Retro Tech: 6 Classic Mountain Bikes - Crankworx Whistler 2018

Aug 19, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
Every summer, the Whistler Bike Park fills up with high-end downhill and enduro bikes, and when the pros roll into town for Crankworx that number climbs even higher. Carbon frames and wheels, flashy paint jobs, top-of-the-line suspension – you'll see it all waiting in the lift line. Even the rental bikes have improved, and now it's typically the full knee / shin guards paired with extra-short lycra shorts that makes it clear that a rider is new to DH riding.

Amidst all of these fancy machines there are still a few classics, bikes that have withstood a decade or more of hard use. They're getting harder to find every year as they're replaced by more modern options, but they're still out there if you look hard enough. Here are six retro rides that stood out from the crowd:


DH classis

DH classis
DH classis
Kyle Hass has been the proud owner of this Cove Shocker since 2008, and it's still going strong ten years later.



DH classis

DH classics
DH Classics
Okay, so a 2011 Banshee Legend frame may be a little too modern to really be considered a classic, but that '03 Marzocchi Monster T definitely qualifies. According to Andrew, the bike's owner, he was tired of wearing out bushings and running into other maintenance problems on newer suspension forks, so he decided to go with this vintage beast


Kona Stinky Garbo

Kona Stinky Garbo
Kona Stinky Garbo
Alice Pallister was visiting Whistler from Revelstoke, BC, with her Kona Stinky Garbanzo Edition, complete with a floating disc brake. She's only owned the bike for two years, but it's a 2008 model, and likely saw plenty of miles in the bike park as a rental bike.


DH Classics

DH Classics
DH Classics
Bri Okerman has had this flashy purple 2008 Specialized SX Trail for five years, but this was her very first time visiting Whistler. The SX Trail was one of the first bikes that started popping up in the bike park during a time when full-blown DH bikes reigned supreme. Of course, there are still plenty of DH bikes out there, but there are also more enduro / all-mountain bikes in the lift line than ever before.


DH Classics

DH Classics
DH Classics
Levi denHertog is from Chilliwack, BC, and picked up this 2007 Rocky Mountain Switch just a few weeks ago - it's his first downhill bike. The Marzocchi Shiver inverted dual crown fork is older than the bike, but it still enjoys a cult following to this day.


DH Classics

DH Classics
DH Classics
And the award for the oldest bike in the Whistler Bike Park goes to Riaz Pardhan and his 1996 Santa Cruz Heckler, complete with V-brakes and a Marzocchi Z1 Drop Off. He's the original owner, and typically makes it up to the bike park 4-5 days a year.


MENTIONS: @officialcrankworx



150 Comments

  • + 154
 Heckler looks like someone's welded a pair of wheels to a gate!
  • + 58
 Yet 22 years later it's still trucking along. They don't make them like they used to indeed.
  • + 27
 I haven't seen those Tioga tyres for an easy 15 years, maybe even longer than that. They must be dried out like nylon by now.
  • + 13
 Ol' Bullitt is a member of the family and will be forever. But I rode it around the yard the other day and could only think,"holy shite, we used to think this was a downhill bike". Sooo short.
  • + 2
 Those drop offs were from 2000-2001? I had the green ones (after i snapped my orange ones at the disc mount). 120mm of travel. Huuuuge!
  • + 24
 But it’s a coil sprung gate, so it’s cool...
I’d be petrified to ride there with V-brakes.
  • + 2
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: got one on the hardtail, still in one piece...
  • + 17
 First thought that popped into my head was wow awesome!, Second thought was he should run to Marz and replace that crown/stanchions asafp. 20 years of metal fatigue and those things are ripe to snap at completely the wrong time - ask me how I know...
  • + 1
 Correction, welded a gate to a pair of wheels.
  • - 9
flag omclive (Aug 19, 2018 at 17:15) (Below Threshold)
 @haileypooch: That entire bike gives me the willies! When you put metals under high stress cycles, and then let them sit for a long period, and then put then again under stress you are looking for something to break. (one of the reasons that a car that has been sitting for along time will breakdown when you go to use it again) I would be afraid of every part of that bike failing catastrophically.

