Throwback Thursday: 4 Bikes Turning 30 in 2023

Feb 2, 2023 at 9:12
by Ed Spratt  
As we make our way through 2022 and await all of the exciting new product developments let's take a look back through the archives at some of the bikes turning 30 this year.



1. Amp Research B2
Amp B2 1993 That was a bike
Photo: Vintage Mountain Bike Workshop

30 years later and the Amp Research B2 remains unique, as every aspect of its frame, fork and suspension was designed and manufactured by AMP Research in Laguna Beach, California.

The B2 was Horst Leitner's first production model featuring AMP's F1 linkage fork with 2.5" of travel paired with the seatstay driven rear shock offering 3" of travel. Amp Research wanted to keep the frame lightweight using aluminum dual down tubes. Geometry-wise, the B2 had a 71-degree head angle and a 73-degree seat tube angle.

You can read our 'Now That Was a Bike' here.

Amp B2 1993 That was a bike
Photos: Vintage Mountain Bike Workshop
Amp B2 1003

Amp B2 1003



2. Breezer Cloud 9
photo
Photo: MOMBAT

Only in production for one year, with only around 50 units made, the Breezer Cloud 9 used the same frame as Breezer's Lightning bike but with a package of lighter parts. Breezer claimed the production bike weighed just 20.9 pounds and came with a Bontrager composite rigid fork.



3. Fisher Alembic
photo
Photo: MOMBAT

Originally set for a production run of 170 bikes with a retail cost of $5,500 ($11,296 today) only seven prototypes were ever made of the Fisher Alembic. Designed by Stephen Wilde, the first prototype was made by Toray in Japan, and after some modifications Toray built an $85,000 mold ready for production. But Fisher was bought by Trek in this period ending the production with just seven bikes built.

photo
Photos: MOMBAT
photo



4. Mountain Goat Mudslinger
photo
Photo: MOMBAT

While most small frame builders were sticking with steel tubing, for its Mudslinger model Mountain Goat decided to test out aluminum tubing and even used CNC machining to create the upper and lower stay yokes on the rear triangle for a unique look. At launch the frame-only option for the Mudslinger totalled $1,560, or $3,204 in today's money.

photo
Photos: MOMBAT
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Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
2,977 articles

118 Comments
  • 91 2
 Everything on that entire Amp bike was super flexy, or easily exploded with exception of the 737 SPD's (will survive a nuclear war), the Flight seat (still a great seat), cassette/shifter and maybe the grips and tires. Man we lived thru some crazy bike designs..(yes I am old)
  • 52 0
 But man, it was gorgeous (along with the original Manitou full suspension bike). Being gorgeous lets you get away with so much.
  • 14 1
 @bishopsmike: That Manitou was a super sexy bike. That Easton alluminum work back then was so nice!
  • 12 1
 @bishopsmike: Now that Breezer....soooo nice! Would love one of those for a townie build
  • 1 0
 @bman33: one of my buddies had the third generation answer manlytool fs. Gorgeous bike but his lightweight, smooth self cracked the frame! Kept me off of aluminum for a while.
  • 5 0
 Horst did so many interesting things and had a novel approach. Unfortunately, part of that novel approach was saving money on R&D by having his paying customers do the R&D in the real world after the sale. I still have several potato-shaped brake discs from my countershaft-brake equipped ATK moto on the wall as mementos of this approach.
  • 6 1
 Yes we did live through some crazy designs. Just proves us old timers are tough.
  • 8 0
 Older the bikes, wiser the comments.
  • 4 1
 I am surprised they were able to find one still in one piece
  • 1 0
 @codypup: I had an ATK 605 way back with that countershaft disk. In many ways a great moto, except when I broke the chain on a steep climb leaving me without a connection between the rear brake and rear wheel. Down I slid, front brake locked!
  • 3 0
 ...i remember my friend putting the fork bolts on the Amp back in place with a rock several times...and i saw an extra room at Ktm bikes with failed Amp parts. Guess these things were a little bit to light for real trails...
  • 3 0
 The Grafton brakes on there were tricky but they had great modulation when they were setup just right.
  • 5 0
 @bishopsmike: Agree, and these are the 2 MTBs I bought and rebuilt in the mid 2010, now hanging on the wall in my home office. I still ride them here and then (especially the B2 aka Mongoose amplifier).

