Video: The Ultimate Vintage GT Bike Collector

Oct 9, 2018 at 15:40
by Paul Rayner  
Views: 14,511    Faves: 17    Comments: 2


Lucio Rivas is an Argentinian born Queenstown local and he collects vintage GT mountain bikes


142 Comments

  • + 145
 I was 17 in 1991 and my LBS (Larkfield cycles) had a Zaskar with Suntour XC Pro throughout in the window. I'd never seen anything like it, I used to drive up there at night and stare at it, and I worked my tits off doing evening jobs while I was at college to buy that bike. I'm 45 now and that frame is hanging on the wall of my office. I loved in then and I love it now.
  • + 202
 Did you ever get new tits?
  • + 5
 @kubaner: bloody brilliant
  • - 3
 I am very interested to see this very very prototype of 1991 suntour xc pro!
  • - 1
 My bad, didn't remember they called everything xcpro, not only their fork.
  • + 3
 that's a great story!
  • + 1
 I still have my first all steel 20" mtb from when I was 11. First mtb at all, that is, not just steel. I'm hoping to rebuild it and give it to my kids to ride someday.
  • + 2
 Great story! My first MTB was a Gary Fisher montare from 1991. I loved it, but the frame broke at the bend of the seat tube. I kept the frame to hang up in my flat, once I had one, but my dad threw it while I was at uni. I was gutted.
  • + 3
 @interrobangmotionpictures: If you're into vintage GT collections around Queenstown, you need to get in touch with Henry Van Asch ( the dude who INVENTED Bungy jumping with AJ Hackett) he has a garage full of super high end ones from early in the 90's.

I remember reading about it in an early spoke mag, or maybe it was on TV once upon a time.
  • + 2
 Team Avalanche was my first (second hand) proper MTB. 21st birthday present from my parents. Navy blue paint splattered frame, yellow Girvin Flexstem, toeclips! God, I loved that bike.
  • + 1
 @kubaner: I wish I could give more than 1 props Big Grin
  • + 1
 @kubaner: I'm always putting new tits, doing my tax return and paying my student loan on the back burner whilst there are bikes to buy and ride.
  • + 1
 @kubaner: I just pissed my pants!!! Hahahaha
  • + 1
 Nice! I got a 1991 Bridgestone MB-0 in my bike museum (living room) along with 10 other classics.
  • + 26
 Awesome. I too lusted over many of those bikes as a teenager and have occasionally found myself wanting to buy old mountain bikes and parts just because I couldn't afford them when I was younger. I love seeing small, intimate stories like this mixed in between bike reviews, "edits", and race reports.
  • - 1
 I never want to ride anything older than 4 years or so, really. BUT, I have the same love for old bikes. I could totally see an eccentric more moneyed version of myself owning a lot of old, mint, restored mountain bikes.
  • + 24
 I cant wait to show this video to my wife!! I can completely justify that extra hack now, this just shows how many miles away I am from being obsessed
  • + 15
 You cant beat a good bike obsession
  • + 8
 Agreed man my gf is mad over 4 bikes lol
  • + 7
 @mhoshal: 4 is my limit at home. Had to put the old BMX under the kid's umbrella. Even if he don't even use it, it's his bike, not mine Big Grin .
  • + 8
 @lRaphl: I’m even storing some at my mates house, off site storage FTW
  • + 4
 @sewer-rat: That's clever! I should have though about that earlier.
  • + 2
 @Shiny-side-up: yes, and you have one lol
  • + 1
 I did show it to my wife, didn't help.
She always asks how many more bikes are you going to BUY?!?!
  • + 2
 wife against bike. Somehow they just will not accept that we source pure joy from something that does not involve them. I am too tired having to manage her resentment after each ride. My friends with kids ride at 5 in the morning to avoid the ball busting procedure.
  • + 14
 Old school Xizang for me please! Smile
  • + 5
 Now THAT was a sexy bike! I used to work in a GT dealer. On the rare occasion a customer would order one. It was an event when it arrived and we used to fight over who got to build it up!
  • + 3
 Among the four GTs in my garage I have a Lighting that GT gave me when I cracked my Corrado. Folks always think it’s a Xizang and I have seen another one. Best customer service upgrade ever!
  • + 1
 "never seen another one"
  • + 3
 I had a Xizang frame that I bought used. Put a polished Z2 Bomber fork, original Crossmax wheels and V brakes on it, anodized blue parts as well. Lovely bike, did a 2 week Colorado trip with it. The top tube snapped after many happy miles, but GT shipped me a new frame within a week or so. Good times.
  • + 1
 i have a broken Xizang hanging in my shop
  • + 9
 Sick collection mate! GT Paloma was my first MTB but a silver LTS or Zaskar was always the dream back then for me. Pretty sweet to have gone full circle and ride for GT today, still need to get a vintage one to add to my recent collection though!
  • + 3
 If my RTS ever has to be back on the GT display like it was at Sea Otter this year, maybe I'll just let you have it! I do have three of them!
  • + 2
 @yfrnaks: I'd buy it off ya mate can't let you give it away!
  • + 8
 I am lucky enough to have many fine modern bikes in my garage but if the place was burning down and I could save only one? No hesitation, the '96 Zaskar LE that I've had from new! That bike has had so many identities and new parts bolted on (I think the seat tube collar is the only original 'part'!), it's currently looking a little tired and is hitched up to my kids trailer but so many good times are associated with it that hands-down it's the most important bike in my garage!
  • + 2
 Still remember the 'new bike day' and the subsequent hack around Plym!
  • + 1
 @bigtim: Ahh, Plymouth's concrete playground, how did any of our bikes survive??

