Now THAT Was a Bike: 1991 Bradbury Manitou FS

Mar 16, 2020
by Martin Kozaczek  


The late 80s and early 90s were an amazing time for mountain biking, especially for the rapidly growing component cottage industry in the US. Aluminum was king and any design seemed possible, thanks to application of CNC machining to component manufacturing.

Starting lines at major NORBA or Grundig World Cup races featured bikes adorned with components with wild anodized finishes that would make anything from the I9 catalog look bland by comparison. Frame design, however, was still fairly traditional and the concept of a functioning full suspension design still seemed beyond the horizon.

1991 Bradbury Manitou

The Invention That Changed Everything

Doug Bradbury had been on the scene for over half a decade quietly making some of the coolest aluminum bikes out of his garage in Colorado Springs. By 1990, along with Paul Turner, Bradbury was largely credited with bringing suspension to the world of mountain biking, Paul with the RockShox RS-1 and Doug with his elastomer sprung Manitou fork.

That year Juli Furtado won the inaugural World Championships, while John Tomac famously raced to a 7th in XC and 4th in DH with drop bars, each riding one of Doug’s prototype Manitou forks. In 1991, with another year of development under his belt and a new collaboration with Easton, Doug turned his attention to developing a full suspension frame.

Biggest stanchions in the biz
Though not a very conventional approach as far as bike suspension goes, twin rear struts were commonly used in motorcycle design

Later versions of this bike would see an elegantly machined swing arm but this early prototype settled for a simple welded section.
To counteract the dreaded pogo effect under pedaling Doug kept things simple and maintained a fixed chainstay length resulting in a predictable pedaling platform

Manitou FS Prototype

Rather than look outside for a functional shock, Doug opted for a known design - that of his suspension fork - and put it in place of the seat stays. His forks offered a modest 1.5” to 2” of travel under the best of circumstances and those figures remained intact when applied to the rear end of the bike.

Combined with a low pivot directly behind the bottom bracket, 70.5/73 degree HT/ST combo, short 16.375” stays, and a tight 42.75” wheelbase the Manitou FS was a killer XC design that pedaled well uphill and was responsive and agile when pointed the opposite direction, with the suspension doing far more than smoothing out mere washboards.

As if the geometry wasn’t forward thinking enough, the 24” top tube, coupled with what was at the time considered a short 120mm stem and 115/145mm spacing on the wheels, all with a hardtail comparable weight of 24.5lbs made for a remarkably advanced bike.

The frame was built out of Easton’s then-new Varilite 7005 series aluminum tubing and featured extensive use of CNC machining to fabricate the swingarm. Though not as sophisticated as the later Answer versions of the bike, the unorthodox shock, raw aluminum look and the aerospace grade machined sections made the Manitou FS prototype a sensation when it was first shown at Interbike.

One of the early iterations of what would become boost. 145mm in 1991
Doug and Charlie Cunningham were pioneers of wide spaced hubs going back to the early 80s

They say he made that hub from a bigger hub
In order to achieve the 145mm rear spacing Doug cut a normal Shimano XTR hub in half and installed a widening spacer between the two halves
1991 Bradbury Manitou
Doug designed and built not only his frames, forks and stem, but also these custom wide hubs. This 115mm front hub features an early Paul component skewer custom made for the wide hubs

Ahead of the Curve

Today, virtually every manufacturer has multiple full suspension bikes in their lineup. In the early 90s, however, major companies like Trek, Cannondale and Specialized were just putting forth their first attempts at rear-sprung rigs. Most of those early designs just plainly didn’t work, with some being utterly laughable.

That’s why this bike, built by a guy in his garage is simply amazing. Not only was it striking to behold, but it actually worked well on the trail. I’ve ridden the FS a fair amount both out west and more recently on the east coast and the bike always puts a smile on my face. I think riders used to modern bikes would quickly find the limits of the Manitou, but for those who can keep it in perspective of its time would likely see it for the impressive piece of kit it was, and is.

1991 Bradbury Manitou

The CBR Dogbone... one of the coolest crank designs ever made
The Cook Bros Dogbone... one of the coolest crank designs ever made.

