Monday, May 19, 2014

1991 Doug Bradbury Manitou

Every now and then among a sea of Klein Attitudes, Yeti ARCs, Merlin or Fat Chance Wickeds I have the privilege of uncovering and building up a truly rare and special bike. A Doug Bradbury Manitou is always a treat and pleasure to find, restore and build. Although this particular bike didn't require a whole lot of restoration it was not without its challenges.

I found this 1991 Manitou last Christmas here in Los Angeles. I had previously purchased an early Yeti FRO from the owner and at the time he mentioned he had a brand new, never built Manitou frame. I figured it had to be an Answer version and waited patiently until he could come up with some photos. Several months passed when an email arrived with the following pics. I could not believe it!!

Once upon a time you could come up treasures like this just by making a few phone calls, but these days they are much, much more rare!

The build I chose for this bike was meant to highlight the condition of the frame. It's a rather basic Shimano M735 XT with only a pair of Cook Bros RSR cranks thrown in for a little high performance flair. I toyed with some Grafton brakes for a minute but in the end decided to stick with M734 XT cantilevers. They work pretty damn well and look pretty sharp in black against the shiny Aluminum.

If you've been following the series of Doug's bikes I've featured over the past year or two you'll recognize some of the same features in this bike. It's virtually the same as the 1990 frame I built last summer. One of the main differences is the oversize 31.8 seatpost (with an IRD head) in place of the 26.8 post used on the older frames. This was one of the last evolutionary changes in Doug's design, the last remaining step on the 6061 series of bikes was moving to a 1 1/4" headtube which came on the few bikes Doug built in/around 1992. I hope to have a chance to feature one of those bikes sometime soon.

Clean cockpit courtesy of Shimano XT thumb shifters and 2-finger brake levers, ODI Attack grips are a bit of departure from my typical Ourys... we had a good run though

One of the best head tube badges in the business

Bradbury made stem, machined out of a solid billet of Aluminum. A work of are and the perfect finishing touch to any Manitou bike!

I must say that I feel very lucky to have bikes like these pass through my garage. At this point I've had the chance to have and work on an 88, 89, 90 and now this 91 Bradbury Manitou. I hope to get my hands on a 87 and maybe a 92 at some point in the future.

One thing I never expected to find was an elevated chainstay Manitou... by sheer luck I managed to score that bike, and will feature it later on this summer.