The Short, Turbulent Life of URT Suspension

Jan 25, 2018
by Richard Cunningham  
Ibis 1996 BowTi detail
Ibis's BowTi debuted in 1997.

THE SHORT, TURBULENT LIFE
OF URT SUSPENSION
Hindsight is always 20/20

Dual-suspension mountain bikes began to take root around 1992, when suspension forks had 50 millimeters of travel and leaked oil, rim brakes were still the rage, and big tires measured 2.125-inches. Most of the sport's Illuminati were hybrid mountain bikers who had transitioned into the mountain bike industry from road or BMX racing, so they had just come to terms with the RockShox revolution. If one considers that much of road riding and almost all of BMX is spent pedaling out of the saddle, you may then imagine how vehemently opposed both the media and mountain bike makers were to adding rear suspension to their beloved hardtails. Symposiums were staged to denounce the demons of dual suspension, which were easy targets. Fairly rated by today's standards, rear suspension designs at the time fell somewhere between okay and pathetic.


"Sweet Spot" Suspension is Born

John Castellano, a young engineer and upstart cyclist, was a fence sitter in the dual-suspension debate. Being a power-nerd, Castellano believed that rear suspension was here to stay, but he also cut his two-wheel teeth on hardtail mountain bikes and was unwilling to give up the solid feeling underfoot that a rigid rear triangle delivers under power - especially when sprinting out of the saddle.

Castellano insisted that suspension bobbing and mushy pedaling were never going to be eliminated as long as the swingarm hinged near the frame's bottom bracket, so he devised a simple fix.

Castellano moved the bottom bracket off of the frame's front triangle and onto the swingarm. His logic was that the rear suspension would be free to soak up bumps while the rider was seated, but when standing or pedaling in earnest, a percentage of the rider's weight would shift to the swingarm and cause the bike to pedal more like it had a rigid rear end.
John Castelano Sweet Spot patent
Drawing from John Castellano's "long-travel rear suspension" patent, issued December 12, 1995.

It worked exactly as he imagined. Castellano hacked up a Redline hardtail and built some prototypes, from which he learned that there was a sweet spot created by the height of the swingarm pivot and the rearward location of the bottom bracket which provided what he believed to be the best compromise between (you may have guessed) firm pedaling and good suspension action. He applied for a patent and trademarked his suspension, "Sweet Spot."


Ibis Szazbo sweet spot graphic
Graphic in the 1994 Ibis Szazbo catalog explains the importance of Castellano's Sweet Spot pivot location.


Castellano unveiled his creation sometime around 1994, and it received a warm welcome. Scot Nicol of Ibis Cycle fame was first to embrace the Sweet Spot, with the 1995 debut of the Szazbo, and followed by the pivotless titanium BowTi, which would become one of the most collectible vintage suspension bikes of all time.

Other notable brands followed quickly on the heels of Ibis and the ensuing wave of favorable press, who dubbed the concept, "Unified Rear Triangle" suspension. At the height of Castellano's URT revolution, he had licensed his Sweet Spot design to Ibis, Mountain bike pioneer Joe Breeze, WTB, Schwinn, and Rocky Mountain.
Prototype made by Steve Potts
Reportedly, mountain bike pioneer Steve Potts built Castellano's prototype BowTi pivotless URT frame. - John Castellano photo


Schwinn Homegrown 2007
Schwinn's Homegrown was an aluminum Sweet Spot design, made in the USA. - Bonustomato.com image


URT Goes Big Time

If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, Castellano would have been ecstatic when two high-profile bike brands worked around his patent with their own takes on the URT concept. Trek's 9000, its first break into the rear suspension fray bombed horribly, but the Wisconsin manufacturer found redemption when it mated its new OCLV carbon process to an aluminum URT rear suspension.

Trek Y33 1997
Trek's Y33 combined its new OCLV carbon process with an aluminum URT rear suspension of their own design. - sycheah56 photo

The futuristic Y-shaped front section and its up-to-the-minute rear suspension captured the imaginations of mountain bikers. Many of them had grown tired of the time-worn hardtail, but were reluctant to abandon its road-bike pedaling traits to learn the new skillset required to master a dual-suspension bike. The Y-frame was a URT, and if you believed the press, every URT bike pedaled like a hardtail.

bigquotesIt was eye candy and a URT. Mountain bikers bought them by the thousands.

Trek's URT design fell short of that goal. Its swingarm was significantly different than Castellano's Sweet Spot system, with very little rearward offset at the bottom bracket and a pivot location that was much lower in the chassis. Its pedaling felt much more like a conventional rear suspension bike, but those details did not seem to matter. It was eye candy and a URT. Mountain bikers bought them by the thousands.
Trek Y33 detail
Trek's take on the URT put the swingarm pivot lower, with less bottom bracket set-back. - sycheah56 photo

By far, the most memorable non-Castellano URT was also the least understood. The Klein Mantra was designed by Darrell Voss, the suspension guru who recently surprised the sport with his breakthrough Naild R3act system. Klein's aluminum hardtails were world-renowned cross-country racers and Voss was keen to build a competitive dual-suspension machine that could uphold their legacy. Voss recognized that he could get away with more suspension travel using the URT without paying a penalty in the pedaling department [Sound familiar? -Ed.], so he penned the Mantra with five inches of rear-wheel travel. That may have been the Mantra's undoing, because in some ways it outstripped many downhill bikes of the time, suggesting that Voss's XC racing bike could double up as a crack descender.

Klein Mantra Pro Vintage Bike
Klein Mantra Pro

bigquotesThe Mantra was the least understood bike that we made at Klein. They had almost five inches of travel at the wheels and that was a lot for the time. Most people didn't believe that we made it to race cross country and endurance events.Darrell Voss

In its intended role, the Mantra was a winner from the start. It climbed like a frightened monkey, sprinted well, and was ultra comfortable spinning in the saddle over the flatter sections of trail. It looked fast too. The frame was a single, ovalized aluminum tube that connected the head tube with a short stub of a seat tube. The swingarm pivoted on large bearings about six inches ahead of the seat tube and that was it. The aluminum swingarm drove a Fox air shock that was tucked behind the seat tube. It was about as simple as a dual-suspension chassis could be built, and its ability to level choppy surfaces made the Klein a favorite among 24-hour competitors because it could maintain a high pace without punishing its rider. Many Mantra owners wax poetic about their bikes to this day.


Dark Days Ahead

The dark side of Klein's Mantra was, to some extent, the downfall of the URT concept as a whole. The two features that gave the Mantra its extraordinary pedaling performance: its high swingarm pivot location and biased bottom bracket position, interfered with its descending and braking performance and often at the worst possible moments. When descending out of the saddle and hard on the front brake, the rider's mass would push the cranks towards the front wheel, extending the shock, shortening the wheelbase and effectively steepening the bike's head tube angle. None of those traits are helpful while negotiating a technical downhill. All of them at the same time are just plain scary.

Slingshot Pro
Slingshot was technically the first URT suspended mountain bike. Its head tube angle was 69 degrees - slack for the time - and its travel was minimal. Two reasons why it didn't share its relative's negative traits when descending and braking. - Pro's Closet photo


The main culprit was probably the Mantra's steep head tube angle (71 to 72 degrees, depending upon the fork), which was the norm for XC at the time. We would learn later that head angles had to be much slacker to compensate for the variables introduced by rear suspension. Had Voss and his URT counterparts been armed with that information, it was doubtful that it would have extended the life of URT suspension.

John Castellano's suspension revolution had reached its zenith by 1997. Mountain bikers had lost enthusiasm for dressing in spandex and blowing their lungs up trying to chase each other around a dumbed-down circle of dirt. Cross-country was dead and the dual-suspension bike had become the catalyst for a new, more aggressive riding style. Riders wanted rear suspension that worked best while standing and were willing to climb more slowly if that's what it took to enjoy the descents.

Rocky Mountain 2XS was the carbon kevlar version of their Pipeline freeride bike
The beginning of the end: Rocky Mountain's 1998 2XS was the carbon/kevlar version of their Pipeline freeride bike. It featured a 150mm-travel Sweet Spot rear end, a 100mm-stroke Marzocchi Z1 BAM fork, a Fox Vanilla shock and a carbon/Kevlar front section. Its adjustable head angle ranged from 71 to 69.5 degrees. It was the only URT in the range, which featured three conventional suspension models covering DH, trail and XC racing. - Rocky Mountain image


Rocky Mountain made the most convincing attempts to carry URT suspension forward with its Speed, XS, and Pipeline freeride bikes, but in the end, it became clear that URT could not progress at the pace of new-school riders. Trek purchased Klein, and shortly afterward the Mantra was dropped from the range. Trek's famous URT was also stricken from their record books as soon as they launched the conventionally designed Fuel. Ibis was sold to a consortium who ran the brand into the ground, and the URT was gone as fast as it blossomed.

bigquotesNowadays, people have mostly given up standing while climbing because their bikes are so mushy. Not me! I use ALL my muscle groups on my Zorro single speed. I only put gears on it if I'm nursing an injury. It's fixed my back issues, knee issues, neck issues, and made me stronger than I've ever been.John Castellano
Zorro detail
John Castellano's Zorro, son of Szazbo has become a secret weapon for single-speed riders. - John Castellano photo

Castellano's dream would have faded into oblivion before the new millennium arrived if it had not been resurrected by a most unlikely band of misfits. John Castellano said that he still does a brisk business building Szazbo and BowTi replicas and also supports Ibis owners with spares. The Sweet Spot's chainstay-mounted bottom bracket eliminates chain growth, and its exemplary out-of-the-saddle pedaling make it one of the only dual-suspension bikes suitable for single-speed riders.