Doug’s contribution to mountain biking can’t be overstated. Not only did he launch one of the larger fork brands, after selling his design and intellectual rights to Answer, but this frame design would also see mass production under the Answer brand. Under the skilled pilotage of Jurgen Beneke, Bradbury’s dual suspension design won the 1993 UCI DH World Cup, as well as the 1994 Mammoth Kamikaze and Rebook Eliminator.

My only complaint about it is a bit of play and lateral flex in the rear end, which at times make it feel like the bike wanders a bit when pushed hard. On paper it’s very similar to my Pivot Mach 429SL, with nearly identical head tube and seat tube angles and reach. The biggest difference is the seat to bar drop which is striking, especially when the bikes are side by side. The Manitou’s wheelbase is a full two inches shorter, which makes it a bit easier to handle in tight technical sections - up to a point.


Saying something is similar on paper is fine but side by side the differences are quite striking
Saying something is similar on paper is fine, but side by side the differences are quite striking

1991 Bradbury Manitou
Shimano's M900 XTR group wasn't released to the public until 1992, however Doug and a few other builders received prototype parts in 1991

The Manitou and Pivot are separated by nearly 30 years of development in MTB technology and I don’t mean to imply the bikes are in any way equals, but I can’t deny that that the Manitou’s design was extremely forward thinking for the time and much more than a glimpse of what was to come.

Later, Bradbury’s design was licensed to Marin (among others) where Jurgen took the bike to a 2nd at the UCI DH WC. Bradbury’s forward-thinking prototype suspension bike remained in production until 1996, after which, a new design was released with a more conventional linkage-driven single shock, mounted under the top tube.

Doug stayed in the industry supporting Answer in their product development team through the mid 1990s and later joined forces with John Tomac to start the Tomac bicycles brand. Though the Tomac brand was relatively short lived, the Manitou brand, Doug's original creation, is still alive and well. In fact their newest lineup of forks has returned to the classic livery found on his first bikes, a testament to the lasting impact he made on the sport of mountain biking



Bike history and photos courtesy of Second Spin Cycles


192 Comments

  • 226 9
 Better looking than that Pivot for sure!
  • 35 1
 That Pivot looks like a kids climbing frame.
  • 11 29
flag rockyflowtbay (Mar 16, 2020 at 12:26) (Below Threshold)
 I’m taking the pivot.
  • 42 1
 The Pivot mach 4 is one of the ugliest bikes to be designed, produced, and bought. Go ahead, look it up.
  • 8 1
 @Ron-C: the Pivot Mach 4 Carbon is what you're talking about. That bike was FUGLY. I had one and couldn't look at it anymore and sold it. His bike is the Mach 429SL, much better-looking but still not great with that swoopy gussett from the toptube to the seattube on the larger sizes.
  • 2 0
 @BmanInBigD: “couldn’t look at it anymore and sold it.” LOL
  • 74 1
 Stem designer clearly moved onto greater things at Tesla's truck division.....
  • 4 0
 Well, Bradbury made the stem.
  • 50 0
 Oh hell ya. How many times have we mentioned this bike in the comments? Awesome to see it. And check out those vintage parts - M737 pedals man. Cook Bros cranks. Old school drool.
  • 8 4
 No fan of those pedals mud and snow lock them up, screws fall out, but they did last forever. B derailleur screws were same size and pitch,
  • 4 4
 This is your brain on drugs.
  • 6 2
 737 pedals accumulated so much mud it was ridiculous ... though they never wore out.
  • 11 1
 I had one of those myself. Fantastic bike until Rockshox came out with hydraulic damping forks. Once I tried those I sold the Manitou. Elastomer forks were finicky to keep working well. You wouldn't think so but you'd always be trying to add grease/oil to them to keep them smoother and quieter. Doug was a great guy and genius in design that rarely gets the credit he deserves.
  • 9 1
 @chasejj: i put speed springs in my manitou 3 after the elastomers were toasted after years of abuse
  • 3 1
 I still have a pair of 737 pedals that I bought new running on my commuter bike, and have never needed a service.
  • 2 1
 @husstler: I agree...bomb proof.....I still got my set, changed out the axles and bearings on them once.
  • 1 0
 @wwwwww: just like triggers broom.
  • 1 0
 I wish someone would make a crank like that nowadays
  • 36 0
 "Doug’s contribution to mountain biking can’t be understated."
Obvisouly you mean :
"His contribution can't be overstated"
  • 23 0
 English is my second language, I get tripped up on these nuances. Smile
  • 28 0
 @mkozaczek: Most natives of this land don't seem to know at all about these nuances.
  • 16 0
 @mkozaczek: this is an incredibly well written and researched article. Keep up the great work.
  • 3 0
 @mkozaczek: Juergen Beneke won World Cups in 93 and 94 on the Manitou prior to his move to schwinn

