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  1. #1
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    Most underrated vintage mountain bike.

    Just to keep the VRC microverse in balance, a sister to ckevlar's thread.............

    Jamis Dragon - been in production almost continuously since early 1990s (still steel AFAIK) - reviews well - got a certain under-the-radar cool - never see them mentioned on here.
    5 is the old new black; 6 is the new new black...

  2. #2
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    Most under rated, probably mostly due to the fact I've never seen another, (and sticking with your theme!) 1987 Jamis Dakota LTD. All black, braze ons for the shoulder pad/bag (you know you wanted one), fender, rack and three bottles. Suntour PowerCams with cool Jamis cordura covers to keep the crap out, a Tange double butted frame. Managed to finagle a "last years" Deore drivetrain (from the head wrenches bike, who had just gotten the "new" XT, ooooo....) onto it, and then the story begins.....

    My first mtb, from the first shop I worked at, and probably a big part of why I'm still in love with bikes.




    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  3. #3
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    Specialized, Americans, Curtlos

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushpig
    Specialized, Americans, Curtlos
    I thought of stumpjumpers, steel, but they do have a cult following of their own.

  5. #5
    John Galt
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    Great thread idea...

    I think the '87 Paramountain might qualify here. It doesn't get too much attention here, although I'm not sure if that's because there aren't that many, or because of limited interest. Regardless, it's a limited-production, lugged Prestige frame tied to Ned Overend's 1986 NORBA nationals victory. I'm a big fan of the way mine rides - quick, but not twitchy, and it's nice and light.

    I suppose the 1988 Schwinn KOM might fit into the same category - I believe it's a very similar frame. I've never ridden that one, though.

  6. #6
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    Brew, Cherry bicycles, Smorgasbord..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by colker1
    Brew, Cherry bicycles, Smorgasbord..
    Brew, not so much. I wanted one so bad when I was working in a shop, but just couldn't swing one at the time. I recall Steve's bikes being refered to as single season race bikes, and when I finally scored one for my wire a couple years ago I found out why. Way underbuild and potentially a lack of technical expertice in building with lightweight tubing (Tange Prestige).

    The 180 Proof I picked up had a small crack under the seat collar. I had Rody repair it for me. After he stripped the paint off he found that somebody had repaired the crack once before with some silver. Well, the bike had original paint, so it had cracked in the process of being built and was repaired prior to paint.
    Quote Originally Posted by banks
    That is one big f'n dude!
    Yes I am!

  8. #8
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    Curtlo is a good one, but maybe too small-scale to be underrated?

    I would also concur with Jamis. Nice spec. Higher end ones made at Serotta, no?

    I'd also say Bridgestone counts as underrated. Perhaps they were too understated for the early 90s mtb scene. Stodgy sounding name (well, to my ears anyway), but nice riding bikes with good aesthetics.
    Somec is like the digital Zunow
    And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD5h3y0a9AU

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by yo-Nate-y
    Curtlo is a good one, but maybe too small-scale to be underrated?

    I'd also say Bridgestone counts as underrated. Perhaps they were too understated for the early 90s mtb scene. Stodgy sounding name (well, to my ears anyway), but nice riding bikes with good aesthetics.

    Otis Guy, but I think they fall into the same too small scale as well.

    I've liked the Bridgestones I've tried, so I agree with you there.
    -eric-

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by yo-Nate-y
    I would also concur with Jamis. Nice spec. Higher end ones made at Serotta, no?
    IIRC Teesdale made some
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  11. #11
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    Yep~!
    Later mid-late 90s ones, it seems. http://tetcycles.com/bikes/about/
    Somec is like the digital Zunow
    And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD5h3y0a9AU

  12. #12
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    I'm not judging, just asking, didn't we just have this thread around Thanksgiving?

    Underrated bikes I've personally owned and and almost never see posts on Miele and Yakota for starters. There are a ton of underrated small builders so I won't count them. I would also have to say the late-80s Rockhoppers in particular as the Stumpjumpers have a weird following and lots of knee-jerk detractors, but the Rockhoppers get almost no love at all.

  13. #13
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    Boulder Bikes – they got it right the first time with their single pivot design.

    Barracuda – specifically the A2X.

    GT Zaskar X – best looking and strongest of all the Zaskars.
    The lowest number of posts to time on site ratio?

  14. #14
    John Galt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpfy
    Otis Guy, but I think they fall into the same too small scale as well.
    I agree on Otis Guy and think Gecko might also be a name that stayed too small for much attention. I've never ridden one, however...

  15. #15
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    I have to agree with Cegrover about the early Paramountions and KOM's but I'd also include the early 90's Paramount PDG Series 90's, I've had one and I wish I didnt sell it. Handled great/excellent sterring/lite, it was a fun rider and was the lightest steering bike I've ever owned. Wanted 17" frame/fork
    "I think it is heavy and often stupid and doesn't work as well as Shimano, but I keep using it. -- NG

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by colker1
    Cherry bicycles
    AHHH! I didn't know anyone else knew about these! I've been searching for an older Cherry Bomb for years now. John makes some great looking (and riding) bikes. Who knew such great bikes would come out of Lafayette, Indiana.

