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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 11:04 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?
    Technology dragass

  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
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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
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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
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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..

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

  21. #21
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    Don't B Races have the chainstay bridge?

  22. #22
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    Did you beat the shit 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 shit 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]

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by colker1 View Post
    Don't B Races have the chainstay bridge?
    No. They do have larger diameter chain stays though (compared to the Race Lite).
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by yardley View Post
    Yes, I beat the shit 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.
    Thanks for taking all the pictures and posting, yardley. I'm happy to revisit this thread.

  28. #28
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    Of course! Always happy to contribute to the Bontrager community.

  29. #29
    I picked two too many
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    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...."
    To answer our question, I did some forensics - since I have a pair or the suspension corrected length legs. Standard length is 390mm, suspension corrected 405mm. I've only seen the sus ones have the later rounded brake bosses, the older style legs come with the boxy early style in addition to the later rounded style.


  30. #30
    velocipede technician
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    I want those legs..
    looking for 20-21" P team

  31. #31
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    Yardley,

    I know this is an old thread, but just curious what the serial # is on your race? I have one as well serial # 1437 I'm thinking it's a 94', I know it's Santa Cruz made (has all the signs front derailer pulley, 2-piece seat stay etc.), finished restoring, except for decals which are coming...thankfully she's in a bit less bruised as yours. What was the end results of the rehab?
    Take care

  32. #32
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    Hey there Mr. Claus,

    Mine is Serial # 1067. Not sure if it means anything though, people seem to think the serial numbers are totally arbitrary. Rehab turned out great. Absolutely beautiful, and I ride it all the time. You can see it here, posting #1023 - the green one with silver decals. I'd love to hear your feedback, and welcome any questions.

    Official Bontrager Thread

  33. #33
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    Yardley,

    Wow that's a real beauty! Like the green a lot, sweet white indy hubs (I have those on my Ritchey), my Bonty Race isn't that tricked out, but she's light I'll give it that, much to do with the med frame, a tad small for me at almost 6-ft, but she feels like a mix of BMX/mtn.

    In any case thanks for the response, I too have heard the serial #'s don't indicate age per se, but they must be in some sort of order, no? It's not like a random # generator? I have the straight Bontrager steel forks, not the switchable, was considering changing, but they're hard to find and pricey, I wonder if it's worth it? I like the straight steel and light.

    When I get the decals put on, I'll post her up here when complete. Happy trails to you, I get Veterans day off and will be riding her in Redwood regional park here in the Bay Area.
    Dig it and take care,

  34. #34
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    Thanks. I ride it all the time. Nobody knows what the hell it is, so always nice to hear from a fan.

    With regard to the serial number, the answer may be lost to time. These bikes were made in a garage in Santa Cruz nearly 25 years ago. There may have been a random generator...AKA bong hit taken by the builder. I came across an older frame several years ago that had a higher serial number than mine. Go figure. If you sort through the thread where I posted my pics, there may be more info on serial numbers.

    On that note, post your pics in that thread so everybody can see them. There are some really cool restorations in there.

    Can you post a pic of your fork? I don't recall a non-composite fork. If you like what you have, I'd say keep it. At the risk of getting kicked off this thread...the version of the three piece fork I have isn't all that great. But, it's 1" and the correct ride height.

    Cheers!

  35. #35
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    Ricthey Fork? Pretty sure

    Hey Yardley,

    So, here's my restore of a pre-1995 Bonty (not sure about age really), in either case, here's a good pic of the straight steel fork and bike in general. Decals are on there way, I debated getting the square edged ones or slanted, went with square, not sure when the change occurred, but I wasn't trying to make it back to original, but just the way I like it. The Bonty/Titec bars are nice, but I'm going to have to replace them with riser bars as they are just too narrow and low for me. Any one want them?

    In either case, ride on and enjoy the great outdoors, group ride tomorrow in Briones (Norcal).

    Odd but intriguing Bontrager fork-img_0071.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-img_0072.jpgOdd but intriguing Bontrager fork-img_0073.jpg

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