After Groundoggys compliment and one of those witty zingers from Hollister, I decided it would behoove me to post a rambling missive.
I started out like some of you- worked in a bike shop around 89-91 and was currently riding a $400 Diamondback with crap components and steel fork. Kleins were big then and the one with the Campy Centaur was my dream bike but the $4k pricetag was insane.
I decided to buy a Klein frameset and built it up with Ritchey Vantage Comps, Bullseye Hubs, mixed deore components and an Answer fork.
I rode that bike for the next 10 years and sold it to my cousin.
I took a break for a while and got fat. When I decide to get in better shape back in 2009, I picked up a 1992 Diamondback Apex with full XT for $140. All original components too. I rode it through all of the trails at Lake Fairfax and Fountainhead and some other places too. My body was aching after all of the pounding from lack of suspension. I needed a FS bike.
I came across the first CT bike on ebay as a framset. I won the auction with a $42 bid. I emailed the guy who had it and he said that if I paid for shipping, he'd send me the fork and most of the drivetrain. I built this bike and learned lots of lessons about buying bike parts from ebay and other bike forums. I rode this bike for a year and was amazed at how comfortable it was to ride long distances and over rough terrain compared to the boneshaker Apex.
I went looking for a derailleur hanger and found a complete bike at Sellwood but it was a single speed. I didn't care much for SS bikes but I figured I'd give it a try.
Much to my surprise, I fell in love with the SS and it's level of comfort so much that I started entering races with my fast friends. I did 7 races over the last 2 years with this bike and only on the last one did I come in DFL.
Riding this bike taught me a lot about suspension too. I locked out the front fork and rode like this 99% of the time. The big hits always compressed the fork but otherwise it was firm. The rear swingarm has 5" of travel and this combination was very plush. Everyone looked at me like I was stupid for riding a FS SS with the front locked. It works for me and I get little to no suspension bob.
I joined this forum and everyone knows how that turned out. I actually listened to some of you and learned some history about my BOC along the way. I started reading about early suspension and the connections that many of these bikes have with each other. I learned how the URT works after speaking with the creator and some of his peers. I also realized its' shortcomings too.
When going down hills, the rear shock unloads completely making it feel like a hard tail. At speed it was like riding downhill on ice.
Upgrades were in order.
I picked up a 96 Amp Research and appreciated the design of the Horst link but the bike was still too crude. I had an old ProFlex for parts but that was elastomers and way crusty. I looked at other Horst link bikes and learned that it was copied by many bike companies. I found myself reading about Turner bikes and their relationships in the suspension game. I found a '00 XC and built it up with XT and CBR stuff. Found a Marzocchi JrT and now sport this bike as my all arounder. 6" front/4" rear is comfy but heavy at 35#.
I want something lighter. I found an 08 Ventana El Saltamontes and have built it into a 27# monster. This bike is pure art and is flawlessly constructed. It's the next level of cush after the Turner and light to boot. Looks good and can handle my gorilla ass.
I've evolved into a newer plusher bike but my passion still lies with the 90's suspension bikes and all of the CNC parts that were built for them.
IMO, these bikes were the pinnacle of innovation and creativity. They were the bikes that the makers of 80's bikes thought bikes would be like in the future. I still appreciate some fully rigid bikes but to be honest I'm very partial to Kleins in that respect. They are truly the kings of the rigid bikes.
I accused many here of becoming parts hoarders because you wouldn't sell me the parts that I wanted. I found a box of patience in the back room and when I opened it, I found all of things that I was looking for and then some. I now have the largest collection of Kooka cranks on the continent and you cannot have any of them.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: My passion and how I got there