Psycle Werks was a Southern California company that first entered the mountain bike world by machining swingarm yokes, bottom bracket pivots, and other suspension parts before they began building complete frames, like the Wild Hare. With 26" wheels and between 4"-4.5" of travel, the aluminum Wild Hare was designed for XC / trail riding, and weighed in the low- to mid 20 lbs, depending on the build.
The bike featured here was owned by Vincent Damphousse. Damphousse was captain for the Montreal Canadiens and led them to a Stanley Cup in 1993 before being traded to the San Jose Sharks, where he acquired the bike in 2000 or 2001 from a neighbor in Los Gatos that had built the bike up and then was unable to ride it due to an injury.
He's had the bike ever since and it has largely stayed the same, other than new tires and a new chain or two. Andy Vathis was able to track him down to get these photos as he's still an avid bike rider and a regular at a local Montreal bike shop.
The Wild Hare had two mounts for the shock on the swing-link that allowed riders to tune the bike for longer, more supple travel or shorter, more efficient travel. There are reinforcements at every frame junction, and it was by no means the lightest XC bike out there. A medium-size frame featured a 23.5" long top tube along with a tall head tube. Geometry was was fairly typical for the time, with a 71-degree head angle and 73-degree seat angle. Chainstays were 17.25" (438mm) long which was at that time considered progressive, offering up lots of straight line and high-speed stability.
Referencing an old MBA review out of the print archives, the Wild Hare's prowess came on the descents and in a straight line but, according to riders, it struggled to be quick in the steering department due to its long wheelbase. The bike managed technical and chundery sections of trail well.
2001 Psycle Werks Wild Hare Details
• Intended use: XC / trail
• Wheel size: 26"
• Continental Mountain King (modern)
• Fork/Travel: Marzocchi Bomber Coil - 5" travel
• Shock/Travel: Fox Vanilla RC, Eibach coil, 4.5" travel
• Brakes: Avid Arch Rival 50
• Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 3 x 9
• Wheels: Mavic F519, XTR Hubs
• Cockpit: Titec
Reviewers said, "As a cross country racer, it would not be inspirational, but as a trail bike, its stability through the rough stuff made it easy to struggle up steep singletracks. Out of the saddle, the Wild Hare's longish rear stays allowed the rear tire to spin if its pilot wasn't vigilant about weighting the back of the bike. In or out of the saddle, the Wild Hare would stay straight as an arrow when climbing fire road ascents."
Riders built the bike up in a number of different configurations depending on their intentions. The coil shock provided a better ride due to its small bump sensitivity and overall performance than the Cane Creek AD-10 air shock, which some riders used. The air shock did prove to be a good option for XC racers concerned with weight who would air the shock up to its maximum pressure to help with the efficiency of the bike.
Hand built in Laguna Hills, CA.
A Mountain Speed spring on a Fox Vanilla RC shock. Mountain Speed eventually changed owners and became MRP in the early 2000s.
Oil and coil in each leg, with preload and rebound adjustments at the top.
Front to back XTR.
Avid Arch Rival 50 brakes provided the ultimate V-brake experience. These brakes had more modulation and arguably better performance than the disc brakes offered at the time.
The Shimano XTR hubs are laced to Mavic F519 rims.