Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mantis Valkyrie

Growing up there were three brands of mountain bikes that I wanted to ride; Yeti, Klein and Mantis. Over the years I managed to throw my leg over a number of Yetis and Kleins, but haven't had much luck finding any good Mantis frames in my size. So when the opportunity came up to trade my Ritchey Annapurna for a 20" Valkyrie I jumped at the chance.

The Valkyrie is a very special bike. Richard made very few of them in total, and even fewer of the non-elevated variety. It's a very unique design, which stands out from the crowd. I won't go into the details on this frame and it's history because it's been done before on numerous other sites. So, on to the pics!

I mean what's there not to love about the way this bike looks???  It's simply stunning from every angle!

It's sleek and elegant and yet looks strong and purposeful.  There are a lot of little touches everywhere, including cable guides and stops, twin tubes with their beautiful scallops where they meet the head tube and the rather unique cable routing in general.

I decided to keep the WTB theme going with this bike and outfitted it with WTB roller cams front and rear and WTB classic grease guard hubs in matching silver. I still have some work to do in order to get the rear brake functioning very well and may swap it for a compact set of arms. I'm also going to try and run the cable to a yoke ahead of the seat tube and then run both ends of a straddle cable to the cam. See if that helps things. I've seen a Valkyrie on Mombat with the pulleys relocated underneath the arms, but I tried that and it seemed worse on this frame, maybe that works better on the EC version.

Campagnolo quick releases were commonly used by mountain bikers back in the day, and they look right at home on this bike.

Shimano 600EX rear freewheel in 13-28 and short cage rear derailleur give the bike a bit of a racy feel.

Cook Bros cranks with Specialized round chainrings and a Cook Bros Titanium bottom bracket round out the drivetrain package.

One of the highlights of this bike is the Richard Cunningham made fillet brazed stem with very slick internal cable routing for the front brake.

Shimano M730 shifters and 4-finger brake levers mated to a Cook Bros Titanium handlebar provide the controls.

I think this is a pretty solid build including some nice, boutique components from the era but not going totally overboard with trick parts. The total bike weighs just a hair under 26 lbs which is not bad for 20" steel frame from the late 80s. I haven't had


  1. Nice bike.
    I have a Trek 820 1992 is my exodus.
    Beautiful photos on the blog.
    Turned fa blog, beautiful posts.
    Keep up the excellent work.

  2. Are you sure of the brand of the stem? Stem looks to be a Gecko cycles by Ken Beach. I have an exact dupe of it that was a take off from a Y file it.

    1. For 1000 points: Before he started Gecko, Ken Beach was a welder and fabricator for which bike company???

    2. Martin very nice bike. I've got a similar one (Vk1928). Reading your build it seems that the bike has a treaded bottom bracket. I'm right? I made this question because mine as a treaded one, and for a Mantis it seems quite strange. Thanks for any info. Cheers Alessandro

    3. Yes, as far as I know all the X-Frame/Valkyries had threaded BBs

    4. Thanks Martin,as usual your knowledge of vintage mountain bikes is awesome... really

  3. Martin,
    Thank you for sharing. I really enjoy reading your

  4. Stunning machine and a great example! Mantis was a little before my passion for mtb started but I recall seeing a FS design around 1992 and being blown away - this earlier model doesn’t disappoint either!! Chapeau on the build 👏🏻👏🏻