I bet every piece of rubber is dried and brittle. I remember those tioga tires being crap in the day, can't imagine riding whistler with a bald, vintage pair.
  • + 6
 @ReformedRoadie: Nothing wrong with a good set of v brakes, aside from maybe in the wet, il bet he has strong fingers.
  • + 28
 @zyoungson: hey babe, I ride v-brakes if you know what I mean.
  • + 11
 You better put some respect to your elders. The Heckler is the genesis of a lot of bikes out there. Still have a 95 model in my stable and was still riding it in parks up to 2014!
  • - 4
flag fecalmaster (Aug 20, 2018 at 0:27) (Below Threshold)
 Those old rocky mountains still give me diarrhea.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Yes, but they ride way better now.
  • + 1
 I wouldn't be worried about running the Heckler at all. I still have a '97 Chameleon which is fine. I also have a few of those Tioga tyres around and they haven't dried out. I don't run V's on any of my bikes now but a decent set has plenty power; my last bad accident was from being fired over the bars by an Avid arch rival when a dog ran out in front of me.
  • + 5
 @lacuna: a dog in the spokes is more effective than any v-brake booster
  • + 3
 @ReformedRoadie: better then the kid there rocking those Hayes Solos. Those are scary terrible.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Didn't hit the dog but did end up breaking my elbow in half when I hit the deck!
  • + 5
 At least they are at focking whistler.
  • + 1
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: I had one from 2000 and then bought a couple more in 2012, front and rear version. Still have them around. The later versions had lighter flanks.
  • + 1
 @haileypooch: cmon ride it... how come the fork was not snapped after 1 year... and if the vintages tioga were properly used he would ride on the rim! Anyway it is always good to see a Shiver or a Karpiel mounted on 24" with Monster T. Sad no ones were found here!
  • + 85
 You guys need to come to a Downhill race in Ensenada Mexico!, this bikes are not retro!, we all in here had those bikes!
  • + 14
 I would absolutely click on that article.
  • + 3
 @phile99: Agreed, that's a story that needs to be written! C'mon PB, send someone down there.
  • + 1
 Totally agree.
  • + 36
 Monsters and Shivers.......the best of days right there baby! Just send that shit!
  • + 3
 Still have a 2004 monster T. I like to run it every now and then. It makes all other DH forks feel like noodles. Other than maybe an avalanche or something of that nature.
  • + 1
 I miss my '03 Shivers... Frown
  • + 0
 20 years later and Zoke forks are reigning still. Won't see that from the latest and greatest, lucky if they make it 3 seasons.
  • + 1
 Almost due for their first maintenance.
  • + 2
 @bishopsmike: I got one of my monster T's 3 years ago. It had never had an oil change or seals replaced. Clearly I changed both, and even added an air assist system.
  • + 12
 I bought my first real mountain bike in 1989...it was a fully rigid cannondale sm500. I have seen everything in the world of mountain biking and some of it was good and some of it was bad, very bad. What surprises me is I can think back to any period of biking and I remember thinking how modern everything was and couldn't imagine how they could improve the technology. In fact that's how I feel now. Bikes are so good I don't know what they could do to make them better. As I think back to all the older bikes I have owned there is one that stands out and it's my 1999 Kona Stab Dee-lux. It was my first real DH Bike. I put a pair of White Bros UD-180 forks on it. That bike was built like a tank and weighed about as much. I could roll over any rock garden or huge drop and it wouldn't even flinch. The late 90s and early 2000s was a time that DH bikes were over built and they didn't even try to be light weight. I rode with dudes with Karpiels that had 12 inches of travel and avalanche forks that had 15 inches. Huge Nokian Gazzalodi 3 inch tires. It really was like the new frontier in the wild, wild, west of DH biking.
  • + 2
 U made me cry !!!
  • + 1
 I was one of those. I had a schwinn straight 8 that weighed over 50lbs. Shiver DC, purple hayes brakes, profile racing cranks, 24" sun modo wheels with 24x3.0 intense tires. It was a urban stair gap machine.
  • + 11
 Mike, we need to talk. And define what a classic is. Honestly and with all the good intentions. Peace out!