(oh yeah, the mighty Everett mkI didn't...!)
  • + 8
 Having owned a Avalanche, Zaskar, Pantera, LTS DH with ti Linkage, LTS-1 I can attest to the 1990's fan boy nostalgia of these bikes. To this day, I wish I had kept all of these frames but they are a part of my bicycle family tree; each one sold to buy the next, leading to my current bike.
  • + 2
 That’s funny you say sold. Each one of mine was stolen to buy the next.
  • + 7
 After my commuter/city bike was stolen I wanted a stealthy old rigid mountain bike that would not attract any attention from thieves and found an early ‘90’s Tequesta in well used condition. The FIRST day locking it up in downtown Vancouver a junkie passing by stopped to inquire about my cool bike and reminisced about the triple triangle frame. ....there’s something about old GT’s...
  • + 2
 Tell us more. Did it get stolen that day?
  • + 6
 So glad to see that there's a love for all these cool old bikes. This is a true mountain bikers Heritage right here. This is where it all started. Sure do miss seeing all those cool things out on the trail. I hope you take them out to play quite often.
  • + 5
 Love the old GT mountain bikes. 2000 Aggressor was my first mountain bike. I threw a Judy XC on there and upped travel to a whopping 100mm. Snapped the stock BB spindle and threw an ISIS Truvativ set in. Loved that bike. I was careless and got it stolen my senior year at college. Miss that bike. I still keep an eye out on CL for it.

If you ask me, though, even sexier are the mid-school GT/Robinson BMX bikes like the 1997 Speed Series or any of the alloy Robinsons. Absolute classics.
  • + 1
 I was never a huge box fanboy but those Robinson's.... Meow
  • + 5
 One of two collectors in Queenstown... Henry Van Asch, who is the owner of AJ Hackett Bungy jumping in New Zealand collects GT bikes too. My understanding was that he has almost one of every high-end GT mountain bike in a hanger somewhere in Queenstown.
  • + 3
 Hi Jordan from us in Queenstown. Yes Henry has an amazing collection of high end GT bikes dating from the 80s through to the very latest GT Force I have just custom built for him. As the GT dealer in Queenstown for many years I have had the pleasure of working on all of Henry's bikes over the years. Also well done Lucio on your collection....I have enjoyed helping you source parts for your bikes & seeing your collection grow.
  • + 2
 @THEBIKEFIX: heh. Hi Mark! I just saw this after commenting up the page.

