Friday, February 13, 2015

Fifth in a Series of Bruce Gordon's Personal Bikes

     Let’s take a step back to 1983, in the early 80s Jim Merz , who was building frames in Portland, started working with Mike Sinyard of Specialized.  At a cyclo cross race in Portland, Merz had what he called a “Mountain Bike”.  It had fat 26 inch tires and upright bars. He suggested I ride it up and down curbs. I remember thinking it was pretty neat that you could ride up and down curbs.  But, I remember thinking that it was an odd bike that would never take off.  I was wrong.  So, I built a Mountain Bike in July of 1983.  It was the first paint job by Corbin Dickinson, my new painter.  I told him I wanted a green with black zebra stripped.  He masked it off and made it very Anatomically correct.

It was the way mountain bikes where in the early 80s. Back then, head and seat angles were very slack and there was no specific mountain bike tubing. So, I made a lugged frame with Columbus SP Tubing (it was the heaviest tubing available at the time).  It had a 1 inch top tube, 1.125 inch down tube and seat tube.  It was a 60 cm center to center, with a level top tube.  Head angle was 68º and seat angle was 70º, 62 cm center to center top tube, 5.3 cm of rake, 46 cm chain stays and drop of 4cm.  I don’t remember what kind of lugs I used.  I used a Mountain Goat Fork Crown that I brazed over the mountain goat cast into the top of the crown.  I got it from Jeff Lindsey of Mountain Goat Cycles in Chico California.

I had all the parts anodized black. It had Suntour derailleurs and thumb shifters, Specialized Triple Crank, hubs and headset, with a Regina Oro 5 speed free wheel (“that’s right, before the freehub existed”), with Martano Italian made rims and Specialized Ground Control Tires.  Shimano cantilever brakes with Magura brake levers, Campagnolo Seatpost and Quick Release Seat Binder, Avocet Touring II Saddle, Bear Trap pedals,  and a Bull Moose handle bar brazed by Tom Ritchey.  

"Turns out I was wrong about Mountain Bikes, Things have changed, Mountain bikes are quite different then the first once."

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fourth in a Series of Bruce Gordon's Personal Bikes

    For the fourth of the series, lets jump five years forward to 1993; everyone was running 26-inch wheel Rock Shox. The Mag 21 was the hot setup, so I called Rock Shox and asked if they’d make me some longer legs for the Mag 21 so I could run my Rock ‘n Road 700 x 43mm tires. (These were big 700c tires before 29ers.)  I was told by someone at Rock Shox (It may have been Paul Turner?), that they weren’t interested in 700c, because, all mountain bikes were 26 inch. So because they wouldn’t make a longer Mag 21 leg,  Jeff McWhinney and I made a sloping fork crown and brake arch to fit our 700 x 43 tires.  Jeff McWhinney helped me program our small CNC milling machine to make fork crowns and brake arches for Mag 21s.

(Our small Milltronics CNC milling machine, with a couple fork crowns on the bed)

     Wes Williams, who at that time was working for Ibis, and I made two titanium frames - one for each of us. He was welding titanium for Ibis at that time, but these were the first 700c Rock Shox bikes he built. After riding the Hell Out of that bike, He later went on to become Willets bikes, and he was one of the first people to promote big tire 700c tires, that went on to become 29ers.

The bike was made out of 1.25 inch top tube and seat tube and 1.5 inch down tube, 1 inch steerer and a fork crown and brake arch we made out of 7075 aluminum and Mag21 Rock Shox legs.

It is 55cm center-to-center Seat Tube, 57.5 center-to-center Top Tube,
 43.5 cm Chain Stays. 7cm Drop, 70.5º Head Angle and 73º Seat Angle, and 4.32 Rake.

It had early eight speed Shimano XTR derailleurs, cassette, cantilever brakes, and cranks with very rare Paragon titanium chain rings. The wheels had early White Industry hubs, Mavic M261 rims with 1st generation Rock ‘n Road tires,  steel chicken neck stem, Dean Titanium Seat Post and SR anatomic Modolo Patent bend bars.