11 Retro Downhill Bikes From the South Australian State Downhill Championships

Sep 22, 2020
by John O'Brien  

Photography by Fletcher Media

Fires... Covid... it's time to get back to (retro) racing in South Australia!

Back in 2019, Inside Line Incorporated were celebrating our 25th anniversary and we had been discussing various ways of making the State Champs a memorable one. Club President Ben Anderson came up with the idea of holding a retro class to honor the many racers the club have come trough our ranks and also entice the old crew to come back to racing. Some general rules were drafted up for the category:

- 2006 frame or prior
- Components from the same time period
- 26 inch wheels or smaller
- 680mm bars or narrower
- Some leeway allowed to make sure the category filled up
- Period costumes recommended!

Last year Oscar Baulderstone took first place and the state champ jersey, with Nathan Bridgewater taking second place and Oscar's brother Fergus rounding out the podium with 3rd place. So the table was set for a massive showdown to see if Oscar could defend his title jersey in 2020.

This year we seen a much larger group of racers including some familiar faces who go back to the mid nineties of the club. Although the rain held off, what wasn't expected was the trails turning to dust and becoming incredibly hard to ride, especially on bikes that had not seen the best of times! After some fairly intense racing in increasingly wild and windy conditions, it was Reagen Higgins who took the top spot, followed by Jack Cavanagh in second and Oscar Baulderstone rounding the third step.

Reagen Higgins, your 2020 SA Retro Champion with his 2003 GT Dhi with Manitou Dorados, a Fox Vanilla RC rear shock, Mavic ex721's on Hadley hubs and 680mm Azonic bars

Jack Cavanagh - 2nd place on board his Orange 222 w, Boxxers, 5th Element Shock, Mavic 321 on Hope hubs, Hope M4 Brakes and 680mm Protaper bars

Defending 2019 Retro Champ, Oscar Baulderstone scored 3rd place on board his 2000'ish Shaun Palmer limited edition Intense M1 with Boxxers, Fox Vanilla rear shock, early Shimano saint drivetrain and brakes, DT Swiss ex500 rims and 680mm bars,

2019 3rd place Gus Baulderstone with a Yetidh9 with Marzochhi 888's, Manitou Swinger shock, Sram X9 drivetrain, Juicy carbon brakes, Mavic ex 325's on a Hadley rear hub & Ringle front hub and 680mm bars

Retiring club president after 4 years of running downhill event in SA, Ben Anderson with his 2005 Specialized Demo with Marzocchi 888 Bombers, a Manitou Swinger rear shock, Mavic 321 rims on Ringle Hubs & 680mm Specialized bars

Scott Baulderstone, head of the Baulderstone racing family aiming to knock the kids off the podium on board a 2005 Morewood Izumi with Rockshox Boxxers, Manitou Swinger shock, X9 with double tap shifter, Juicy brakes and Head spin hubs & 680mm bars, kindly leant from Glenn Potter at Ride Union cycles as Scott's other Dh9 was proving too hard to get moving by race weekend

Dean Mogridge - 2005 Giant DH Team with Manitou Dorados, Manitou 6way Swingershock, Mavic 729's on Ringle Hubs and 680mm Truvativ bars

Shelly Flood on board a familiar 2007 Kona Stab with Rockshox Boxxers & 680mm bars

Luke Keighley - 2001 Santa Cruz Bullit with Boxxers, Rockshox Vivid R20 coil shock, Mavic D521 rims on Da Bomb Headspin hubs, Hayes Prime brakes and 680mm Raceface Evolve bars

Sean Warner-Blason - 2006/07 Scott Hi-Octane with Marzocchi 888 RCV forks, a Marzocchi Roco TST rear shock, Alex DH rims, Front KTDH rear hub, Rear DT Swiss DR hub and 680mm Scott Pilot FR1.5 Pro bars

Joe Mullin, cofounder of newly opened Australian Museum of Mountain Bike, with his 1998 Giant MCM D.with 1996 Rockshox Judy DH forks, a Rockshox Super Deluxe rear shock, Mavic 217 rims on a Hope bulb rear and Hadley front hubs, Magura HS11 front brake, Magura Racelite rear brake and 630mm Xlite bars. Dream build from back in the day and loosely based on Rob Warner's spec of the same bike.