The AMP was innitially also my first DH race bike (tuned with Judy DH, Riser and Magura Race Lines), back in 1993/4. Man it ws flexy, and I broke 2 rear ends in one seasonWink

I also rebuilt an 1994 amp B3 (first one with disc brakes), as full sus gravel bike, now running on 650b wheels, propper hope brakes, 1x10 wide range casette & modern derailleur. Still flexy as hell, but the most comfortable gravel bike I ever riddenWink
  • 6 0
 But it had the world's first Horst link!
  • 2 0
 @one38: Man, that is awesome!
  • 1 0
 @codypup: Yep, I rode an ATK 406 for a bit and that little brake rotor and it's hardware was a nightmare.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: With its SunTour and everything Smile
  • 1 0
 @Snowytrail: The similar looking Campagnolo from the Record OR groupset were much easier to set up.
  • 4 0
 @bman33 +1 on the 737’s. One of the few parts I bought in that era that got constant (ab)use, total neglect and worked flawlessly forever.
  • 1 0
 Yeah. I had the 737s and a Flight. Ripped that seat to shreds first ride. I lusted over those AMP forks.
  • 2 0
 Rode the carbon version of that Amp fork on my Dekerf Team for several months. It was a fun spin especially doing the 24 hr at Mt Tremblant.
  • 3 0
 @catoctinmountaincyclery: My first ride on mine was the Quicksilver National Enduro. 110 mile event and my brake pads lasted 70 miles. Later on, the A-trak chain idler system stranded me in the Mexican desert in the middle of the Tecate Enduro. The bearings used in that were too small for a bicycle. My friends still get a laugh from time to time, thinking of me opening my fanny pack and four sets of rear brake pads spilling out on the ground.
  • 1 0
 You forgot the Grafton brakes (if those are indeed Graftons and not Grafton knock-offs).
  • 1 2
 @Dopepedaler: they look maybe like Paul's ?
  • 1 0
 I had an AMP B2 (the unpainted option). I was led to it because I had their lightweight front shock/fork on my hard tail and when their fork failed, it broke my bikes downtube. AMP made me a really favorable offer on a brand new B2 and since I lived in SoCA I was able to drive down and pick it up.
While it looked like a great bike it was springy, loose, and not supple at all. The front fork shock damper needed constant servicing (they sold the seal kits fortunately) and when the damper failed, you were left with a pogo stick for a front shock. Useless and scary.
Somehow they convinced Mercedes-Benz to OEM the bike as a Mercedes bike.
  • 41 0
 Man seeing these old bikes makes me happy that I had no money back then.
  • 15 0
 a lot of avoided disappointment
  • 8 0
 I never looked at it that way,thanks!
  • 1 0
 your a glass half full type of guy, aren't you.
  • 36 0
 I raced a 22lb AMP B5 at the 24hrs of Moab in 2000 and 2001.

www.pinkbike.com/u/roxtar/album/AMP-B5-22-lb-race-bike
  • 5 1
 Nice The pivot hardware was comical but the overall design was way ahead of the competition IMO.
  • 6 0
 @roxtar username checks out!
  • 1 0
 Those red sidewalls!
  • 31 0
 I've lived throught he evolution of the modern skateboard, snowboard and mountain bike. Kids these days don't know how good they have it and stay off my lawn.
  • 21 0
 Before telling them to get off my lawn, I always scream about how my first bike was a rigid, 26 inch, canti-braked, triple chainring nightmare with bar ends that I had to ride uphill both ways because downhills hadn't been invented yet.
  • 26 1
 I raced an AMP frame for a full season of 24 hour and 100-mile hour races in (I think) '96.

