Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked

    So after going back and forth between two old school (I realize that's a relative term, especially around here) HT's I chose the Balance AL-750 over the GT Zaskar. I needed something to replace my damaged (generic 7005) frame and I wanted to mix in a little bit of nostalgia from my bike shop days back in the mid-late 90's, so here it is as I received it:

    and now cleaned up:
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    I should have it assembled in a week or so. I'll post pics once completed.

    Fork - Rock Shox Judy XC
    Rims - Ritchey Girder XC
    Hubs - Ritchey Zero
    Spokes - Ritchey ultra-lights
    Tires - IRC Mythos XC Kevlar
    Pedals - Shimano M540
    Crank - Truvativ Stylo Team Carbon
    Chain - SRAM 951
    Rear Cogs - Sram PG-970 11-32
    Bottom Bracket - SRAM GXP
    Front Derailleur - SRAM X-gen
    Rear Derailleur - Sram X-7
    Shifters - Sram X-7 Twist
    Handlebars - RaceFace Deus XC
    Stem - Kore Lite 3
    Headset - Ritchey WCS
    Brakeset - Avid SD7
    Brakelevers - Avid FR-5
    Saddle - Sette AMP
    Seat Post - Sette Carbon
    Extras - Sette Carbon Fiber bar ends, Ritchey grips, XTR cables/casings
    Last edited by flitzr951; 08-15-2016 at 05:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    To quote Johnny Storm:

    "Flame on"

  3. #3
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    Why no love? I know its a spring chicken compared to some of the bikes around here but it's over a decade old, no disc mount (hell it was spec'd with center pulls) and like it or not, 99% of the available information ragarding these bikes is located right here in VRC. I don't think I've found an ounce of worthwhile information on Balance outside of this forum.

  4. #4
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    I think its great.
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  5. #5
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    i'm stoked for you too! post pics when you get her ready for the ball.

  6. #6
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    Sounds cool to me - there's generally a fair amount of interest in the orphan brands around here. Pics?

  7. #7
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    Love the fade paint jobs on Balances, been close to buying one myself a couple of times
    I'd love one one these Manitou inspired frames:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    That's gonne be nice!! Can't wait to see pics..

  9. #9
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    Sorry for the wait, ran into some issues last night with the derailleur hanger. It's a solid mount, but the previous owner drilled out the threads and installed some sort of thread insert (without giving me a heads up about the modification). The derailleur bolt was too long, so even when the bolt was all the way tightented, the derailleur itself was still loose. I initially drilled out a washer and spaced out the thread insert from the inside of the chainstay but that caused clearance issues with the chain and it was 2am so I wasn't about to go find another solution. Today I came accross a small copper washer that I put between the derailleur and the hanger, thankfully, that fixed the problem. I've got everything dialed in and I'm about to go ride it but I thought I'd put up some pictures first. I took a couple extras since I made everyone wait...
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_a01.jpg
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    Last edited by flitzr951; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:08 AM.

  10. #10
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    So I'm embarrassed to admit that I just rode my AL-750 off-road for the first time yesterday. I ride to work 3-4 days a week, the wonderful Italian streets are often worse than any trail but obviously it's not quite the same. My first actual mountain biking experience on the Balance was awesome. Everything you hear about the climbing abilities of these bikes is 100% true, unbelievable transfer of power to the rear wheel on uphills. I didn't feel as comfortable on the downhills, the long wheelbase requires great accuracy in holding a line. I was rusty and not so confident in my ability to do that, so I found myself wishing for something more "tossable" through those sections. As I get more saddle time I'm sure I'll adapt to the bike's style. In the flat it is fast and comfortable, and of course traction under heavy acceleration is remarkable.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by flitzr951
    the wonderful Italian streets are often worse than any trail but obviously it's not quite the same
    Where in Italy are you? I proposed to my wife on a tour from Alessandria through Savona to Nice. Our MTB's were perfect for many of the roads. Good brakes, low gears and front suspension for the pot holes. That Balance looks like a fun bike.
    Mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders are not the enemy. Bulldozers are the enemy.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by outside!
    Where in Italy are you? I proposed to my wife on a tour from Alessandria through Savona to Nice. Our MTB's were perfect for many of the roads. Good brakes, low gears and front suspension for the pot holes. That Balance looks like a fun bike.

    I'm in Naples and my commute is 80% urban so there's really no choice but ride my mountain bike. I'm waiting for my time to end here so that I can set it up the way I really want it (SID, X.0, etc) I can't justify the upgrades given the type of riding I'm currently doing. I really enjoyed having it off road yesterday, I can't wait for the time to come when that's the type of riding I'll be doing every time I ride it. It's a lot of fun right now, it will be incredible once its set up properly.

  13. #13
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    I would go with the GT.