HVA's collection is pretty legendary.
  • + 4
 "The old stuff is just build better than the new stuff"....says the guy who only has old stuff.

I've had plenty of old mountain bikes back to the mid 1990s. They are garbage in comparison.

Guaranteed every one of those bikes has blown forks and shocks.
  • + 1
 Had a Judy SL, blew the original damping cartridge right away. The new “undestroyable” cartridge made by another company than Rockshox lasted a month longer, then blew.
  • + 8
 the old stuff was made to last.. couldnt have said it better
  • + 2
 Only it didn't... Some things were better built, others not so much.
  • + 4
 I dig the dedication/passion, and had my own flashbacks of seeing a GT on the trails, especially lusting over a Zaskar, but to say the stuff back then was built better/"built to last" compared to modern stuff...eh, I trashed a LOT of Deore LX, including snapped cranks and BB...once my wallet got a little thicker(or made more buddies in bike shops), I started getting XT and XTR. I'll always love the easy set up of V-brakes too!
  • + 6
 Pretty sure the bushings located in every single pivot of my LTS were built to creak, not to last.
  • + 1
 @pbuser2299: as a former LTS owner, I totally stand behind that statement. Living in New England at the time meant rebuilding it every month or my friends wouldn't ride with me... Still loved that frame though!
  • + 1
 @JarrodB: Would go about a week or so in Old England... The guy I sold it to fitted a betd sealed bearing kit to it, would love to have tried that.
  • + 3
 Great! Love the fact he managed to get the bike he wanted when he was younger. I recently built up my 97 Kona Koa with some new/old parts after it was hanging on garage wall for years, rides as good as ever and looks good too - will never sell that frame/fork.
  • + 3
 my son currently rides a GT backwoods in chrome with a Judy XC in rock shox red with 80mm of travel. it is running disc on the front but magura hydraulic rim brakes on the back! I found it dumped with 2 flat tyres and rusted up drivetrain and immediately thought, "that's gonna be awesome"
  • + 1
 ive gotten so many vintage mtb's in the same way left in the garbage
  • + 2
 Wow. am I the only one that looks at that pile of bikes and thinks... that's a lot of junk. No disrespect meant, I can appreciate someone loving the collection, but in my opinion, 2 of the same bike is 1 too many. And if you're going to build up a bike collection, why have so many of the same type/style, etc? Anyway, that's how this bike nerd looks at it.
  • + 2
 I was a shop rat as a kid. I remember the GT LTS carbon hanging in the window of the local bike shop. Full susp, elastomer rear shock. That thing absolutely blew my mind. I was riding a purple Trek Antelope at the time my folks had gotten me. I remember jumping the Antelope off curbs until I taco'd the fork. I had to buy my own bikes after that. I could never afford that GT in the window but it's for sure what inspired my full suspension desire. It was different from the Trek and Cannondale hype so I wanted it. Everyone saying those bikes rode like garbage, it's only in comparison to today's geometry. At the time, bikes like these, the Trek Y-Frame, the Cannondale Raven...were all game changers for bikes. I spent many hours of my childhood in shops dreaming of bikes like these. Great story here and some awesome bikes in the video.
  • + 4
 My first real mountain bike was a 1991 GT Karakoram that cost me around $600 CND. The burnt orange paint job was the best part on that bike.
  • + 2
 Similar story but mine was a 1988 Karakoram, unfortunately in red. I wanted the grey crackle paint but the LBS did not have it.
  • + 2
 I had a 1982 'Bike of the Year' black chrome GT bmx, (in '82), full Cromoly - no front brake hole on the forks. Brakes only slow you down anyway, a thing of beauty, should of never sold it, I get where this guy is coming from
  • + 2
 Wow! What a collection. I worked myself through university and saved up so that when I finished I could get my dream bike: a GT Ricochet. Still have it to this day: my son now rides it. As it was said in the video, these were made to last back in the day.
  • + 2
 Lad next door worked for south west distributor Caratti Sports in the 90's, always had GT bikes, tested the LTS and RTS before launch.
Amongst our group of friends there was a tequila sunrise Karakoram, a ghost flames Karakoram (mine), a daktari white Avalanche, a yellow outpost and a kinda gun metal Backwoods.
The Zaskar LE was the holy grail and I managed to get a 97 frame in great condition a few years ago but never built it and sold it on, beautiful thing but it deserved to be ridden not gather dust in my loft.
Haven't had one of their bikes for years now but that GT 90's era will always be in my heart.
  • + 2
 Guy's got twice as many GTs as me! I get it. I ride my classics for fun and race them every now and again for kicks. My GT RTS was at GT's Sea Otter booth this year for display. As a guy who rides both classic and new, I get it. I appreciate how raw it is to handle the old bikes, they're pretty demanding while the new rigs really show how far bike tech has come to make the ride a lot less demanding.
  • + 2
 Still have my 1996 GT Aggressor in blue mostly stock and still rides great. Broke every other GT I’ve owned (Tempest, LTS, STS), but I loved them all. That Aggressor is what lit my fire years ago. Duped my grandfather into signing for it since I was under 18; parents still bring it up ????
  • + 2
 The new GT bikes don't do it for me (Carbon Zaskar i like though) but the old ones are sweet, it seemed everyone had at least one in the early '90's, i had a fluro yellow/orange Korakoram with a Mag 21 But would have loved a Psyclone, xiang or Pantera (i think i spelt them right) and all the different painjobs their bikes had were amazing.
  • + 1
 I bought a "last years" CORRADO back in about '94, still have it.