  17. #17
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    '96 Mongoose Hilltopper.
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  18. #18
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    Rodriguez... Local yes, but also in the game early. Beautiful frames.
    Seek: Koski Trailmaster. Breezer Series 2 or 3. Cunningham Racer.

  19. #19
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    S Works steel, Series 80/90 Paramount's, Monster Fats, tigged Salsa's, Privateer's, Ultra's.
    Zip ties? Not on my bike!

    Want:
    650B rims or wheel set. 80's vintage 32 or 36 x 135mm

  20. #20
    rigid bruce
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    I think Bridgestones are overrated. They get a lot of attention for a quirky but otherwise average mass produced bike. I've owned a zip, Mb-1 and a XO-1 and for the rocky, steep trails in the northeast the Fats I've owned/own were all much better. Other than build quality this is all personal taste.
    bruce b.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff
    S Works steel, Series 80/90 Paramount's, Monster Fats, tigged Salsa's, Privateer's, Ultra's.
    I agree about the non-Wicked based Monster. Same basic geo as a Yo, better ride and cheaper. For some reason that bike didn't catch on as the Fat bargain the way the Buck Shaver did later on.
    Quote Originally Posted by banks
    That is one big f'n dude!
    Yes I am!

  22. #22
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    American

    below the radar of most........

    Great welds w/ full solution treatment process AFTER welding / great choices in geometry / light weight / durable design / limited production.





    Last edited by crconsulting; 01-06-2010 at 08:51 AM.

  23. #23
    John Galt
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    Quote Originally Posted by crconsulting
    American

    below the radar of most........

    Great welds w/ full solution treatment process AFTER welding / great choices in geometry / light weight / durable design / limited production.


    Strong play! I'd love to try one out sometime...

  24. #24
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by crconsulting
    American

    below the radar of most........

    Great welds w/ full solution treatment process AFTER welding / great choices in geometry / light weight / durable design / limited production.




    I agree. I lusted after these rigs in the early 90's.

    Another point to make was their use of "hard" anodizing instead of paint. Military spec ano in several cool colors.
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  25. #25
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    I rode a 90 American Comp Lite through most of the 90's as my primary bike. Needless to say, I am biased towards Americans and think they are great.One thing I didn't like about the frame was how American used rivets to clamp the der hanger to the frame. The hanger would develop play over time. I believe American switched to a different mounting style in the final years.
    Seek: Koski Trailmaster. Breezer Series 2 or 3. Cunningham Racer.

  26. #26
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    Yea, the anodized ones were pretty unique.

    "Another point to make was their use of "hard" anodizing instead of paint"

    Yea, the anodized ones were pretty unique.

    I always liked the fact they made their own stems and bars too. even had a bar stem combo.

    anyone have a picture of that?

    here's their stem:


  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aemmer
    The hanger would develop play over time.
    Once the rivets got loose you had to re-rivet them ASAP as not to let the mounting holes ovalize. I ended up using stainless rivets too. The key was to use a good QR that applied enough pressure on the hanger and frame together to create a solid joint surface area.

    I never had good luck using aftermarket QR's (ti or steel). That seemed to be when the hanger started to give me problems. Nothing could quite get the "bite" of the stock XT steel QR.

    The replaceable hanger obviously had it's pros' and con's

    I'd have to say, on an aluminum bike, I probably weigh in on the side of more pro's than cons.
    Last edited by crconsulting; 01-06-2010 at 10:30 AM.

  28. #28
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    Exactly CRC,
    Went from Suntour, to XT, to Ringle, then back to an XT QR. As a kid, one of my first investments in bike tools was a riveter. Part of my portable bike stuff always included this tool, along with a half dozen rivets. Keep the QR tight though, and things were fine.
    Last edited by tductape; 01-06-2010 at 09:49 PM.
    Seek: Koski Trailmaster. Breezer Series 2 or 3. Cunningham Racer.

  29. #29
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    Another vote for Curtlo.

    I kind of wanted a Funk, back in the day.

  30. #30
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    Anything by Ted Wojick.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by cegrover
    I agree on Otis Guy and think Gecko might also be a name that stayed too small for much attention. I've never ridden one, however...
    Agree on Gecko. I have had one for a couple years now and its a keeper. Definately a smaller under recognized builder. Now If I could just find a Gecko build fork and stem...
    Need: McMahon brake for roller cam mounts, Mountain Goat fork.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by muddybuddy
    Agree on Gecko. I have had one for a couple years now and its a keeper. Definately a smaller under recognized builder. Now If I could just find a Gecko build fork and stem...
    Ken might still build you a fork: http://geckocycles.com/index.htm He's also a semi-regular poster here at VRC.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by cegrover
    Ken might still build you a fork: http://geckocycles.com/index.htm He's also a semi-regular poster here at VRC.
    I did contact him when I was putting the bike together and got a price for a fork and bar/stem combo, but it was a bit more than I was willing to spend. I still might have him do it eventually.
    Need: McMahon brake for roller cam mounts, Mountain Goat fork.

