Now THAT Was a Bike: Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Feb 15, 2019 at 5:20
by Richard Cunningham  



Every mountain bike designer should have a picture of the Mountain Cycle San Andreas hanging somewhere in the office. Road bike DNA has polluted the development of the mountain bike since its inception. The spindly double-diamond frame that has been hardwired into our minds was the pinnacle of efficiency when bicycles were soldered together from sticks of steel and admittedly, if you're into hardtails, or still soldering sticks together, it's a tough design to beat.

Most of us, however, ride dual-suspension bikes, and in spite of the challenges that funky linkages, shocks, high stack heights and wide pivots have imposed upon the stodgy double-diamond frame, the bicycle industry seems to be blind to any
Mountain Cycle Founder
Mountain Cycle Founder Robert Reisinger. RC photo
alternative. The San Andreas stands as one of the few exceptions. It was launched in 1991, and to this day its elegantly simple design reminds us that we could have done better.

Robert Reisinger founded Mountain Cycle in San Luis Obispo, where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering at the polytechnical university there. Before that, Reisinger had one foot in aviation as a commercial fixed wing and helicopter pilot, and another in motocross, where he did a four-year stint as a pro racer and test rider for Kawasaki. Oh, and he shares a world record for building the first human-powered helicopter capable of sustained flight. That kind of diversity helps explain why Reisinger's first opus as a mountain bike maker was such a radical departure from all that cycling held near and dear. Before he could build the first San Andreas, however, Reisiger had to design and manufacture two of its key components.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
The San Andreas' arching swingarm was necessary to clear the front derailleur. Triple cranksets with 48-tooth chainrings were standard fare in 1991.


The First San Andreas

"I started Mountain Cycle right after I graduated," says Robert. "I had a good idea of what I wanted, but before I got started, I went to bike shows, checked out prototypes, and asked questions. Brent Trimble's carbon X-bike, the Kestral Nitro and the Mantis Flying V were very influential."

Reisinger was sure of one thing: dual-suspension was the future of the mountain bike. And, as if that decision wasn't contentious enough in 1989, he planned to equip his new bikes with hydraulic disc brakes. Near the end of that year, Reisinger had sketched out the San Andreas frame. It was an elegantly simple design. A large diameter monocoque aluminum structure carried the loads between the highly stressed bottom bracket and head tube. Its single-pivot swingarm was also a beefy box section, welded from hydro-formed aluminum sheet. The voluminous width of the front section made the swingarm pivot very stiff, and their close proximity required no linkage to drive the shock. To support the rider, Robert borrowed from racing motorcycles and devised a bolt-on seat mast that straddled the shock.

To understand how revolutionary Reisinger's concept was, if you overlaid a drawing of a conventional double-diamond frame on top of the San Andreas, you could erase its top tube, down tube, seat stays, chain stays and half of its seat tube. His design literally filled the empty space inside of the classic mountain bike frame.

In one fell swoop, the first-time bike designer solved every major issue that would plague dual suspension mountain bikes for decades to come: It was inherently stronger and stiffer, had plenty of stand-over clearance, room for short stays and big tires, it offered modular frame sizing, and its suspension kinematics were completely unhindered by frame constraints.

Reisinger, however, had to jump three hurdles before his dream bike could become reality. Back then, viable suspension forks, shocks, and disc brakes weren't hard to find - they didn't exist.

bigquotesI designed thick dropouts with border lips that captured the axle so it couldn't go anywhere if it wasn't properly tightened. Today, we use through axles, and that makes it easy.Robert Reisinger

With only $5000 USD to launch his company, the young product engineer had to make some hard
Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
Mountain Cycle's first products were the Pro-Stop cable-actuated hydraulic disc brake and the 64-millimeter-stroke Suspenders inverted fork. The system required a special hub with a 12 millimeter twist-on axle.
choices. Robert shelved his frame design and went to work on a suspension fork, which in turn led him to invent his own disc brake system. Before he was a bike maker, Reisinger was manufacturing and selling his inverted "Suspenders" fork and "Pro-Stop" cable-actuated/hydraulic disc brake.

"I designed the fork and co-developed the brakes at the same time," says Reisinger. "I had just come out of testing with Kawasaki. The inverted fork was in its infancy at that time. I remember putting a Fox inverted fork on my bike - it turned in perfectly without the wobble that the flexing stanchion tubes caused. It was like a different bike. An inverted fork made perfect sense. The uppers were so structurally stronger with their larger diameters."

But, cycling tradition dictated slotted dropouts and quick release axles, which created too much flex. Reisinger said that clamp-type dropouts with a through-axle would have handily solved the problem, but that would have scared people off. After three design failures attempting to integrate the universal 8-millimeter-axle quick release front hub standard, he arrived at a compromise.

"I settled on a 12-millimeter front axle with its own locking system," he said. "To get enough stiffness, it had to be a physical, twist-on axle, and I designed thick dropouts with border lips that captured the axle so it couldn't go anywhere if it wasn't properly tightened. Today, we use through axles, and that makes it easy."

Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
Unscrewing the top caps from the fork's uppers allowed owners to switch the color-coded elastomer springs to firm up or soften the ride.


Considering his motocross background, it would be easy to criticize Reisinger for opting for a simple elastomer stack for his suspension fork. Pro motocross racing may have been enjoying a renaissance of suspension technology in the early '90s, but by comparison, mountain bikers were still knapping flint.

"Elastomers? I had just come from MX testing and suspension development," explained Robert. "All those adjustments and technology were just too much for cyclists at the time. I distilled it down to a color-coded elastomer system that was easier for the consumer to understand. It made the suspension much more reliable and easier to work on. Also, I had to sell my bikes for a price that people could afford."

Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
Pro-Stop brakes used hard-anodized aluminum rotors that "floated" laterally to self align. The hydraulic calipers housed cable-actuated master cylinders - a necessity dictated by Shimano's overwhelmingly popular SIS shift pods, which were integrated to their brake levers.


Pro-Stop Brakes

Inverted forks require some sort of hub brake. Reisinger's Pro-Stop disc brake was a compromise between the full-hydraulic system that he wanted to make and the reality that few riders would be willing to forego Shimano's cutting-edge index shifting in order to experiment with disc brakes. He designed a hydraulic caliper that incorporated a small, cable-driven master cylinder - a concept that was also used successfully by AMP designer Horst Leitner for the same reasons.

The first rotors simply threaded onto specially made Bullseye hubs. Shortly after, however, Reisinger developed a splined interface that was fixed by a threaded lock ring - the predecessor to Shimano's present Centerlock mounting system. Those hubs were made by Pulstar and were standard on most San Andreas models, including the bike featured here.
bigquotesShimano wouldn't sell us their freehub bodies, so we bought complete hubs and stripped off the freehubs and retaining nuts to build the Pulstar rear hubs.Robert Reisinger
Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
Pulstar hubs were also ahead of their time. The rear axle was a conventional quick release. Through axles - a major improvement for rear suspension stiffness - were still on the horizon.

The most difficult part of the Pro-Stop's development was getting the proper brake pad compound. Reisinger opted for hard anodized aluminum rotors to save weight, but could not find a pad maker that would cooperate to develop a matching compound. Eventually, he was directed to Andy Brinzey in North Carolina. Brinzey made custom brake pads and components for NASCAR race teams. It took six months, and a few molds to dial in the right material. He made all of the Pro-Stop pads from then on.

Pro-Stop brakes were a little noisy at times, The aluminum rotors were designed to shift laterally about one millimeter on a six-bolt spider. They would self-center most of the time, and when they did rub on the pads, the noise was the only detriment, as the pad material created insignificant drag when there was no squeeze force upon it. Compared to rim brakes, however, they were light years ahead. Mountain Cycle sold a lot of them until Shimano and Hayes settled upon a universal hub interface and the brake market was swept up by OEM suppliers.


Made in the USA

Robert's post-graduate hubris came to a screeching halt when he started shopping around for a supplier who could form the matching halves of his monocoque frame and swingarm. Most of the fabrication shops who could form the parts were churning out components for aerospace or military contracts. The tooling quotes alone were astronomical. "I was arrogant," says Robert. "I didn't know that an aluminum monocoque couldn't be done."

Almost by accident, however, Reisinger stumbled upon a man in San Francisco who was forming complex shapes from aluminum sheets using a hydraulic press and rubber blocks. He called the process "hydro-forming."

"My dad and brother helped me make a huge press and I figured it all out," said Robert. "I made my first patterns out of wood. We did the sheet metal in my shop, but all of the CNC-machined small parts were done outside. The first 100 frames were welded by a contractor, but after those, we brought all the welding in house. The first ones took three hours to weld. Then I ended up with a couple of guys, one from Piper and another from Lockheed, who were so good. Towards the end, they could weld a frame in 45 minutes. They knew all the tricks."
Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
About This Bike

I had been searching for a period correct San Andreas for some time when I came across a photo of this one. It belongs to Velo Cult founder Sky Boyer and is unrestored and in remarkably good condition. The Fox shock is the only glaring update and the bike reportedly belonged to a sponsored racer, hence the custom paint. Complete bikes sold for $1890 USD in 1992 in raw aluminum, which San Andreas owners preferred in order to show off the monocoque construction and quality welding. The Grip shifters and booster spring on the rear mech suggest that the bike was purchased in the early '90s, when Shimano switched to light action and SRAM's twist shifters failed to operate their derailleurs correctly. The Mavic rims and Panaracer tires were also popular then. Many thanks to Sky and also photographer Anthony Bareno.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
This, was once considered lots of room for big tires.
Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
Kooka stem, SRAM GripShift.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
Kooka CNC-machined crankset

Mountain Cycle purchased a CNC machine, followed by a heat treating oven and, with the exception of powdercoat painting, every operation was eventually brought in house. By the mid-1990s Mountain Cycle employed 30 workers. The San Andreas had jumped from two and a half inches of travel to five, and was earning a reputation as a pioneering all-mountain bike. The product line expanded to include a downhill version of the San Andreas, and two more conventional XC designs; the Moho softail and CSX suspension bikes. Road bikes were in the works. From the outside looking in, everything was great, but industry price wars and an economic downturn were looming ahead.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult
The Fox air shock was upgraded later. The original San Andreas damper compressed a stack of urethane cushions.