The second drivetrain is so worn out it's basically unrideable. It's been parked since my lil bro sold me his Trek Fuel EX9 back in 2013.
But some very rough math puts the Corrado at 18,000 PLUS KM.

Still pondering what I will replace all the XT/LX stuff with, but unless I get a RIDICULOUS offer (as if ! )), it's not going anywhere.

Always had a jonesing for an Xizang, never found one that wasn't roached that I could afford.....
  • + 1
 I get the collecting thing, but i ride my retros a lot too and even run a race for them as this is what they were made for and it is bloody good fun.

Current collection is: 91 Stumpjumper Team, 91 Saracen trekker Hydro, Old Giant Boulder beater bitsa
Sold - 1988 Cannondale SM700 as it was too big for me :-(

Mate has loads of retros in various states of rebuild (nearly 100 i think at last count) and still my fave shot at our retro event is him smashing his purple 93 (i think) Zaskar LE through the jumps on the bombhole
  • + 1
 I still have my always stored inside since new 1988 karakoram bought it new in 88 and had the shop keep the derailleurs for store credit as I had brand new deore set to put on it also has a bunch rare upgrades on it that were trendy at the time including the odysea inflator seatpost which still works really well to this day.
  • + 1
 I know how this dude feels. I put a GT Zaskar on layaway in High School. Ended up getting the frame but never getting enough money to get the parts to build it. Ended up selling it. It was in my room for so long. Took me 18 months to pay for it off to get the frame. I remember owning a GT Outpost which I loved. Broke the frame in half jumping it off a 7 stair. Triple Triangle was love.
  • + 1
 When I was 15 I got a GT Pantera, and my job at Burger King allowed me to save up and get a Rock Shox Judy SL fork for it. Although I think this guy is a little crazy, I respect his passion, I loved that Pantera, and it meant a lot to me.
  • + 1
 Had the RTS1 in blue. Best pedaling fully of the day. Broke the frame and exchanged it for a Zaskar LE. "Ball burnished" is how they referred to the polished aluminum models. Wish I sill had the RTS... broken or not. Still have the STS "thermoplastic" hanging in the garage. That one was on a few magazine covers. Golden era of MTB.
  • + 4
 Excellent Collection! I have just organised to send my 1996 era brand new GT Talera down to him! I know he will treasure it!
  • + 1
 those were the days! zaskar and lts ... stuff wet dreams were made of! was at 95 eurobike and saw eddie romans hammertime on vhs at the gt booth with all those sick shredders riding zaskars. hans rey was a cult idol at that time. 93 to 95 zaskars were a thing of beauty. later when i could afford those i had a ball burnished, aqua blue, black!!!, purple, ink blue zaskar all in 16" like hans rey rode. the 96 zaskars with the fatter downtube were also nice. had a frosted blue and frosted red and of course also a ball burnished one which i used to nevr dull. judys, controltech, answer dh bars, club roost go fast, mavic 121 ceramic all those great stuff. todays bikes are so much better to ride but i always like the look of some vintage bikes especially a nice period correct zaskar. kevin sande from retrobike also has a incredible collection!
  • + 1
 Does he have a purple anodized Zaskar?
That's bike still looks great.
I understand his comment about parts lasting longer back then. When they got it right. Parts had to last or they got a reputation very fast as being garbage. As for forks. This was when the Marzhocchi Z one came out.
My buddy at the time had the purple Zaskar with the Z one. Potent combination at the time.
  • + 5
 every ones trash is this mans treasure.
  • + 0
 Well put...I think I saw a homeless guy pushing a shopping cart full of these frames on my bike ride to work this morning.
  • + 0
 Right? He may be a little ill. It would be one thing to have a collection of the really unique, groundbreaking bikes of this era. His collection is mostly mid-low end bikes.
  • + 3
 Awesome! Someone find him the Zaskar with the ping pong paddle decals! And yes the parts were made to last just a few years ago!