154 Comments

  • 210 2
 Mandatory law should be that all kids need to take at least 1 run down the local bike park on a 2000's bike to appreciate their modern rigs.
  • 13 0
 Sean & Oscar race under 15's, Gus races under 17. The kids love it.

Edit - Sean actually races under 13's!!
  • 49 0
 With V-Brakes
  • 5 0
 All quali runs need to be on pre 2000 bikes (including components)
  • 28 0
 I've provided overly nice bikes to my kids, and they realize how fortunate they are. My 14yo son has a nice carbon enduro bike, and he was mentioning last week how lucky he is to have never had to deal with a crappy bike. I then explained to him that yes, that's true, but he's missing out on the joy of "moving up".

I told him the story of my first bike which was a 1995 Raleigh M-50 that I bought brand new in college. I told him that it didn't even have a suspension fork. He couldn't believe it. He didn't even know that was a thing. They I went through the upgrades, the next bike, the bike after that... I told him how awesome it was the first time I got a full squish.

It's great to have today's tech, and in my son's case, really nice stuff. However, the fun of moving up (financially and technology wise) has also been pretty cool.
  • 20 0
 @in2falling: If with V-brakes then a wet run is mandatory.
  • 22 0
 Until we realize that they ride perfectly fine and we lose all of our excuses for why we are slow. Now Pre-2000's... that's where things get dicey fast as you roll back the clock. That Giant MCD is the only sketchy bike in this article, the rest are bitching rides as long as the suspension has actually been maintained over the years.
  • 16 0
 Man I miss my 2005 888. Best fork of all time.
  • 9 0
 In them days we was glad to have the price of a cup o' tea; a cup o' cold tea, without milk or sugar - or tea - in a cracked cup, an' all.
  • 7 0
 I can't tell you how excited I was to put a Rock Shox Pilot SL fork on my fully rigid Trek 930 when I was around 13 or so. I rode that size large 930 for quite a while before getting that front suspension and I can tell you I appreciated the heck out of having that new fork up front. There are mental benefits to starting out on a crappy bike and then moving onto better rigs, but there are also alot of benefits to starting out on a nice bike. For one it's safer generally. And for two you can focus on learning how to mountain bike without being hindered by a bike that just doesn't work very well. Proper tool for the job kinda thing.
  • 15 0
 One word: elastomers.
  • 5 0
 @tonit91: Remember those days!! With a buckled rear wheel for added sketch!!

I used to race one of those Scott Octane dh rigs, bizarre things even then, didn’t take kindly to a little incident with a tree mid flight I remember! Top tube cracked right open
  • 10 0
 @number44: you were lucky to have a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: My first bike had an Indy C on it!
  • 4 0
 Would go even further and make it mandatory to take at least 1 run on a hardtail, just like Gary Fischer/John Tomac did! Wink
  • 7 0
 @tonit91: Seriously... A wet v-brake run! That feeling of terror after blasting through a puddle on a downhill run and then pulling on the levers and absolutely nothing happens...
  • 3 0
 @tonit91: Agreed, a well-tuned V-brake has decent power when things are dry and not dusty (which is not a lot of the time)...it's when they get an once of water or grit on them and the performance falls apart in a hurry.
  • 3 0
 @TommiHXH: The best we could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.
(Gawd I love that skit)
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: wish I didn’t have a crack in the lowers or I’d still be running mine on some build or another
  • 2 0
 @greener1: I used wet weather specific Kool-Stop brake pads and Nokon cable housings on my XTR V's back in the day. Actually worked a treat in the wet and shit.
  • 4 0
 @burnbern:
Those were still light years ahead of my UBrake rear and Cantilever front setup that actually accelerated when you applied the brakes in the wet. The brakes scraped the mud off the rims making them lighter and faster haha.
  • 1 0
 @burnbern: What do you mean?
V- brakes were so good after using canti's or side pull caliper brakes?
  • 1 0
 @burnbern: wow, those really were the days!
  • 90 0
 no fair... the Orange is a current 2020 Model.. : P

