during that time there I lusted after the Bontragers as well, came across a 1994 Bontrager Race frame recently, now it's built up and it's my new fave!

    It was a great shop, a ton of really friendly and great people. RIP Metropolis.

  14. #14
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    Ecks-tee-ahr shifters on and working fabulously.

    bike is super nice on singletrack but its been a bit messy around here lately. Im thinking about taking the bike to Big Bend at the end of the summer.

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