Head Angle:
70º
Seat Angle:
76.3º
Top Tube:
580mm
BB Height:
330mm
Chainstay:
419mm
Wheelbase:
1094mm
Size medium. Geometry was adjustable on later models


"I was fighting to keep the doors open," says Reisinger. "I had a nice run around '93 when suspension was going off. At some point I had 30 people and a manufacturing business. The market was reaching out for full suspension. But I had 300 frames in inventory and was totally in debt. I had to shrink down to only six people."

That should have spelled the end for Mountain Cycle, but just when all looked black, orders again poured in. They sold all of their inventory and suddenly were back in business. Reportedly, they exceeded a million dollars in sales annually before the mountain bike market dropped off in '99.

"By '99 the market was getting soft," Reisinger admitted. "I had stopped making forks, because there were many options available. Costs were going way up, but the elite level bike buyer had not arrived yet. It seemed like I was always a little too far ahead of the curve - with suspension forks, disc brakes and then high-end bikes. By the end of the '90s, I was exhausted with the struggle to keep it all going."

Eventually, Reisinger sold Mountain Cycle to Kinesis Bikes - a contract bicycle maker with factories in the US and Asia that was searching for an elite level house brand to expand into the market with. The effort peaked around 2004 with nine models in the range, but did not bear much fruit.

"I was a good young engineer with skills to make a good product," Reisinger said. "But the business aspect was the part I had to learn. Who would have known that a few years later, bicycles would be selling for ten thousand dollars? I missed that one."

Reisinger returned to the motorcycle industry, founding a high-performance exhaust business. His latest endeavor is designing protection gear for 6D Helmets. He races motocross again, and in our small universe his San Andreas will probably be remembered as one of the most influential mountain bike designs of all time.

bigquotesIn my heart, I am a products guy. I want to turn materials into things like disc brakes - to have something take shape in front of me.Robert Reisinger

Mountain Cycle San Andreas from the collection of Sky Boyer Velo Cult







175 Comments

  • + 103
 Those tires bring back some serious memories... wow. What a cool bike and a great story behind it. Love these sort of articles on PB...
  • + 8
 I hated those tires so much. They were mud magnets, I remember switching to a smoke dart and it was like riding a totally different bike.
  • - 1
 @Rigidjunkie: Those tires nearly killed MTB for me. I pinch flatted nearly every ride even running 60psi. Thanks to tubeless for saving it for me.
  • + 4
 Those tires were terrible... narrow low volume casing / wide tread. You needed sooo much air pressure to keep from pinch flatting.
  • + 9
 @deeeight: Yeah, but they were RED! So crazy cool at the time.
  • - 1
 They were making them until a few years ago. I had a pair come on a 2005 bike and used them until 2013 hahah
  • + 2
 @gdharries: That's why I bought them, color options! Tires were all so bad back in the day that these, and the Red & Teal Michelins were the cat's ass simply because of the color.
  • + 2
 @maxyedor: That's right, the teal Michelins, I forgot about those. I think I had the Wildgripper with its tan sidewalls.
  • + 5
 @IamZOSO: I pinch fart like four times a day now... oh wait, I read that wrong..
  • + 1
 @Rigidjunkie: its about the bike..... any tire can be put on it.
  • + 51
 This was the bike everyone wanted at the time. Fact is it still looks good now! It was the birth of the proper mountain bike!
  • - 126
flag warmerdamj (Feb 21, 2019 at 13:52) (Below Threshold)
 Man this bike looks like shit, downvote me... i dont care. But dont say this bike looks good.
  • + 27
 @warmerdamj: Dude, it's from 1991.....figure it out!
  • + 50
 @warmerdamj: I know i make some controversial comments on here that gets me downvoted many times. However, that is one of the most idiotic comments I've ever seen on here. If you don't know and appreciate this bike, you don't know anything about mountain biking. Now jog on!
  • + 10
 @Matt76: Haha well said my dude!
  • - 59
flag warmerdamj (Feb 21, 2019 at 18:03) (Below Threshold)
 @Matt76: lol, yeah i dont know anything about mountain biking because I dont think an outdated bike lokks good. Ill just keep jogging.
  • + 10
 @warmerdamj: yeah it does look like shit. But look past that for one second, had through axles like 15 years ahead of the game, huge stiff forks miled ahead of most other offerings at the time, hydraulic discs vs v brakes.
I clicked on it for a lol, but if you look at it as a whole it would have shit on nearly anything else from 1990, and is part of mtb evolution history.
Also have you ever fabricated or machined anything? Building something like that is no small feat.
  • + 1
 I still want one. I tried to give my kidney away for one back in the day. But they wanted a kidney and my liver.
  • + 6
 @warmerdamj: that bike is essentially the turning point in mtb history. It changed everybodies perspective of what was still achievable in mtb design as well as riding. I remember wanting one and also remember racing a full season on an Orange Patriot with hope hope hope and xtr and Pace RC37; and there was a kid on a Mountain Cycle Shockwave 9.5. He was good and the bike was a mile ahead of the the rest of the field.
  • + 5
 @Boardlife69: You didn't have a liver?
  • - 1
 @englertracing: those are all great things and if you show me where I disputed them or its historical significance I'll eat my current bike and film it for you. OP said the bike still looks good now, I disagree.

