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  1. #1
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    Strange Bike #12

    This is a Mr. John Olsen relic so I think it should fit in here nicely. I should actually be nice to John, it is because of him I am starting this thread. Well a few of you may have already seen this on the edge thread. With no further ado I present you (drum role please) STRANGE BIKE #12.

    This was shortly after getting back East and doing some touch up to the rear part of the frame.


    Now the label says Made by trolls for trolls, but I really don't recall seeing any in Johns garage. Maybe he snuck them in at night.


    A fresh Chris King headset ready for a life of abuse.


    A crank influenced by John from the early 90's creating a single chain ring and a little extra clearance for logs and rocks or possibly a lost troll.


    A new set of wheels built for bringing #12 back to life. I went with a disc style hub for what ever future the wheels may have, there is no way a disc will fit the rear. Check out the monster Sun Ringle rims!


    The 1" steerer proved to be a challenge. A guy I work with helped me find this EFC Manitou on craigslist out of Texas still attached to very clean Merlin. The previous owner was kind enough to part with it. It is a spring conversion and I plan on installing my freshly rebuilt Manitou 4 legs in their place.


    The CFO said I should be able to finish it the end of August. Looking forward to getting it back on the trail even if it's not the lakes of Anacortes.

    I will get another update when it is finally all together.
    Last edited by snydercj7; 07-25-2012 at 09:48 AM.
    I use to be lean & mean... Now I'm just an a$$hole!

  2. #2
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    Nice work, Josh!

    But didn't you forget the seat? How are you going to tour on that thing?

    Here are some of the similarly troubled bikes I still have.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Strange Bike #12-sb13_2.jpg  

    Strange Bike #12-sb9.jpg  

    Strange Bike #12-sb13stays.jpg  

    Strange Bike #12-sb12.jpg  


  3. #3
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    I learned early on I did not need a seat to get full leg extension. I think the 20" was the first time I saw a strange bike and a strange guy on the trail.
    I use to be lean & mean... Now I'm just an a$$hole!

  4. #4
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    Not being familiar with these, and having full respect for creative thought, can you explain the draw of intentionally riding with no seat?

    I don't see "trials bike" DNA, so I'm flummoxed.

    Or am I missing some cult like bit of history where some guys around a campfire dropped acid in '72 and dreamed about seatless bikes, then finally got off their duffs and did something about it?
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    Not being familiar with these, and having full respect for creative thought, can you explain the draw of intentionally riding with no seat?

    I don't see "trials bike" DNA, so I'm flummoxed.

    Or am I missing some cult like bit of history where some guys around a campfire dropped acid in '72 and dreamed about seatless bikes, then finally got off their duffs and did something about it?

    it's there.. but invisible to the "man".

  6. #6
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    Short chain stays, steep head tube, and no seat always seemed to work very well in the pacific northwest climbing rock sections, going over rather large downed logs, there is no seat in the way for those big drops when leaning all your weight over the back tire, and the rear derailer keeps the rider from pushing it on the more flat sections like a scooter. John's style was not so much the traditional hoping around trials but a sort of rolling technical I guess.
    I use to be lean & mean... Now I'm just an a$$hole!

  7. #7
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    I still have my Side Trak version of the strange bike, It is awesome and I am getting too old to ride it anymore..

  8. #8
    Relax. I'm a pro.
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    Love it.
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  9. #9
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    Why no seat

    I came into mountain biking from a motorcycle trails background. I always looked for the most technical riding, just because that was the challenge I was used to and trained for. When I rode, I found that I usually had the saddle all the way down, so that (like Josh wrote) when I was riding down a scary steep rock face, or coming off a 36" log, I could get WAYYYYYY back with my dangly bits rubbing on the rear tire. I used gears so that you could survive the boring trail bits between the "sections". I used 26" wheels for tire availability. These bikes would have made no sense at all in most of the country, but Washington State is blessed (?) with LOTS of hairy technical riding. I mean, when a 3000' dirt bump is called a "hill", you know you are in for trouble. Why carry a saddle around when you always have it down?

    Plus, if anybody stole my Strange Bike, I could just walk down to the first corner, kick the guy a few times as he lay on the ground, and take my bike back. Not only did they have no seat, they also had right side front brake levers, the ULTIMATE in theft prevention.

