Saturday, October 25, 2014

Red, ready to rock

The red Rockhopper presented no obstacles during its renovation.
I replaced the original substandard rear brake with a salvaged set. Now the pads actually line up with the rim.
I already mentioned what a pleasure these shifters are. A progressive shifter is much more intuitive than one where the lever or levers return to the same position after every shift.
The suspension fork messes up the handling a bit. The original fork crown would have been down about where the brake arch sits on this Rockshox Indy. Riders learned to live with it until manufacturers made frames ready to receive longer forks. The longer forks themselves made mountain bikes feel less nimble even with an adjusted head angle. That became the new normal. With properly set up suspension a bike rides down in the travel more than it sits on top of a specific geometric relationship to the ground.

If this was my bike I would find a rigid fork to match the main frame.

Another period feature is that 135mm stem. It was the age of the long stem. Because I liked dinky little frames, my 15.5-inch Stumpjumper had a 150mm stem. When I shifted to a 16.5-inch Gary Fisher in the mid 1990s it had a longer top tube and shorter stem, reflecting the improved geometry that had evolved. Better it may be, but it took some getting used to.

When we sold this bike our shop supported pretty full representation of at least three bike lines. Not only were there a lot of customers during the boom, there were fewer categories of bike. We could create a lot of variations starting with the basic mountain bike platform. It was a lot easier back then to maintain stock levels and put together bikes modified to individual customer specifications. The categories were mountain, road, hybrid and kids.

There are pluses and minuses to anything. You can get a lot of cool stuff now that you couldn't get then, even to customize a rider's personal setup. The vast array of models within category put a huge strain on a small shop. A small shop has to narrow its options, sometimes painfully, to maintain a niche.

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