P.S.: Only the Heckler qualifies. Smile
  • + 4
 This is exactly what I was thinking. I was hoping to see old Intense, Yeti, Lawwmill or Foes Fab.
  • + 2
 @zonoskar: Given that most of these riders are from presumably from Canada, you're going to see what was more homegrown or at least more widely available here. Intense, Yeti, Lawwill and Foes are all much more American brands (and thus harder much harder to come by north of the border).
  • + 1
 @gdharries: I feel you, but Intense, Yeti and Foes are classics regardless of the meridian! This has nothing to do with Canada and our love for it, but with the definition of what is classic and what is not. I'm sorry, but these bikes are not as ”classic” as some of you like to believe they are. Most of them are just old bikes and the title would've been good enough like that.

According to definition, classic is ”a work of art of recognized and established value.” and/or ”very typical for its kind”. We can leave the Stinky out of the equation, because it's just scrap metal and a poor excuse of a bike. The Cove is nice, but it never attained the status that some American brands above did. Maybe in a few years. The SX Trail was an interesting and somehow weird bike for its time, but it didn't define a category, as it stood alone for a good while and, ironically, this is what made it so special: it was a bike for those in-the-know. Future classic? Maybe, but let another decade pass. Same for the Rocky, with a little added value for not being a child of an international behemoth. I like the Banshee a lot as a a bike, but a fork alone doesn't make it ”classic”. One of Pippin Osbourne's ugly-ass creations would probably qualify much more as classics.

I write these words looking at a first generation Stab in blue with yellow flames, an early DeeMax wheel and a GT Lobo front end. Just for the record.

Cheers,
Mx
  • + 1
 @Maxipedia: And I guess I'm referring to "local" classics. That is, bikes and bike brands available to riders in and around Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler during the mid-2000s time period. Generally local bike shops carried the brands you see in the photos above. Thus, it's why some cyclists from this area bought and apparently are still riding those particular bikes.
  • + 4
 Good luck finding one of those bikes in the park. Ridden hard and put away broken.
  • + 8
 I had a 2008 sx trail. man that thing could rail the park. I had the same setup too with a shorter length dhx air gave it a bit less travel but also reduced the head angle by a degree or more plus lowered the bb and sent your COG slighty back further. I wish i still had mine!
  • + 38
 SX Trail, Nomad, Reign X and Intense 6.6 were bikes ahead of their times. They laid foundations for modern 160 Enduro bikes. At the same time they were the only rideable 6” bikes at the time. The rest was utter shit. People these days don’t appreciate how great it is when 99% of bikes on the market ride great. Back then it was a minefield.
  • + 10
 @WAKIdesigns: Maybe add the Iron Horse 6 point in there.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: and the weight wasn't bad either! i think i got mine down to 34 pounds or so. xtr cranks and 721 rims. also had the first fox fit cartridge via a 2009 van 36 rc2. worked great!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I had an 08 reign x built at 31 lbs. I rode XC, DJ’d, and freerode everything but full on dh with it.
  • + 5
 @blk91: Transition Bottlerocket would like a word as well
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: agreed. I'm still riding a 2009 Reign X1, can't break the thing. I've done multi day XC on it and then smashed it down double blacks at most bike parks in BC. Every year I talk myself into buying something newer then shortly after test riding said bikes I talk myself out of it as I don't see them as $4k better than my bike. Makes it even harder to justify spending the cash when the MTB manufacturers can't make up their minds which standard to follow this week. maybe one day...
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: turner rfx was also a great bike
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Scott Voltage FR was my first and most loved bike.
Either DC Setup or even a dirtjump setup....Heck I rode.mine with 170mm.front and 160/180mm.back as an enduro and it was really good.

I want that exact.same bike just with little longer geo... The linkage design was on a whole other level
  • + 3
 @NotNamed: I was talking about AM/Enduro bikes. Scott Voltage FR was definintely an FR bike considering the weight and could be used for DH to a certain degree. Funny enough though, it was highly probably a better AM/Enduro bike than Scotts dedicated Genius or Ransom.
@funkzander - yes I forgot Turner, the 5.5 was sweet.
@groghunter: transition was building awesome FR and SS bikes at the time but I remember the first Covert and Preston FR - they were going through travel and folding like hell. It may have been the fault of air shocks of the time, but ugh, I will never forget how Preston with 5th element air had a hole in the mid travel.

