You are looking at a Moulden Team road bike from 1996 - probably. There's no serial number on it, so the age is a guess based on the Dura Ace parts. I'm not a big road bike guy, but this was something that I just couldn't pass up. So, let's check it out, and see how I've set it up in a way I can live with;
Apologies for being away for a couple weeks; we moved and I ended up with a different computer, and it took me a while to figure out the login for this website again.
We're back and we're talking old bikes again. Last week I picked up a very rare bike from Rocky's 1991 lineup - the Summit RL.
I talked about Bridgestone just the other day, but in looking for pics of the XO-1, I found that I had more to say. They were my first favorite company, and my first real mountain bike, so they are special to me.
Plus it's my blog right? I could write about Bridgestone every damn day if I want. What are you gonna do about it?
That's right - nothing.
Apologies for the repost, but I figured since 2015 marks the return of the Blizzard to Rocky Mountain's lineup, why not rerun what I wrote about it leaving the lineup in 2012.
Anyway, here is my eulogy to the longest running, fundamentally unchanged, mountain bike ever.
requiem for a hardtail
I'll never get tired of complaining about the frame design of the modern hardtail. The simple, straight tubes on the old Marin on the bottom are just so much more elegant.
Curving the top tube on that newer Marin serves no function at all. The curve in the down tube is dubious at best. Old bikes never had it, and I don't think needed it either. In all my years as a mechanic, I never saw damage on the down tube from the fork crown hitting it.
Damage on the top tube from the handlebar, sure - saw that all the time. The bars probably hit way before the crank.
Maybe with today's short stems and stupidly wide bars that doesn't happen any more?
I'm seemingly never satisfied with the blog format that I've chosen, and as such, I have blog posts everywhere.
So, because throwing back old posts (it just doesn't seem like the correct term does it?) is what the kids want these days (#TBT right?), here's a thing about tires I wrote three years ago.
'The only thing that never changes, is change.'
Cliche yes, but I don't know if you could describe mountain bike tires better in one sentence.
You could probably make a coffee table book of all the different tread patterns that have existed since mountain bikes really took off in the late 80's. Scratch that - you could make a coffee table book of all the tread patterns that no longer exist since mountain biking got popular. We saw all manner of "innovations" like tires designed to roll in a certain direction, tires meant to work on the front or on the rear, different rubber compounds, different sizes, and different colors.
Now I doubt anyone - other than me - would buy such a thing, but the point being that the general design of MTB tires is changing every year.
Why is this?
Did the hardpacked trails somehow get more slippery over the winter? Did the gravel out there get upgraded? Did the roots get, I don't know... rootier??
I know that conditions on any given trail can change after years of use, but in general, we're still riding the same types of trails here in 2011 that we rode in 1990. It's still dirt, rocks, roots, sand, and grass.
The Panaracer Timbuk II, Fisher Fattrax, Ritchey Megabite, Specialized Ground Control, Klein Death Grip - all of these tires at some point just stopped working?
Take a look at this page of Motocross tires - notice anything odd?
(hint - they're all the same!)
Now check this pic of a Yamaha from 1974;
Nearly 40 years later, and the tires are virtually identical.
How is it that Motocross tires haven't changed - at least in their tread pattern - for 40 years?
And why don't they have the dizzying array of different tread patterns like mountain bikes do?
I'll admit, I'm not immune to this. A new set of tires and grips can go a long way to making your old bike feel new. But, I just don't get why those old designs don't work anymore.
I think my Blizzard would really like a set of skinwall Ritchey Megabites.
What I can add to this post, three years later, is that I feel that we're reached a point where the fancy tread patterns are not selling anymore. A lot of modern tires now generally look the same, and are generally a bunch of square blocks. Just like motocross tires.
Of course the blocks are spread out more for damp conditions, closer together for hardpack trails, different widths, different rubber compounds, etc, etc.
It's a small victory for function over fashion.
Both of these bike are clearly meant for different purposes. The road bike is for getting from one place to another, on smooth roads, as fast as possible. The mountain bike is for getting from one place to another, over all manner of obstacles, as fast as possible. That means that you need to move around on the bike, so it has be more compact, and have the rider more upright.
But, what if you could get the speed on paved trails with the comfort of the mountain bike?
Recently, I noticed that a local Twitter friend of mine rode the trail through Mill Creek, and completely obliterated my time on Strava.
I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but if he thinks he can come into my hood, and start riding my trails...
This will not stand.
I need to take back my trails, with Phase One - Dirt Domination.
The rear derailleur is unchanged as a SRAM X.7 with a SRAM X.9 trigger shifter. I've got a Mary handlebar, XTR brakes, and a RockShox SID that needs more air pressure in it.
Even at my fittest, I don't think I could ever run with the guys that are fast on Strava right now, so I know this is a fool's errand. My goal though is to get Top 10 on at least one segment.
I should mention that I am not above creating my own segment to achieve this.
Stay tuned to this blog for results, and for Phase Two - Pavement Domination.
I was chatting with my neighbour the other day, and he made a comment that was really innocuous at the time, but when I thought about it really quite telling about the state of the industry.
He’s a rider too I should mention – has a Giant enduro-type bike from a couple years ago.
We were discussing the end of the 26″ wheel. I mentioned that I have a set of Mavic XC717 rims, and they’re probably the last high-quality, rim brake compatible, 26″ rims made. He said; “Soon there won’t be any good 26″ stuff left for us...”
For starters, I didn’t realize that we were united in facing down the bike industry, but that’s cool; it’s always good to have allies. Also, I thought he was building a 29er hardtail this season, so I know he’s leaning towards the darkside. But in the end he is right – 26ers are dead.
Except for aggressive trail bikes and DH racers, you won’t find any 26″ bikes over $700 this year. And all the ‘just ride what you want and have fun!’ type sentiment you can muster won’t help that very soon, companies won’t have any reason to make new 26″ wheel parts.
What’s going to be interesting is; what happens to the market value of 26″ bikes? If you can’t get a good fork, or a good set of wheels for a decent used bike, would you buy it? Good bikes are always going to be worth buying, but what good is a mid range 26″ hardtail with blown fork seals or a bent rim?
There is a guy in town here that has been trying to sell a set of Mavic Crossmax wheels. They cost $900 in their day, but he’s had to steadily drop his price from $250 to $150. I would be all over them if I hadn’t been (subconsciously) stockpiling quality 26″ wheelsets, but I still wonder if even $150 isn’t over priced.
Hopefully companies that make spokes and rim will continue to do so for 26″ wheels, but for these system wheels like the Crossmax, and the Cane Creek WAM, and the Shimano XTR wheels I bought a couple weeks ago, how long will they have stock of the special spokes required? I would be stunned if you can still buy the rims required for that XTR set.
What will probably happen, is the good stuff will go underground. Just like today, if you want to find good vintage stuff, you have to go to a vintage website, it probably won’t be long before there are 26er websites where you can trade high-end 26er wheels and forks.
I should start up a website, get in on the ground floor you know? teamcow26.com?
I'm 80. I wrench more than I ride and I like it that way.