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Back to the Old Skool, part deux

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 07/03/2011 17:14pm

It’s that time again folks-  Doddy’s been rooting through piles of old mags under his desk and has had a little trawl for y’all.


Jez Avery

MBUK October 1991.

Ripping it up here at the Malvern Hills Classic on his Off Road Pro Flex, complete with rigid fork and Flexstem. Remember them? Oh my!

Check out the kit- Axo shoes, Elbow pads gloves, Etto adjustable size lid and a classic pair of Oakley Fire Iridium O Frame goggles. Class!

Jez Avery- pinned. With moustache.

The Malvern Hills Classic

This was the original and probably the best MTB festival back then- and possibly that there has ever been.

Everything was so new at the time, and the scene was so much fun.

I remember riding the 1991 Malvern’s on my dodgy old Muddy Fox Courier Mega- and riding everything accept the Lake Jump that year. I even got my first taste of decent air at the infamous Bombhole, which claimed many victims over the years.

Answer A-Tac stem

It’s funny how desirable a stem can be, and back then the A-Tac was the tubular stem of choice. Some may argue that the Ringle Zooke machined stem was nicer, but I’d stick with an A Tac any day of the week!

Answer Accu-trax forks

Another classic- super strong and classy looking, s well as coming in one inch threaded, and the bigger 11/4 Evolution size. Remember that?

Trek 9000

There’s not a lot you can really say about the early Trek 3000 that a rubber kebab instead of a shock and more sideways movement than up and down.

I’ll leave you with some key words that work well.

Bendy. Heavy. Feedback. Bouncy. Ugly. Wobbly. Shocking.

But somehow, it was highly desirable, and I’d love to have one for my collection!

It’s a good job that Trek has moved on though- their new bikes are simply amazing.

Trek’s two wheel steering bendy bouncer

Skydiving goggles

Surely this must have been an April fool?

Someone trying to tell us that Uvex sky diving goggles are good for riding. Really?



Seriously, why?

Marin Pine Mountain

I used to love the grey rubberised paint- it was seriously tough, but pretty heavy and wasn’t easy to clean.

I’d use it on a jump bike though, and it would go down well on the urban scene as it looks subtle.

Marin and that great grey paint…

Dave Hemming,  another day, another cover.

This time on an Allsop Soft ride, but without the mega suspension stem they used to make.

The Softride thing’s not a bad concept, but never lasted on the MTB scene…

Hemming bags another cover.

Haro Impulse

When the craze was for having elevated chainstays, a guy named Paul Hudson doing flatland manoeuvres on Brighton sea front for MBUK on one of these. He had all the old skool flatland tricks down and sparked his own little movement.


Alpinestars Al Mega- the elevated version.

Rumour has it that the titanium version of this that Tim Davis used to race was so flexible that a good stamp on the pedals could change gear up front without the need for a front mech…

But they looked bad-ass, especially in tiny sizes.

And they also made the T 26, a super low version with a boom down/top tube design to a Trimble.

Alpinestars Al Mega elevated. Horrible- but so nice!

Think you’re new skool running wide bars?

JMC used to run Renthal Motocross bars back in the day for extra control. He knew the score…

Renthal MX bars- imagine the flex on that stem!

Dave’s Chain Device.

With a buzzing noise, the DCD made your bike instantly cool and didn’t do that much to keep your chain on that couldn’t be done by shortening your chain. But they were cool, which is all that counted.

I’ve got a hand painted original, as painted by Mr Crud Pete Tomkins himself. A nice piece of history…

My original DCD, with hand painted St Georges flag…

Dave’s Chain Device


You think Clarkson was original on Top Gear with their beach storm in the Ford Fiesta?

We reckon a few of the producers might just have read MBUK in the past…

Warner jumps in, the water jumps out…

Manitou 2

It was full of elastomer and other stuff, and the black stanchions wore silver pretty rapidly- but what a lovely fork it was!

Mmmmmm Manitou…

Will Longden- a pinner for life.

This time on an old Rocky Mountain Speed unified design. Those that know will appreciate the fact he can ride a beach cruiser with flat tyre much the same as he can ride a modern DH bike.

