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  1. #1
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    Odd but intriguing Bontrager fork

    There was a unique Bontrager switchblade-ish fork on that auction site recently. I didn't want to mention anything about it until now, in case someone here had their eye on it. But now that it sold, I'm wondering if anybody knows anything about it. Here are some pictures.

    Odd but intriguing Bontrager fork-bsb1.jpg
    Odd but intriguing Bontrager fork-bsb2.jpg
    Odd but intriguing Bontrager fork-bsb3.jpg
    Odd but intriguing Bontrager fork-bsb4.jpg

    Instead of the normal CNC triple-clamp crown, it has what appears to be to be a forged MAG crown, with some otherwise-normal switchblade legs. What's interesting is that the seller noted the a-c height as being 410mm. I guess the mag fork has a bit more "crown" to it, so this makes sense. But if that's accurate, this would sure open up a lot of possibilities for salvaging old suspension-corrected, 1" head tube frames...

    Did Bontrager ever offer this actual fork for sale? Was it a super rare prototype that I just let slip through my fingers by not bidding? Or is this a home-brewed franken-fork job. If the later, can you see any reason why it couldn't be replicated? Could any old switchblade legs(Bontrager or Tange) be swapped into any old rock shox mag crown?

    Mr. Orange? Hollister? Anyone?...
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  2. #2
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    It's just a Rock Shox Mag crown. Mag 20 maybe??
    Last edited by Fillet-brazed; 11-06-2013 at 10:04 AM.

  3. #3
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    I think the Mag 20 crown didn't have such smooth edges. Wasn't there a frame builder in England that made legs you could slide into a Mag crown? So the bike owner could switch between suspended and rigid without removing the fork?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefmiguel View Post
    I think the Mag 20 crown didn't have such smooth edges. Wasn't there a frame builder in England that made legs you could slide into a Mag crown? So the bike owner could switch between suspended and rigid without removing the fork?
    Yeah, I think you're right. I've seen that crown somewhere. Showa maybe??

  5. #5
    velocipede technician
    Reputation: hollister's Avatar
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    The only thing that looks right is the brake boss sleeves


    The plate dropouts are oddly shaped, and that version of race fork wasnt that finished around the dropouts( they're more squared off)

    It's got the late style spring holes(pointy vs squared tip)

    I'm voting frankenfork

    -----------------

    Are you thinking of that wojcik fork that's been posted here?
    looking for 20-21" P team

  6. #6
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    I saw this fork at Veloswap this year and concluded it was a frankenfork too. Pass.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hollister View Post
    I'm voting frankenfork
    Quote Originally Posted by Fillet-brazed View Post
    It's just a Rock Shox Mag crown.
    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleCentury View Post
    Pass.
    Well, that's what I'd guessed and it seems unanimous. Thanks. I could just about cobble one like this together out of parts I have, but maybe it's not worth the effort. Something to file in the mental "just in case" archives.
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  8. #8
    Humanoid Lobster
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    I'd have bid on it just for the blades if the price was lower. As is ... ugh. Not desirable.
    Don't call it a gooseneck.

  9. #9
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    I think we've gone over this long ago here, but the Rock Shox RS-1 and the Bontrager fork shared a crown right?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fillet-brazed View Post
    I think we've gone over this long ago here, but the Rock Shox RS-1 and the Bontrager fork shared a crown right?
    That's always been my understanding - though I read something in a thread somewhere that cautioned that the legs/stanchions were ever-so-slightly different diameters. Not sure if that's true, though. So Rock Shox basically had Bontrager (or their manufacturer) make crowns for them under license. That's why Keith Bontrager is always cited as "being instrumental" in the development of the first suspension fork.

    But those original, cnc, triple-clamp crowns, mated to a set of rigid switchblade legs yields a fork with an axle-to-crown measurement of about 385mm. What I thought was interesting/promising about this fork idea was that, at 410mm, it could suddenly make a bunch of old suspension-corrected frames work, without having to hassle with finding and re-building sub-par 1" suspension forks. It would've been especially cool if they were actually a bontrager-produced item. I've seen people refer to those black mag 21 crowns as having a "bontrager-specific, reduced offset," but I think that's only true of the later Judy-era crowns that were black.