The frame was light and -- when the bushings weren't worn -- surprisingly stiff.

The suspension travel was ideal for all-day XC events.

The rear shock would last between 3 and 5 hours of trail time before blowing a seal, which meant a few thimblefuls of oil would run down the seattube. There wasn't enough oil volume for the slick to make it down to the BB.

The upshot is that once the damper blew you had unrestricted rebound. It was always way over damped til it blew, then it began to feel fine.

Since they never supplied me with any spare shocks, that meant I rode most of that season with no rebound damping.

Which probably explains my predilection toward very light rear rebound to this day.
  • 12 0
 The trick to getting the rebound right (and not blowing the thrushaft seal) was using ATF fluid, NOT the shell spindle oil they recommended in the manual. ATF is a much lighter fluid (approximately equivalent to an 8 weight shock oil) than the 20 weight oil they suggested in the manual. I usually got a hundred hours between fluid changes using ATF fluid, and the o-rings were all common sizes you got from auto / motorcycle part stores. Sometime around '97 they replaced the original solid aluminum pivot shafts and circlip end connectors with internal threaded chromed steel tube shafts and o-ring sealed end bolts that did wonders for keeping the pivots from wearing out. They also changed the shock body diameter around that time, going from 7/8 diameter to 1" diameter, and they discontinued using an aluminum center thru-shaft as it could bend given that the shock shaft is what carried all the loads between the rear stays and the top tube connection.
  • 7 0
 After rebuilding the shock about 5 times (At least it was super easy to rebuild) I finally went with the hot setup for this frame; The Risse Genesis made a great bike even better.
  • 8 1
 Wow! Rear shock lasted about 3-5 times longer than a float X2
  • 11 0
 @deeeight: Just a moment of digital admiration for that seriously impressive recall. At the same time, you could be BSing all of us, and I would never know.
  • 1 0
 The problem with the B5 was that it was so far ahead of the game. It was a lightweight 5" travel XC bike in the days of 3" travel DH bikes.
Because of the 5" of travel, people tried to use it for DH and (naturally) they broke.
They broke a lot.
  • 3 0
 @roxtar: That too. Remember when Foes introduced the FAB with 6 inches of rear travel when the longest travel fork on the market was 3 inches ? Or all the 1.5 to 3" travel XC full suspension frames being used in NORBA and UCI Downhill and dual slalom racing which broke regularly. The Verlicchi frames in particular, rebranded by companies like Kona and Iron Horse, regularly cracked the swingarm around the pivot area. I remember future freeride star Chris Lawrence showing up for the sunday group rides in the gatineau park three different times over the summer/fall of 1993 with three different swingarms on his frame, after having broken it twice. Meanwhile my '92 Trek 9000 frame had absolutely zero rebound damping to speak of but at least the swingarm lasted until its third owner (I was the second for that frame) broke it jumping off wharehouse loading docks sometime around 1996-97.
  • 1 0
 @deeeight: Loved it when Iron Horse (and others) finally gave up and just made a deal to use repainted Intenses for their DH team.
  • 11 0
 I had the Litespeed Obed FS with an Amp rear end and my brother had the Mongoose version which had one downtube. The bushings on the fork lasted a half a dozen rides before they got sloppy, and the shock on the rear suffered from what we called Amphysema cause they made wheezing sound every time they moved. Lots of ideas floating around those days, many of them crappy. Sure was fun though.
  • 3 0
 I too had the Mongoose version.....I remember riding downhill and heard a loud 'sproingggg' and my rear tire locked up as the suspension collapsed. I saw the shock collar zing past on the right, and the spring zap past on the left.....the whole shock unbuttoned itself at the worst possible moment....took 1/2 hour to find the flying bits and slap it all back together by hand and continue on my ride! Bikes were nutty back then.
  • 5 0
 @jokermtb: I three had the Mongoose Amp with the Risse shock. Broke my leg in 15 places with that bike.
What a ride.
  • 2 0
 Ah yes, the Mongoose AMPlifier. I always thought it was a misnomer as it was really an Attenuator! The MAP bikes were always on my dreamlist. I didnt realize they were so problematic!
  • 11 0
 My '87 GT Avalanche (bike in my profile pic) turns 36 this year and is still bad ass!
  • 6 0
 I still have my 1987 GT Performer freestyle bike. It is still bad ass too!
  • 2 0
 @kobold: So sweet. Like skateboarding, I wasn't going to amount to much of a bmx/freestyle kid, but soooo wanted a Performer. You have mags or spokes?
  • 2 0
 @iammarkstewart: I was never good at anything freestyle but frame stands for miles, with no helmet! Baby blue bike with white mags Smile
  • 7 1
 Specialized released the first generation of stumpjumper FSR in 1993. It actually worked, where other full suspension of the day did not. You can still buy a stumpjumper and you can plainly see the lineage and heritage. Still a trail bike and still using a horst link.
  • 2 0
 It was designed by Horst Leitner. It also had less wheel travel than the AMP B-2, and was a four-bar linkage not a mac-strut so the shock wasn't doing double duty as part of the the swingarm. The Specialized Ground Control A1 AIM rear suspension bikes didn't do as well with their mac-strut layout that resembled a Moots YBB with a horst-link dropout pivot, with the shock behind the seat tube because again, the shock shaft is what carried the load of the swingarm to the seat tube, and the RST built coil spring shock didn't have a particularly large shaft diameter, nor a lot of shaft stroke so the bikes had only about 2 inches of wheel travel.
  • 8 0
 That mudslinger is still hot. Especially with those Cooks Bro's cranks on it
  • 5 0
 Bikes I've owned