The bike is no limitation for Will- just a challenge. Just look at the stem!

And Will’s one of the very best riders around. Period.

Longden doing what he does best!

Nice stem.

Jason McRoy

JMC was way ahead of his time- check this big one floot flattie on the little Stumpjumper that made the whole UK crave little XC frames for jumping.

And looks like he’d been tooling around on his Harley in shorts looking at the burn mark on his right calf…

RIP Jason, we miss your unmistakeable style.

Been riding your Harley in bare legs Jason?

Shaun ‘Napalm’ Palmer

One of the most iconic riders ever on one of his very best bikes- the custom painted stars and bars Intense M1. Check out the Magura HS33 hydraulic rim brakes! Seems odd seeing rim brakes on such a modern looking bike!

Shaun Palmer- radical


We only ever ran 3 issues of Rush as special editions, but they were pretty cool!

RUSH! In your face!

Cannondale Fulcrum.

If not the first, the Fulcrum was certainly one of the first floating linkage bikes around, and had a jackshaft style double chain set up front to compensate for the fact that the bike was designed around a small 32 tooth chain ring. It allowed them to fit normal sized rings and reduce the pedal feedback- but at what weight penalty?

Cannondale’s Fulcrum- advanced as hell, but with a 6:1 leverage ratio on the tiny little shock!

Warner- wrecked.

This was, and still is a common occurrence. Rob Warner, injured.

Although Warner will refer to crashing on the ‘treaders’, those that know him will tell you just how many times he’s smashed himself up riding motocross, and probably doubt the amount of times he got injured on the treaders…

Captain loud mouth, wrecked again.

Merlin Titanium.

Not much to say here, other than this bike still makes me dribble.

Oh, and I can spot an NTi sticker on the top tube. NTi- Nicol Trading International were based in South Harrow, at the Arches and used to be distributors of Salsa and Rockshox amongst other things. I first met Chipps there in the early ‘90’s, as well as John Gledhill. That’s when I used to work ‘the BIKE shop’ in North Harrow.

If you’re ever over that way, say hi to Malcolm Fryer- top chap that can straighten any wheel. Literally.

Mmmmm, Merlin…

Roox Chaindog

Look familiar?

I remember the days trying to find something to keep my chain on- and the rattly old Chaindog was one of the best. Although it was on the weighty side compared to the new E13 and MRP guides of the same type.

Chuck CR-FS.

Like a Turner Afterburner, but posh.

These things were stunning in the flesh, and were a premium product in the day when people loved rockers on their bikes. Infact, at the same time BETD made rockers to bump up the travel on various frames. I remember friends buggering shocks up on certain frames!

Four bar FS- trick, and very boutique..

Rotwild team DH.

This one belonged to Nigel ‘No Wage’ Page back in the day. Squint and you can see a Cannondale Super V…

And check the forks out- Marzocchi Bomber Super T’s- super plush, adjustable compression and rebound. Way ahead of their time, very expensive and hand made.

High, short and steep. British DH, mid ’90′s!

Foes LTS

People laughed when Brent Foes made this long travel bike- they were all stuck in the 80mm long travel mode!

This thing packed a whopping 6in travel out back!

Although you might suffer in the wind with those wheels!

The Foes LTS. Check those disc wheels!

Brovedani ABS brakes

I for one never, ever, ever had a problem with cantilever brakes being too powerful. Ever.

Even with Scott Mathauser pads, and every possible set up, I could never get brakes strong enough. And I tried Dia Compe 986, 987, Onza HO and even Grafton.

Although maybe the ABS actually stands for Average Braking System?

I have to say though- Steve Worland, who has been doing this a lot longer than me said these things were pretty good on a tandem…

Average Braking System?

Sunn Radical Plus DH

Fabien Barrel once said this bike was the best ever downhill bike. It was leagues ahead of its time.

37 and a bit pounds, 6in travel, modern geometry and damping far, far ahead of the available stuff then.

You can’t help but wonder if the Frenchies had a bit of an advantage. That and some pretty good riding on their doorstep…

Phew, well that’s me retro’d out for another week or so.

Until next time- mange tout!


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