Welcome to pinkbike, where opinions are welcome as long as its the same one everybody else has eh!
  • + 1
 @warmerdamj: I suppose you didn't dispute them. Like I didn't disagree that it looks like shit. Cheers my northern neghibor from the other CA.
  • + 3
 @warmerdamj: no but your comments an entirely superficial and not constructive in any form of conversation. Hence the response you have received. Never judge a book by its cover.
  • + 36
 He nailed the seat angle!
  • + 15
 @powderturns And there is room for a full size water bottle. It almost meets Pink Bike standards except the bars. Oh wait, it's not carbon Wink
  • + 31
 You know they were ahead of their time -- Orange is still using their design!
  • + 19
 This thing looks like it was made specifically for Evil Knievel to huck over the Grand Canyon and I love it.
  • + 11
 with Jesus to save his a$$,,,
  • + 14
 Such an iconic bike. I heard that one pictured here belonged to Pistol Pete? Amazing how Reisinger built all the key parts himself even the rear elastomer shock, a real work of art. I have a couple of original ones slowly being restored www.pinkbike.com/photo/15379095
  • + 2
 That's looking good man. SPuDs and a Flite saddle. Correct sir!
  • + 2
 Nice one. Very cool bikes for the time. My friend had one of the first ones in Canada. Looked just like that with the urethane shock and Prostop brakes. One of the Prostop rotors weighs more than a complete modern brake system.
  • + 13
 Can anyone tell me a manufacturer that made their own frame, fork, and brakes? Robert Reisinger was a godfather of MTB design.
  • + 4
 MSC. They didn't make brakes, but their DH bike had MSC frame, fork, cranks, and wheels. David Vasquez raced those.
  • + 7
 AMP Research did their own frame, shock, and fork around the same time (1993?) and added disc brakes a couple of years later.
  • + 4
 @feldybikes: Lawill had a frame and fork, yes? No brakes though.
  • + 4
 Cannondale? I can't remember if they made their own brakes or not in the era of jackshafts and giant forks with 4" of travel hahahahah but there were a few people tinkering in the early to mid90's
  • + 6
 @tacoma73: of course! CODA brakes, cranks, finishing kit.
CODA was Cannondale Ornate Design Apparatus
  • + 7
 Brent Foes did frames, forks and shocks by himself, also way back in ´92
  • + 3
 @roterblitz: Pace had frames, forks and shocks... if you can call the elastomers on the DPD a shock. I guess you can, because even without a damper it was still a shock absorber.

Present day and Hope are getting pretty close to a full bike, minus the suspension parts.

I noticed on GMBN TECH the other day, Doddy has a Fox 34 hanging on the wall behind him, next to a Pace RC36 fork. Carbon legs, machined dropouts and brace etc. That thing looks so spindly even with just 50mm of travel.
  • + 4
 @tacoma73: I was working at a Cannondale dealer from 1995-1999, and the CODA disc brakes definitely came out at that time. The Super Vs originally had the Headshok Moto fork and the Sachs disc brake, but when the Super V Raven dropped (remember those? Carbon skins glued to an aluminium spine?) it had CODA discs front and back. They were shite too! I would say it was about 1997, which was before the jackshaft days I think. I'm not sure they were actually manufactured by Cannondale but I would guess they were, because they made most of the other fancy stuff in house. Those hollow cranks.. wow!
  • + 1
 @jaame: Ah yes, the Raven. That bike was straight from the future.
  • + 1
 @jaame: AFAIK Lawill developed a frame and fork, but I don't know that they were every produced as such. I think the frame at one point was going to take form as a Fisher (maybe?), and the design later came to life as a Yeti/Schwinn (when they were the same company). The Lawill fork was later produced by Control Tech for a few years in the mid 90s.
  • + 2
 @jaame: My M700 had the Force-40 braking system. Added some ooomph to cantilever brakes but an utter travesty to tune properly...
  • + 2
 Scott did brakes, frames and suspension forks for a minute. But nothing at all comes close to doing it mostly in house like Reisinger was.
  • + 1
 @jaame: haha I TOTALLY forgot that CODA counts! duuurrr I can't believe that didn't register hahaha

Right on, thanks for that!! I thought of the cranks but I couldn't remember the brakes!!!
  • + 11
 There's a 'tribute' crew that races these in the Trail Trophy enduro series in EU. We ran into them at the race in Harz a few years ago, and I thought it was bloody fantastic to see them out there, thrashing these things!
  • + 7
 Love old mountain bikes. Do some of the ridiculous early freeride and dh rigs like balfa, brooklyn machine works, and even the later San Andreas.

