Impressions of a few bikes I've known over the years. Some have stayed, some have moved on...
- 1970s Peugeot UO-8 (60cm) SOLD
my first "road" bike.
- ~1990 GT Talera (18") SOLD
my first MTB.
- 1980s Schwinn Tempo (54cm) SOLD
1986 Nishiki Prestige (58cm) SOLD
- 1993 Bridgestone RB-1/7 (57.5cm), S/N H221867/520831 SOLD
My trophy/always-wanted-one/sunny-weather-only/go-fast/official-BOB bike.
Pointless really, but very pretty and fun to ride when the mood fits. If it used
long-reach brakes and had a bit more tire clearance, it'd be the perfect frame.
I bought this bike new around August 1994 via the Bridgestone BOB clearance sale. It is mostly
stock; I've changed only the tires, chain, and saddle due to wear; the stem because the original
was too long; the brake levers because I found the shape of the stock Suntour Superbe Pro hoods
uncomfortable; and the cassette from 13x23 to 13x28 for better gearing in the hills. When I first
got the bike, I also swapped the 175mm Ultegra crankset for a duplicate in 172.5mm. I still have
the original receipt, owner's manual, front-axle lawyer tabs, and all the original parts. Frame geometry measurements. Update: This bike has been converted to 650B wheels!
1994 Cannondale 3.0 Series MTB (18"), S/N on R seatstay: BI-0301; S/N on BB: 04616 L5W18
My first MTB was a low-end, heavy GT Talera that I found on the street during college, repainted,
and built up with scrounged parts. I rode around on that bike for a couple of years,
then later when I was working at a bike shop where Cannondale was the top brand we sold,
I had the chance to upgrade to this frameset at an employee-special reduced price.
Due to an ordering snafu I ended up with two Pepperoni forks (I'd ordered a threadless
fork but they sent a threaded one, then later sent the requested threadless fork and didn't want
the threaded fork back). This is the only bike/frameset I've purchased new that is still under its
"lifetime warranty". I've had this bike assembled in a number of configurations, first
as an XT-Rapidfire-equipped rigid MTB with threaded fork, then as a rigid with threadless. Then I tried a
Softride suspension-stem, which meant that I had to go back to the threaded fork
and a 1-to-1.25" quill adaptor. I did my only MTB race to date on it (one of the "Month of Mud" races
near Pittsburgh, PA). Then I put slicks on the bike and rode it to work for a bit --
I needed the suspension because I was having some minor RSI problems. Later, back in MTB mode, I
added a Thudbuster suspension seatpost. Then I upgraded the brakes to LX V-brakes,
the shifters to Gripshift, and added some new IRC Mythos knobbies. I rode it like that a few
times, and then decided I didn't like the suspension stem for the steeper/faster riding at Skegg's Point
near Silicon Valley, CA, so I added a Manitou 4 suspension fork. That fork was a pretty nice addition
(if you're keeping track that's the third fork for that bike so far), but it did change the
steering geometry and I didn't like that. I also didn't like the fact that the adjuster knobs on the
fork's crown hit the cable stops on the underside of the downtube. Ultimately, I rode my Bontrager more,
so this bike sat unused for awhile. More recently, I've rebuilt it with the threadless rigid
Pepperoni fork, and I rode it on day-long mixed-terrain rides (fire roads+pavement) in the Marin Headlands.
It's a great-riding frameset: quite light, really stiff, and (with the stock fork) good neutral handling
useful for a wide range of riding. It's got the classic MTB geometry of the era with 71/73 angles.
I recently sold the bike because I had too many and I wasn't riding it much anymore since getting
my Fuji CX. Sometimes I miss it.
- ~1990 Specialized Rockhopper (17")
I'm not exactly sure of the year of this frame -- it's from 1989/90/91, I think.
