Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

1989 Doug Bradbury small update

I managed to sort out the tires, reinstall the rigid fork and put on a slightly more interesting seat. The bike will get a complete overhaul in the new year and then it's off to the trails to see what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1991 Merlin Elevator

Here's a quick peek at a very unusual Merlin. Back in the late 80s and early 90s the elevated chainstay craze was sweeping the nation and it seems like no brand was immune to its immense pull. Not even the king of subtlety and elegance was able to resist the trend and so the 1991 Elevator was born. Word on the street is that Merlin made a mere 150 of these frames and only offered them in 1991. They were available in small, medium and large and this one is an example of the latter. This bike hasn't seen much trail use and is in very good condition. The components are all over the place but there are a few highlights such as steel CQP cranks, Grafton brakes, beautiful albeit cut Syncros post, mint Flite Ti seat and a few other nice odds and ends. 

This is a very unusual bike and quite beautiful. I actually used to own one of these back in 2001 but never saw it built. So this time I will at least take this one out for a ride and see what it's like. I may switch a few things over here and there to make it more rideable, but for the most part it could hit the trails after a couple hour tune up and adjustment.

1993 Klein Attitude transformation

This is my first first attempt at restoring a Klein in a linear fade paint job. The original donor frame was faded, dull and scratched all over. Fortunately the fuselage was complete and deep down underneath all there was a very nice bike. Also being a 1993 this Attitude has the larger 1 7/8" down tube and shares a 31.6 seat tube with the Adroit.

Before - it's hard to tell from the photos, but this really was a 15 foot bike...


The paint is stunning, it looks like candy...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

1989 Doug Bradbury Manitou

I'm still in shock that I actually have this bike!!! I keep going out to the garage to see if it's really still there. I have been looking for an original DB Manitou for nearly 12 years. Several have come up during that time, but they were either completely out of my price range, incomplete or broken. But it seems that good things come to those who wait, and I waited.

Back in March of this year I purchased an Answer Manitou from a guy in San Diego. While talking about bikes I asked him why he was selling it. He replied that he's always wanted a Manitou and bought this one even though it was too small for him hoping that he could make it work somehow. He went on to say that his father was high school buddies with Doug Bradbury and bought one of Doug's first bikes to help him get started. Of course at this point he had my complete and undivided attention. I somehow managed to contain my excitement and asked whether his father still had said Manitou. He said "Yeah, I'll get you some pics..."

A month or so these photos arrived in my inbox:

I could not believe it, at first glance it was all there, the fork, the hubs, the stem and of course the frame. Other subtle touches emerged as well, Cook Bros cranks, early Grafton brakes and an IRD post. For the next nine months I exchanged occasional emails with Howard about the bike. He confirmed the origin story of the bike. Him and Doug grew up together riding bikes and motorcycles. In 1989 after high school when Doug moved to Colorado and started building bikes he bought one of his early ones. The bike originally came with a segmented Manitou fork, however when Doug started making the early suspension forks he upgraded to one of the first ones that came out of Doug's garage. Fortunately unlike so many Klein owners Howard kept the rigid fork. Of course I wanted to buy the bike immediately but Howard wasn't ready to sell and with a story like that I couldn't blame him. I didn't push the issue but would periodically inquire if he would consider selling the bike. Finally last week I got the email I've been waiting for and last Friday I came home with this:

All the special touches, all the enhancements, everything was there... unbelievable!!! Aside from the frame a DB Manitou is not complete without a the fork, billet machined stem and customized 115mm/145mm front and rear hubs.

The front hub is actually a Hi-E with a longer center cylinder and the rear is a modified XT with similar treatment but with a custom machined step down body.

The brakes are very early Grafton Speed Conrollers with custom machined Titanium brake pad holders. I've never seen another set like them, and the only other pad holder like that is at John Grafton's house.

Cranks and bottom bracket are Cook Bros and the rest of the equipment is Shimano M735 XT.

Aside from some period correct tires, new cables, a chain and maybe an overhaul of the bearings the bike really needs nothing.

One of the coolest things that came with this bike is an original Manitou brochure, a glossy promotional photo, a recommended build sheet and a couple of Doug's original hand made business cards!! I'll take some photos of these items later on.

At this point I've installed the rigid fork back on and mounted a nice, new Fisher Fattrax 2.2 tire on the front. I'll do the same thing on the back end and then go over all the bearings. I was going to replace the XT headset with an old Chris King, but at the advice of a good friend I decided to leave the XT and just overhaul it.  I'm not a huge fan of the Mavic quick releases and may replace them with some black Ringles, but even there I'm not sure it's a good idea, we'll see...

Monday, December 10, 2012

1990 Klein Attitude "Bruiser" finished

This 1990 Attitude is a prime example of  rags to riches transformation. For those not following this restoration here is what the bike looked like earlier this year:

It took a lot of work, but this is what it looks like now:

Aside from the obvious new paintjob, the frame has all new water bottle mounts, cleaned up chain stays, corrosion chemically abated, all new bearings, all new cable liners, reanodized chain suck plate, all new bolts, new headset cap and lastly new brake bosses. The frame is going to live to an old friend of mine in Delaware. You may see it around Garrison's Cyclery from time to time!