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  1. #1
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    Bontrager - help identifying

    A friend of mine is selling his Bontrager. How can you tell the difference between a pre/post-Trek Bontrager? Such as.... what frame features, decals, model names, etc. ?

    TIA

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    Quote Originally Posted by aosty
    A friend of mine is selling his Bontrager. How can you tell the difference between a pre/post-Trek Bontrager? Such as.... what frame features, decals, model names, etc. ?
    TIA
    Here's a quick overview:

    Race Lite vs Race - The headtube on Race Lites are milled out to save weight, and Race models are not. If you look at the front of the bike where the Bontrager "dot" is on the head tube, you will see an obvious line where material was removed form the head tube on Race Lites. There are other differences, but this is the easiest too see visually. Both bikes use 26.8 seat tubes, and all Race and Race Lites (and Road Lites) were made in Santa Cruz.

    Privateers - Privateers should look like the Race model, but will use a 27.0 seat post. The Privateers were made in Wisconsin by Trek.

    Pre vs Post Trek - Trek took over Bontrager in late '95 or early '96. All '96 and later Race and Race Lites were made in Santa Cruz, but after Trek owned Bontrager. Prior to Trek, Bontrager could not aquire single piece rear stays from True Temper and had to make their own. After Trek came in, Bontrager was able to get the tube that they wanted. Pre-Trek Bontragers have a weld in the seat stays just below the brake mounts. Post-Trek models have a one piece stay with no welds.

    Stickers - There were two styles of stickers. The older style has squared off ends, and the newer ones come to a point and have sloping edges. I don't know exactly when the switch was made.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
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    Wow, that was quick - and exactly what I was looking for... thanks!



    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux
    Here's a quick overview:

    Race Lite vs Race - The headtube on Race Lites are milled out to save weight, and Race models are not. If you look at the front of the bike where the Bontrager "dot" is on the head tube, you will see an obvious line where material was removed form the head tube on Race Lites. There are other differences, but this is the easiest too see visually. Both bikes use 26.8 seat tubes, and all Race and Race Lites (and Road Lites) were made in Santa Cruz.

    Privateers - Privateers should look like the Race model, but will use a 27.0 seat post. The Privateers were made in Wisconsin by Trek.

    Pre vs Post Trek - Trek took over Bontrager in late '95 or early '96. All '96 and later Race and Race Lites were made in Santa Cruz, but after Trek owned Bontrager. Prior to Trek, Bontrager could not aquire single piece rear stays from True Temper and had to make their own. After Trek came in, Bontrager was able to get the tube that they wanted. Pre-Trek Bontragers have a weld in the seat stays just below the brake mounts. Post-Trek models have a one piece stay with no welds.

    Stickers - There were two styles of stickers. The older style has squared off ends, and the newer ones come to a point and have sloping edges. I don't know exactly when the switch was made.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by aosty
    Wow, that was quick - and exactly what I was looking for... thanks!
    EL is a vintage mtb stud. You're in good hands when it comes to Bontys or Ritcheys.
    -eric-

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  5. #5
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    more ways to distinguish

    The pre-Trek Bontragers had a pulley for the front deraileur cable that allowed the use of a bottom pull deraileur with a top routed cable. The post-buyout ones didn't have the pulley and could only be used with top pull deraileurs.

    According to Keith, the differences between the race and racelite are:

    There are a lot of differences between the two frames, too many to discuss in a lot of detail. The big difference is the tubing. The Race lite frame uses the lightest tubing we could find that was strong enough for XC racing. The main triangle tubes are butted and 0.7/0.5/0.7 mm thick. The chainstays and head tube are also lighter on this frame. The Race frame uses 0.9/0.6/0.9 mm butted main triangle tubes.

    The geometry of each is the same.

    The Race frame is intended for larger and more aggressive riders. These riders won't mind a few hundred extra grams to have a very durable frame.

    There are two easy ways to distinguish one frame from the other.