  14. #14
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    Cool. My AL450 ('95 model) was the same colour and had the same graphics - plum mirror it's called. My bike got stolen in '97.
    Less isn't MOAR

  15. #15
    Relax. I'm a pro.
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    I'd have picked a Zaskar, too, but I'm glad you're enjoying this bike.

  16. #16
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    So I have gotten the Balance out and done some real riding. Upgraded to 2008 SID WC, WCS stem. Since the trip below I have added a lighter saddle and Paul brake levers (looking to add motoX v's soon). This bike rocks.

    The hotel I stayed at was on a mountain, the only way to access it (reasonably) was by cable car.
    Hotel:
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-3j.jpg

    Shots from the cable car:
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-1ih.jpg
    [slide2nd.jpg]

    From the base of the mountain my hotel was on there was a gorge I was able to ride. I wanted to do it a second time with my sister but we were told bikes weren't allowed. So here are some exclusive shots from a no biking zone:
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-6k.jpg
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-5i.jpg
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    the path up to the real riding:
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    So europe has yet to figure out what mountain biking is all about. There was a race going on the day we made this trip. The race was entirely on gravel and it sucked to ride on. One of the race guides referred to the trail we were looking for (based on google earth imagery) was horrible for walking and unridable. This is me rocking the "unridable" trail:
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-9f.jpg
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    While my setup is pretty capable, my sister was riding a $350 Cannondale - ze-germans need to take notes.
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    ^^^this is what they should have been racing on, not the *****-ass gravel roads.
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    but it was worth the wait:
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    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-imgp2634.jpg
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-imgp2635.jpg
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-imgp2636.jpg

    The ride back had some nice views and switchbacks (my sister struggled with one spot, lol)
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-imgp2651.jpg
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-5j.jpg
    [slide4m.jpg]
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-2i.jpg
    Last edited by flitzr951; 3 Weeks Ago at 05:41 AM.

  17. #17
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    Last edited by flitzr951; 07-12-2011 at 12:20 PM. Reason: double post

  18. #18
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    Actually, that was pretty much real time. The picture of me coming around the switchback (right below the one of her on the ground) is what I was trying to get of her. So I had the camera out and ready to get a good action shot when she bit it. I was genuinely concerned for her well-being until she screamed out a choice expletive, at which point I knew she was fine a immediately captured the agony.

  19. #19
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    That looks like a gorgeous area for riding (and just generally!)---thanks for the photos!
    Somec is like the digital Zunow
    And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD5h3y0a9AU

  20. #20
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    Great pictures! Looks like a tremendous place to go on vacation.

  21. #21
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    I remember those. Nice ride you have there.

    If it were me, I would have outfitted it with more 90s stuff. But I've also done the 90s frame with newer components thing too, so.....

  22. #22
    No good in rock gardens..
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    Good to see the Balance still out in the hills.
    Less isn't MOAR

  23. #23
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    We need more of these trip reports. Nice.
    J
    Zip ties? Not on my bike!

    Want:
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  24. #24
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    I contemplated sourcing a NOS XTR kit, or something along those lines (spinergy rev x roks, nuke proof hubs, race face lp crank all came to mind too) but it was too much of a hassle. Actually on that trip in germany I stopped at a second hand bike shop and they had a circa 1995 GT full suspension getup decked out in XTR/Synchros but wanted something like $2k, definately not donor bike material. I try to keep it "period correct" in its own way, with a focus on lightweight simplicity. It weighs in just over 24lbs and I imagine I can get it in the 23.5lb range without too much effort.

  25. #25
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    Nice, my 90s bikes are all in the 24 lb range. Back in the day, anything under 25 was light. To me, 23.5 is still pretty friggin light.

  26. #26
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    Seeing your pics has got me thinking of finishing (starting) my AL750 rebuild. Nice bike. I think mine is a first year model, with the blue fade paint job.
    Look down at me and you'll see a fool. Look up at me and you'll see your god. Look straight at me and you'll see yourself.

  27. #27
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    My Balance AL-750

    Hi Everyone,

    I found this thread while looking for a new Bottom Bracket for my Balance AL-750... can you believe the old Shimano UN51 has lasted since 1996... that's nearly 15 years of hard riding!!!

    Anyway, I didn't realise that there were other people out there who have and still love this bike brand!! I picked up my AL-750 while living in Sweden back in 1996 and it is a joy! I've still got all the original parts, though I've changed the saddle, headset, pedals, brakes, tires and replaced the Xray shifters... check out the pics! I just love the Xray shifters and have recently got replacements off Ebay. There's nothing comparable today!

    It's an amazing bike and regularly beats the heck out of modern MTBs on the straight... the Al-750 is so fast and looks so good!

    Best wishes to you all! Comments are welcome!

