Chasing the end of the retro mtb rainbow

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  • Edit: Now updated to include anything I'm playing about with. Including bikes of most wheel sizes, mainly retro mtbs though

    First up: Specialized Hard Rock
    Pretty sure it's a 1990, picked it up off the street courtesy of @JackSloan - his neighbour was chucking it. It had no front wheel so I brought one off another bike and was able to ghost it the 2 miles home.

    I mean, it's pretty messed up and arguably not worth the effort, but I like the colour scheme and have enough parts at home to make it worthwhile. No idea whether I'll keep it.

    Quite wanted to go Singlespeed on it, but then discovered these weird dropouts and I also like the look of the thumbie that came on it. Looks like the original gear shifter broke and was replaced by this original Shimano Deerhead thing.

    Chainrings are oval / wrecked, so might go 1 x 7 on it I guess. Got some bits on the way, a 1" BMX stem and small bits and bobs. In the spares box I've got a black brooks copy and a fluted set tube that is hopefully long enough (needs shimming), as well as some unused surly risers (need cut down).


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  • Weird dropouts! I wonder why they're closed off like that, is the through hole threaded? It doesn't look like you could fit a wheel in it

  • I suppose you could cut through to make it a semi-horizontal dropout?

  • Most Specialized MTBs of the era are like that, it can be filed down.

  • I had one of these in this colourscheme when I was a kid. I think it may be earlier than 91, perhaps 88?
    I broke my collarbone riding it on Wimbledon common. Nostalgia, eh?

  • I'm curious as to why though. What purpose does it serve?

  • Yeah they’re odd aren’t they, I can’t think of a reason for them either.

    Did a little mock up using some other wheels. Everything else will be on it.


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  • Specialized leading the way with thru axles.

  • Looks rad already! Now I wanna build something similar...

  • Almost done, build cost at £170.

    Just needs new pads and cassette. I thought the one that came on it was ok but it skips like mad. Also, didn’t want to put my prized uncut surly bars on it, but turns out finding other bars that were 22.2mm clamp to fit the old school bmx stem were hard to find... so I bought some for a motorbike instead? They feel ok but maybe the bar/stem situation could be better. I’m not keeping it so not gonna change them now.

    Went with cx comps, bmx grips, a nod to my past riding DH with the middleburn chainring and kept the weird back to front old shimano thumb Shifter that does the rear derailleur from the LHS. Need to find some sort of fruit basket for the front... suggestions welcome!


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  • looking good!

  • Looks awesome mate!

  • Thanks for the comments! Been a bit lax on here lately, but got a few projects on the go.

    First up is this 1992 Giant Escaper. Absolutely no need for it whatsoever. I'm super into the forks. Gonna build it up with retro parts, 3x8 XT, nice mavic wheels and swept back bars. Obviously tan wall tyres.


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  • Then there's this Muddy Fox Pathfinder that I'm doing for my cousin. He got into the one that @Frerman did a few months ago, so it's going to end up a pretty close copy of that one (sorry pal - hope you take it as a compliment!), even down to the yellow cables.


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  • Next up, a British made Saracen Tufftrax from 1989 for my brother. Completely original and mint condition. Minimal upgrades for this one overall.


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  • Gotta love these forks. In case you need some inspiration for a giant with xt, swept bars and tan walls, here’s mine:


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  • Here is some more inspiration of a similar Giant Chaos that I built up for a friend last year. not as exciting as @Sig_Arlecchino but did the job for him!


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  • Both very nice thank you. What year are they? They obviously changed the decals but not the fork design at some point.

    Made a little progress on it. Needs a new headset fitted.


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  • And I knocked up the muddy fox quickly too. The cranks are nasty but I wanna use them on something. I bought a new headset only to discover the frame uses the rarer 1” JIS standard, rather than a regular 1” headset.


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  • Giant is 90% there. Need rid of the biopace chainrings. Left the cables long as I’m not sold on the bars just yet and want to be able to swap them easily. The shifters feel lovely, XT 7speed with the mystery 8th click.


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  • Also finished the Saracen for my brother a while back.


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  • Two lovely builds!

  • Is the fork crown race also JIS-size?

    If not, you can just have the head tube reamed to ISO.

  • Looking great! What flattery!!

    Thank god I didn't need a new headset otherwise would have fallen into the same trap as you I'm sure!

  • Yes, it is. Reused the original crown race as it measured/looked the same as the one that came with the new h/s. Not sure whether that was sensible or not...!

    Thanks @si_mon628 and @Frerman for your kind words, the main reason for doing these threads, I suppose. Perhaps as well as in the hope that someone in future will learn or get inspiration from your work ;)

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Chasing the end of the retro mtb rainbow

Posted by Avatar for Alban @Alban

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