He was UCI winner overall in 93 on the Manitou and second in 94
  • 6 0
 @mkozaczek: Given Americans say "I could care less" when they clearly mean "I couldn't care less" I can see how you'd get tripped up.
  • 4 4
 @lukeb: correct grammar is for scholarly papers not pinkbike comments
  • 2 0
 @lukeb: irregardless is another fake word that always irks me.
  • 1 0
 @thomasjkenney1024: I can care less. Get it right...
  • 1 0
 @jordanaustino: me and my old boss had a joke that when one of us would say regardless the other would respond with, even irregardless?
  • 32 3
 $5 says John Tomac could still woop 95% of guys on that thing in a local enduro....
  • 4 3
 you're on
  • 3 0
 @RadBartTaylor: another thing about that video think about what video device the guy recording had to lug about
  • 24 0
 That XTR logo is to date the best looking logo in the industry. Clean. Simple. Great font.
  • 12 0
 I would def buy a retro designed xtr 12 speed derailleur
  • 22 1
 "Most of those early designs just plainly didn’t work, with some being utterly laughable"

Now this is an article I want to see!
  • 16 0
 Working on it!!
  • 9 0
 @mkozaczek: I have a near-NOS 1992ish Trek 9000 in XL...the worst of the worst, ha. Got it an Van BC for $60. Rode it all over downtown, in and out of traffic, and doing wheelies — in neon yellow Oakley Mumbos and no helmet, stupidly (it was an impromptu ride as I found cheap parking and it was a beautiful day). Got some looks from a neon green Lamborghini driver like “that neon orange is brighter than my car” =P
  • 3 0
 @WRCDH: Yeah, that bike is at the tippy top of the list for "how bad can bad really be" and would be included in that list of misteps along the way to functioning FS designs.
  • 8 0
 @mkozaczek: call it "Now that wasn't a bike!"
  • 3 0
 Absolutely! I love learning about retro bikes and the history of mtb.
  • 7 0
 1996 Klein Mantra Pro - on descents it literally throws you over the bars! HAHA! www.pinkbike.com/news/1996-klein-mantra-pro-now-that-was-a-bike.html
  • 2 0
 @caldog: in the comments for the Mantra article someone said it looks like a Session... Oh pinkbike lol
  • 1 0
 Those Cannondales from 1991 were atrocious....High Pivot Mac Struts for rear suspension....with a rigid fork...but wait for it....they came with Girvin Flexstems!

vintagecannondale.com/year/1991/1991.pdf
  • 1 0
 Suggestions: GT RTS-1 and Ibis Bow Ti.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: Giant Box - URT Ftw!
  • 2 0
 @FurryCrew: I have a 1991 SE-2000 sitting here that I intend to get up and running and feature here soon
  • 1 0
 @mkozaczek: This is great to hear.....as much as I know this suck now I still thought they were the bees knees back in 1991 :-)
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: RTS-1 is actually a valid suspension design. It's a 1st attempt at a VPP type suspension and all the numbers measure up to modern designs....we just didn't have the material science and experience to fully pull it off in the early 1990s
  • 2 0
 @mkozaczek: Please tell me you have a Slingshot+flexstem bike somewhere for us to roast!
  • 1 0
 @FurryCrew: I don't personally, but I think I can find one. Got lots of fun stuff lined up. Some good, but mostly not so much
  • 1 0
 @caldog: and those are commanding some pretty good money with a complete starting at $750 and topping out over $2500.
  • 1 0
 @FurryCrew: Pinkbike did the Slingshot already (I was going to suggest it too).
  • 1 0
 @alexhyland: I forgot about The Great URT dilemma of the '90s. I am ashamed.
  • 1 0
 @secondspincycles:
Gotta find an Allsop beam bike with one of their stems.