    Jude
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-1.jpg  

    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-2.jpg  


  28. #28
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    Well 7 years later my Balance is still kicking. It didn't get a lot of use over the past few years (less than 10 rides/year) but I am back to riding it 3-4 times a week and it is solid as ever. I do have some new parts the way, so I will update with some cleaned up pics soon. Since my last pic I think the biggest changes are the Paul Comp Motolite vbrakes and Ritchey carbon WCS bar ends.

    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750-01.jpg

  29. #29
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    Updated pics to come, for now the latest build sheet:

    Fork - 2007 Rock Shox SID World Cup - Blackbox Carbon
    Rims - Ritchey Girder XC
    Hubs - Ritchey Zero
    Spokes - Ritchey ultra-lights
    Tires - IRC Mythos XC II Kevlar
    Pedals - Shimano M540
    Crank - Truvativ Stylo Team Carbon
    Chain - KMC 9.99
    Rear Cogs - Sram PG-970 11-32
    Bottom Bracket - SRAM GXP
    Front Derailleur - SRAM X.0
    Rear Derailleur - Sram X-7
    Shifters - Sram X.0 Twist
    Handlebars - RaceFace Deus XC
    Stem - Ritchey WCS X-Axis
    Headset - Ritchey WCS
    Brakeset - Paul Comp Motolites
    Brakelevers - Paul Comp Love Levers
    Saddle - Sette Nyx
    Seat Post - Kalloy
    Extras - Ritchey WCS Carbon bar ends, Alligator Sealed cables/casings

    Coming soon: X.0 Rear Derailleur, XTR Pedals, Tune Seatpost Clamp, Ti brake bosses, Ti seat clamp bolt, Ti bolts for WCS stem, Ti skewers

  30. #30
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    I wanted to post an updated picture of the stripped down frame before it goes through another build/transformation
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_05.jpg




    I wore out my ritchey wheelset and was having issues finding decent rim-brake compatible wheel/hub setups and I wanted my next wheel set to have some nice (easily) serviceable hubs, and I wanted them to be purple. Once in awhile some old purple CK classics come up but the timing was never right when they did. Paul Components made some for a few years and when I went to order them they had discontinued them and sold out of purple. I was never a big fan of the bolt on disc tab adapters, so I sent it to Gene at Spicer Cycles for some custom work and got these pics from him this morning:



    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_01.jpg
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_02.jpg



    The lower stay had to be crimped to clear a 160mm rotor (that is the clear coat cracking, not the AL):
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_04.jpg

    He is also dealing with a derailleur hangar issue that I have had since I got the frame (discussed earlier in this thread). The plan was to bond in a new insert but it is looking like the better option will be to cut/machine/drill the dropout to utilize a generic replaceable hangar. I will post before/after shots once we figure out which route to take.

    Updated build sheet:
    Fork - 2007 Rock Shox SID World Cup - Blackbox Carbon
    Rims - DT Swiss EX471 32H
    Hubs - Hope Pro 4 32H
    Spokes - DT Swiss Evolution
    Tires - going tubeless, setup TBD
    Pedals - Shimano M540
    Crank - XT FC-M8000-1 32T, 170mm
    Chain - HG-X11 CN-HG700
    Cassette - XT CS-M8000 11-46T
    Bottom Bracket - XT BB-MT800
    Rear Derailleur - XT RD-M8000 Shadow RD+
    Shifter - XT SL-M8000
    Handlebars - RaceFace Deus XC
    Stem - Ritchey WCS X-Axis
    Headset - Ritchey WCS
    Brakeset - Formula R1
    Rotors: Hayes V6
    Pads: Kool Stop KSD330S (sintered)
    Saddle - Sette Nyx
    Seat Post - Kalloy
    Last edited by flitzr951; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:34 AM.

  31. #31
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    Last shot with the old brake hardware
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_10.jpg

    Already close to done, just need to figure out the hangar
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_11.jpgPicked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_13.jpgPicked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-al750_12.jpg

  32. #32
    No good in rock gardens..
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    Still going!
    Less isn't MOAR

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideknob View Post
    Still going!
    Sure is. I am living in Germany now, so I am hoping to get it back out to Garmisch in it's new form. The last time I had it out there I learned how scary rim brakes are in the wet/mud when combined with steep descents, my new setup should provide a different experience in that regard.

  34. #34
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    So this is the shape the derailleur hanger was in:
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-dhang01b.jpgPicked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-dhang02b.jpg

    Replacing the insert was the original plan, but it was in too rough of shape so the dropout plate had to be modified to fit a replaceable hanger option:
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-dhang03b.jpgPicked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-dhang04b.jpg

    I had read that some of the new 1x stuff was not lining up quite right with 135mm rear axles and that people were having to shim out the derailleur to make it work. It looks like the extra offset from the new hanger is putting it right where it needs to be:
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-dhang05b.jpg

  35. #35
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    getting close the end, both wheels assembled:
    Picked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-dt02b.jpgPicked up a Balance AL-750 frame - stoked-dt01b.jpg

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