P"
  • 28 0
 Ear defenders were provided to spectators, one eye witness said “it sounded like the snap on tool chest coming down the stairs in Home Alone”
  • 3 2
 peewho, you win!
  • 33 0
 Just need minnaar to rock up with his Honda to complete the collection
  • 3 0
 I wonder if that bike still has embargo’s on it? You don’t see a lot of good detailed pictures even to this day.
  • 1 0
 @Mattysville: yeah that’s very true. I think the bikes all went back to Japan and got melted down. I wish someone would revisit it and actually sell them. I would be very interested.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: not a good time to re-mortgage your gaff.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: I was hoping Privateer would get after it using SLX guts
  • 1 0
 @jaame: that'd be like one of those AC Cobra kit cars with a Ford Escort engine
  • 1 0
 @Mattysville: I think its just because there were so few of them...I vaguely remember one showing up on eBay like 5 or so years ago
  • 2 0
 @Mattysville: there are a few versions of the RN01 from my understanding. Basically a true gearbox setup and the a "derailleur-in-a-box" setup.


The one in Minnars shop is just a "derailleur-in-a-box" model.. I believe all the true gearbox bikes were destroyed.

Either way, it was such a cool bike and design and it was a huge bummer that it just got burried at the end of Hondas test period..
  • 3 0
 @Mattysville: I've had this desktop wallpaper for ever. Most detailed one I've come across.

photos.app.goo.gl/9v65VDk8eNr16PRh9
  • 1 0
 @swan3609: Funny thing is that a derailleur in a box idea works so well?
Only thing is that makes all gearing parts last too long?
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr:derailleurs work so well when clean and oiled!
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Yes but also stay clean when sealed in a box?
Funny that it is almost too easy?
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: exactly! What better way to keep them clean and oiled than sealing them in a box?
  • 1 0
 @jaame: So why does this not exist?
It is not that it does not work?
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: it’s a very good question. I think either it will be to do with patents or because no company wants to take a punt on bringing one to market. Maybe they think the demand is not there. Zerode had the G1 and G2 though, and they obviously sold enough to not sink the company. It doesn’t look like it would be that hard to make honestly. Just thinking aloud - it must be locked up in patents. I can’t really see any other reason why no one else has tried to release another version of the same idea. It’s such a celebrated design. I am sure they could sell quite a few if someone made them.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Tried patenting the idea 12 years ago!
But reasons why are more to do with how much longer gearing parts will last?

worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=GB&NR=2434565&KC=&FT=E&locale=en_EP