The standover height on those things....
community.bikehub.co.za/topic/121517-allsop-softride
  • 10 0
 I was thinking about a side web project, where I catalog side profile shots from bike manufactures and then build a web interface to normalize the pictures based off wheelbase length and allow users to overlay the pictures at key points (rear hub, bottom bracket, front hub) then add a transparency filter to one of the choosen pictures. The idea being to compare geometries, visually. Would there be a interest in this from a PB user perspective?
  • 1 0
 It would be very useful to Linkage (www.bikechecker.com) users if you could un-fisheye these side profile photos. A library of non-distorted photos would be wonderful.
  • 8 0
 Feel lucky to have seen this bike, and many other crazy contraptions in Doug's garage / attic / storage. One of the coolest dudes you'll meet too! #designedbyBradbuy. I also rode his Factory Tomac bikes for a while, and can safely say they were WAY ahead of their time.
  • 7 0
 This bike came straight out of his attic, rescued about 4 years ago and only recently brought back to life.
  • 6 0
 Rich, I was at I think your first downhill race at Ski Bowl 25 or so years ago. . . Riding the Marin version of this bike. Took most of the top and bottom out elastomers to get more travel. I raced Juniors and I think you won the adult race with a broken chain.
  • 3 0
 @mkozaczek: So you've seen the bike with moto tires on it too??!
  • 4 0
 @Olimac: Whoa! I do remember that race, although it wasn't my very 1st, but probably only my 3rd race? I broke a chain 1/2 down and used some BMX skills to pump / flow to the win! haha.
  • 2 0
 @richhouseman: Back when the trails didn't have much for rollers to pump off of. You and your brother were first riders I saw with bmx skills and just killed everybody! Anyway, good memories.
  • 2 0
 @richhouseman: Check my photo gallery, I have a few pics of it in there
  • 1 0
 @Olimac: Thanks for the kind words buddy. Happy trails.
  • 1 0
 @mkozaczek: VERY cool! I learned more listening to Doug, than I did riding for 30yrs! haha. Fortunate to have crossed paths. Thanks for jarring my memory! Happy trails.
  • 7 0
 Greg Herbold piloted one of these in an early 90s Chihuahuan Desert Challenge. It was the first full suspension I'd seen. Rishi Grewal won that year, with David Turner and Tinker Juarez also podiuming.
  • 5 0
 Wow those names bring back memories...
  • 6 0
 @donpinpon29: what’s crazy is that Tinker Juarez is still out there racing and can beat all but some of the best riders.
  • 1 0
 @LittleDominic: He's the prototype of Nairo Qintana.
  • 9 0
 Love seeing the return of these posts!
  • 6 0
 Yes Sir, love it!! Those early Manitou forks were a game changer here in Western Colorado. I remember messing with the elastomer bumpers to get the right "squish". Still have them hanging on my wall.
  • 6 0
 I remember seeing Jake “Earthquake” Watson ride the Marin version of this bike in France back in ‘93... And he rode it like a mad man..!!
  • 5 0
 95 marin catalogue was like a bible for me. bought the 95 indian fire trail. what a cool and exciting time...the ano era
  • 4 0
 Know your history. Without this bike, modern bikes would likely still be in the stone ages of technology. For reference, forks back then were inflated with a sports ball needle, everything broke on your bike regularly, chains never stayed on, flat tires were expected and wheels never lasted very long. And most bikes being raced were still hard tails.
  • 1 0
 Which is why I couldn’t take mountain bikes seriously until 2017. I never understood why anyone would ride those glorified 10-speeds. But I’m thankful that someone did!
  • 4 0
 90's bikes are pretty sweet. I have this beautiful 1990 something Specialized S-Works M2 super, it has full XTR components with a old Rockshox judy fork. It weighs under 22 pounds, and Kids on my high school mtb team would make fun of it because they didn't know what it was. They thought it was hilarious until I passed them!
  • 1 0
 Light is right. Scott and Trek have some sweet new tech, but they aren't as spirited. But they are amazing, both generations.
  • 2 0
 I was hoping to find a photo of it but nope.. just upsidedown photos of the ground lol
  • 1 0
 Here is a picture that I took of it: www.pinkbike.com/photo/18403498
It must be a very rare bike, because you very rarely see pictures of it online. The one picture that I saw was the frame selling for 500 or so.
  • 1 0
 @TheWizardofSWAG: A good friend of mine, the owner of Desert Sports (Terlingua), had that same bike. It was about as good as they got.
  • 1 0
 @Geochemistry: the funny thing about it, is that I got it for $100 on my local classifieds! Quite the steal! It just needed a tune up.
  • 1 0
 @TheWizardofSWAG: Used bikes are hot and cold. I rescued a 94 GT RTS that only needed a better saddle and a Mag 21 seal kit, for free.