Hindsight is always 20/20. Many are quick to condemn the Unified Rear Triangle concept as a dark chapter in the history of the mountain bike. At that time, though, URT's visionaries were responding to the status quo, a very different audience who embraced the concept of part-time suspension and happened to represent the majority of the sport. History proved them wrong, but before URT went down in flames - for one brief moment - the odd-looking machines outsold conventional suspension bikes by embarrassing margins.


283 Comments

  • + 221
 I started mountain biking relatively late in my life, in 2010. As a general rule I have a natural inclination to appreciate the roots, the history of what I do. Vintage guitars, vintage surfboards, vintage cars and motorbikes are such beautiful things. Vintage bikes, well, they just scare me shitless.
  • + 25
 You're right to be scared...
  • + 131
 You wouldn't appreciate the roots on any of these bikes.
  • + 19
 Vintage mountain bikes are monstrosities. Vintage BMX bikes are works of art (with a few monstrosities here and there). Check out some vintage road and cruiser-type bikes. They're cool, too. And old Schwinns... But mountain bikes? Yikes. For the most part.
  • + 14
 @TheR: Well, I've been mountain biking a long time. I don't think that all vintage mountain bikes are monstrosities. I still have a Slingshot - and that bike was awesome. It was really surprising how normal it rode in most circumstances. Climbed like a monkey. I also have a made-in-Santa-Cruz Bontrager Race Lite. That thing is ace. But, I'll certainly admit that my modern trail bike blows them all away.
  • + 31
 I think we are still in the infancy of MTB design, etc... Cool vintage cars, guitars, etc we think of now were well along in the design phase of that product. A cool 50's Bel-Air was far removed from the first horseless carriage (about 100 years). A badass Martin D28 from the 30s is many years removed from the first instrument like it made back in the 15th Century.

I think the bikes we are on now are the 1950's Bel-Air or 30's Martin D28 that future generations will look back on and think are cool...

Those first MTBs from the early 90s are like the horseless carriages of the 1800s... awful and terrifying haha...
  • + 13
 Mountian bikes had to start some where, thank goodness for what we have now.
  • + 5
 This is so true. I'd ride some of the hard tails from back in the day but those FS rigs... Thank God I was too broke in the 90s to afford one.
  • + 33
 #bringbackbarends
  • + 11
 Rode with a guy who had a blinged out Mantra in the early 2000's. The thing spit him off at least twice every ride. It got to the point where he was super gun-shy on every descent. He ended up buying a Burner, switching the parts out, and selling the frame to some poor sucker who had no idea what they were in for.
  • + 16
 Yes, these bikes are bizarre and weird.... BUT I STILL WANT ALL OF THEM!
  • + 0
 I'd be down to ride a Model T around on the weekends.
But a "classic" full suspension mountain bike? F that.
  • + 3
 vintage lady's for the win? yay a?
  • + 6
 @TheR: there were some that weren't too bad proflex gets a bad rap, but it's a single pivot and worked, albeit ugly as ever. Amp research was in at least the tail end of that era as well, and horst link is one of the most popular designs today. Ya, they were far from perfect, but put a shock with today's platform damping and they're not far off the mark. Other than geometry of course.
  • + 2
 @McNubbin: I believe the phenomenon was known as 'Stinkbugging'. I still see a bloke on one occasionally road riding around here..
  • + 11
 @Pisgah85: I'm gonna have to disagree Id say bikes from the early to mid 2000's are like the 50's bel-air. They all had there own style. You could tell a norco shore from a giant glory and so on. Now a days they are just cookie cutter bikes that all basically look the same. Sure there are still a few companies out there that like to be different but all in all most bikes look like a trek session and its disappointing. It seems like no-one cares to push the limits anymore like they used to.
  • + 3
 @Pisgah85: At least the horseless carriages had some type of suspension
  • + 2
 I still have two of the bikes shown here with 5-6 big Rubbermaid bins heaping with old high end parts. I can't wait to move back to Canada and begin restorations. Yes, they were scary bikes, all the same though because they were bikes and bikes have always been fun.
  • + 10
 @Duderz7: Ah, my Profex with my Girvin fork worked very well and turned heads like crazy. Especially once I put on my Spinergy 6blade carbon spoke wheels. A face only a father could love, and I did.
  • + 0
 @Duderz7: Yeah, I'm not even talking about how they functioned, more about their lines and how they looked. I'm sure some bikes were perfectly fine or even excellent for the time, but they all looked a mess.
  • + 4
 @TheR: I humbly disagree. I think the trek Y frame was and is one of the most beautiful frames ever. Perhaps didn't work as well as it looked, but I thought the lines were nice.
  • + 4
 @richierocket: I put the Girvin on a Cannondale hard tail, got that thing down to around 22lbs, put a 3 inch travel Judy on the proflex...sooo rad!
  • + 1
 @TheR: you either loved or hated them, I get ya.
  • + 2
 Well in 15 years, people are probably going laugh at some of the bikes of this era: Fat tires, ebikes, flamboyant neon coloured bikes, etc.
  • + 1
 Amen. When it comes to comparing nineties suspension bikes to vintage to cars I'm mostly reminded by the pinto.
  • + 5
 Well, I restore vintage guitars for a living. I’m into mtbs guitars and beer. The comparison between vintage guitars and vintage bikes doesn’t really wash here. Martin had an x-braced guitar in 1840. I’ve played it and held it. It plays and sounds amazing to this day. Leo Fender introduced the Broadcaster in 1949. Lots of folks still playing Telecasters these days. Instrument design concepts were well understood by the mid 19th century. Mtb is a relatively new sport. I would say that by the turn of the last century Mtb designers engineers were beginning to get a grasp on what worked. Guy’s like Jeff Steber were pushing the envelope. I have an old C-Dale Raven that I’ve got souped up to hell. Put a big fork in the front and a custom made shock out back. Modern components etc. it’s my everyday trail bike. Main drawbacks are the HA and Short rear travel. Does it ride like my wife’s Bronson? Hell no. It rides different, for sure but on tight twisty stuff it’s more nimble. Takes a bit more handling on techy descents where’s the Bronson simply rocks it on that stuff, but it’s hardly dangerous like a URT is. So yes, I’d say given the amount of time the Mtb has been in existence the technical and design advancements have way outstripped the progress of fretted instruments. It took hundreds of years for someone to design a piece of T shaped fretwire. Which didn’t come about till the early twentieth century. Neck angles weren’t even understood correctly until then. Anyway.... I’m rambling. I just like bikes and guitars. Peace all.
  • + 3
 what do you call the place where the dog always shits? what's what this suspension design should be called - dogshit spot. I rode some URT bikes. They were awful.
  • + 1
 Prepare to be confused and amazed as you find yourself desiring vintage high end "mountain" bikes. The struggle is real.
  • + 3
 @Pisgah85: I think you're right. A lot of those 90's attempts are rightfully classified as failures, not because they (always) literally blew up, but because they didn't meet the desired (lofty) goals of riders and designers. We've now settled on a basic design and you hear a lot of "you can't buy a poorly performing bike, regardless of the brand" talk, which I think is mostly true.

So moving forward I suspect we'll see (1) a lot of refinement over dramatic changes, (2) some really unique designs that for the most part seem ultra weird, and (3) in 50 years lots of models from the past decade will be viewed as "classic beauties", much like road bikes from the 80's.

If you're a designer it's going to be even harder to break out of the market's mental model of what "a mountain bike looks like", but if it performs and looks great you could become the new baseline. A slightly wider hub or bigger diameter spindle is not going to be the subject of a 2030 PinkBike look-back.
  • + 2
 @npinder2002: It's like a flying V guitar (in some ways literally!): aesthetically it has some merit but it's not for everyone, and there are more functional designs.
  • + 1
 @plyawn: material design: I think the big changes will be ultra strong alloys, self healing carbon fiber, and once power sources shrink enough electromagnetic suspension to start, followed by electro magnetic technology being used to eliminate friction and reduce wear.

Where it really gets crazy is potentially for our grandchildren: what do you get when you put together self healing carbon that can analyze itself intelligently, nano 3D "printing" technologies, electromagnetic suspension, AI, power sources far smaller than anything currently available, etc?

Potentially a bike that can't be broken, that can change it's Geo, that can change it's color on the fly, that can change it's travel on the fly, that have tires that can't go flat...and if we can conclude that material design will advance as it always does it will be lighter, stronger, and way cooler looking than anything now. Throw in equivalent advances in safety equipment and the end result is.....

In 50 years compared to what's available, even a handmade Unno downhill bike with Fox RAD suspension is going to look like an Hawiian Kings giant wooden plank of a surf board would next to one of Laird Hamilton's foil boards that allows him to surf waves without his board even being on them. Or like an old parachute from 1925 compared to a brand new wingsuit.
  • + 1
 @plyawn: well that long winded response went to the wrong person if that seems confusing at all.

