Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Off Road Classics

This winter has been widely publicized for being rather mild, but there's still snow on the ground and I'm getting the jones to ride.  I guess it's not really a surprise that I happened upon these bikes on the retrobike.co.uk site and found them particularly captivating.

First up is a classic Yeti ARC.  The custom painted Rockshox Judy SL fork, matching ano turquoise
Ringle stem/post/bottle cage and deep section HED carbon wheels make this really look like every bit of the mid-90's racer it is.

This Yeti is a little more modernized and looks like it's ridden fairly regularly, unlike the previous bike listed in this post.  I'm not sure how they got disc tabs on the rear dropout without an ungainly adapter, but the paint-matched rigid fork and subtle but high end build kit means this bike gets ridden periodically and isn't just for show.

Any retro race bike post would be incomplete without a nod to the GT Zaskar.  Growing up GT was sold by a rival shop across town and so I'd developed a natural resistance to them.  It wasn't until college when I saw some up close (including Wayward's Xizang) and developed some respect and even a mild affinity for them.  Sometime during my college years GT fell on hard economic times, changed hands and then bumped their way along for a while.  Recently they've make a bit of a comeback and since sponsoring World Cup racers Todd Wells and Burry Stander have been making inroads back into the racing community again.  This particular model predates all that, and I think the Zaskar was one of the best mass produced race bikes of its time and truly represented GT in their hay day.  

This Merlin XLM is another throwback.  Many of Merlin's key employees survived the transfer of the original company and followed Rob Vandermark to Seven.  This was one of the Massachusetts-made ti frames that was undisputably one of the best options available in that material at the time.  There weren't many of these floating around back then, but given their durability (and the fact that mainly doctors and lawyers could afford them- there I said it) many of them are still in service.  I'm not sure how I feel about the "Afterburner" finish on the M960 XTR crank, but the rest of the bike looks pretty dialed with the cool for the 90's red ano parts treatment.  

Last is one of my favorites, the Fat City Shock a Billy.  I've mentioned these in previous posts, but I have say I think they're very cool.  I have no idea how well they ride or how durable they are, but the suspension concept was way ahead of what Trek and Cannondale were running at the same time with their unified rear triangle Super V's and Y-bikes.  Those things sucked.

SDG saddle, XTR 940 build kit and what looks like a Rock Shox Mag 21 painted to match.     

Ah bikes.  They're always fun to look at.  I can't wait to actually be able to ride again.  It won't be long.


  1. Great post... the Yeti ARC was always my top choice. Klein's were also a top-shelf choice, but I didn't know anyone who could afford one and thus it remained a thing of mystery. I wonder if I have any old photos of that '99 Xizang or the various Zaskar LE's (I had the '99 and '00 I think in that Ball-Burnished finish you posted)... back before we took pictures of everything I suppose... Last time I saw that Xizang, some guy with pink Smith sunglasses was riding it around without a helmet.

  2. I think Katz raced one season as part of the Klein grass roots team and he had some bad ass Quantum Race with a slick red/yellow paint job and a matching custom Manitou Mars with ti springs. That was a sick ride.

  3. Check that- Quantum was their road bike, the Attitude was their MTB.