Patent did not go through, because was worded wrong, but being Dyslexic, I did not word it?
  • 2 0
 @aljoburr: That's interesting. I can understand your point from the point of view of why Shimano or SRAM have not tried the gearbox, but it doesn't explain why bike manufacturers have not tried to make one using existing parts.
There are a few vids on youtube which show the interna derailleur well enough to understand how it owrks. Now with 3D printing the case should be achievable too without any worries.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Yes have other ideas that know should work, but getting the right parts needs a fair bit of modification
The real problem is getting it working with wide range of gears that riders now want?
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: The derailleur takes up the slack, so it owuld simply be a case of making the case big enough to accommodate the 10-50 cassette and the long cage mech. It can't be that hard.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: You dont need a clutched mech for that set up. but do need casings that extend for full sus?
but from talking to racers, sponsored riders are not allow to ride it?
Or even talk about it
So, recon would be classed as a faring, but works surprisingly well
Would be serious advantage in muddy conditions?
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: I normally turn the clutch off when I ride on the road. It makes the gear shifts a lot nicer. I wish someone like Dave Weagle or Zerode would just do it. Or one of those small bespoke frame manufacturers, Nicolai or Alutech.
The more we talk about it, the less it makes sense.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Sorry, not going to happen?
Tried getting someone to model parts, but they got their computer hacked
but no reason you can not do it your self?
Works best on elevated chain stay bikes like Orange, but can work on any bike
But only real problem is having to remove rear wheel for puncture etc?
Have a better solution, but since no real interest & very obvious that reasons are all about makes parts last longer which manufacturers do not want that to happen?
  • 24 0
 That 2005 Giant Team still looks great. The blue and silver color scheme on those bikes was one of the best ever- the definition of “looks fast standing still.” I remember drooling over the XC bike in those colors that had the silver CrossMax wheels.
  • 2 0
 I remember seeing one of those in a local shop for close to $10,000, how time flies.
  • 1 0
 A buddy out of our shop raced for Giant Canada, and had the full complement of blue Giants that year. I was pretty jealous of the whole quiver, but that DH bike was the ultimate drool-maker.
  • 1 0
 Wasn't that the copy of the Keewee Cromo 8? Now that was a bike.
  • 2 1
 @mammal: Funny you say that as the rider with the Giant was a sponsored by Giant Australia in the 00s
  • 2 0
 That Giant DH Team was my first DH frame, which I found from a local pro who was selling it as a new warranty replacement.... BUT I couldn't afford the matching Dorado, or any DH fork, so I slapped on my Marzocchi Z150 till I could save up for a 888. Had to replace the linkage bearings every year, as they would get smushed by rocks, but was such a sweet riding frame!
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: the Keewee Cromo 8 got bought by Avanti and turned into the Avanti D8, was my dream bike back then, that design was ahead of its time.
  • 1 0
 Oh man does it ever!! I came here to post that but you would beat me to it. What are the nicest looking bikes ever
  • 2 0
 @renevw24: I have mine hanging in my shed. It was an amazing bike.
  • 2 0
 Have a brand new DH Comp frame at home, awesome looking thing.
  • 21 5
 Attended by one kid in a pink shirt
  • 7 1
 Taken at the top of a massive hill in extremely windy conditions - noone wanted to be near the top where we started the race run! Huge numbers entered the race with a large race village at the bottom.
  • 27 24
 @speedyjonzalas: The crowds were massive. More than when Obama was sworn in.
  • 22 1
 @MTB-Colada: I'm only trying to promote a fun category. We had around 200 entrants to the event.
  • 1 0
 @speedyjonzalas: Great work, and big congrats!
  • 14 0
 WOW, would love to enter retro race.... 1997 Schwinn Homegrown Straight 6.
  • 2 0
 I've got one, and a 2003 bighit, and a 2004 demo 9. I could bring a whole team to an event like this
  • 10 0
 This is not a 2004 Boxxer on Oscar Baulderstone's bike, it's the 35mm generation from 2010 onwards
  • 5 0
 Haha, that was just listed as a "boxer"! Insideline has a focus on retro fun. These bikes were knocked together with whatever was around and cheap! The running gear came off a cheap KHS that came from a 2010 glory... Good spot!
  • 1 0
 Came here to post exactly this. Spotted immediately as 2010+!
  • 9 0
 Some of these bikes were built before I could ride a bike... doesn't stop me wanting them
  • 4 35
flag MTB-Colada (Sep 22, 2020 at 4:23) (Below Threshold)
 Are you able to ride one now? Let us know if you need any help. Damned, I am funny today.
  • 4 0
 @MTB-Colada: I can hold on to one for dear life while going down a hill, haven't got the knack of 'pedalling' tho
  • 9 1
 @MTB-Colada: in your own head
  • 10 0
 26 not dead!
  • 8 0
 Bring this Championship to the UK....
  • 8 1
 You could ride that Orange through a construction site and nobody would bat an eyelid
  • 7 0
 Yeti needs to bring back their DH frame Also Balfa is sorely missed. Their design was awesome