I agree though, a V has great upper fret access but the body hits everything and there's nowhere to rest your forearm that well.
  • + 1
 @plyawn: FML I'm the confused one. Agree with it all though
  • + 1
 The roots of mountain bikes came from road bikes and that mindset and paradigm did not shift for a long time. In 1983 I met the Ross mountain bike team. One guy Aaron was a roadie from LA had his bars cut so narrow he could barely put the brakes and shifter on them. Once suspension was added the shift to make the bikes more rideable off road happened. There is that same shift from adopted & rake and ride trails to purpose built trails. The bike might be expensive but the new bikes are a blast to ride. Same with purpose built trails.
  • + 2
 @richierocket: A friend of mine had almost that same setup. He loved it and brought it out when he got bored of his Moots YBB. The downfall was the V-brakes...
  • + 1
 @Duderz7: Cool! The strangest set up I did was putting the Girvin on my Rocky Mtn Cyrus frame. Very funky indeed.
  • + 1
 @richierocket: my buddies were putting 26 inch wheels and forks on the front of their 20 inch BMX bike for a while and calling them "Swamp Mashers" talk about strange, ugly, and ridiculous... They might have been stoned?
  • + 1
 I would like to get the designer of the Klein Matra and kick them in the balls until he loses consciousness. Payback for the Matra I owned, every drop-off or jump was rewarded with a rebounding seat pillar smashing me in the nuts. May you die a thousand deaths.
  • + 1
 @dirtybikejapan: I didn't own one, but my favorite trait of the mantra is the way it would stretch when you hit something like a curb with the rear wheel, then either try to toss you over the bars or pound your nuts with the stem when it sprang backwards.
  • + 2
 @Chadimac22: I've kept a couple vintage rigs. They are on the wall tho. Not dumb enough to ride them again
  • + 1
 @dirtybikejapan: I get what you're saying, but I probably would have stopped after the second time I took it in the beanies. Fool me once...
  • + 1
 scared shitless then you belong on concrete.do the math.
  • + 52
 "If one considers that much of road riding and almost all of BMX is spent pedaling out of the saddle"
WRONG
Road biking is nearly entirely ALL seated, apart from sprints or extremely steep climbs!
  • + 5
 I was thinking the same thing. I'm rarely out of the saddle on my roadie.
  • + 13
 @dbarnes6891: @robhill If you race road bikes or train in a peloton, you will be out of the saddle a lot - or a freak of nature.
  • + 7
 @RichardCunningham: I feel like if you turn on the tour, 95% of the time they're in the saddle. Unless they're crushing a steep climb, sprinting, trying to drop someone, or trying to prevent someone from dropping them.
  • + 18
 @RichardCunningham:

10%-15% at most. That's not alot.

I'm half tempted to get out some old issues of mba and quote the reviews where you guys were praising the benefits of the URT.
  • + 7
 try riding with a hemorrhoid, it was a bad summer.
  • + 1
 @nfa2005: Selle Italia Super Flow was made just for you
  • + 18
 @dbarnes6891: Similarly, this quote threw me off: "Nowadays, people have mostly given up standing while climbing because their bikes are so mushy." I stand up all the time on my 165mm travel bike and it's fine. What is he talking about?
  • + 3
 @TEAM-ROBOT: 90 to 110 RPM seated. It's science. Do you even Durianrider? A pro road racer said once on a gruelling climb in Alps: we were all batterred and peloton was catching up on us but we decided to push. The finish line was within reach but I didn't know if I will make it. I started giving up but then my rivals one after another stood on pedals and I instantly knew I won the stage.

Some twat of a journo thought it's a good idea to write it as an argument for sitting and spinning fast as the best way to climb a mountain bike.
  • + 9
 @Flowcheckers: Remember that at Mountain Bike Fiction they never really tested the bikes! They took a photo shot and then used their imagination!
  • + 10
 @Timroo1: "Unless you're crushing a steep climb, sprinting, trying to drop someone, or trying to prevent someone from dropping them." AKA the only moments that matter in a road race.
  • + 2
 @TEAM-ROBOT: AKA a small percentage of the overall time in that race. The majority of a race is not spent doing those things.
  • + 3
 @Flowcheckers: I think it comes down to if we're talking "riding" or "racing". Really though I'm not too concerned about where Roadies put their butts.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: what? There's another way?
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham: I guess you only ever watch the highlights then! In which case, you would be correct.
But in the real world, no!
  • + 1
 @TEAM-ROBOT: Becuase MTBs have been burdened with the rebirth of the megarange cassette... its impossible to stand and climb on an "enduro" gear of 28F:50R! LOL
  • + 0
 @BenPea: the article taught me that I should resist the feeling of needing to stand up. There were a few written about it. 90-RPM or you are a loser.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I stand up when I'm bored/in pain, but only on the road and with propedal on. On a trail it's too easy to lose traction and you waste energy gimping around the place when the terrain is irregular. Sometimes a bit of body English is required to get over a feature uphill, but I'm off the seat only momentarily to shift weight to the front and get the back to follow. Cool story huh?
  • + 3
 @BenPea: you and me should write memoirs
  • + 1
 @Flowcheckers: Except in his defense it's the most important parts of the race by far, so it kind of makes sense to design bikes that (A) let you "get through" the requirements and (B) excel at the key moments.

I agree with you straight up, but it's less clear if you weigh it by when races are won/lost
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Ah memories, I remember those...
  • + 1
 If you’re not out of the saddle in road or bmx, its very likely you’re in the back.
  • + 1
 @sevensixtwo: one of the reasons Sagan has so many haters among elitist c*nts; he does so many things “wrong”. Sprints, charges, stands up, has descending skills, rides mtb more than most. A true cyclist should use his team to the fullest, never stick his head out and look at power meter for most of the time and then whine on everything.
  • + 1
 @robhill: I learned from racing, not watching. Out of the saddle is part of the game. You can;t be a tourist and win a race.
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham: erm Froome is just that: Le Grand Tour-ist. He worked hard for it no doubts about it, but he’s as uninspiring as TDF winner gets. I’d rather watch recaps with Lance
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I miss Lance....
All that said, Froome towed Wiggins all around the place when he was his lieutenant. Could have had a couple of extra tour wins without team orders.
  • + 27
 Dude, where's the spinergy wheels?
  • + 17
 I started mountain biking in 1997 at the age of 29 in Illinois. My first bike was a Trek Y-22 and I thought it was the baddest ass thing on the planet. I moved to Boise, ID not too long after that and began to realize that the only time the rear suspension was actually working was when seated......absolute genius for descending! My "solution" was to clasp the seat with my knees (kinda like I now do on the rare occasion I can pull off no-handers) as I went downhill, thereby getting some suspension action on the descents. The downside to this was getting a fair number of chucks to the jiggly bits from the seat. While I appreciate that bike for getting me into the greatest sport on earth, I look back on it kinda like the crazy chicks I dated........
  • + 10
 tip of my hat to Twoplanker... from Oneplanka
  • + 3
 @oneplanka: Pleased to make your acquaintance and glad to see we 50+ folks are representing :-)
  • + 2
 @Twoplanker110: Cheers mate ! I guess it's that obvious that I'm an MTB geezer eeh ? Stay young by never stopping what you liked to do when you were young.. keep shredding !
  • + 2
 From Zion Cyclery? Cuz that would be ironic. I had the Trek 9000, pretty kooky, but in a scary way. Then had a shock upgrade that had a damper in it. Still kinda kooky, but not worth keeping. Sold it for a hardtail. Little brother bought a Y-22, I rode it one ride, hated it. Worse than the 9000. Seated under hard pedaling, the suspension would compress. My brother hated it too. Way too flexy. Geometry was off. Couldn't ride it hard without being scared to death. Sold in less than a year.
  • + 2
 Great analogy. I moved from bmx to mountain biking in the mid 1990s. First real full sus bike was the Trek Y-glide. The one that was speced with the dc Judy LTs up front. Bought it brand new for around $1100 when I was 19. My parents thought I lost my mind. I immediately fell in love with the gravity side of riding. I am surprised I survived that bike. Everything you say here is spot on from my experience with the URT. Including the comparison to the crazy chicks.
  • + 5
 @Twoplanker110: 50+ and Still having a blast.
  • + 13
 I always wonder why the bicycle industry didnt take a closer look at what the motocross industry was doing in the late 80's and early 90's. If they had there might have been some early efforts in mountainbike design that actually are closer to what we ride today.
  • + 8
 Search ancillotti Wink
  • + 3
 Early mountain biking was based on road biking, whereas now we know better.
  • + 7
 Often they did. Mert Lawill, Brent Foes, Jeff Steber (intense) all borrowed heavily from Moto technology and their bikes worked pretty darn well.
  • + 2
 @cjeder: Mert Lawill is a combination of an anvil, a mad mad, and a genius. But mostly genius.
  • + 8
 The whole time I'm reading this, I'm thinking, "So wait, the whole concept of this is that when you're standing up, the 'bob'
of the suspension is eliminated? Isn't that when you need it most? When you're standing with your weight on the pedals?" Am I missing something, or is that why the whole thing was doomed from the start?
  • + 1
 The perspective is different when you're coming from the compenents and hardtails of that time. Riding in the saddle can get uncomfortable with 17mm rims and 1.9-2.1" tires, and hardtail riders would be used to using their legs as suspension when standing. And adding a single pivot and shock wouldn't upset the weight weenie and xc sensibilities that were prevalent

Well, that would have been the original thinking. It sounds like marketing and fads took it beyond that to people that would have been better suited with other bikes.
  • + 2
 @showmethemountains: I understand all of that, but then why have any suspension at all? It seems like the suspension would have only been good when you were sitting down, which you don't do while descending. It just seems like the design eliminated any advantage of suspension at all. So why have it?
  • + 2
 You’re missing the point! Pedal bob is never needed. Ever.
  • + 5
 In my opinion, URT was a solution to the problem of wanting an XC race bike that pedaled like a hardtail but didn't beat you up over long races. Basically what is now done on hardtails with a more compliant frame, larger tires and better seats. At the non-competitive level, a hardtail with a Thudbuster or other suspension seat post should have the same effect of the URT making the linkage look pretty stupid. But, there were a lot of different challenges back then both in engineering and image that made the URT a pretty cool solution.
  • + 1
 @mikelee: Pedal bob might not be the word I'm looking for. Maybe how the suspension reacts? Pedal bob is basically how your suspension reacts to the forces applied when pedaling. If, in this case, it was eliminated (or handled more like a hard tail) when you stood, I would think it would retain those stiffer, hard tail-like properties when you were standing while descending. Maybe that clears my point up a little?