I could eventually mention Session 77 but it was steep and heavy as Fk. I had my Nomad for 5 years before I decided to try Down Country for 2 years. Used it for everything from XC to DH tracks and I remember people being in awe of how much that bike could do. These days, most people take "do-it-all-ness" for granted. Back in 2008 it wasn't so easy.
  • + 2
 I had an original poo brown SX Trail and it was a great little bike - I was still using up until 2013. It climbed like a pig because the seat angle was too slack but it was so much fun descending. I still miss that bike because it was just so much fun.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: They sure were. My son (13) has a RaignX and loves it (the original gold one or silver if you are young and cant see that its light gold), I still have my Mk2 nomad too with Pushlink.
  • + 0
 @betsie: gold or silver?! How dare you? It's called Champaigne! Never heard of in the Highlands of Scotland aye? Whiskey and Wee Heavy only aye?
  • + 1
 That sx had the (high bb) mounting set on it which would have compensated for the short shock. I own two of these bad boys and was lucky enough to find a vivid air for them. With a little grinding on the frame to clear the air valve on the vivid, it'll slip right in there. With a 180 float on the front, I'd guess your looking at about 65-65.5 ha. With alitte component up grade I'm down to about 32 lbs. Combined with the short chain stay, this is a super fun playful bike that handles a fair share of DH but is pedalable. Back in the day they called it, "free ride". Good on you for rockn the SX! These bikes, in my opinion, still rip. There's nothing wrong with still enjoying the playful feeling of a 26" bike.
  • + 1
 @mindmap3: I had the same one, though I didn't keep it as long. Had a lot of fun on that bike!
  • + 9
 The brake pads on that Heckler must be melted goo when he gets to the bottom
  • + 49
 Or he’s fast as f*ck and doesn’t even touch the brakes
  • - 1
 Have you had such experience with rim brakes? I only switched to disk brakes a few years ago because for a long time, no disc brake could match the power of my rim brakes. And that could be said even now, after all it's like using 26" rotors.
  • + 6
 I cant believe that heckler hasn't cracked or snaped in half yet! I broke three rear ends on those, santa cruz replaced everyone, though after the third one I sold that damned thing! and that was in 96'....
  • + 8
 You should warn people a few weeks in advance that you’re going to do this, so people can trot out their museum pieces!
  • + 6
 I might need to - this year the older bikes were harder to find than ever.
  • + 7
 Crazy that something that costs $5000+ is considered a weird antique after 10 years.
  • + 6
 You should see my flip phone!
  • + 3
 Fake news. This post is blasphemy! We all know it is impossible to ride anything like those bikes on anything other than your driveway, and even then you better not venture off and into the street! /Sarcasm

That Heckler must be a blast with the v brakes! Bet that dude rips HARD. The Stinky & Switch are sweet as!

Great to see people enjoying the shit out of their bikes!