Or freeride hardtails like 24 bikes letoy, snipes elemental, 243 racing, evil imperial, giant acid.

And dream article would be the norco 420 (I think it was called that), the full suspension 24" wheel, pegs and gyro headset thing.
  • + 4
 Haha the Norco 420 Holy shit I forgot about that thing. I wanted a Balfa BB7 so bad back in the day. New bikes for sure miss a lot of that character of that era...granted bikes don't snap as much either
  • + 1
 Haha you put my memories on. Balfa, BMW, I tried to buy a 243 frame by that time but customs taxes here are impossible.
  • + 7
 I remember lusting over this bike during the Parkfield, CA collegiate races back in like 98-99. A bunch of cal poly riders raced them in dh and ds. They had them set up like how modern bikes are set up today. They were ahead of their time
  • + 3
 Good times!
  • + 7
 If I didn’t know the context of the article and was skimming I’d think those close up shots of the rear hub, front brake/rotor/lowers were all from a bike of today, possibly a prototype of some kind.
  • + 6
 I still have my 2000 frame and rear shock on the wall in my garage. It is in great shape and is now more art then bike, it I will always look at it and remember buying it new and how much fun it was to ride!
The original build was:
Z1 xfly
MTCycle 6 inch coil shock
Hope pro brakes
Ritchey Wheels, bar, stem, and cranks
SRAM grip shift 8 speed xrays (I think that was the model name)
  • + 6
 Living in XC dominated Europe at that time, I always rejoiced when the Mountain Bike Action dropped in my mailbox. Got myself a Klein, but always had a sweet spot for this monster.
  • + 9
 This thing's got more sexy parts on it than the Dallas Cowboys cheer team.
  • + 6
 Those Kooka cranks and stem were mythical to my childhood-self in the 90s.
  • + 10
 @big-red: I drooled after them so many times... Then in high school it came out my best friend's dad was their contract machinist: I was walking around his shop one day when I saw a bunch of billet with half-machined kooka parts popping out! One of the standout mind-blown moments of my childhood.
  • + 4
 The first Full sus bike i rode was a San Andreas with Hanebrink triple clamp forks. compared to my little fully rigid GT that i had at the time it was such a crazy experience, especially for him to let some young lad go off through the woods with it. It really did cement my future with bikes though. That 5 minutes of my life ended up costing me a LOT of money Smile
  • + 1
 Similar experience here, I rode one at the National short course downhill track at Penthurst. It had the twin discs up front, nearly sent me otb when I first put the anchors on! Miles ahead of my GT arrowhead with v-brakes.
  • + 7
 Looks like a Gwin World Champs bike
  • + 1
 It's custom painted, frames were sold raw, just with stickers.
  • + 3
 Still have my '00 frame. They were specc'ing it with first Z1 Bomber by then though, instead of the inverted fork. Used to go to local races with the MC guys, and Robert would fly us around in his helicopter haha. Fun times!
  • + 3
 The Mountain Cycle BMX was something to behold. They stopped manufacturing them by the time I could afford one but luckily I got a MC-welded Haro monocoque. Still have it hanging on the wall. Bloody light and stiff. I had a Shockwave as well. Damn.
  • + 1
 The bike shop I used to hang out at had one on the walls for years. Never got a chance to talk to the owner before it closed, think he kept it as he had a Mojo as well. But I would have loved it. Awesome blue colour it was
  • + 1
 One of my local guys bought one back from the states, in black Drool
It was flexy as hell, but with Profile hubs laced to HED carbon rims it was simply a thing of beauty...
  • + 3
 This article was great. Really like how it ties things together. Rarely do we ever get the legit scoop as consumers on how/ why a company goes under.

One thing I thought would be cool to do is talk to all the bike companies and do articles like this about designs that never made it past the prototyping phase. There are some pretty wild 1-off bikes out there, from big and small companies alike!
  • + 2
 For years I always thought the mtb was so kooky, slow to catch on to tech and design in other sports like MX. The bikes SUCKED to descend on.
Sadly I'm no engineer and my contribution was zero but must have been so damn frustrating for a guy like Robert to be "in" the industry and seeing the light but just swimming upstream against the rest.
  • + 2
 Blown away by this bike and this article. This bike was so far ahead of its time. Hard to believe that he anticipated modern disc brake and through-axle designs over a decade before they got sorted out. The fork is wild too. There's so much product design brilliance here.