  • + 1
 I can’t think of another brand from that era that I coveted so much! I don’t remember the year, but there was a “Cosmic black” Zaskar LE that I wanted real bad! Every now and then I still look on eBay for one...
  • + 1
 Ah, GT. My first real MTB. A Zaskar LE with my old stuff from the previous bike. I slowly upgraded that bike. I still have a GT RTS team in the shed. Nice bike, but doesn't ride that well Smile
  • + 1
 Man, I had that green Timberline@ 1:06 and the HOT pink Backwoods @ 0:51!
Great memories, terrible bike compared to modern kit, but I'd still like a nice LTS 1 with the Ti linkage.
  • + 3
 I love how we bikers walk a thin line between 'collecting' and 'hoarding'. I'm also unable to part with my vintage bikes Big Grin
  • + 1
 Got a LTS in the loft which have not seen in a while, was my dream bike back in 1986 & have not got round to build it up
But do not ride as well as bikes built in last few years
  • + 1
 My first real mtb was a purple GT Karakoram with a yellow RS Quadra 21R. I was a young kid at the time, probably 10. My parents got hard into mountain biking in this era, so I went along. Super fun time in mountain bikes.
  • + 1
 had to sell my zasker le 1994 in the then rare anodized blue that rob warner and others rode. I sold it as a complete bike to fund a holiday as i was skint.....the holiday was shit and have regretted it ever since.
  • + 3
 Now, imagine where ended up all those tens of thousands of unused bikes that haven't found their collector?
  • + 1
 My first mountain bike was a GT LTS 5000. Absolutely loved that thing. Saved up my money from my paper round all those years ago
  • + 1
 Love it! My first Mt bike was a GT tequesta in 1992! I still have it. I really had a thing for there frames and I loved Mike King and no way Hans Ray!!!
  • + 1
 Seriously. Most are low mid level models. Very affordable.
This is the the vintage GT collection. www.facebook.com/SeeingsBelievingGTMuseum
  • + 1
 Ive had a corrado team since the early 90s but I just picked up a 98 STS1000DS to restore. The build quality on these older high end GT's are amazing!
  • + 3
 I appreciate this content
  • + 1
 This is great! I still have my Avalanche frame. This makes me want to build it back up; but those v-brakes. Maybe it'll just be a cool pump track bike.
  • + 3
 Hans Rey is the reason why i ride Mtnbikes... AND I ONLY HAVE 4 GT's Frown
  • + 2
 Ah yes Hans no way Rey. An inspiration for sure And the Zaskar is the bike I remember lusting after more than any other ever
  • + 1
 My 2005 GT Dhi will never leave my hands! GT has always been my favourit. A even worked as a mechanic in a GT dealer here for a while!
  • + 1
 I still have my 1990 Karakoram and I think a 1993 LTS with my red Judy’s. Those were my first real mountain bikes and what started my MTB addiction!!!! Now FOES for life!!!
  • + 1
 This is fire...the dude is what many of would love to be...although im not sure if I would want to ride these bikes!! Some of those would be great to look at though
  • + 1
 Tequila Sunrse crackle painted Karakoram. It was love @ first from the pages of MTB Action.
Still looking for a decent one to add to my collection someday.
  • + 1
 Oh the memories. This to me is what mountain biking is all about. My very best mountain bike memories are from this era. Love it.
  • + 1
 I love GTs! I started on a 1992 Outpost, then got a 1994 Vertigo. I've still got a 1997 Pro Freestyle Tour BMX and a 1996 Bravado Big Grin
  • + 1
 I have an old Iron Horse Team Issue that I built up 20 years ago. I can't seem to get rid of it but also know i'll never do anything with it...
  • + 1
 I'm an Ashton Bikes collector. I'm currently building a mk2 black Justice but painting it to look like a mk1. Oh, im going to sooooo geek out on it.
  • + 1
 Ah, the 90s. Good times, back when I would grab the brake lever and hope to god it would stop in time.
  • + 3
 Bike Nerd level 9000
  • + 1
 Thats awesome, I am glad the retrobike community is slowly growing. You can have alot of fun for cheap.
  • + 1
 "Altus from back in the day - amazing"

