Following on from our Throwback to 2013 last week
, let's now take a look back through the archives at some of the bikes turning 20 this year.
The Honda RN01 is easily one of the rarest bikes to have ever raced at World Cups, with supposedly just two left in existence. The bike featured a secret gearbox system that led to all sorts of speculation, fueled by the fact that during World Cup races the team engineers would apparently remove the gearboxes from the bikes and take them back to the hotel rooms to avoid anyone getting access to the system without permission.
Its time on the World Cup circuit was short-lived, but remains a legendary bike 20 years later.
2. Yeti 4X Special Projects
Revealed at Interbike in 2003, the Yeti 4X Special Projects frame was numbered and hand-built in Yeti's Factory as part of very limited runs of around 50-100. The frame featured 3.25" of travel with a stiffened boxy rear end to improve power transfer for gate starts and flat-out sprints.
3. Foes Inferno
Another fresh bike showcased on the stands of Interbike was the Foes Inferno. The Inferno was a totally new 7.5" long-travel trail bike from Foes designed around a Curnutt rear shock and an optional floating disc brake arm.
4. Santa Cruz VP Free
Following one and a half years after Santa Cruz released the Blur with VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) technology and shortly after the V10 was the brand's VPP freeride bike. The VP Free was released as a 2004 model year and ran until 2006 before an updated VP Free 1.5 ran until the model year 2007. The first VP Free featured 215mm of rear travel that could be paired with forks from 160mm to a maximum of 203mm.
5. Sinister R9
Engineered and built by Frank The Welder, the Sinister R9 featured nine inches of travel and sealed pivot bearings in locations Sinister called “The Backbone”, a plate section located between the top and bottom tubes that accommodate the shock mount, link plates and pivot bearings. Sinister said this lowered the chance of structural failure associated with pivots and swing arm mounts traditionally located in drilled frame tubes. "The Backbone" could also house the reservoir for Avalanche rear shocks.
6. Intense M3
Another legendary race bike revealed 20 years ago was the Intense M3. After Intense partnered with Santa Cruz to license the VPP suspension system patent the M3 was born. The M3 became Intense's first bike to use 9.5 inches of rear travel. The VPP system on the M3 was claimed to dramatically improve pedalling efficiency, while also offering better small and large bump performance.
|The opportunity to utilize the VPP suspension platform was an exciting way to move into a high-performance 4th generation suspension design that was versatile and adaptable.— Jeff Steber|
7. Canfield Formula 1
Another big travel downhill bike launched in 2003 was the high-pivot Canfield Formula 1. Designed with Canfield's parallel links driving a three inch Manitou Swinger 6-way rear shock the Formula 1 had nine inches of travel to play with. The frame used a high-pivot design with an idler as well as being designed with a small amount of "brake squat" to allow the bike to settle slightly into its travel under braking.
The Formula 1 was built with 160mm X 15mm rear hub spacing, had 20mm bearings at every pivot and could fit a chunky 2.8" 26" tire at the rear.
Oh and the VP-Free…and the M3…and the 4x…damn (metal) bikes used to have character!
I owned a VP Free for a while, the rear suspension was amazing and felt like it could suck up anything. The problem was trying to find a fork that felt even half as good!
I wonder if that was at our store??
Love these throwback articles - they don't make them like they used to!
You didn’t miss much my man.
The Norco Shore, and the Bullit were way better bikes than the hot garbage of the VP free. Couple it with the 5th element rear shock, and you immediately had yourself the most unreliable, and poorly handling bike brought to market.
That M3 was the real deal though
BB was high AF, 180mm Marzocchi 66 fork and a Progressive 5th element made for a great 33 lb do-anything bike though.
You should probably get your eyes tested...
"We believe this will be the first bike to be compatible with every type of drivetrain on the market. Traditional 1x (7-12 speed), Pinion P-Line, and Effigear's Mimic gearbox. We are also working on developing our own drivetrain solution. Keep up with us Instagram to find out more."
A lovely selection of bikes right here.
Perfect for huck to flats with the upgrade to a 24" rear wheel.
That Blue/Green Ti-N coating would turn some heads on a MTB for sure though. One of the SR Suntour sponsored riders in XC had fork like that for the Olympics, but I haven't seen anyone else using Nitride coated suspension.
So many nice bikes here, and they still shine. Like looking at an old classic car, these bikes are true time machines.
And Huck Machine(s). \m/
#24bicycleslovers #pornspirit #racingclubdelourdes
A bike before it's time
They were pretty rare in most markets, but I still have mine and my TMX. Sick pieces then and now.
Knowing Honda, they are likely last to cheat. Show up and blow minds, take the prize and move on. And I don’t think Greg needed much help other than suspension and geo.