Most don't understand that those fork took the bigger hits and the narrower tire took care of the chunder, each by knowing the right pressure for your weight and ride area.

You knock a third of the travel off a modern 100mm XC fork for sag, and it has the same travel as the Mag's. Just a lot better feel for the new fork, though.
  • 5 0
 An absolute classic. Remember these fondly from back in the day. These were considered downhill bikes back then. Even so, a handful of folks rode them XC.
  • 8 0
 "short" 120mm stem
  • 3 0
 The clean “fast” lines, svelte angular parts, and proportions of that Manitou are so aesthetically pleasing to my eyes. That Manitou is the Ferrari F40 of the MTB world, IMO. Intense is one of the few other brands over the years that has consistently produced “fast” looking bikes that really catch my eye (which is partially why I’ve owned about 15 of them from 1995 to present =). Turners too — well, prior to most of their DW bikes...pretty sure DW is entirely an engineer and not an industrial designer, judging by Pivot’s designs that often hurt my eyes and aesthetically-oriented engineer’s mind (although my blue-ano aluminum Mach 4 looks pretty good =)
  • 4 0
 "That Manitou is the Ferrari F40 of the MTB world."

Awesome line, and yes one of the best looking bikes of all time.
  • 3 0
 I like my modern MTBs full suspension or hardtail, but one thing I find pretty comic in the comments about anything older than last year is the idea that mountain biking has been somehow made much more fun by the development of bike technology. Riding was really fun even in the 80s, and the bikes were almost like what we think of as gravel bikes now (maybe a little bit wider tires - not a lot). And the marketing rhetoric was amazingly similar concerning technology.

What I think has really improved mountain biking is the proliferation of trails. There are so many more trails and many of them are awesome.
  • 4 0
 "On paper it’s very similar to my Pivot Mach 429SL, with nearly identical head tube and seat tube angles and reach."

Wait, what?
  • 7 0
 Manitou HT 70.5 - Pivot 70.3 Manitou ST 73 - Pivot 73.25 I don't have the reach numbers off hand, but they were pretty close
  • 4 2
 The main pivot should be higher and the rearward pivots lower, to integrate disc brake mounts on the seatstays, but I'm actually looking at this rear suspension concept with fresh eyes now, and I think that it's awesome. Nice and rigid, and really clean looking to boot. Also a ton of space for water bottles or whatever inside the main frame. I think someone should do a modern, long travel version of it.
  • 2 0
 It's been something I've wanted to try for ages. I own an Ag bike that uses the same concept and i Merida used to make one with a similar design too. One thing i'm worried about is flex though
  • 2 2
 @sack-javage: Hum no, I think it can be nice and rigid, especially with a crown like this one has for the cantilever brakes. The demands are different from a fork. I think the weight should be the main drawback. But also possibly, not so much.
  • 5 0
 Dougal is going to love this.
  • 3 0
 That design in the back makes me question the idea. Maybe we could put a fork on the back of a bike.
Sorta like the linkage driven forks, reversed?
  • 2 0
 @mcaninch35: dude, I thought my idea was original.
  • 3 0
 I would have gladly traded one of my 16 year old testicles for this bike back in those days....and the other for the titanium Marin bikes version.
  • 3 0
 That Marin was a bike that made me think that having one kidney isn't all THAT bad.
  • 1 0
 i love seeing these older bikes. back then i was rocking a Raleigh amazon with wheels made of cheese and weighed probably close to 40lbs.....wasnt until 94 before i got my first decent but cheap mtb a kona fire mountain but i would have loved one of these. crazy to think how fragile it looks now compared to modern bikes.
  • 1 0
 Please PB, make more of these retro bike/mtb history articles. This is such a fun thing to learn about and the pictures are amazing. I love my 2020 FS bike, but I'd love to start collecting some of these older bikes and restoring them. MTB history is just fascinating!!!
  • 1 0
 All this bike shows is how much influence road riding has had on MTB, and how its taken fucking 30 years to move away from it. Meanwhile, if you look at motorcycles or bmx bikes from 1991, they look almost similar to today's bikes with the exception of a few styling issues.
  • 1 0
 I had that fork! Mounted it to my 1993 Nishiki Expedition, and promptly stripped the crown clamping threads. Drilled it out and thru-bolted it, and made inner tube boots for the stanctions. My Quadra 21 seemed like a huge upgrade several years later
  • 1 0
 Was lucky enough to be sponsored by Andy Kyfin (steve peats old mechanic) back in the 90's and he gave me one to race it was a dream back then. Even got to ride the weapon down the in famous Cap d'ail South of france world cup race in 1995. Brilliant days. Thanks Kyfin.
  • 1 0
 When Doug calls Manitou, and was denied a fork for his latest frame:

reviews.mtbr.com/crested-butte-chronicles-catching-up-with-doug-bradbury/2

"When it came time to pick a fork, Bradbury opted for a Manitou of course. But he had to pay for it. “I called them up told them I started the company and who I was, but the guy on the phone said, ‘I’d like to help you but I’ve never heard of you.’ So I just found the one I wanted on eBay and bought it. That was kind of embarrassing, but I couldn’t bring myself to put a RockShox on the bike.” "
  • 1 0
 "To counteract the dreaded pogo effect under pedaling Doug kept things simple and maintained a fixed chainstay length resulting in a predictable pedaling platform"

Umm, no. This design has zero anti-squat, and likely has pro-squat in most gears, especially the big sprint gears when the rider's CG is going to be bobbing already. This thing will pogo like crazy. But, hey, no pedal kickback!
  • 1 0
 Ok yeah. I need to larn the proper terms. As a guy who's been living in the world of vintage hardtails, my suspension speak at a toddler level. What I meant is that while there is some bob in the bike there is no feedback from the drivetrain. That pedaling feedback was one of the worst features of the early FS designs.
  • 1 0
 "Though not a very conventional approach as far as bike suspension goes, twin rear struts were commonly used in motorcycle design"

No bike suspension was conventional yet. In couple paragraphs you tell us that most manufacturers were just starting on their first FS designs, but this one is "unconventional"? Makes no sense.
  • 1 0
 Fair enough, but up until this time all of the other designs that had been fielded (which numbered more than 2) relied on a single rear shock.
  • 1 0
 "Saying something is similar on paper is fine, but side by side the differences are quite striking"