At any rate, it obviously didn't work that well, or we'd still be using some form of it.
  • + 2
 @TheR: urt did feel like a hardtail while standing,which was point. Remember we’re talking xc here not dh. So the urt worked well for the riders who invented and used it. It made the bike more comfortable when seated and while stood up descending if felt like their hardtail. Back then riders where much more skilled with riding downhill on a solid back end. Using their legs and arms as suspension.
  • + 2
 Being a HT rider I completely get URT. When you are standing your legs are the suspension. Seated your suspension works.

It would be interesting to see a modern take on the URT / Sweet Spot with progressive geo and big wheels.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Who needs suspension when you're seated? I'd just stick to a hard tail -- which I did until pedaling on a full suspension bike didn't feel like a noodley mess.
  • + 2
 @TheR: I guess no one needs it, but its definitely better for climbing singletrack
  • + 0
 @TheR: who needed suspensiob full stop. I have been on rigid for the last few 4-5 rides and its a blast
  • + 0
 @fartymarty: Yeah, no disagreement there, if that's your thing. That's my point -- why have a half-assed full suspension when what you're really after is a hardtail?
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: I have one being built. A buddy of mine is a steel builder and makes some killer modern URT's.
  • + 1
 @woodyak: sweet. Does your mate have any pics on PB?
  • + 10
 The good old days when half the challenge was making your bike last through a whole ride. If your bike lasted the whole weekend without something breaking it was a miracle.
  • + 4
 It's nice to have bars, stem, frame, rims, hubs, shifters, deraileurs and seatposts last more than a couple weeks, isn't it? It feels odd not having to go to the bike shop once a week for parts these days. Replacement parts were always given.
  • + 7
 Here is a quote from a previous through back review of the Mantra. Not sure who penned it though.
"But on descents? Oh, dear Lord…. It was as if the bike had been dreamed up, designed and built on top of desecrated Indian burial grounds. The Mantra was possessed of an unholy grudge against anyone brave or dumb enough to climb aboard. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not suggesting the Mantra Pro was a “bad” bike on the downhills. I’m telling you it was an evil bike. There’s a difference. "
  • + 2
 That was from Pinkbike's own Vernon Felton. This article really made me laugh, as I remember how poorly those bikes rode, but how awesome they looked at the time.
www.pinkbike.com/news/1996-klein-mantra-pro-now-that-was-a-bike.html
  • + 1
 Back in the mid 90's, we were all supremely envious at first when I guy in our riding group bought a Mantra. After numerous launches on relatively easy terrain- not so much!
  • + 3
 The Mantra was my first real mountain bike. 24lbs for a mid-range build, and it climbed better than a hardtail. It had a sort of inchworm effect where it would spring you up with every pedal stroke. I could also bunnyhop like a beast. Sadly what they say about its downhill abilities is true, but I think mostly it was due to the super steep geometry meant to compensate for the rear sag of the 5” of travel. I’d be super curious how a Mantra with modern geometry would perform.
  • + 10
 Right or wrong the Bow-Ti was an incredible bit of creative engineering.
  • + 1
 I'm curious as to how many still survive. My take on the BowTi was that the shock forces have to be absorbed by the flex of the titanium frame, which is a big ask. I would have loved to have one. I had a Trek Y bike at the time and you had to clamp your thighs on the seat while descending so that the suspension didn't lock out.
  • + 4
 Correction: Trek's first suspension design wasn't the 990, that was a lugged True Temper steel frame (later tig welded) that was the flagship of the steel range. The 9000/9900 were the suspension bikes, aka death pogos. But man, it was fun to be able to bunny hop two feet up just by loading the rear. Smile

URT's died I feel because of the Schwinn and Trek designs. Castellano's Zorros ride differently I'm told and feel great. Castellano himself is quoted many times as saying it was a pity his Schwinn design were so limited.

Slingshot's got it right. Still ride great and not what you think and better than you think. They were on the right track just bad leadership in the end.
  • + 3
 Zorro owner. Can confirm.
  • + 1
 @Honyocker: can you elaborate being you actually ride one and I am only going off of what I read in an interview with Castellano years back on the difference.

How would you describe the ride qualities of the zorro? And in comparison to other suspension designs and/or other URT’s?
  • + 4
 I remember having to sell the Trek Y-Bikes at the shop K worked at. We had bikes that worked like the GT LTS and the Specialized Stumpjumper, but all the customers wanted were the Trek URT Bikes which we all thought sucked.
I know this won’t be politically correct but in the shop
URTs were Ugly Retarded Trash
  • + 4
 Klein Mantra should have been called "The Catapult".
  • + 3
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/15556632
I believe this was the worst ever Trek bike. It had no rebound control upon Landing any jump you would immediately be ejected off this bike. I used to sit in class at school dreaming of owning this bike. This is the biggest turd that Trek ever made 9500 not the Y bike.
  • + 1
 I had a GT LTS-1 in the mid 90s with a Lawwill Leader up front. I remember that bike as being a dream to ride and not too heavy even by today's XC standards. Having said that, I may have a different opinion of it if I rode it now.
  • + 1
 @properp:
The mistake made with that bike and lots of suspension setup back then was not riding it soft and compliant.
I unwound the suspension to it's softest setting and it flew downhill with no pogoing you off the bike. Damping would have made it better obviously, but initial too hard a setup was why you'd get ejected.
I recall borrowing one of those for a while and realising that suspension was the future. The future also being that having suspension meant you would end up crashing crash at a much higher speed. - not because it didn't work, but because suspension [in general] could work really well until you got outside your own ability levels and then came unstuck.At which time you'd be going a lot faster than with no suspension.
  • + 4
 I was 18 in 1996 and I remember lusting after that Ibis and that Schwinn. They were the epitome of mountain biking cool. I know this because all the issues of Mountain Bike Action in my dorm room told me so.

You see kids... There was no internet back then and thus no snark to talk me out of spandex, white Onza Porcupines and Control Tech bar-ends.

I bought my Trek Y22 that year. It was awesome... Well... It was awesome to look at.

Even by the standards of the day, you knew that rear suspension was useless. Sure there was some kush to seated pedaling but you could also feel the effective seat height change as the suspension went through it's stroke. If you stood for anything bumpy, the suspension effectively locked out. Cool. They also had a tendency to lock out under braking since those forces extended the suspension - also steepening the head angle. Even cooler.

Also, the Trek was a giant hollow thing. There were questions about what would happen if you laid it over on a sharp rock but what there were absolutely NO questions about was how noisy they were. Every shift would send a reverberating, "clunk" through the structure like you were riding a big violin.

Keep in mind the non-URT designs at the time were similarly bad. The Cannondale Delta V comes to mind. Specialized and Mongoose (Amp Research) had some good ideas that are still used today and I hear the Mountain Cycle San Andreas rode pretty well but things were bleak.