  • 1 0
 The BB4 2x4, yes that was a cool bike
  • 8 1
 Sean Palmer? Really, Really Pinkbike? Shaun Palmer please, come on
  • 3 0
 That's a 2004 Giant DH Team. 2005 DH Team's have a curved top tube and a 150mm hub spacing and a dished wheel. I owned and raced a 2005 model for many years. Loved it. Sorry for pointing that out. I'm just a bike snob that loves DH bikes.
  • 5 0
 If you don't giggle like a 12 year old whenever you see a Morewood, then are you even really alive?
  • 1 0
 I lusted after a morewood, saw quite a few on UK uplifts circa 2007
  • 2 0
 I don't know what's going on with the retro bikes in Australia, but I love it! I have a Giant DH Team (2005?) frame hanging as a decoration. I also have a 2008 Turner DHR and a Schwinn strait six (w/ a pull shock, not sure of the year). This rally makes me want to build one up. It also makes me kick myself for getting rid of a bunch of old/broken parts several years ago. Thanks for posting this!
  • 3 0
 It's dry. The old parts don't rust in the back shed.
(gotta shake out the snakes and spiders before riding but).
  • 4 0
 I would love to get my hands on a Sunn Radical with upside down bos fork, coolest thing ever (besides maybe the Honda)
  • 5 1
 I realize they're downhill bikes, but the whole seat tube slacker than the head tube geo is blowing my mind
  • 1 0
 I had one of those Scott hi octanes, my first proper full suspension, what an absolute heavy unit !!!! The seat tube and shock position were adjustable and In the slackest position the travel would make the seat buzz the rear tyre
  • 6 0
 Proflex class?
  • 3 0
 Yeti DH9!!! I had one of those and it was a freight train!.. I would love to build one and compare it to my current bikes....
  • 2 0
 Brilliant idea. I still have my racebike from 1997. If that would be an international category I could return to racing without being to humiliated - or at least I could feel better
  • 2 0
 Let's appreciate the man who hit this course on a single-crown Judy and Maggie rim brakes! Also, some of those rocker arms are downright comical, but man do those frame designs take me back in the best way!
  • 1 0
 The Aussies have it! Years ago I discovered OzVMX and now this! These mates have a sense for keeping old iron alive. A wonderful thing!
I believe, club racing with older bikes can be pure happiness, especially for not so young guys. I am jealous…
Many youngsters probably wondering if it is possible at all to ride something like this. Aren’t they steep, short, tall, heavy?? No worries, mates, you can still have (lots of) fun...
  • 5 0
 Lawwill FTW!!!!
  • 1 0
 Deleted- posted a response to the wrong comment
  • 3 0
 Ooh making them use 680mm bars!
I’m sure my Azonic double walls I had in 1998 were wider than that ????
  • 1 0
 No they weren't, I had them too, they were 26 inches (660mm)
  • 4 0
 Wonder which weighs more, the Orange frame or its saddle?
  • 3 0
 Fake News, it's impossible to ride a mountain bike if it's more than 2 years old.
  • 2 0
 That Intense M1 is so hideous and beautiful at the same time. It's the 'MERICA F-YA paint job. And the fact that its an Aussie rock the stars n bars makes it even better.
  • 4 0
 not a single iron horse sunday, shocking for Australia
  • 1 0
 Came to say the same thing! First they’re not at whistlers opening day now not at a vintage race!
  • 1 0
 That Giant is the way to go. It's the ultimate design that whoever wants to make a suspension bike of whatever travel and for whatever use should simply copy. It should be what a cartoon artist draws for "bike".
  • 1 0
 I meant the Giant DH Team.
  • 2 0
 Awesome! Makes me almost want to get my Lawwill DH-6 running again. BTW, the Palmer M-1 is likely a '97 or '98 model.
  • 1 0
 We immediately noticed that too.. Pre Horst link bike.
  • 1 0
 Would love to do this with my Gary FIsher Sugar 4, but...it'd be nice to find brakes other than my Arias single digit v-brakes, as capable as they are.
  • 2 0
 Apparently being bald makes you a great racer. I guess I'm not doing bald correctly? - a bald man
  • 1 0
 I had a GT DHi, then a Giant DH, then a Spec Demo 8 back in the early 00's. Wish I still had the DHi! It was such an amazing bike at the time
  • 3 2
 The disparity between these bikes barely maes it fair. The Giant Team DH is a very different beast to the MCM!
  • 27 0
 And yet somehow everyone still has fun!
  • 2 0
 please tell me someone's got videos of this race
  • 1 0
 @fletchermedia: you sir are a beautiful human being
  • 5 3
 These look like death traps
  • 3 0
 Yeah I was thinking the same. Terrifying, especially the 90s Giant. I remember when it came out and it looked like it was from the future.
  • 8 0
 Wait till you hear them!
  • 2 0
 They need finesse
  • 2 0
 That DH9! What a cool event.
  • 1 0
 This looks fun as hell... and now I'm shopping for a retro rig and hitting up local weekly DH for an event.
  • 1 0
 I kinda forgot, how much frame is on these old bikes. The evolution is real, only 20 years ago.
  • 2 0
 An much as old DH bikes are fun, do wonder why were they built so short?
  • 5 0
 Short wheelbase was seen as a good thing back then,
  • 1 1
 @zyoungson: By who?
I always wanted a small frame with a long top tube, like every bike you get now?
  • 2 1
 Picture 4, intense M1. Thats not a 2004 Boxxer, its much newer, looks like it has 35mm stanchions.
  • 3 1
 Yeah, that's a 2010 Boxxer WC. Cheat!
  • 2 0
 How did that slip by?
  • 9 0
 @Thirty3: my mistake here! It was hard trying to gather all the info together of the bikes.