Maybe the most amazing thing is that it was made by a no-name startup company on a tight budget. Usually the MO is to look for cheap/safe materials and manufacturing techniques, but he shot for the moon every time. Hydroforming? Hard anodized floating rotors? An inverted fork? Unbelievable that they brought this thing to market.
  • + 2
 KOOKA!!!
had em… along with some of the other products on that rig .back in the way. sweet stuff.


used to sell MC's ,.. then didn't...then did... then didn't.. then did... then didn't.... then they fell off radar once and for all, sadly. they made awesome stuff, my fav was the MohoSlix (sp?)
  • + 3
 The San Andreas was the first full sus bike I rode at a Fat Tire Festival at Northstar in 1996. The rest is history. Hopeless addict ever since. I love this article. Thanks PB.
  • + 1
 First full suspension bike, with disc brakes I ever rode. The bike I test rode belonged to “rocket” Rex Staten...I was at Race Tech, with my brother...the pro mx guy...we were there for suspension testing, well he was. I was testing out a crazy full suspension bike. Thanks for the memories...
  • + 2
 Had three of these, two of the mohos (hardtail) and a shockwave (original one) - all of them snapped or cracked in under two years some way or other, except for one of the moho's that was nicked. (photos of all of them - www.pinkbike.com/u/somemorestuff/album/Old-and-New/?page=2)

Nice looking bikes and fun at the time, but I've got three carbon fiber bikes now that are approaching ten years old and i wouldn't go back.

Saying that, I still have the shockwave which might be salvageable and the Mr Dirt forks - and both are crying out for a retro build
  • + 1
 Nuff respect for having those! Do you remember the geezer from olden days MBUK who had one? The guy with the long ponytail - I think Paul Smith might be his name?
  • + 2
 A couple buddies and myself were unofficial test pilots for the Kooka cranks. We cracked a fair number of cranks on the square taper. It was always fun to go up to Kooka and pick random colors of spiders and arms each time. My brother still has the Race Face crankset they took measurements of to create their first sets.
  • + 4
 I got to work for Robert at 6D, he's a neat dude. It was really cool to hear all of his stories about the mountain cycle days too.
  • + 4
 Had one in '94 and loved it. Sold it the next summer to fund a new Proflex with that dumb Girvin fork. I've always regretted that decision.
  • + 1
 Lol , cracked 3 San Andreas frames in a years time Wink Bought myself a Proflex Beast 98 after that , still riding it after 20 years Smile Except for the wheels entirely factory standard Smile
  • + 4
 Love this series! Would love to see the Turner Burner get some love next...
  • + 2
 So far ahead of the curve it was like he was from another planet here to show how it needed to be done. Love the look of those machines to today. Thank you for bringing them back.
  • + 5
 I used to love those tires.
  • + 1
 You can still get them!
  • + 1
 @n1ck: Haha, really? Geez, I don't know. I'll stick with the DHFs in 2019 Smile
  • + 1
 Kudos for the retro articles. First mtn. bike ride original Stumpjumper. First mtn. bike, Trek 800(?) with toe overlap to the point of broken kneecaps and chain stays longer than a whores dream.
I miss the functional art of all the small makers that use to comprise any quality build back then. And Yeti grips...!
  • + 1
 I believe my first was a purple Trek Antelope 850! Bar ends and those stupid toe clips. Brand new bike, day one, took it around the block, up a hill. Couldn't shift fast enough or get out of the clips. Crashed and broke a bar end off.

Later started doing 2-3 for drops off curbs/ retaining walls on the thing (I was 8 maybe? ) taco'd the fork. Good memories
  • + 2
 In the 90's I used to race XC and DH on the same hardtail. Lots of people did. One time a friend let me use his San Andreas with a Zzyzx fork for a DH race and I remember feeling like I was from the future.
  • + 4
 Can we get more Inverted fork options already!!! How hard is it....Jesus. Haha
  • + 1
 Paul 'Smiffy' Smith's San Andreas in MBUK in 94 was and probably still is my dream bike! To me it's stil one of the best looking bikes I've ever seen! There's a thread about it on retrobike called 'Teenage dream; 93 San Andreas, prostop & suspenders.'. Can we do links in comments? Give it a go: www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=349756&sid=37ffba150ac7d561404f1385fb8049b0

To continue the theme from the other week, this would look awesome with Spin/Spinergy/Spengle wheels too!
  • + 1
 Actually, also, look at Smiffy's getup on that cover shot:
- Half shell helmet
- Goggles
- Water bottle mount
- Downhill'ish bike weight, but with gears to get back up
- Crazy linkage fork
Damn... Smiffy invented Enduro - who knew!
  • + 1
 Did Hope also use the same disc mounting standard? I've got an ancient bike with a Hannebrink LT9 fork (also inverted with a 24mm bolt on axle). The hopes mounted to it are a floating rotor design with a widespread bolt pattern resembling what's seen here.