SC Superlight w/Psylo fork (first DC ever)

Specialized Enduro, the one with the Y shape frame nice bike but I sold it to get the all new 5 Spot

1st gen Turner 5 Spot and Flux - loved those bikes but boy did I break the shit out of them

A Horst Link Mondraker with 160 mm travel, was a heavy beast

Intense SS, never fulfilled it's promise, so then I got a...

Banshee Spitfire V1. Boy what a bike! Climbed like XC but opened up DH the faster you'd go! Truly a revelation

By then I couldn't be a 26 holdout any longer so I got a Specialized Camber. My first carbon bike too, but meh

2017 Kona Hei Hei CR DL. With 100 mm back and 120 front. The OG DC bike and one of the first with flex stays. Somehow the rear suspension feels like a love child of a horst link Turner and a dual link Banshee. Only change i did is an angle headset to kick out the head angle to 66.5. Love this bike and nothing newer has tempted me so far.

*Sorry about the long post Smile
  • 8 0
 phewwww, that amp is one GOOOD looking bike!
  • 5 0
 An alembic (from Arabic: الإنبيق, romanized: al-inbīq, originating from Ancient Greek: ἄμβιξ, romanized: ambix, ') is a polite way of saying something is ugly , very ugly .
  • 5 0
 Its crazy how some of the bikes in the 20 years article seem like they could be modern with a few geometry tweaks, the bikes in this one are completely different. 93-03 was a massive shift for mtb.
  • 5 0
 Aw the good old days! Head angles so steep just surviving a ride was a major athletic feat and 200mm bars below the level of your knees. Good times.
  • 6 0
 My '84 Ross Force-1 would like to have a word with these young whippersnappers.
  • 4 0
 I had an Iron Horse with an AMP fork in the mid 90's. That fork was so flexy, and eventually the steerer tube separated at the crown. The resulting crash of the separation knocked me out for about 20 minutes.
  • 3 0
 the bushings in an AMP fork were made of hard cheddar
  • 3 0
 So much experimentation in frame design, suspension layout and material choices. It just amazes me that in all that developmental period seemingly no-one ever thought to look at rider positioning, or consider incoming force direction. It’s so weird that it took so long for bikes to get longer and stems shorter. Just looking at most of these makes me feel like I’m endoing.
  • 1 0
 Yes, especially when ex-BMX riders racing DH got onto short stems very quickly (I recall the Mr Dirt Wild Thing that was 0 mm length), and those of us racing both DH and XC were putting wide riser bars and shorter stems on our XC bikes. For me, there wasn't an OEM stem I kept until about 5-6 years ago.
  • 2 0
 I still ride my 1990 Paramount, of course that is a road bike and seems to have aged better than mountain bikes. I do have a 1998 Kona Fire Mountain still in the stable, don't ride it much as the new bikes are so much better.
  • 3 0
 Spent my entire summer job earnings on a Breezer in 1992. The paint was gorgeous. The frame lasted 2 years until the chai stays somehow sheared cleanly off the BB. Breezer gave me a new frame. I thought that was awesome.
  • 2 0
 I think around 92-3 was when I got my GT Karakoram, later refitted with original rockshox (with syringe style pump). I loved that bike. I rode it a ton for about 5-6 years, replaced many parts. It originally had a "Bio-Pace" Chainring - it worked ok for me for a while. I can't remember whether it came with index shifting or I put it on later. I was impressed it just "clicked into gear" when shifted.