I bought this frame used on the 'net after my
full-suspension framebuilding experiment
didn't quite pan out -- I'd accumulated all the parts needed to build up that bike, somewhat foolishly
assuming that the project would result in a 100% reliable bike (heh) -- so I figured I might as well
pick up this frame to move all those parts onto. A bike for my then-girlfriend to ride, if nothing else.
As it turned out, the resulting bike was a pretty cool ride, and ended up as my main MTB for a number
of years. It had a suspension fork! It was steel! It wasn't too-new like my Cannondale was (and still is), so
I wasn't paranoid about scratching or denting it. I rode it a lot at Skeggs, and I rode it to 12,000' in Tahoe gasping for breath
and hallucinating all the way. However, this frame mostly got mothballed when I got my Bontrager frame and transferred
all the parts over. I later built the bike up as a trailer-puller, and then as a fendered/racked urban commuter, but never
rode it much that way.
1988 1987 Nishiki Sport (58cm), S/N G6933637 (on ST)/C68K (on BB)
Originally a budget sport-tourer with 27-inch wheels, stem-mounted shifters, and
a straight-gauge 4130 main frame with hi-tensile forks and stays, this bike makes a fine
single-speed or fixed-gear commuter. Swapping in 700C wheels yields a generous
amount of tire clearance (700x32mm fit fine with fenders, 700x35mm knobbies without).
I've ridden this bike up to 50 miles as a fixed-gear, and it's a quite comfy ride.
I've also built this bike up with a 2x6 drivetrain, and something about that configuration
makes the bike feel weird -- I can't quite pin it down, though. Frame geometry measurements.
- 1994 Bontrager Race (Medium/17"), S/N 2494
In 1992/1993 I had gotten my BS degree in Mechancal Engineering and was starting to wallow around
in grad school, half-heartedly working towards a Masters degree. Really I was dreaming of getting a job
in the bike industry as some sort of engineer. At the time, I was heavily active on the
rec.bicycles.* Usenet groups -- one day Keith Bontrager posted that he was looking to hire
a junior engineer. I immediately responded, and I guess he liked our correspondance enough that he
invited me out to Santa Cruz to interview. We agreed to split the cost of airfare, and I slept
on his living room couch for the weekend. Ultimately I didn't get the job, but I had a great time meeting
Keith and his family, visiting the Bontrager Cycles shop, and riding with KB and his employees
around Santa Cruz. I got to ride some pretty cool bikes, including a then-new Merlin full-sus MTB and a
Bontrager Ti Lite prototype (KB's personal ride). Ever since that experience, I'd wanted a Bontrager frame.
Several of the guys in my college bike club had 'em, although I have no idea how they managed to afford them;
as a poor grad student, I certainly couldn't! Fast forward nearly ten years, and I find myself living in the
SF-Bay area anyways (mechanical engineering gave way to software engineering, oh well) and a friend finds a
used Bontrager Race frame in my size on Craigslist for $200. I drove out the next day, examined the frame,
and brought it home with me. Since Santa Cruz-built Bontragers always had a 1-inch headtube, I knew that
all the parts (save the seapost) from my Rockhopper would swap directly over. (Well, almost, I did have
some issues with the cranks/BB, but I managed to sort things out.) In retrospect, I probably should be riding
a Large, but the Medium feels like an overgrown BMX bike -- you can just toss it around. It's the best technical
singletrack bike I've ever ridden (not that that's a huge number or anything) -- I can clear obstacles
and manage technical climbs on that bike that stymie me on others. It's not the best ride for bombing down
fast fire roads (again the larger size witha longer wheelbase might help there), but it wasn't designed for that.