Striking differences? The bars are a bit lower and forward on the Manitou, and the (static, might be very close at sag) BB is a bit lower. Other wise, it looks like the wheelbases are quite close with maybe a little bit more front-center on the Pivot, and the reach on the Manitou looks the same or longer! Hell, the effective seat-tube angle might be steeper on the Manitou as well!
  • 1 0
 Bars are a bit lower??? No... it's a huge difference when you sit on eihter bike, even with sag the Pivot sits a mile higher up front which at least for me dramatically changes how the bike feels. Not gonna argue the rest, but the feel of these two bikes when just riding around, not even really pushing it is dramatically different. FWIW the wheelbase on the Pivot is a 2.25" longer, which you notice a bit in some tight singletrack, but again I'm never pushing as hard on the vintage bikes as I do on the modern ones - which isn't that hard either
  • 1 0
 Almost every single aspect of mountain bikes has been changed. The only parts here that would work or bolt on a "modern" bike is the drivetrain, and even it is an outdated 3X system. Amazing how much things have changed.
The Oury grips are still usable if you're not into lock on grips I suppose.
  • 3 0
 This was my dream bike back in the day. Such an understated piece of design.
  • 3 0
 Had the hardtail version of this bike until about 12 months ago. They are simply works of art.
  • 1 0
 I remember seeing one of those in a shop in Fort Worth back in the early '90s. At that time, it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen in real life. Still love the vintage bike articles!
  • 1 0
 Had a slightly newer one of these, yes it felt good, but suspension used to kick to one side or the other when pushed in off cambers that would send you seriously of track, other than that wish I had kept it!
  • 1 0
 BALANCE brand bikes used the Manitou suspension design as well and had a pretty good line for a couple years and then just faded away. They even used Suntour's 8 speed MicroDrive drive-train with twist shifters
  • 3 0
 This and the Ibis Bow-Ti were my dream bikes as a kid. Instead I was on a Panasonic MTB
  • 1 0
 some Panasonic were not that bad!
  • 4 0
 Did someone say CRACK! If you owned one, you know.
  • 1 0
 Any collectors out there want one? I have a 93 med. fs with green wild grippers for sale. Definitely rides way better than these new modern day slack bikes with disk brakes and dropper posts.
  • 2 0
 I wanted one of those bikes so bad. actually wrote Doug a letter (this was the 90's) asking him about his bikes and he wrote back...never bought one but I wanted to!
  • 1 0
 Can somebody please photoshop a modern gavel bike into that pic of the two bikes overlaying each other so we can all see that gravel bikes are basically 90s mountain bikes with 700c wheels?
  • 3 0
 Cooks RSR 181mm!!!!! Makes me *really* want to build up my old Klein.
  • 2 0
 Can't even get new Shimano 180mm cranks.
  • 1 0
 This was my dream bike as a kid. I still have a set of those forks. Elastomer bumpers.. so basically rigid on a really cold day lol.
  • 2 0
 My cousin still has one of his first mountainbikes with that fork in the front. I helped him rebuilt the fork recently and sourced some elastomers for him. He took out the old elastomers and left them on the workbench for a couple of hours. When he came back all he found was a green-blue puddle! They just.. disintegrated completely. Crazy shit.
  • 3 1
 that pivot legit has the same head angle and a slacker seat tube anglee. pathetic. talk about modern geo
  • 3 0
 Bring back 145mm hubs!!

...hey SRAM,it was only a joke,ok?!
  • 2 0
 I wanted a Manatou hardtail bad in the early/mid 90s. Settled for a SuperGo hardtail.
  • 2 0
 Anyone remember the FS bike he built with custom wheels and 3" moto tires? He had some cool ideas.
  • 2 0
 Oh yeah... I'm hoping to feature that bike sometime. It's a beast!
  • 1 0
 @mkozaczek: In the past, I've dug around in the internet archives of all of the likely suspect mtb mags from the day looking for the article someone wrote on it without luck. I was left wondering if it was the leftovers of some long ago fever dream, I'm glad you confirmed it wasn't, I'd love to see it again. Thinking about it through the lens of today, it was some sort of futuristic FS fat/enduro bike solving problems that no one else could see at the time.
  • 1 0
 It looks like the seatpost had a repaired/replaced head?
I still have the hardware of the original one - it came off after a while.
  • 2 0
 That's how it came, it was a custom 31.8 seatpost shaft with the head assembly provided by Ringle from their Moby posts. Since nobody made posts in that diameter Doug had to make his own.
  • 1 0
 @mkozaczek: duh... right, so this is before they made the manitou post. 1991.
  • 1 0
 Practically no anti-squat and handlebars vertically above the front axle... Everybody, moment of gratitude for the progress that has been made since then.
  • 1 0
 I rode one of the Answer versions I've never riden anything that could power slide(no brakes) like it the low pivot is key I reckon
  • 1 0
 I still love the square section chainstays. Some amazing details but overall there were far more cohesive looking designs only a couple of years away.
  • 1 0
 So the newer bike in the background has a higher seattube and less reach ? Then the old one must be a beast on the descents after adding a dropper!
  • 1 0
 I wanted one of these so badly back in the day. I know a dropper would ruin the old-school aesthetic, but adding one would make this thing a ton of fun.
  • 1 0
 Awesome throwback! Brings back memory’s of my first years mt biking the moto trails behind my parents house, reading MBA dreaming of riding stead’s like this!
  • 3 2
 It was a great design in its day. Makes me think that geometry on that Pivot is a bit rubbish now tho..
  • 1 3
 Beautiful bike! As well as the Answer/Manitou Marin's that followed with the Manitou 2's and 3's.