  • 1 0
 I still ride 1990 Klein with futureshock, that syringe fork pump was cringy but it worked!
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: My friend had one of these and then a B5, the B2's were all around here on local trails in Laguna area. The more reliable version of this bike was the Intense Uzzi SL, my first full suspension bike, loved that bike until it got stolen. Wonder where it is now?
  • 2 0
 Need an AMP F1? Make me an offer, I'll even throw in the now-cracked Spynergy Rev-X that I rode with it. (Dekerf frame #499, awesome bike.)

Great machines, love seeing these!
  • 4 0
 These bikes are 30 years old... the Advent calendar results are 30 days overdue..... coincidence?
I THINK NOT!!!!!!! Wink
  • 1 0
 I had a 1996 AMP B-3 (Mongoose branded), and while the rear suspension did ride quite well (it is after all a true Horst link), the AMP fork was horrible. While it could handle one bump, throw in another bump and you were off to oblivion. When Rockshox introduced the first Judy XC (yes the brown and gold one), I could not wait to jettison the AMP fork and slap a new Judy onnit. That it was a huge improvement in every way, is no overstatement....Horst had some great designs, but the AMP fork was not one of them....It is however cool to look at. I actually still have my old AMP fork, but it's merely now a fine looking curiosity from a bygone era...
  • 2 0
 Great stuff! I loved the look of the amp fork but ditched it for a Marzocchi immediately once those became available. Breezer was my dream steel frame back then. Throwback times!
  • 1 0
 The Amp was frail. Attempting to build a dual sus that had an XC weight . Overall to look at the bike not much has changed. More like 30 years of in incremental refinement. I rode the Amp. When it worked it was a fun bike .
  • 1 0
 At the time I was 6'-4", 190lbs. I rode an AMP Fork for SEVEN years. And rode it hard. The last couple of years I had to go through a local bearings guys + my local bike shop to get the bearings serviced/replaced - as my AMP fork outlasted the AMP company. But it was a small price to pay, once a year, for such a killer fork. It really is a wonderful design for cross country use.
  • 4 0
 Fisher Alembic reminds me of "hey arnold" and 90s wacky design in general
  • 4 0
 Suspension experts: long shock yokes are bad. AMP: hold my beer...
  • 2 0
 Ya no kidding! I read your comment and went back to look. It’s connected from the rear wheel all the way through the shock with no linkage anywhere connecting it to the seat tube. Imagine the torque loads going sideways through that shock every time you corner. No wonder the shock only lasted a few hours. Ha ha, crazy!
  • 1 0
 Gotta jump on the old man train. My wife got me an AMP fork for my Cadex CFM3 in 1995 if I recall. I thought it was soooo cool. Still do. Some ahole stole that bike, and I hope he crashed on it and skinned both his knees.
  • 4 1
 No headset cable routing?
  • 2 0
 I've got one Amp B2 frame with the headtube torn off and a complete bike in good condition. Flexi thing but cool to look at.
  • 3 0
 I don't ever want to go back to that place
  • 2 0
 things are infinitely better now....
  • 3 0
 I don’t think anyone mentioned the Paul derailleur on the AMP. Wowza!
  • 1 0
 You can't forget the 1993 Iron horse FS Works. I drooled over this bike back in the day.