The trick is finding short-travel, 1-inch suspension forks to keep the bike running. I have a closetful of
Manitou 3/4 forks and parts for this bike, and I recently bought and rebuilt an original 65mm-travel Marzocchi Z2
fork with a 1-inch steerer which I'll add to the mix someday soon. Unfortunately, I don't really ride
much single track these days -- I don't live near any of that type of riding, and I hate driving my car
to ride my bike, so most of my off-roading takes place on the fireroads in Marin county.
geometry specs here
- 1983 Austro Daimler Vent Noir (57cm), S/N 6973962 F14 5s 857 SOLD
Bought as a complete, original bike a few years ago from the local Craigslist
for a too-good-to-pass-up price. Unlike previous-year models which were spec'd
with Dura-Ace, this year the bike was spec'd as a "fast-tourer" with a TA
triple crank and Huret derailleurs. Oddly, the frame originally had 130mm rear
spacing, which (along with reasonable mudguard clearance and the Reynolds 531
frame) prompted me to rebuild it with all-modern Ultegra 9spd triple components, to serve as a
brevet/century/all-day bike. It works pretty well in that role, although this
bike has even tighter geometry than the RB-1, in spite of
using 47-57mm reach brakes. Frame
- ~1985 Specialized Stumpjumper Sport (20"), S/N DS522123 SOLD
I built this one up as an all-round/commuter bicycle for my wife to use...and/or to
build up a rough-stuff tourer for myself. I got the frame as a freebie; the
paint's quite rough with some surface rust.
2001 Fuji Cross (58cm), S/N JF9G05394
Picked this frameset up from the local Craigslist for
a decent price to build into an all-rounder/do-everything bike.
It came with a Ritchey threadless stem and a Ritchey Logic roller-bearing headset.
The frame is built with Columbus tubing: a mix of Genius for the main tubes and
triple-butted chromoly for the rear triangle and fork.
The rear dropouts are investment-cast Ritchey verticals.
There's a few nicks and scratches, but overall the frame's in pretty reasonable shape.
Parts used to build the bike were scrounged from my basement parts bins, and
include a wheelset
with some old Wolber rims, first-edition 105 freewheel hubs,
and a Sachs 13-30 freewheel that I picked up on Craigslist for $65: Mavic
CXP-21 rims laced to yellow-label 8spd Shimano 105 hubs; I used an old grungy 8spd XTR 12-32
cassette that I mistakenly picked up at last year's Veloswap for $5 (I thought it was 9spd) --
it was caked in mud and grime and looked trashed, but cleaned up nicely and works great! Tires
are the excellent WTB All-Terrainosarus in 700x38/35 (front/rear) sizes.
Cranks are first-generation Shimano Deore with random chainrings
grey-painted, 8-spd era Shimano 105 130x74 road triple with FSA and Salsa chainrings in
26x38x48 sizes. Avid Shorty 4 Performance Forte Team (rebadged Tektro)
V-brakes. XT rear derailleur, XC Pro front derailleur. Ritchey headset,
stem, and seatpost. Cinelli Salsa Moto-Ace bars, Shimano RSX DiaCompe 287-V Tektro RL520 brake levers.
Shimano 9spd barcon shifters index nicely with the 8spd cassette using the alternate cable-routing trick 8spd barcons.
I built this bike up as a capable all-rounder because I was tired of having to choose
either a "road bike" or a "mountain bike" for riding on any given day. I've been doing day-long
rides in the Marin Headlands and Mt. Tam area and had been riding a rigid MTB --
I think this bike will be my "one bike" for those rides now!
Original specs & geometry here. Also featured in the
Cross Bike Gallery at
2008 Kogswell 59x700C P/R, S/N CB70W0093 SOLD
An experiment in wide tires, low-trail geometry, front rack+bag, and classic
French-inspired randonneur styling. Lots more info in the blog...
1993 Bontrager Race Lite (Large/19"), S/N 0423
Built up with the parts from my Race, mostly because I wanted a slightly larger & longer frame.
1992 Trek 400, S/N 618618
The ultimate 650B budget rando rig.
1992 Trek 790, S/N ???
A bike/frame I've always been curious about, and now own! Looks like
it'll fit at least a 700x40, so this one's headed towards budget
2013 Box Dog Bikes Pelican
The new speedy rando.