This was a dark period in cycling where lots of marketing was applied to seriously dubious engineering. Magazines wrote glowing reviews and the cycling public ate it up.
  • + 1
 I've always suspected the saving grace of the trek urt design was that, at least the first two years, it used a shock without a negative spring. When Trek debuted the Fisher Level Betty with a coil, it was pretty shocking how poorly the bike climbed, in or out of the saddle. My best guess is that the pedals at 3:00 were way out in front of the pivot suck that downward force could rotate the swingarm just enough to get some resonant Bob going.
  • + 4
 Ah, as a rider who pretty much always rides out of the saddle (up, level and down) and finds his hardtail works better than his full suspension, would a URT design be a good consideration? Or at least something like Starling Little Beady Eye or a DMR Bolt Long? Not in the very near future (I just invested in a new hardtail frame) but maybe something to look out for after that. Always thought the DMR Bolt seemed like fun but people who've had it weren't too stoked.
  • + 1
 The effect is quite subtle on bikes like the trek there with the pivot close to the bb, you'd need one of the more extreme bikes with higher/more forward pivots... and those were crap in other ways. So no, stick with what you've got, get a fs bike with a steep rising rate linkage.
  • + 1
 @pbuser2299: Ah, I've got a bike with a falling rate linkage (Cannondale Prophet) probably designed to compensate for the rising rate air shock. Maybe stuff the air chamber full with grease (or spacers if I can find them for this shock).
  • + 2
 Little Beady Eye and DMR Bolt are not true URT design. The Starling isn't URT at all. The DMR is concentric pivot (rotates around the BB similar to GT iDrive). They are single pivot bikes. URT means the BB and the rear axle are part of the same component. Both of these examples have the BB as part of the front triangle.
  • + 2
 @PHeller: Yeah I thought because the rear triangle rotates around the bb, the bb is basically part of both the front and the rear triangle. So apparently it doesn't work like that. Anyway, thanks for your response. For the time being I'll be happily riding my hardtail until I've figured out how to deal with the geometry changes a full susser throws at me or I've found a fully that actually works for the way I ride. These types of articles from RC usually imply that something "new" is coming. I recall when 11sp was the latest stuff and RC wrote an article how even number gears are better so he was looking forwards to 12sp (and has advocating it since it came out). So in this case it appears like there is a new URT design on the horizon.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Some Rockshox bottomless Spacers (read: posh rubber bands) in the air can will improve most shocks on a Prophet. They'll also cause you less problems than grease and you can get them from TF tuned. Or if you can find one a Monarch Plus with the low volume air can works really well.
  • + 2
 The starling beast eye is not a urt but the pivot actually goes around the bb so the bike is fully active with zero chain growth. Hope this helps
  • + 1
 @vinay - despite being a troll I spend a lot of time out of my saddle when riding my Antidote so I have no idea what he is talking about... sounds a bit like: kids these days kind of sentiment. It was a good read anyways
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Yeah, I got the lowest spec model because I already had upgrades for most components. The stock shock is a RS Pearl. I had a Magura Hugin which has a lot of damping adjustment though I never experimented with air chamber volume. Because of my hardtail riding style I felt rebound damping made the bike feel dead. But the downside is that after a bottom out the rebound stroke is unexpectedly fast. So until I bottom out, the bike is amazing for straightlining rough rubble (like upper section Megavalanche Alpe d'Huez kind of stuff) but I just never came to terms with the rear end rising when riding steep switchbacks (like the lower section of the same event). I'm actually more comfortable riding that kind of stuff on a hardtail. I expect that to be even more the case with my next frame (BTR Ranger). Downside was that the shock needed regular maintenance I couldn't do myself. I think I need to send it back again. Eventually I put in a Magura MX shock. Less adjustment and damping but great sensitivity and zero maintenance (and it is pretty simple to take apart anyway). I think I would have sold the bike long ago if it weren't for just having a bike handy for when people come over to ride with me or just for my girlfriend. Others seem to be more comfortable riding with rear suspension but obviously they don't push it as hard anyway.

The advantage of the DMR Bolt would be that pretty much everything from the Prophet would fit. 26" wheels and forks, 27.2mm seatpost etc. What attracted me to it was that reviews stated that it rides like a hardtail. So that was good. But I decided that if I want something that rides like a hardtail I might just as well just get a hardtail. And even though the weight, suspension and pedal efficiency of the DMR Bolt wouldn't bother me, it may not be ideal for people I take along when I'm actually riding my hardtail.

Anyway, I'll look into those spacers. I can imagine putting grease in the MX shock would get me trouble (as it would flow straight through the shim stack and back through the rebound port...) but I don't quite see how too much grease in the air chamber of the Pearl or Hugin could be bad other than that it is hard to keep track of how much I actually added.

@mikelee Yeah it has zero chain growth but I thought these designs still need some additional low speed damping to compensate for the fact that the chain kind of wants to pull the rear triangle around the bb. Pedal efficiency isn't about chain growth but more about the way the upper part of the chain grows, right? Then again maybe with clutch type rear mechs the suspension is less hampered in case of true zero chain growth.

@WAKIdesigns : Ah, I thought this was the issue. People already told me I need to sit down more on a full suspension bike because (the told me) when stomping flat pedals standing up on a full susser I upset the suspension and don't allow it to work efficiently. So I thought, seated pedaling is boring, full sus isn't for me.
  • - 1
 @vinay: erm, yeah... good luck with that... let me guess, they are not that well rounded riders aren't they? There is one way to get to the top fast. Shut up and pedal, bike is less relevant. This approach tends to work well for me, however when I ride with my fast friends it is not an option since I am gasping for air so I can't talk.
  • + 1
 It took you just a short spin on asphalt to realize how scary the concept was. Imagine a bike that on a downhill, when you need the suspension the most, does the opposite of what you'd like it to do: it stiffens up and if you touch the brake cordially attempts to through you out of the saddle. Not only but the behavior of the bike is completely different depending on how much weight you put on the saddle. The lest you put on the worst it gets. But not only that: you end up riding two completely different bikes if you are on or off the saddle. Lovely.

It sort of works if you can stay seated on a downhill. So ... find flat trails and you'd be fine!

Funny thing is that UST was praised by a lot of the MTB "press" back in the time ... not sure how they managed to do that.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Nah, it isn't necessarily about the uphills. Uphills aren't really scary nor demanding on the suspension. It is on the switchback descends. If I brake on a hardtail, only the front dives. If I brake on a fully, the front dives and the rear rises. I discovered soon enough that using more rear brake allows the rear to dive (at least with my suspension design) so that stabilizes the geometry a bit. But with a hardtail I don't have to worry about that, on a fully I have to.
  • + 0
 @vinay: that sounds like some kink of yours Smile no problem with turning tight on steeps when on a fully. Recommend stoppie practice Razz
  • + 2
 @vinay: That is a list of really horrible shock absorbers. My Prophet MX had a Pearl 2.something on it when it was new, swapping that for an Avalanche tuned 5th Element made a big difference in how happy the bike was to go fast. I'm not surprised you find a hardtail better than a Magura MX, those things are horrible and they lose damping once they get a bit hot.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Yeah on a steep switchback it isn't too hard to get the rear wheel off the ground and a bit sideways. I'm actually already a bit comfortable with that though not yet on RLC graduation level Wink . The downside I found with the fully is that it puts you in the same steep position but the rear wheel is still on the ground so it won't go sideways.
  • + 1
 I buy your thought!!! I will NEVER EVER buy another dual suspension bike I cannot pedal uphill standing...but my back hates hardtails...any help? (Avoid scot lockable bikes)
  • + 1
 @bodynaut: How about a Scott lockable bike?
I don't get where this aversion to flipping a switch to go uphill has come from recently. How can one setting work optimally going both up and down? Is this Sram's fault?
  • + 2
 @vinay: I remember your issue with the switchbacks. It might be either a mental block or poorly set up suspension (or it's the best it can do), or both working in symbiosis.

Have you ridden other FS bikes from your Prophet's distant future?

But I'm starting to get that hardtails can do it all except proper rough, just with less comfort, which is probably good for you.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: it’s some journo thing, Mike Kazimer and half of Bike Radar folks somewhat proudly say they don’t use the lock out... makes as much sense for long climbs as buying a hardtail and riding the fork locked on descents. But I give them benefit of doubt, maybe they just want to check how the bike pedals in open mode. Dunno. Even though my Anti is an exceptional climber I still lock it out for riding to/from the woods and for long climbs. Why wouldn’t I?
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Well yeah I might just need to learn to deal with how radically the geometry of a fully changes or maybe some suspension setting may limit how much it does so. It may also be a mental thing but not because of the steep switchbacks (as I don't mind riding them on a hardtail) but more because it may actually be the sudden steepening than the actual steepness and also less awareness whether the rear wheel is actually still on the ground or not. I do have to add this only goes for proper steep terrain, alps stuff. If the terrain isn't that steep and/or tight I obviously don't have to brake that much hence the geometry doesn't steepen that much. I'm not saying it is a bad bike by any means. I can ride it just fine on a lot of terrain. But the unpredictable behavior makes me push it less than I do on my hardtail. Except for straightline rough stuff of course, that's where it beats the hardtail which over a certain speed on rough terrain just pingpongs like a wild bronco. I expect my next hardtail frame to do better there. And for steep switchbacks and lofting drops the hardtail just feels more predictable and safe.

I don't have much experience riding full sus bikes though. I rode one bike from the Magura demo fleet in the hills surrounding their Bad Urach HQ. I think it was from Focus. It had 100mm Menja forks (basic air sprung forks) and the Hugin rear shock (HLR adjustable damping, air shock). As I hadn't brought any pedals I got those "one side SPD the other side dangerously grip-less steel cage" pedals so grip with my flat shoes was very limited. But I was surprised with what I could get away with and rarely blew my feet off the pedals. Now these hills are nice and fun but not particularly rough or steep and of course the limited suspension travel also limits the geometry changes. But yeah it was an easier bike to ride than my fully. Then again not sure how it would fare in the alps Wink .

@WAKIdesigns I do indeed think they're out there to test how the suspension behaves when climbing. After all they can't say much about that if they test the suspension locked out Wink . A potential buyer would of course have the option to either open or close the suspension on the climbs. Now none of the shocks I've used on the Prophet has lockout and I never felt the need to use it either. Having rear suspension on the climbs does make it easier though, almost like cheating. With the hardtail I'm always picking my line, hopping, unloading, boosting etc. With the fully you can just get quite far just steamrolling the terrain where the hardtail would spin out if I'd ride like that.

@Fix-the-Spade Yeah the are probably more suited rear shocks out there. I was actually thinking of getting a used CCDB or so because with all these settings, there sure must be something that works for me. I thought I might be after something with more low speed rebound and less high speed rebound (though I'll have to dig into those Vorsprung articles to see if I'm right). I tend to run little rebound damping as it feels like it takes the life out of my bike (as someone coming from riding hardtails most of the time) but the downside I experience now is that when I hit a bigger drop that bottoms out the rear suspension, the rebound stroke is so fast that it bucks me OTB. Again I can compensate for that, I can absorb the rebound stroke with my legs but it feels pointless. I'd just as well absorb the actual hit, much easier to time right Wink . But yeah, the ccdb might do, if I can find it used (in decent condition), 50x200 (or 50x190 and then shift the shock to the steeper eyelet).
  • + 1
 @vinay: I would say get on a recent FS bike or try and sort out your settings (if possible), but then I'm thinking you're somewhere that a HT with sweet geo suits fine anyway. Otherwise you would have pulled the trigger already.