With these bolted to a rim/disc break ready bullit frame, it was like a downhill version of of the san andreas!
  • + 1
 That would be a hope specific adapter to be used on the hanebrink hub (6 bolt to hope 5 bolt rotor)
  • + 1
 Note the Canadian content in this bike:

Rear quick release axle is CTS "Chariot Transport System" (Calgary, Alberta) which made awesome bike trailers.
It is a long axle as it needed to fit through the bike trailer mount as well.
Looks like it found another application on this bike.

Cool to see although no longer a Canuck company (acquired by Thule).
  • + 1
 When I first saw this bike on the front page of mountain bike action I wanted it so bad so I ordered it ! gone with the days in my arms and bones rattling down the mountain trails and brakes getting wet and rubbing on shitty rims that were warped ... everybody saying it’s too heavy you can’t pedal that I got the last laugh as I watched all my friends bounce around and rattle down the trails ,,, it change mountain bike in forever ! greatest single event in mountain bike history! I went from riding a fully rigid mountain bike to a monocle full suspension mountain bike with upside down forks and disc brakes the future was here !!!! As you can tell I loved that bike !
  • + 1
 I'm not a Tesla fanboy but I often think of pioneers in industry the pave the way for competitors because they don't have the business acumen. Around this time I just bought my 1996 Rocky Mountain hammer and I remember looking at the mountain cycle San Andreas in the Cambria bike adverts in mountain bike action. I come from a motorcycle background so full suspension makes sense to me as well as disc brakes. I don't think that much time goes by when I don't think I would not have bought one. And I ended up buying a 2001 Santa Cruz Bullit because it was definitely more available and a lot cheaper. Thanks to people like Rob we have functioning full suspension. Unfortunately we can only thank him in the comments section of pinkbike and not by buying his frames but single pivot has always been the way to go. I wish mountain bikes could have copied motorcycles sooner rather than following the road bike path because his design is basically an old Monoshock Yamaha. We need to look towards motorcycles more than bicycles for our future.
  • + 1
 I have the 2003 red model with red DT wheels and Fox 36 front and rp23 rear. Unbelivable ride! Love it and don't want to replace it. I swapped the triangle on the rear shock for a better geometry and it's perfect now. Only cons the rear mech hangers brake easily and are hard to find replacement parts...
  • + 1
 Thanks for this. I used to sell these, though couldn't afford one. I knew much of the story, but you filled in the gaps. It's also amazing to think about it from today's perspective. Years ago I searched to find what happened to them but never found it. Now I know.
  • + 4
 Wicked story loved it . Retro stuff is great. Best thing on PinkBike today. So good!.
  • + 0
 I remember being about 12-13 and getting my hands on one German MTB magazine where this bike was presented, painted black frame if my memory serves me right. I cherished that magazine (no MTB media where I was living) and could recite nearly all articles. Every time I got to the page with this bike on it, I thought:

Now THAT is an ugly Bike !

Let’s just say that 20 years later my taste hasn’t changed much. I can see the appeal of the paintjob - if you’re into that sort of thing, which I’m not.
  • + 2
 Cool article Smile Almost bought one in '01, liked what you were doin'... but was deterred by probable frame noise.....still have never seen one in person
  • + 4
 Thought it was an Orange at first...
  • + 1
 So good, chumba have tbe mountain cycle domain name now, pretty sure kinesis no longer own the brand name now too. Now someone build me a enduro carbon version of the shockwave 9.5, would be perfection.
  • + 1
 I've been looking forward to seeing more pedal powered helicopters but havnt heard much since the challenge was completed with that bike with all the propellers almost spanning a football pitch.. Amazing achievement though
  • + 1
 Great write up. I remember really wanting one of these in the late 90's after seeing Shaums March rock one out in the MTB flick Plush.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT6hqTUpzEo
  • + 1
 Bunny hop manual a picnic table? 95% of pro mountain bikers can’t even do that today!
That guy was f*ckin rad thanks for the flash back
  • + 1
 Head Angle:
70º
Seat Angle:
76.3º
Top Tube:
580mm
BB Height:
330mm
Chainstay:
419mm
Wheelbase:
1094mm