And like I mentioned in the article often things don't go too smoothly when getting these old bikes up a running so sometimes comprises need to be made. We would much rather have people in the category rather than being overly strict!
  • 8 0
 These bikes were put together with what was in the shed or available.(and cheap!). It's not taken that seriously. Osky's just turned 14 - there's a LOT of variance in the field. Insideline know how to have a good time!
  • 6 4
 Each of those bikes has only one fork.
  • 1 1
 Glad I’m not the only one this bothered...
  • 2 0
 Time to break out my troy lee designs edge helmet and nike poobahs.....
  • 2 0
 Hadley hubs were the best! crazy how small these bikes all look nowadays
  • 1 0
 No Balfa BB7?? with all the HSP bikes these days figured someone would have busted out one of those
  • 1 0
 Weird I thought it said "retro" bikes. Orange model looks like current production
  • 1 0
 Weasel Garry! With the F1s raced at Cairns WC. Where is it mate! #inthestate #RAdelaide
  • 1 0
 This is awesome. My favorite old school dh rig was that custom Honda bike. I loved how moto it looked.
  • 1 0
 Nice bikes but retro? Not really. A 1993 Kona Explosif on Mag 21's is retro. These are just a few years old!
  • 1 0
 does it have to have 2006 tyres too haha. the best thing about old rigs is the mismatched rear wheel that has been smashed
  • 1 0
 Rad bikes, not too sure about the 680mm bar rule.
  • 1 0
 Bicycle aesthetics have come a long way since 2000's...
  • 1 0
 For the worse?
  • 1 0
 I had the first demo 8, with marz 888’s. what a monster of a bike.
  • 1 0
 nothing brings out Fox and O' gear like a retro class haha
  • 1 0
 What's up with the finite lifecycle of aluminium?
  • 1 0
 I ride a 2005 GT Ruckus Flowta
  • 1 0
 Looks like Mad Max with bikes, awesome!
  • 1 0
 I still think those Konas look awesome.
  • 1 0
 I thought for a second that was Cryan Branston
  • 1 0
 Needs more Tomac Magnums.
  • 1 0
 Wow, that Orange.
  • 1 0
 V brakes. Omg.
  • 1 0
 Not a Shiver in sight
  • 2 3
 Not one Grim Donut in sight...
  • 5 0
 It is about 20 years in the past, not the future?

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