This 1 makes up for the other 1s Kaz LoL
  • + 3
 I rode my 2008 (I believe) Specialized Demo with Totem solo air on it at Vernon bike park for a couple days this summer. It worked just as well as ever (except the original Avid Juicy rear brake that I switched out after day 1). It weighs more than 40lbs but as long as you don't have to pedal uphill it is fun to ride.
I rode it a lot one summer as my main bike when I broke the frame on my Hei Hei, my partner loved it as she was notably quicker climbing than me.
  • + 5
 Wow i remember when those Hecklers looked modern and o wanted one so bad as a teenager
  • + 3
 Rad, love the older bikes, been around long enough to remember when those bikes were new, I recall watching Connor Fearon racing a Cove Shocker when he was about 14 and he still went faster than most of us now.
  • + 4
 So sick that people are still riding these things. I get excited when ever one rolls into our shop.
  • + 4
 these bikes arnt retro!! i should bring my 2000 giant dh atx team complete with 660mm bars now thats retro!!
  • + 4
 Miss Cove, a revamped Shocker would be so sick, would definitely ride. Still have a Hooker hanging in the garage
  • + 1
 The hooker was the coolest bike they made. Some might say Hummer... nope
  • + 3
 Hopefully these dudes are all rocking handle bars wider than 700mm! Sick bikes and brings me back to when Cove and Orange frames reigned supreme in the early 2000's up there.
  • + 1
 I ride classics primarily now. I just picked up a Psyklewerx Wild Hare to restore and an RMB ESTX30 that needs typical maintenance to ride. Cheap fun. Im no DH rider but I'd ride both of them in the WBP. Great for what I ride.
  • + 1
 I had a Heckler with a Junior T on it way back in the day. Hayes front hydraulic disc, rear XTR V brake. The rear brake was much more reliable than the front. I still miss that bike sometimes, it did have a tendency to ghost shift when pedalling though.
  • + 1
 My first big brand MTB was a '82 Specialized Rock Hopper, and yes, that's when suspension was sidewall and CroMo flex. I should have had the frame repaired when I cracked one of the cast drop outs. The warranty frame I received was no where near the quality...stamped drop out junk-still hanging from the garage ceiling, though, ready for any guest who wants to take her for a spin. Still has the original wheelset. When I was a kid, my 40+ lb Schwinn Stingray was as respected as any in the dirt, and I could jump 3 metal trash cans, clearing a 16' wide driveway in the process....lost that one to a thief. My '03 Bullit went on many interstate adventures, and is still rockin', Zokie style Smile
  • + 1
 How old is retro? I recently had my old (02) Cove G-spot give up permanently, with a blown shock, very worn out bushings and a bb pivot that would not stop creaking. Got myself a shiny, new for me (11) Santa Cruz Chameleon. One thing about these pics is the bikes don't look small like mine, are all the 26" retro brigade super short and they haven't upgraded because they are put off by bigger wheels?
  • + 5
 Top Gun t-shirt, well played Andrew, well played.
  • + 4
 That's the Hang Loose sign, Not The Shocker!
  • + 1
 Hi sean you are totaly wrong buddy that is a 2008 wasn't tilll later they used a tapered head tube should have kept the coil shock on the rear still a great bike even by todays standards
  • + 1
 yeah, I said I was wrong. I would change my post but it doesn't let me edit. oh well..
  • + 4
 One dude still rolling the Tioga DH tires too.......legend!
  • + 1
 Know your roots kids. One of my best Whistler memories was riding an RM Switch from a shop in the village after I blew up the front wheel on my Banshee Scream. That was The summer that the Garbanzo dh trail opened.
  • + 3
 Someone tell Riaz the cable noodle is off his V-brake hahaha fack those things would NEVER stay put
  • + 2
 Also that brake system thing was referred to as the DOPE system because 2000s era Kona was badass
  • + 2
 Shimano XT parallel push v-brakes for maximum stopping power lol. Surprised he's not running a booster though.
  • + 3
 I bet that stinky with the floating brake adapter rides pretty nice.
  • + 4
 So many #26aintdead
  • + 1
 I love seeing these. These are the bike that were around when I started MTB. Downhill is what got me into the sport. This is some nostalgia. Especially the cove shocker
  • + 2
 Just a guess. You will NOT see a 10 year old carbon bike in a thread like this 10 years from now.
  • + 2
 Been riding my cove shocker every weekend since 2008. Still going strong like day 1
  • + 1
 I used to own a Grossman Project A-235 for a trip to the Alps a few years back, only sold it last year.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/x_directtoalbum/?id=14729575
  • + 1