    The first is the easiest way. The head tube of a Race lite frame is relieved on the forward facing side to save a few grams. It's thinner in the center, away from the ends of the tube, but only on the forward facing surface. The head tube sticker is placed on this surface, and there are two "ridges" on this surface, one about 1/2" down from the upper headset bearing seat and the other 1.5" up from the lower headset bearing seat that show where material was removed. The ridges are about 0.7mm deep, big enough to see easily. Race frames are not relieved this way.

    The other visual difference is a little trickier. Race lite frames use 3/4" chainstays while Race frames use a 7/8" diameter tube, measured near the bottom bracket. The Race lite stays have a round cross section in the reqion where the tire comes close, the Race frames are formed into a "D" section in this area.

    Of course, none of these frames are in production any longer, though as of today there are still a few new ones available.

    KB

    Take it easy all

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boy named SSue
    The pre-Trek Bontragers had a pulley for the front deraileur cable that allowed the use of a bottom pull deraileur with a top routed cable. The post-buyout ones didn't have the pulley and could only be used with top pull deraileurs.
    Sorry, but that's not the whole story. My Bonty Race which is a "Pre-Trek" (according to Keith ) has no such pulley.
    Best way to distinguish between the Trek and the "Real Ones" ist the mentioned seat post diameter and the seatstays. These are made of 2 pieces on the real Bontragers and of 1 tube on the Privateers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by odelay
    Sorry, but that's not the whole story. My Bonty Race which is a "Pre-Trek" (according to Keith ) has no such pulley.
    Best way to distinguish between the Trek and the "Real Ones" ist the mentioned seat post diameter and the seatstays. These are made of 2 pieces on the real Bontragers and of 1 tube on the Privateers.
    My Race is Santa Cruz made, and has a two-piece seat stay (unless the unicrown was reamed for the tube to fit into), welded to the unicrown part at the top. I have seen the seat stays that are two actual pieces below the brake mounts...I thought that they were very early models. I will admit that I am not as knowledgable about them as I'd like to be, but somewhere, owned by someone, are the records of which serial numbers went with which frame's "home".

    Paging Guitar Ted...

    Tom

  8. #8
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    The two-piece seat stays were common to all of the races and race-lites before Trek bought 'em. With the purchasing leverage of Trek, Bontrager was able to get stays custom butted that accomplshed the same with less weight. This won't distinguish a privateer from a post-Trek race but will separate a pre-Trek from a post-Trek bike.

    It sounds like I was wrong on when the pulley was dropped. All of the races or race-lites that I have owned had it and were all pre-Trek based on the seat stays and had the pulley. I assumed that it was dropped at the same time. My current race-lite was built right before the SC shop closed with the older tube set (as I was told at the shop I bought it at) and has the two-piece stays and pulley.

    Some of the really old bikes around thie time of the squared stickers also had aluminum cable guides that were riveted on instead of steel that were brazed. There were some with horizontal dropouts around this time as well. I had an old race that had the square stickers, horizontal drops, and aluminum guides. I bought it used and believed it to be a '91. Sadly it was too bid and I sold it.

    Does anyone have any really old or particularly interesting Bontrager stuff to share? Brazed frames, one-piece bar/stem combos, curved bladed composite forks, pictures of the prototype full suspension, the cutdown road rims or whatnot? Bontrager was always one for innovation and there are a lot of one-off or limited run bits out there.

  9. #9
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    Serial Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by loonyOne
    ... are the records of which serial numbers went with which frame's "home".
    Tom
    I e-mailed Keith about a Bontrager CX frame that I have, asking the approximate year made and included the serial number. According to Keith, the serial number does not really hold any secrets, and can't be used to identify the frame.

    My CX has the straight blade Steelman fork, which he says means that it's a later production model.

  10. #10
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    Bontrager rims

    Ive got a set of the old cut down Mavic MA40s. Very cool. They have a neat look when a fat tire is mounted. They hold up. I remember back in the day it was difficult on some frames to get the cantis to function perfectly due to them having to reach in a bit farther than a standard width rim. You had to run the pad posts real wide. If you mounted them on say a Yeti with wide stays it might cause some problems. They seem to be quite rare these days. Mine are not for sale......but, if I got the right offer, anything of mine can be bought! Let me know if you wnat pics.