@WAKIdesigns: Seems pointless. What do you learn from testing uphill capability in DH mode? Is this for uppy downy areas where you'd have to switch every 12 seconds? Scott make a remote to do this on the fly and people are talking about taking it off before their first ride? Boy is my finger not on the pulse.

Ok, first-world frustrations.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Yeah the fully sometimes pops up in the back of my head when I feel I'm losing too much speed when riding rough terrain (the really high frequency stuff I can't compensate for anyway) but for most of the stuff I'm happy with how the hardtail does. And with the BTR I already expect a big step ahead. So I'm only going to invest in a fully (this or a new one) if I have found out where the limits of the new hardtail lie for me and how often I'm going to exceed those.
  • + 3
 Circa 1996 on our local trails: new guy shows up with his ultra swanky new Klein Mantra. We all drool and offer him our bikes so that we can take a lap on his bike. He quickly declines (de-kleins) and I still remember what he said “Uh, I can’t let anyone ride this bike ... it has a real learning curve”. We were all experienced XC racers so we did not know what the f*ck he meant. After reading this article, now I know.
  • + 7
 More Articles like this! Signed, Old Fart
  • + 5
 A modern shock like a FOX DPS, and a modern URT frame... actually combine to make something really good. I have that combo and it shreds.
  • + 4
 @filmdrew
Can you show it? Any shot of it? I would like to see it. Thanks
  • + 2
 I would like to know more!
  • + 1
 What bike? I’ve always felt that the URT was a victim of bad shocks.
  • + 1
 @bodynaut: It's the bike pictured on my profile, just click over and it'll be the first thing you see!
  • + 1
 @juansevo: my bike is a 4" travel trailbike called a Terraplane Pocket Rocket. People have set it up for slalom and slopestyle quite a bit, too. The photo on my profile is slightly dated; I usually run a burlier Fox 36 fork, and also now have an updated shock (custom tune, no tokens). A Fox 34 or Pike is probably the most balanced setup.
  • + 3
 Absolutely killer article, I never understood why engineers were so hell-bent on keeping the BB in the rear triangle in the 90's until now! More of these historical pieces would be so greatly appreciated, it really helps put some perspective on MTB tech and culture now
  • + 3
 As a junior, I was waiting to start at an xc race when I stopped to admire a guy's Trek Y33 weight weenie bike that weighed 20lbs. He asked, Want to race it? I said sure, and I won the race. Thanks, random dude. I will always remember you and the URT!
  • + 3
 This era of bicycle development was really just experimentation in trying to create a bike that had an appreciable amount of squish that wouldn’t absorb >50% of your pedaling efficiency. Front suspension was so far beyond in its abilities and design. I had the privilege to work for WTB during this phase and was present for the development of the Bon Tempe. goo.gl/images/UVS7Hm It was a beautiful design but didn’t solve any of the issues that other URT designers had. It just cost a lot more and had really cool wow factor. It was my first ever experience with rear suspension and I struggled to make it work. With all that said, for us old guys, this is a great article that brings back a lot of great memories and reminds me of just far we’ve come with the amazing machines we ride today. Thanks Pinkbike for the flashback.
  • + 3
 Unfortunately I'm not confident that the modern variations of the Slingshot are compatible with today's riding styles and the advancements of braking, tire and suspension technology. They tried remaking it a few years back with a steel rear triangle and a massive top tube, but I don't think it had any advantages over lightweight short-travel full-suspension at the time. Once you reinforce the frame to the point of it weighing as much as a steel frame or full-suspension, it loses it's charm.
  • + 3
 Should ride one sometime and really get to know how they ride. There is no "modern" version of the design, which is part of the problem image wise...the design has been basically the same since the 80s.

I had a Farmboy 29er for awhile and wish I never sold it. For it's intended purpose, it was a ripper and even being a large rider I never once felt the frame flexed in a way it shouldn't. Was really quite magical.

Modernize it with today's plus tires or even a pair of 2.6" tires/disc brakes and a 120mm travel fork plus modern geometry the thing would be a wonderful daily driver. Does it compete with an endure bike? No, but not all of us want such either. Some people don't have the terrain to justify loads of travel either.
  • + 2
 @juansevo: I think you and I are the only Slingshot fans on the internet man! But as someone who actually still owns one, they are a great bike for what they are. And agree - the frame was NOT flexy in a bad way. I XC raced the crap out of mine and it always a joy to ride.
  • + 2
 I hated URT suspension back in the day and i hate them even more now. This total bollox of "suspend the rider not the bike" was the worst attitude towards mountain bike design that has ever existed. Hateful bloody things! Hope these so called designers are absolutly ashamed of themselves looking back at the monstrosities they created.
  • + 1
 "suspend the rider not the bike" I believe this was Softrides marketing slogan for their off road/road bikes back in the day. The road bike was great IMO, not so sure about their MTB models.
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham I remember reading MBA and digging all their (your?) words on Horstlinks and Shock-A-Billys. They even gave advice back then how to ride these. I was in awe and saved up for an AMP B3, always shifting weight to the outside pedal even in the slowest of turns, just for the sake of it (big smile just now...)

I felt URT was pretty controversial already when it came out. Many people thought of it as a step backwards. I'd phrase it as: URT was coined to please the diehard xc crowd, but ever since the advent of suspension (before URT) has the sport strongly moved towards aggressive riding.

In a way, URT was a marketing fad. Companies jumping onto the bandwagon for a while.
  • + 6
 That Y-33 was sexy back in its day.
  • + 2
 All my school exercise books were filled with doodles of that bike. Not sure it has yet been bested for sex appeal.
  • + 1
 Except if you'd ridden any McPherson strut design.
  • + 2
 I used to race dh on gary fisher Y frames back in the day, they were good and suited the more pedally tracks of the time, I found you could get away with less damping too, which was handy because your judys and rear shock only last half a ride. Don't forget Mr Big downhill bikes too, they were rad.
  • + 1
 Level Bettys were sooooo good looking at the time!
  • + 2
 I had a Slingshot, which I loved and a Catamount which was the worst energy sucking bike I ever road. Both unified in their own way. But the Devinci Django I now ride is so superior in every way. Mountain bikes have come a long way!
  • + 1
 Aw, C'mon! I had a Schwin n Homegrown and a Catamount.... I loved the Cat. Until the bushings started to squeak......and the head tube cracked. Then again, I migrated back to hardtails after that and have been on them ever since, so maybe it was not as good as i remember......
  • + 2
 Thank you Richard and congratulatios for this historical report on URT.
Most main stream bicycle mags just copy old URT articles which were copied from someone who didn't understand URT at all had never been riding one before.
So due to their claimed downhill weakness they are reduced to a curiousity of bicycle history, which is not even half the story.
A former head of the MBA magazine made me a complete MTB nerd and I aligned my whole life to become a bicycle engineer. That was in the late 80ies.
Some years ago thr pinion gear drive and the belt drive arrived at the tradeshows. They offered a unique chance to build the 100% hassle free full suspension bike. So I was designing the frame on the CAD an found a willing custom frame builder who is now mass producing the URT.

I am riding my Mitech Epsilon for more than 3 years now and it once again prooves that URT are superiour to multiple linkage designs. It is not a downhiller but does a very good job in rough sections out of the saddle. None of the bad sayings about URT are true. www.mi-tech.de

If you ever have the chance to ride a modern designed URT bike it is something you should look forward to.
  • + 2
 Reminds me of the newer Gt Idrive bikes(Fury and Sanction) the way your weight is mostly on the rear triangle.doesn't matter how fast the rebound is the front of the bike is pushed away from you no more accidental front flips.
  • + 5
 We should be glad for innovation, I for one am glad the slingshot never took off
  • + 5
 What are you talking about? It took off really well..... the 'suspension' was so crap it bounced into the air off pebbles!
  • + 8
 Slingshot's were ridden to many top 5 finishes nationally and at local races. They road very well and still are quite the gem. It's funny to read the negative comments on the design, because you can tell they're made by people who never owned one or even ridden one in most cases. Internet armchair engineer's killed it, not it's design. I don't know a single person who still owns one who doesn't love it, and they're hard to find for sale as a result. Wish I never sold mine, and it was gone in days after posting it for sale.
  • + 0
 Yes—its unfortunate purpose was/is turning the rider into a projectile
  • + 6
 @juansevo: Agreed. I still own a slingshot, and if you're talking smack, you've probably never ridden one. It was, like most mountain bikes of it's day, an XC bike. It's not fair to compare it to a modern enduro bike or something. For what it was meant to do, it was fantastic. The most surprising thing was how normal it felt in most circumstances. It climbed really, really well. I always felt like my Slingshot climbed better than my traditional hardtails. It was a really fun bike to ride. I now ride a modern trail bike, and I'd never go back - but in the mid-90's, the Slingshot was as good of a bike as anyone made.
  • + 1
 We should be glad that road cyclism influence on mountain bike design slowly vanish ...
  • + 1
 @juansevo: Are any of these guys under 55?
  • + 2
 @Fix-the-Spade: They just closed up shop the other day...
  • + 2
 @mattsavage: Well that is unfortunate timing.
  • + 1
 @gnralized: more the race influence, which is still steering average peoples bikes and purchasing. Back then the roadie influence came into xc to win races, so races and bikes were changed by this. You're right that this has gone mainly as xc has faded in popularity, but an xc bike still has this influence. Nowadays we have a racing format that looks more like a normal bike ride- the ews. So bikes are changing to get results in this series, however now your average or aspiring rider- who mostly will be riding xc type terrain without the frantic uphill speed buying 160 travel fs bikes more capable than they will ever be and wondering why they aren't enjoying mountain biking anymore.
  • + 2
 @pinhead907: Bingo. Thanks for speaking up. Sad how the armchair engineers of the internet, will blatantly bash something they have no clue of. Most of these kids only have been riding maybe 5-8 years? Anyone who knows their history and has ridden one of these knows they were far more badass than you could possibly know. In the old days, a guy could talk smack and then show up to a race get his ass kicked by the guy on a Slingshot. Then afterwards could ask if he could ride it, and would see why these were so awesome.