Yep. Perfect. I have one of these with ProStop brakes and Dual Crown Shiver in my garage
  • + 2
 I miss my Mountain Cycle Rumble. Now that was a bike! Not modern geometry, but definitely a hardcore hardtail. The cracked frame still hangs in my garage.
  • + 2
 I just sold my Rumble to a guy who wanted to re-purpose it as an aggressive commuter. It's good to know it's still getting ridden hard after 15 years of DH, jumping, trails and even trials.
  • + 1
 serious question: why did the master cylinder built in the caliper not take off? to me it seems that keeping a cable actuated lever would still provide 1 finger braking and make bleeding significantly easier.
  • + 4
 Because it's a stupid idea. Creates basically 2 systems, each requiring as much adjustment and maintenance as one brake. Basically the worst of both worlds. And I see no reason to think the hydraulic side would be easier to bleed (because honestly, how hard is bleeding? The biggest challenge is not making a mess, and how would that be easier?)
  • + 2
 TRP actually does make a cable actuated hydraulic caliper today for road bikes. Solves the same problem as mentioned in the article (integrated brake and shift levers) though I imagine causes all the problems @Weens mentions. I’ve never used them.
  • + 2
 A second hand San Andreas was my first full suspension frame. The memories
  • + 1
 Same here!
  • + 1
 Great bike back then and it inspired many designs. Also the time when shimano lead and dictated the market, now they copy Sram and can‘t even deliver.
  • + 1
 Knocked myself out (literally) on a later incarnation of this death trap, Hightower as it became fondly known was never meant for the Alps. A BB height record breaker!
  • + 1
 I'd still argue that the M1 was the bike that set the benchmark for that era. The San Andreas looked like an XC bike next to an M1.
  • + 2
 I drooled over these bikes in the MBA ads at the back of the magazine for years.
  • + 3
 Love these articles PB keep em coming.
  • + 2
 And 28 years later....mountain bike designers still haven't come to any agreement on suspension or geometry!
  • + 3
 Great article for us old timers.
  • + 2
 One of (if not the) most beautiful bikes ever made (without that paint job) Smile
  • + 3
 I just realized how old I am ,please bring back Kooka components
  • + 1
 agree, the rasta color cranks were my favorite.
  • + 3
 Kooka, grafton,sweet wings ahhhhhh
  • + 2
 70 degree headangle - OUCH!!!!
  • + 1
 Yep, I bought one in 2005 and was possibly the worst bike I've ever owned. Was a huge disappointment after all the hype from articles I'd read. I had more OTB on that bike than anything before or after. Glorious to look at, a nightmare to ride. I sold it and bought a Giant NRS which suited my riding at the time much better.
  • + 4
 I mean, a lot of modern cross-country bikes still have 69.5-70.5 head angles. Back then, there were only xc bikes, some of which were used for DH.
  • + 5
 Well, 70 degrees was a degree slacker than the typical double diamond xc geometry of the era. I remember thinking the 71 degree head angle and 73 degree seat angle on my '90 Stumpjumper was dialed. In hindsight, we were able to ride those bike pretty well for what they were, but you couldn't pay me to go back given how far the bikes and the sport has progressed.
  • + 2
 Update the headangle, this would be a perfect Enduro bike!
  • + 1
 Empire MX6 Evo?
  • + 2
 It would look so much better with period correct tires
  • + 3
 Maybe a set of Ground Controls in Umma Gumma compound?
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: Wasn't Umma Gumma a few years later?
  • + 1
 @Mereckis: Could be. Google says WTB first designed the Ground Control tire for Specialized in 1986, but I couldn't find when the Umma Gumma compound came out.

I did learn that 'Umma Gumma' was Cambridge University slang for sex and that's where Pink Floyd copped the album title from
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: About ‘94 or ‘95 for the Umma Gumma tires.
  • + 1
 @GalenS: Ah, the Umma Gumma's. Take a turn, rip off a knob. But that grey compound...
  • + 1
 Was thinking Panaracer Smoke/Dart would be closer. But maybe the dart didn’t even exist in 1991?
  • + 2
 Onza Porcupine
  • + 2
 San Andreas has always been one of my dream bikes...
  • + 1
 Rotec, Intense, Yeti, Foes and Rocky Mountain...
  • + 1
 That rear wheel needs to be dished and aligned up with the crucifix. Jesus.
  • + 1
 93, I had one, briefly, some guy paid over and above to buy it, look at that and the first Whyte, no too far apart.
  • + 3
 Looks cewl even today
  • + 2
 God bless you for representing JESUS on your bike!
  • + 1
 Reminds me of my Gary Fisher Level Betty funhog1. Pretty sweeeet
  • + 1
 This reminds me of the Chumba Wumba frames too.
  • + 1
 Such a nice bike with such a horrific paint job :/
  • + 1
 PB should start doing FBF every week. So sick. Next, Foes Weasel??
  • + 1
 I love the look of this thing.
  • + 1
 That was, (and still is,) one impressive bicycle.
  • + 1
 If you rode in the early '90's a San is what you wanted, period.
  • + 1
 Man I still want one of these....
  • + 2
 SAAAAWWWWWEEEETTT!!!!!!
  • + 1
 I did manage to snag a Mountain Cycle Rumble hardtail though!
  • + 1
 I remember when Vanilla Ice was repping Mountain Cycle. Painful to see.
  • + 1
 my ano purple/fade Kooka cranks cracked around the bolt hole
  • + 2
 Iconic...
  • + 1
 Kooka still looking sick!
  • + 1
 I so wanted one!
  • + 1
 MERICA!
  • + 0
 Don't really like the looks of it. That stem and crank look amazing tho
  • + 1
 K.O.O.K.A.
  • + 1
 I remember
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.118773
Mobile Version of Website