    ...Then there were "other" cnc bontrager crowns from that era, which I know absolutely nothing about, and which were taller. Pic below stolen from somebody here, most likely:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  11. #11
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    I bought a new Race in 1994. This is the fork that came with the frame, and it was a suspension corrected frame. The crown features reduced offset, and is black in color in order to distinguish it from a regular (silver) Mag 21 crown. Mag 21 legs will fit this crown. I believe this particular iteration of the Bontrager triple-clamp fork was only built for a very short period around 1994. It may be the last triple crown design to come out of Santa Cruz, but I can't be sure. Obviously there wouldn't be many out there today, because during the mid-1990's most frames were built up with front suspension.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by yardley View Post
    I bought a new Race in 1994. This is the fork that came with the frame, and it was a suspension corrected frame. The crown features reduced offset, and is black in color in order to distinguish it from a regular (silver) Mag 21 crown. Mag 21 legs will fit this crown. I believe this particular iteration of the Bontrager triple-clamp fork was only built for a very short period around 1994. It may be the last triple crown design to come out of Santa Cruz, but I can't be sure. Obviously there wouldn't be many out there today, because during the mid-1990's most frames were built up with front suspension.
    Huh! Just out of curiosity, was that your fork in the listing? Or did you have another similar one.
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  13. #13
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    That was not my listing. I still have the fork and the frame. If you have any other questions, let me know!

  14. #14
    Certified Bike Junkie
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    Can you post some pics of yours?
    Need: McMahon brake for roller cam mounts, Mountain Goat fork.

  15. #15
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    Of course. Give me a day or so.

  16. #16
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    1994 Bontrager Race - Fork Pics

    Here you go. I included a picture of the frame too - as you can see, it's midway through a restoration. Both the forks pictured came with the frame. Enjoy!


    Odd but intriguing Bontrager fork-1994-bontrager-rigid-fork-2.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-1994-bontrager-rigid-fork.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-1994-race.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-1994-rigid-mag-21-2.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-1994-rigid-mag-21-3.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-1994-rigid-mag-21.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-fork-crown-brake-boss-detail.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-fork-dropouts.jpg

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by yardley View Post
    I bought a new Race in 1994. This is the fork that came with the frame, and it was a suspension corrected frame. The crown features reduced offset, and is black in color in order to distinguish it from a regular (silver) Mag 21 crown. Mag 21 legs will fit this crown. I believe this particular iteration of the Bontrager triple-clamp fork was only built for a very short period around 1994. It may be the last triple crown design to come out of Santa Cruz, but I can't be sure. Obviously there wouldn't be many out there today, because during the mid-1990's most frames were built up with front suspension.
    Wow.. I learned something new. I saw the original listing for this fork and was pretty sure the seller had no idea what they were talking about, but it appears maybe this is an oddball last-of-the-line Bontrager switchblade.

  18. #18
    I picked two too many
    Reputation: MrOrange's Avatar
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    what's the length of the legs?

  19. #19
    artistic...
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    Frame has no chainstay bridge but headset doesn't seem to have the cutouts/shaved material..
    want: Ibis ti handlebar. suntour 31.8 front derr. bottom pull

  20. #20
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    The head tube is not milled out because it's a Race, not a Race Light.

  21. #21
    artistic...
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    Don't B Races have the chainstay bridge?
    want: Ibis ti handlebar. suntour 31.8 front derr. bottom pull

  22. #22
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Did you beat the **** out of your Bontrager? I guess it doesn't matter, but it would a pretty rad ride right now.

  23. #23
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    I sold Bontragers from 1992 - 1994. The Race did not have a chain stay bridge during that period.

  24. #24
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    Yes, I beat the **** out of it. 13 years of mountain-biking, 7 years as a single-speed.

    A local frame builder recently repaired the following items - crack in seat tube near collar, loose water bottle braze-ons, top tube & down tube dents.

    Will blast, powder coat, and rebuild this winter.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOrange View Post
    what's the length of the legs?
    Yeah, I'd love to know. And then I'm changing my sig:

    "Want: Pair of non-comp style Bontrager composite fork legs in ^ length...."
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

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