Sad the company was mismanaged in the early 2000s by people who didn't know much about the biz and eventually faded away. I do feel a modern version of this concept would be usable in place of say anywhere hardtails are still ridden today. Throw in 2.6" tires in 27.5/29 at least and a 120-140mm travel fork (Ableit, maybe a slightly different design but same principal) and these would be the shit.

FYI-Working on such a bike.
  • + 2
 amazing how some ideas stand the test of time, and others don't. also worth keeping in mind, is the idea that wasn't ready for primetime, for whatever reason. sometimes those ideas come back around. i don't think the URT will be making a comeback.
  • + 2
 Since I haven't seen DeeEight commenting to correct the historical errors, I'll go ahead and point out that none of the major brand suspension forks had 80mm of travel in 1992. More like 50-60mm as that was the Mag 21/Manitou 3 era. 75mm travel forks didn't hit until the Judy, Marzocchi DH3, etc...which were a 1995 model product, if memory serves (although they started trickling out in late 1994 as pre/early production models).

Also, "XC was dead in 1998"? What???
  • + 2
 Good article. I enjoy riding my Schwinn Homegrown Sweetspot, set up as a SS. I chat and exchange pleasantries as I pass the seated climbing crowd. Downhill, I keep hearing about brake jack, but it's never actually happened.
  • + 1
 chuckha62:brake jack often happens as a result of poor riding/braking I think people want to think they where great riders and tech of the time kept them back
  • + 1
 Man that Schwinn brings me back, I remember I had the catalog for that bike's year, (memory tells me 98?)Schwinn had some dope looking bikes, with the bass boat pant jobs and the scallops on the Homegrown's.. dope bikes.

Pity they were gone like 2 years later..
  • + 1
 I'm still riding a K2 Oz( but only to work) that I bought secondhand 14 years ago. With 120mm coil bombers on the front and a Manitou air shock updrades I thought it was the bee knees.Last April I took it down one of our local very rocky trails whilst my trail bike was having a shock service. It was every shade of horrible I could imagine
  • + 2
 I had a Devinci Banzai (not the downhill bike, the cross country version!) around 1997. It had an URT suspension that looked a lot like the rear triangle of that Trek Y33.. low pivot point over the bottom bracket!
  • + 1
 The first time I saw a Trek Y frame bike, I thought it was the raddest thing ever. Hell, even having direct pull brakes were a big thing, and a decent suspension was still years away. I have buddy who's an old skool mountain biker and still thinks it's pedaling standing up or nothing and suspension fully locked out.
  • + 1
 I had a ‘98 Y3 and a 2001 Pipeline. The Y3 was scary looking back but at the time no one knew any better. That thing put on the podium of high school mountain bike race series all the time.

The Pipeline was way better. I mean, the Fro Riders basically invented free riding on that bike. I used mine for some DH racing but it was out of its element... I should rebuild that bike!
  • + 1
 What I always found to be the most fascinating thing about the URT story is how huge the patent on the sweet spot was; it covered an area that filled much of the real estate between the Mantra and Y Bike. Trek tried feverishly to out manuever Castellano's patent, To me, the big lesson of URT is that patent law didn't reward the inventor, but instead pushed product development to the margins of what worked to the detriment of mountain bikers for nearly two decades.
  • + 1
 The Y-bikes/URTs were dreadful even back then because the whole concept was deeply flawed.
Suspension needs to work well when seated and standing, you don't want suspension characteristics to alter when standing or unweighting saddle.

Now if pedalling efficiency is key [supposedly the driving force behind URTs], then you want the saddle to be at the correct height. Now as any fool knows, dropping saddle height reduces pedalling efficiency. Dramatically. And guess what a URT does? Reduces saddle height as suspension compresses, plus it bobbed like crazy.
I hated them then as they were pointless by their own remit and there were other decent designs already already out there,
  • + 1
 That last photo of the single speed made me think that this could turn into a modern design for gearbox full suspension bikes. Eliminate chain growth, no tensioner, low center of mass, high pivot. Any thoughts? Would locating the mass of the gearbox on the rear triangle eliminate all advantages of reducing the unsprung mass in the swing arm? Or since the mass is close to the pivot point would it not make much difference? Any way to reduce the negative effects of URT design that were mentioned in the article?
  • + 3
 Those were the days....my first moped ( a Triumph from 1957) had a URT.
And my first fullsuspension MTB was a Ventana MPFS WITHOUT URT, after reading RC´s tests in MBA.
  • + 1
 Great reading!!! Not that i would ever wanted to correct @RichardCunningham, but 1992-1994 basically all forks on the market had 30-50mm of travel Smile Otherwise i want one of the recent Castellano frames so bad! Zoro or Bow-TI. Very beautiful. It would be ultimate trolling device of all "suspension experts" Big Grin
  • + 2
 Good call @CAPIN .others noticed that mistake too. Fixed.
  • + 5
 Urt was all I needed to go out and just fuckin send it!
  • + 2
 Yea boiiiii!
  • + 1
 I have a 1998 Mantra and still ride it. I endoed on many descents. Unfortunately the front fork is toast and I cannot find rebuild parts for it. The Fox is still going strong. I was thinking of turning it into a 69er but finding a 29 straight steerer fork/wheel/brakes for a reasonable amount of change has also been elusive. I hate the thought of having to retire it completely.
  • + 1
 Would we be where we are without this "errors"? Don't think so!
History and progression are made like this! It's not a straight walk, but rather a dance.

ps- If I recall correctly 80mm forks appeared in 95 with the Judy DH (DH... lol!). Back i 91/92/93/94 and as far as I remember everythis was 40...50... and some reaching 60!
Different trails, ridding styles, and even mindset!

I embrace tech... but lattley it seems everyone is to worried about standards rather than ridding the bike!
  • + 1
 Having had on a lot of full suspension bikes in the 90s I rocked the mantra knowing full well that you had a lean way back when you honked on the front brake ( pre-dropper post for you whippersnappers).
A unique hybrid URT bike not mentioned here is the Scott Neva.
It had a pivot on the top tube so was more supple when sitting and much more firm when standing yet still a URT.
Replaced that thing with a GT LTS than a Ventana El Habanero. Yup, 10 years from now will be looking at the stuff will be riding and say what the heck?
Nothing ages faster than a full boinger mountain bike.
That said, I do rock my 97 Bontrager race light with a tange switchblade for a sweet commuter.
  • + 1
 Oh the irony ! With dropper post people dont get off the seat. I teat rode an. Ibis Sazbo. It had a 2.5 inch travel front fork. Ride great as long as you remained seated. It was another matter on steeps . Out of saddle the rear stayed up the fork dove. Not good. A single speed urt bike sounds fun!
  • + 1
 Lovely article Richard. Especially for those of us who lived that era’s boom of different designs over the URT concept.
The history of bicycle, is full of extreme & very promising designs that were unfairly faded in time (imagine IF some of these ideas were developed with the same ford and manpower over the years, as some of today’s systems…)
Some examples are evident at the online bicycle museum, were (very) early full suspension designs, are demonstrated.
One example:
A 1930’s German Full suspension bike, with inverted forks, single sided suspension arm pivot, single shock absorber and (almost) a monotube frame…

www.oldbike.eu/museum/1930s/1930-1934/1930-s-frame-suspension-springframe-bicycle


The history of this sport is surely interesting.
  • + 1
 So here's a question.
If a URT can provide some benefit while seated and limited benefit while standing without any weird braking behaviour isn't it still better than a hardtail?
The catch is the braking. As I recall sweet spot bikes and Kleins had terrible brake jack.
  • + 2
 I think R.C. sold his Mantis Horst link bikes in 1991 with their Noleen rear shocks