  34. #34
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    I will go out on a limb here, but will try to justify.

    The earliest Mongoose Rockadile, production started 1993 (latest bike I would consider "older")

    Frameset had totally solid geometry, extremely stable with mega stiff chainstays/seatstays. Welds were flawless (robot) and tubing was Al 7005 with rather thick walls, but tubing shape throughout worked flawlessly, the toptube and downtube were the squashed "pear shape" that was so popular back then on the highest end roadframes (Pinarello etc.)

    I know that it was not a "fancy name" but when I was in the Army, we built our bikes part by part, and a $1000.00 frame was just too expensive (too much beer money to let go at once), so we would purchase a cheaper but sound frameset, and spread the cost out by just doing the piece by piece. I should have taken pics, but I had a full XTR Mongoose Rockadile with White Bros 100mm fork that was an incredible ride.

    I retired the frame years later and purchased a Yeti Hardtail, and the Rockadile was a better ride. Gave the Yeti to my brother, I could see and feel the back end flex, not a whole lot, but on tight fast singletrack with obstacles, the rear triangle would flex side to side.

    I have owned a LOT of bikes, but the mass produced Mongoose Rockadile remains my favorite aluminum hardtail. If I spot one at a garage sale, I just might pick it up.

    Edit to add- They still make the Rockadile (googled it), but it is a real cheapo rig now. When they first came out, the frame was totally acceptable. Even the tubeset is different now. Oh well, it used to be a legitimate frame.
    Last edited by hannibal smith; 01-07-2010 at 02:40 PM.

  35. #35
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    Come to think of it, quite a few of the "boutique" bikes like Brew etc. didn't actually perform relative to the cost, the only cool points were that they were handbuilt and not very common, as much as we would like it to be otherwise, many mass produced bikes were actually superior.

    Fat Chance "Yo Eddy" was a badass ride though, smooth and stable beyond compare, especially with the old Marzocchi spring and oil bath fork. But in all honesty, the Fat Chance was one of the few handbuilts that really stood out IMO.

    A lot of small builders went ahead and sold their frames with no real experience in framebuilding, especially when it came to Tig welding the "thin" stuff, it takes years to get good and consistent, some builders were unloading frames after building a mere handful.

    Anyway, I always get a kick when someone starts talking underrated bikes and it becomes a contest of how obscure a name one can remember.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by themanmonkey
    Underrated bikes I've personally owned and and almost never see posts on Miele and Yakota for starters. There are a ton of underrated small builders so I won't count them. I would also have to say the late-80s Rockhoppers in particular as the Stumpjumpers have a weird following and lots of knee-jerk detractors, but the Rockhoppers get almost no love at all.
    Man my knee hit the bottom of my desk when I read that one.... LOL. I used to lust after those older Spec Models when I was in High school....
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say.” – Joshua Stinebrink

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  37. #37
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    C'mon, Dback Apex, are you kidding?. Has to be #1.
    Too many bikes, and just enough time to ride them.

  38. #38
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    Or maybe this.

    HHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMM..........what is that?


    Too many bikes, and just enough time to ride them.

  39. #39
    artistic...
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    Quote Originally Posted by proto2000
    HHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMM..........what is that?


    waterford.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by proto2000
    C'mon, Dback Apex, are you kidding?. Has to be #1.
    I have a buddy who has one and it is still going strong, he is not a hardcore rider, but absolutely loves it.

  41. #41
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    My first "real" MTB was a Diamondback Ascent. It was heavy and rode poorly. I'm pretty sure that the Ascent and Apex shared the same frame.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad
    My first "real" MTB was a Diamondback Ascent. It was heavy and rode poorly. I'm pretty sure that the Ascent and Apex shared the same frame.
    I'm no expert on MTB genealogy, but I don't think comparing apples to lemons counts. Different frames. Yours is a pile and everyone else owns a shiney pile. FFDHMF
    Too many bikes, and just enough time to ride them.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by cegrover
    Great thread idea...

    I think the '87 Paramountain might qualify here. It doesn't get too much attention here, although I'm not sure if that's because there aren't that many, or because of limited interest. Regardless, it's a limited-production, lugged Prestige frame tied to Ned Overend's 1986 NORBA nationals victory. I'm a big fan of the way mine rides - quick, but not twitchy, and it's nice and light.

    I suppose the 1988 Schwinn KOM might fit into the same category - I believe it's a very similar frame. I've never ridden that one, though.
    I love those Schwinns- Your Paramountain is awesome- it looks so cool in Red. I also like the red 87 Cimarron.
    *-Recipient of the 2006 Time Magazine "Man Of The Year" Award.-*

  44. #44
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    sorry, no way!

  45. #45
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    I always had a soft spot for the Off Road Toad. Too bad exchange rates and pre Nafta made them way too expensive down here.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Most underrated vintage mountain bike.-off-road-toad.jpg  

    I like to start out slow and then back it off a notch.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDXdog
    Anything by Ted Wojick.

    here's a couple of scans form a 91 buyers guide




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