  11. #11
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    Ive got a set of the old cut down Mavic MA40s. Very cool. They have a neat look when a fat tire is mounted. They hold up. I remember back in the day it was difficult on some frames to get the cantis to function perfectly due to them having to reach in a bit farther than a standard width rim. You had to run the pad posts real wide. If you mounted them on say a Yeti with wide stays it might cause some problems. They seem to be quite rare these days. Mine are not for sale......but, if I got the right offer, anything of mine can be bought! Let me know if you wnat pics

    Cool, let's see them. I've only seen one pair and those were on a display bike at River City in Portland and they were up high and hard to see. Maybe start a new thread or put them under rare parts. Thanks, take it easy

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    Suspension Geometry offered in 92

    When I bought my Race Lite in 92 I had the option of getting it in Suspension Geometry or rigid, I chose rigid after a bout with RS's noodly Mag 20.
    As for identifying items.
    Square stickers, Horizontal DOs, Glue on cable stops, 2 piece stays, no little rubber shield around top of seat tube, adjustable chain jam plate, serial # under 400, offset relieved head tube.
    Last edited by A:42; 01-30-2004 at 04:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    what is it?

    OK, I just finished building up my first SS MTB from a Bonty I was told was a '92. It has 2 piece stays, seat tube pulley, chainsuck plate,square stickers, horizontal drops, unmilled head tube. The decals say 'OR'. I can't find a serial number, where should it be? Oh yeah, it also has the original Bontrager 'Switchblade-style' fork.

  14. #14
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    I can't find a serial number, where should it be?

    The serial number should be stamped in the non-driveside dropout. Nice find. It sounds almost exactly what I am looking for, damn. Post a pick when you can.

    take it easy, enjoy

  15. #15
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    Idea! Aha!

    There it is, covered up by the axle nut flange. #172. Does that mean anything? What's the 'OR' model? Thanks for your help, Boy.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by odelay
    Sorry, but that's not the whole story. My Bonty Race which is a "Pre-Trek" (according to Keith ) has no such pulley.
    Best way to distinguish between the Trek and the "Real Ones" ist the mentioned seat post diameter and the seatstays. These are made of 2 pieces on the real Bontragers and of 1 tube on the Privateers.
    Another way to tell a Santa Cruz Bonty from a Wisconsin Bonty is that the SC frames have chainstay gussets at the BB. The Trek-builts do not. This with be plain to see even if the frame has been repainted.
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  17. #17
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    #172. Does that mean anything?

    Probably but I have no idea

    What's the 'OR'

    Off-road, although I've seen it on early road bikes at which point it meant on-road. These would be pre-Trek custom road bikes. The roadlites were only added after the aquisition so some early road frames sported the OR stickers.

    Why am I on this damned computer with a cold twitched out by threaflu on a Friday night? No fun on a Friday and no riding this weekend. Damn, maybe I'll get around to that fork tear down. So sad, so sad.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikenerd
    There it is, covered up by the axle nut flange. #172. Does that mean anything? What's the 'OR' model? Thanks for your help, Boy.
    The "OR" is the "Off Road" model. That sticker is shared by both the Race and Race Lite.

    The other options are "CX", "Road", and "Privateer."

  19. #19
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    The official word...

    Quote Originally Posted by aosty
    A friend of mine is selling his Bontrager. How can you tell the difference between a pre/post-Trek Bontrager? Such as.... what frame features, decals, model names, etc. ?

    TIA
    Here's the official word on the Race vs. Race Lite differences:

    <a href="http://www.ridesmarter.com/archives/frames/frame_122499/frames_122499.htm">The Differences between Bontrager Race and Race lite frames</a>

  20. #20
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    ... it means

    Quote Originally Posted by bikenerd
    There it is, covered up by the axle nut flange. #172. Does that mean anything? What's the 'OR' model? Thanks for your help, Boy.
    ... that you have a veryveryvery early bonti, lucky you
    as i remember in an early mba '89 to '91 there has been a test of racing steel frames (mb 1, bontrager or, ??). the or is similar to your description. my '93 race lite has the #588 so i think yours should be prior to '92.

    ciao
    flo

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