Marketers sold you these pieces of bull years later . ;-)
  • + 1
 By buddy Ben never got the memo that URT is dead, he's still givin'er on the old S-10. Now it has a circa 1996 Lawill Leader. Probably wears a helmet now too.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15575326
  • + 1
 I loved my Pipeline and kept it over 2 Kona's and an Ellesworth. I rode the NS up and down for 12 years @ 39 Lbs. Now I have a Pivot Mach 5.7 that is 12 Lbs lighter and almost as fun as the RM...
  • + 2
 What about the Cannondale Super Vee? Or what is Super V? At any rate, that bike blew me away when it came out. The Trek Y-bikes were also pretty wild at the time.
  • + 0
 I would like to get the designer of the Klein Matra and kick them in the balls until he loses consciousness. Payback for the Matra I owned, every drop-off or jump was rewarded with a rebounding seat pillar smashing me in the nuts. May you die a thousand deaths.
  • + 1
 My first full sus bike was a trek Y22, I broke the frame after less than a year and trek sent me a naked carbon Y33 frame with a polished chrome swing arm, which I still have unbuilt in the original shipping box!
  • + 2
 I don't care what anyone says about URT, the Ibis BowTi still takes me from 6 to 12 as fast as it did when it first came out. I would love to to a retro build with one.
  • + 3
 Former Pipeline owner here. Fond memories of its odd performance. Great story - thanks for the nostalgia trip.
  • + 2
 I had a 1997 Rocky Mountain Speed and that fucker took any opportunity possible to lawn-dart me over the bars. It was last pieced together about 8 years ago and ridden for a few laps, and I think it's a liability to keep assembled in the event that someone accidentally gets on it and rides. Gave it to a buddy that gave it to a collector ... of torture equipment.
  • + 2
 Yeah I loved my pipeline, even bagged it up for a trip to the US and Canada back in 98....first custom build.
  • + 1
 @ricksta007: Where'd ya ride it on our continent?
  • + 2
 @sngltrkmnd: took it to the worlds in Mt St Anne (spectator) then off to Moab, Durango,Sedona great holiday before kids!
  • + 4
 Fun article. More please! PB has a great resource in Richard.
  • + 5
 I want an Ibis BowTi .
  • + 0
 I don't understand the hooplah about climbing while standing, it's inefficient, and has been proven so time and time again.
The only reasons for standing during climbing are : 1) to alleviate numb-rod setting in 2) to clear a technical obstacle 3) when you don't have a low enough gear to sit (typically not a problem anymore with wide gear ratios)
PS- Great article, man are many old bikes ugly!
  • + 2
 Wrong. It also allows you to move your weight much farther forward. Sometimes it's simply too steep to stay on the saddle.
  • + 1
 Agreed - I sit as much as possible when climbing, and really only stand for exactly the situations you mention.
  • + 1
 @jwrendenver: Okay, I'd include that as "technical obstacle", as if it's too steep to shove forward and ride on the nose of the saddle for any extended period of time (30+ seconds?), it's more likely than not easier and more efficient to just walk for a while, no?
  • + 2
 Trek used to do mtb development out of Madison Wisconsin. The hills there are short and if you race XC (the WORS) you pretty much hammer up every climb out of the saddle if you want to be competitive. Y-bikes were perfect for their home terrain. Throw a blue SID, some Spinergies, and a pair of Magura hydro rim brakes on there and you're golden.
  • + 2
 The GCN test in the sports lab showed climbing in or out of the saddle was the same. I don't know where you're getting less efficient from.
  • + 1
 @JohanG: to be honest, from personal experience doing timed hill climbs on the road, standing up is de rigeur to break up the monotony and a chance to use some different muscles. I tend to stand fairly often, but for shorter lengths of time.
If standing is as efficient as sitting, why have saddles on bicycles, especially race bikes, at all?
  • + 3
 I think you'll find that urt is still alive and well in every supermarket bike out there.
  • + 3
 Every time I see an older MTB I'm so thankful for what we have to ride today.
  • + 2
 Ya, I mostly agree. I've been a mountain biker since like '90-91-ish, and I still like to look at old bikes and have some fond memories of my older bikes (and I still own a couple of them) - I'd never go back. My current trail bike climbs like a beast and descends like a monster. It's really amazing how far mountain bikes have come.
  • + 4
 I really enjoy articles like this. thank you.
  • + 4
 I have a 1991 Slingshot....the original URT!
  • + 1
 Would now be a good time to mention that we are only where we are today because of ever changing “standards” and trail and error evolution.
  • + 3
 The Trek Y Bike...inspiration for all department store frames
  • + 1
 Short lived? Originating , in the mtb world anyways in the 90s, and STILL being used on department store full squishes to this day!
  • + 1
 In the 90s the cycling Industries R&D was that looks killer sell it to the masses no one cares if it works they will buy it put some cool colors on it.
  • + 1
 So back when Trek ripped off John Castellano's design who would have known they would pull the same s*** 20 years later to Dave Weagle!
  • + 2
 A case could be that John actually ripped off the idea from others before him. Roo Trimble had produced the whiz-bag suspension design and publicly shown it in magazines two years earlier. Also the Catamount MFS URT was developed independently of the sweet spot at about the same time, had its pivot in the center also, and had its own patent.

forums.mtbr.com/vintage-retro-classic/catamount-mfs-thread-587140.html
  • + 1
 @deeeight: I'm a bit late to the party but thanks for mentioning this. I rode the Titanium Giz bag bike that Roo Trimble and Mike Augspurger built back at Mt. Snow in '93 (I think it was then as I was working at Onza at the time.) The Gizbag rode surprisingly well- better than many bikes at the time. Scot Nicol let me ride an early production Szazbo and I hated it. Then Dave Turner showed up at the Onza office with the first Burner and it pretty much put everything else to shame.
  • + 3
 Put a gearbox and a Gates carbon on that Zorro!!...!..!...?
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham you forgot the worst ever. Suspension bike of all time in your article.https://www.pinkbike.com/photo/15556632/
  • + 3
 The splinfshot cable bike is brilliant!!!!!!
  • + 1
 So wouldn't a Cane Creek suspension seat post have achieved the same thing on any bike Smile

Great out of saddle

Cushy when in the saddle

DONE
  • + 3
 kona sex bikes were urt's too, just linkage driven.
  • + 1
 this is true. as I stare at the SEX TWO hanging on my wall
  • + 2
 I don't think they were URT's they were floating drivetrains the rear triangle had pivots in it meaning it wasn't unified. However, the BB was part of the suspended rear end in theory also limiting the pedal bob when standing.
  • + 4
 26 is making a comeback!
  • + 1
 All I can see is evolution here.!!
If it wasn’t for these then we wouldn’t be where we are today you learn from your mistakes people ????????
  • + 2
 URT me baby! These were awesome--I knew an owner of a Schwein URT--called it his OTB pogostick!
  • + 2
 My last bike as a racer was a 1995 y22. Now loving my slash and summum. Wish I had these bikes then!!
  • + 3
 Put some Kashmima on this rig and would be Enduro killer!
  • + 3
 As in, it would literally kill enduro?!
  • + 3
 Nice write up R.C! I love this stuff
  • + 2
 I owned a "Catamount".... another of the mid 1990's failures that used the URT as a platform.
  • + 1
 Only a bad craftsman blames his tools..... OK, the stinkbugging sucked.
  • + 2
 make it into a gravel-bike.
  • + 1
 I don't think I've ever read the phrase 'of off' written down. This is a sad day.
  • - 2
 Why are we bringing this up? Is this to make all the noobs realize how good they have it now?
I got my first mtb in '86...(bleep) nostaglia. The whole URT thing was sooo misguided I don't know about everybody, but typically, I am out of the saddle on anything technical or downhill...exactly when you need your suspension to work best...and exactly when URT was useless.

And as far as Castellano's quote about bikes being so mushy being the reason they climb in the saddle...maybe try a new bike with properly set-up suspension - I'd suggest an Ibis - and climb something steep and technical. .
  • + 17
 I don't believe the idea of writing this article was to bring it up just so we can tell the young kids that life is a lot better than back in the day. I enjoy these quick history reads. I learned some new shit this morning, can't be mad at that.
  • + 6
 @2bigwheels: thank you! We wrote this to pay homage to the wacky bikes of yesteryear. They didn't work, but we have a soft spot for them regardless.
  • + 2
 @brianpark: Keep it up! I'd love to see a history of the crazy early years of STORK carbon mountain bikes. as a kid there were always on the front cover of MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION and as kids we were just blown a way with how wild they were and the fact they were made of this crazy material called Carbon Fiber.
  • + 1
 It's like opening an album of the worst shags you've ever had...... *shudder*
  • + 1
 Anyone ride the Bicycle Fabrications Bottle Rocket?? From the few posts/reviews I could find on it, it gets great reviews.
  • + 2
 LOL I still run Race Face XY seat posts on all of my DH rigs.
  • + 2
 urt the work of the devil
  • + 2
 I want a Mantra to just hang on my wall.
  • + 1
 That's the safest place for it.
  • + 2
 "Cross Country was dead" in 1997?! Decline/death was more like 2001-3.
  • + 1
 Mr. Cunningham, what do you mean by a "biased bottom bracket position"?
  • + 1
 I think he meant the BB position in relation to the pivot. The bike wants to fold itself in half.
  • + 1
 Ahhhhh memory lane. This is where you came from kids.
  • + 1
 This article was an OUTSTANDING read.
  • + 1
 What about the maverick bike with that strut URT thing?
  • + 1
 And the GT i-Drive, both were offshoots.
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham: And the Rock Shox LTD that Trevor Lee Harris designed. That was an interesting design. Tomac was fast on it but he was pretty darn fast on every bike he rode. The Rock Shox DEVO team rode them (not many were built) and I remember John Kemp telling me they were awesome for climbing but not so great for descending and they were somewhat fragile as well as it was a difficult design to build light.
  • + 1
 My first dual suspension bike...Pro Flex...sweet ride!!
  • + 1
 Oh god, dont remind me of my Orange X2. Man that was awful!
  • + 1
 is this a new standard foretelling?
  • + 1
 Great article, love seeing stuff on older bikes.
  • + 1
 I had a schwinn homegrown and that bike could wheelie for days!
  • + 1
 Looks like it could really 'URT ya!
  • + 1
 Mavericks were great
  • + 1
 What about Mr Big? Big Grin
  • + 1
 Terrible bikes
  • + 1
 No have balfa bobonum?
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