 Love the old Konas you should have checked out that green Stinky that was behind the Specialized Looks to be about a 2006 or 2007
  • + 1
 That SX Trail is older than 2008. More like an '06 or '07. The 2008 models had a completely new frame design including tapered steerer tube.
  • + 1
 nm.... I was wrong. won't let me edit though.
  • + 1
 nahhh redesig was 2009. its a shame too.
  • + 2
 Wish i could of made this list with my 2003 foes fly complete with shivers, curnutt and deemax
  • + 1
 Ehat about my mono DHS 2001 ?
  • + 1
 Still riding my '06 Banshee Scream with '03 Monster T's. Both frame and fork would comfortably take 27.5 wheels if I wanted.
  • + 1
 Still have my '00 scream. Indestructible.
  • + 1
 Props to the guys on the Santa Cruz! Love those old shivers and monster T’s too tup
  • + 1
 It is always great to see old bicycles running and so well maintained, beautiful.
  • + 1
 I had an Intense M1 2005 but it has been stolen in november 2015 Frown
www.pinkbike.com/photo/13531339
  • + 2
 I always love the Specialized SX
  • + 1
 Switch is rad, looks tops compared to all the. Carbon. Needs some dirty 203mm sawtooth rotors.
  • + 1
 Whaaaat!? No Carbon DH bikes? It's a Shocker they could ride them on all the same tracks without saving any weight!! haha
  • + 2
 You guys specially riaz pardhan, kick ass
  • + 1
 So when I show up there next year still riding my '00 banshee scream you guys are gonna loose your minds.
  • + 1
 Great to see. Bikes back then we're interesting. Now they mostly bore the sh*t out of me. Same boring designs.
  • + 2
 That Cove shocker is bomb proof !
  • + 1
 I'm not sure what would be more sketchy... Riding one of these vintage steeds or wearing running shoes while riding one.
  • + 2
 Maybe I'll get a new bike. Nah too much having fun with my old 26er.
  • + 1
 Glad to see I’m not the only old bike fan out there.
  • + 1
 My '03 RM-7 cracked (agaIn). Fitting that it happened on the North Shore!
  • + 1
 Will my 09 session with it's 888 be included next year?
  • + 1
 I could hear that Stinky clackin' before I even opened the article.
  • + 1
 Is it a girl or a boy standing right to Riaz Pardhan?..
  • + 1
 I ride a tank of a ‘08 Devinci Johnson
  • + 1
 Back when sh** was better made.
  • + 7
 Debatable. Shit broke all the time back then with the exception of maybe the Marzocchi stuff
  • + 5
 @bman33: True, I owned a Marzocchi RC2X from 2006 it didn't break just retired her last year. My 380 lasted a week lol.
  • + 0
 Frame snappage rates were through the roof in the 90s and early 2000s. They are a 1000 times better now
  • + 1
 Tell that to Kona.
  • + 4
 @djm35: well kona built oil tankers not bikes.If you pick up an old stinky or something it bless you mind how heavy they were
  • + 3
 @multialxndr: My mind has been blessed!
  • + 1
 @multialxndr: but wasn't that mainly because riding had changed and the bikes hadn't caught up yet? All of our bikes back then were XC bikes with inappropriate forks on them and tough wheels and tyres.
  • + 1
 @mindmap3: Thank you sir that’s an awesome point I hadn’t thought of that one. The first cracked frame of only a few total was an xc bike I kept throwing dj/fr parts at riding trials free ride dj park street and all mountain after 4 years it started to get a crack on the down tube near the head tube.
  • + 2
 Love the classic MTB's
  • + 1
 I wonder how many times that Heckler has lost its chain
  • + 1
 don't feel left out still rockin my DH ECD 06' .....lol
  • + 1
 Nice, really nice bikes! I ride a 2005 GTdhi and love it!
  • + 1
 Did sc give a lifetime guarantee back then?
  • + 1
 Lots of company’s did it was probably the only way you could sell a 4000$ bike to someone.
  • + 2
 Awesome post!
  • + 1
 That stinky isn’t an ‘08 it’s a 2010
  • + 2
 No Balfas?!
  • + 15
 Nope, and believe me, I looked. I was hoping to get an Iron Horse Sunday in there too, but I couldn’t track one down this time.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: you’re a good man sir
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: sunday was a legend of a bike
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: That is surprising. I was totally expecting to see a Sunday in here, and when I did not find one, I concluded it might still look too modern to be considered retro.
  • + 1
 I had a Heckler that color but the rear was polished and a whit bomber.
  • + 1
 Amazing to see the rake - or lack thereof - compared to today's bikes.
  • + 1
 380mm BB height FTW.
  • + 1
 great feature
  • + 0
 ah real bikes, bikes that we could afford
  • + 3
 not when they came out
  • - 1
 Wow I'm in my 20s and youre making me feel old
  • + 1
 Same, not even 30 yet but I remember most of these bikes being released!
  • - 2
 When your lift ticket is worth more then your bike

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