    Back when I was young and in shape, I used to ride my strange bikes on multi-hour rides, primarily in Anacortes and Bellingham. It was a GREAT workout. I'll confess, I always had a normal bike with a seat and 2 deraillers for "normal" rides.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBike13 View Post
    Back when I was young and in shape, I used to ride my strange bikes on multi-hour rides, primarily in Anacortes and Bellingham. It was a GREAT workout. I'll confess, I always had a normal bike with a seat and 2 deraillers for "normal" rides.
    I have a DJ/street bike (12" seat tube) that i will occasionally take for a trail ride just to play. It does have a seat but it's pretty much slammed, so while I can occasionally just sit on it and coast, most of the ride is standing up. I had it out about a week ago for about an hour and it absolutely wiped me out (it was really hot and humid that day too). I couldn't imagine doing a multi-hour ride on a bike without a seat. Feels great on the really steep stuff though.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  11. #11
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    Sven, have you posted pictures of your Sidetrack version? I think I remember them on the Edge thread, but I'm too lazy to look. How about some pics?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville View Post
    I have a DJ/street bike (12" seat tube) that i will occasionally take for a trail ride just to play. It does have a seat but it's pretty much slammed, so while I can occasionally just sit on it and coast, most of the ride is standing up. I had it out about a week ago for about an hour and it absolutely wiped me out (it was really hot and humid that day too). I couldn't imagine doing a multi-hour ride on a bike without a seat. Feels great on the really steep stuff though.
    Standing during an entire ride is a real work out for sure. I have always dropped my seat as far as it would go but it can still be in the way. But as you said it is nice to have it there and sit for a coast and give the legs a rest. I fear scrotal tire burn will be an issue the first time I forget I have no seat.

    Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBike13 View Post
    Sven, have you posted pictures of your Sidetrack version? I think I remember them on the Edge thread, but I'm too lazy to look. How about some pics?
    John, click on Sven's user gallery and you will see it. Is that one of your's John? Looks very similar to #12.
    I use to be lean & mean... Now I'm just an a$$hole!

  13. #13
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    No, Sven's bike is a Sidetrack. I built a Strange Bike for Shoji Onazawa of Sidetrack (K? No K? Don't remember) and he liked it so much that he had 10 or so of them built with my permission by a local Seattle real bike builder, whose name escapes me right now. They were very similar to #12, but didn't have those sexy custom bends to the tubes.

  14. #14
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    I think at some point in my privileged youth I rode with you guys. A dog came for some where and followed us cant remember where we were. Once we are settled and our stuff is out of storage I will have to get the old riding photo album out. Yes, I did say photo album. I will scan some a few photos from "back in the day".

    Found one that I had already scanned. Believe this was one I think Shoji had taken from that ride. WOW! After really looking at the photo I realize this must be from 91' because my 90 series looked brand new and it was on a rigid fork.
    Last edited by snydercj7; 07-25-2012 at 11:44 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Ya the picts are on the Edge thread. Bushnell (sp) I think buit the bikes for Shoji.

  16. #16
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    The head angle on post #2 looks frighteningly steep, even with what must be a 4.5" or so travel fork.
    undefined Absolutely must have: Black Machine Tech Zeroflex brake levers (the ones with the rotating leverage adjuster)

  17. #17
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    Yes, Dennis Bushnell. I think he is still building. The head angle on SB13 was 75 degrees, again focused on climbing extremely steep hills. With practice, I could ride it anywhere, but I did crash now and then, usually landing on Josh. Lucky I was small.

  18. #18
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    This rocks.

  19. #19
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    Josh, was that picture in the river taken at Walker? You know, the stream that comes down from the Twilight Zone?

  20. #20
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    The location completely escapes me, but I remember going for pizza with you guys in old town Mt. Vernon afterwards. Go figure..
    I use to be lean & mean... Now I'm just an a$$hole!

  21. #21
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    For those that are into all things Olsen #12 is so close to being "there". Carefully peddled around the basement for a trial run! Mr. Craig was so kind to lend me a stem and bars to get this moving forward till my adapter quill/ stem/ bars are available. Once all is in place I will shorten the front brake line to length.
    I use to be lean & mean... Now I'm just an a$$hole!

  22. #22
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    Wonderful! Soon you will be in a horrible world of pain, and have road rash on your forehead. Welcome to the club (the Spinal Defects Due to Face Plants club).

  23. #23
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    It was nice to at least be on the bike peddling for a minute. Looking forward to see what the bike will do on a couple of the sections that are more focused on down hill on Dryer. Just seem to enjoy punishing myself. Also I have not ridden the old Manitou for years and will enjoy how it will allow me to get the bike over some of the bumps as the Bomber on my Voodoo just soaks every thing up when I am trying pop the rear tire over logs and trolls. I will put some effort into staying over the rear tire and not go over the front!
    I use to be lean & mean... Now I'm just an a$$hole!

  24. #24
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    Apparently this is a good time per the creator of #12. I have to say the floral print is growing on me quickly. It looks sssssuper fantaaaaastic! Considering he worked this out from across the country made it even more funny.

    The last time I remember John having a good time at my expense I ended up rolling in nettles after an attempt to pass him on a climb. This is much more pleasant, I think he is getting soft in his advanced years.


    I use to be lean & mean... Now I'm just an a$$hole!

  25. #25
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    Is Mendon Cycle Smith the coolest dealer in the Universe, or what? He was able to sense that Josh needed a saddle for Full Leg Extension, and take it upon himself to correct Josh's obvious problem, even going so far as to suggest a styling direction that will clearly take the former Devildog in a whole new direction in his life. Josh, you could even secure the saddle to the bike by tying it on with your extra brake hose.

    I HAD hoped that he would find one with tassells...

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