That is a new one on me, as I didn't know how amazing Altus was.
  • + 1
 This makes me feel much better about the GT STS and Manitou HT frames I just bought.
  • + 1
 The manitou where the front fork was also in the back as rear suspension was so rad.
  • + 2
 Respect to this guy. I also love the GT bikes from this era. Classics.
  • + 2
 Old parts were made to last...Couldn't agree more...
  • + 1
 If GT came up today with a polished aluminum 29er Zaskar hardtail, it would sell like hot cakes.
  • + 1
 saw my first real bike in there, GT backwoods, purchased in 1998 from Island Sports,Middletown, RI
  • + 2
 This guy is living the good life....
  • + 1
 Minha primeira bike full foi uma GT LTS DH uma bike top para época ..só eu tinha bike full na cidade hahahaha...
  • + 1
 I haven't even thought of the name "Tequesta" in the longest time. Sweet vid.
  • + 1
 He's close but I've got him beat www.facebook/SeeingisBelievingGTMuseum
  • + 1
 Muy simpatico with this dude's way. Just not with GT......
  • + 1
 I still have my 95 green tempest at my dads, i ride it when i visit.
  • + 1
 Still have a team scream Tequesta in the garage. 1995 cannot part with it.
  • + 1
 Felicitaciones Lucio un verdadero maestro!
  • + 1
 Radness bordering on OCD....love GT!
  • + 1
 The very first GT bike in Australia was stolen from a bike show in Sydney.
  • + 1
 Very nice. More retro bike content, plz!
  • + 1
 I’m putting a dual crown, 200mm dh fork on a 2010 gt avalanche
  • + 1
 Still got my GT LTS 2000 hanging up in the garage
  • + 1
 Still kicking myself for getting rid of my lava red Karakoram...
  • + 1
 This guy gets it.
  • + 1
 Beautiful x
  • + 1
 Looks very familiar! Smile
  • + 1
 ahh im sooo jealous!
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