m.pinkbike.com/news/bike-check-pygas-retro-iron-horse-inspired-hyrax.html
  • 2 0
 The paint on the Breezer frames was so nice up close. Especially the red with toasted marshmallow white and gold logos.
  • 2 0
 The Breezer has a SunTour XC Pro MicroDrive on it. Best groupset of the whole 90's.
  • 1 0
 I took the AMP B2 out on a test ride with my local shop back in the day...and broke it...I was just a kid and almost cried! Back in the day that bike blew my mind!
  • 1 0
 I had a Mountain Goat Whiskeytown Racer. Friend of mine customized his decal to read "Whiskey ace". We were like "whoa....now THAT is clever".
  • 2 0
 man head over to /r/xbiking and all you see is these classics.
  • 4 4
 These bike are all junk!
No dropper seat post (hightright)
External cables?
They need press-fit BB’s
The wheels are too small.
The tires prolly have tubes.
  • 1 0
 The wheels aren’t even carbon!?!? Wtf? And what’s with those road bike stems!?!? Hahah
  • 1 0
 The fisher has a press fit bb...
  • 4 0
 Loads of space for water bottles though...
  • 1 0
 Having never used or set up hydraulic rim brakes, I love looking at them and the theory of them
  • 5 0
 Modern trial bikes still often run them on the rear, and while the levers are heavily refined, the calipers are largely unchanged from what you see on the bikes in the article above.
  • 1 0
 they are quite popular for comp trials bikes as there is no spoke latency. some riders use water rather than mineral oil
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: I always wondered, is rotor bending when you slip off skinnies a factor in this choice or is it all about the braking properties?
  • 10 0
 @ak-77: Both. Modern trials bikes tend to use discs on the front where rotor bending from impacts is much less of an issue, meaning they can use lighter rims. They use rim brakes on the rear for more instant power (rear wheel precision is everything in trials), with no chance of smashing the rotor if they misjudge a hop.
  • 5 0
 @gabriel-mission9: Thanks! I learned something today.
  • 2 0
 They even 'machine' the braking surfaces by roughing them up with a grinder to have more instant bite.
  • 1 0
 I had a set of the Maguras in the late 90s. They weighed more than the Shimano XT v-brakes that they replaced, but the increased braking power was worth it. Eventually when Hayes disc brakes became more widespread I replaced my front brake with a Hayes Mag. Braking is so much better these days though.
  • 2 0
 Looks like all the Gravel bikes of today.
  • 1 0
 The AMP is a great example of 90s MTBs, great to look at, brilliant in it's time but a big pile of poo in the 2020s lol
  • 1 0
 Reminds of my fugly looking Haro Impulse I used to ride in high school...lol
  • 1 0
 So many memories! Thank you.
  • 2 0
 Glad I am here and now.
  • 1 0
 Alembic: before the loam shelf there was the loam bucket
  • 1 0
 Just bought my first AMP Research F1 fork.
  • 1 0
 Breezer is a work of art, would love to find one of those.
  • 2 2
 glad that phase is over. nasty
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Ford Taurus
  • 1 3
 feel like I could snap that Amp downtube over my knee...
  • 6 0
 Which down tube?
It has two. Ha. Ha
  • 1 0
 I had a B3 (profile pic), the rear shock immediately blew and frame was flexy but would not crack/break. That alcoa is good shit apparently.
  • 1 0
 But the b3 downtube was beefier looking
  • 1 0
 I had one of these and snapped the top tube near the head tube (through the gusset IIRC). No big impact (that i know of), just fatigue apparently. Twin down tubes remained intact.







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