For the pedals, those look like 535/525's not not the 737's as those were silver. But I could be wrong and I might be thinking mid 90's.
  • 3 0
 Oh, those are M737’s, M747’s were silver. 737’s didn’t have float, 747’s did — different base-plate designs on the pedals. The 5-series were later I think, produced in black at the same time as the 747’s.
  • 3 0
 Just looked it up...the M737 was introduced in 1990, the M525 was a similar design to the M737 but cheaper and was introduced in 1993. The M747 was introduced in 1995. M535 was the M747-era cheaper black pedal and was introduced I’m guessing in 1996.
  • 3 0
 Those are 737 for sure. Still have two pairs and both run smoother than new crankbrothers hahaha (fact)
  • 2 1
 One thing this article didn't mention is that a lot of those frames broke, all the one I have seen anyways.
  • 5 0
 Correction: Actually the ones that were made by Answer broke I think
  • 1 0
 @sansarret: Nah, everyone I knew who had a Manitou broke it at some point. I'm surprised that this one is being ridden because of that. Not unusual in that era of frames. I used to live up the street from his shop, I would have killed for one, they were way out of my price range.
  • 1 0
 @sansarret: Yes I had an Answer built one that had a crack on lower pivot weld but never got any worst, while I had it, then I left it in a bike shop in Edinburgh, wonder that ever happened to it?
  • 2 0
 @ForrestRover: full disclosure, this bike has a new HT and had several cracks repaired on the rear swingarm... it'll continue to see light trail use though
  • 1 0
 @secondspincycles: Bike is nice to look at but compared to newer suspension designs it is only really good to look at it, but wonder what a 29er version would ride like?
  • 2 0
 This would look so good in my Tesla Pickup.
  • 1 1
 And every si gle one cracked at the headtube. They where not dreamed to the right spec. So many cracked just putting in headsets.
  • 3 0
 I still those oury grips
  • 2 0
 My dream bike back in the day. Never was able to get one.
  • 2 0
 I would like to take this machine for a ride.
  • 2 0
 Flashback of Jurgen Beneke smashing through stuff on this on Eurosport!
  • 1 0
 Awesome, amazing to see both bikes side by side. Now, PLEASE do the same with the Tomac Magnum DH bike..
  • 1 0
 I saw Jurgen Beneke racing it in Kaprun DH. Frightening, bouncing down the ridge halfway down the course in 20 m leaps.
  • 1 0
 The Maniyou FS was (and actually still is) a dream bike. I just love how it looks Smile
  • 1 0
 Funny how the big front rings and the small ones in the back have slowly swapped location haha
  • 1 0
 If you like this retro stuff @secodspin on insta refurbishes all the gear from the glory days
  • 1 0
 In EU we could only dream these kind of bikes at that time!
  • 1 0
 Rear tire's on backwards...????
  • 1 0
 Not according to manufacturer spec... things were funny like that back then, a front tire reversed was also a rear tire...
  • 1 0
 That front mech' setup though eesh Frown
  • 1 0
 Looks faster than Grim Donut!! Levy please prove us that i'm wrong!!!!
  • 1 0
 This bike might be the origin of the term "front fork"...
  • 1 0
 My OCD! XTR M900 wasn't about in 1991!
  • 1 0
 The parts on this bike are prototypes and provided to Doug (and other )before public release.
  • 1 0
 Childhood, memories... I'm getting old. :-)
  • 1 0
 The ugliest bikes ride the best = FACT
  • 2 3
 God I love new bikes. I would not be able to ride the trails I ride like I do with a bike like that. God bless new bikes.
  • 1 0
 No SESSION around here !
  • 1 0
 Nice bike !!!
  • 1 1
 Eleanor, my Eleanor!
  • 2 5
 Such posts feel so irrelevant at the moment...
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