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Throwback Thursday: More Vintage MTB Gold From the Malverns Classic

Sep 7, 2021 at 14:07
by Mike Kazimer  
The bikes that showed up for this year's Retro Show and Shine at the Malverns Classic instantly transported me back to the mid-90s, the heyday of the purple-anodized era, a time when Yeti, Fat Chance, Klein, and other were cranking out gorgeous frames, and small companies like Paul, Ringle, and Cook Brothers Racing were providing the components to go with them.

We featured some of the highlights from this show already, but Steven Morrow's gallery had enough gems in it that it was worth a post of its own. Enjoy the trip down memory lane, or for those of you who don't remember this era, consider it a colorful history lesson. Enjoy!

What a lineup. That Fat Chance is still on my list of dream machines, and it looks just as good today as it did back in the 90s.

The period-correct color scheme is covered by a purple Ringle hub up front...
and a blue one in the rear.


What's old is new again - the Klein Adroit was ahead of its time with internal cable routing and an integrated bar / stem combo.


A 1994 Pace, complete with USE titanium handlebar, seatpost, and bar ends. And don't forget the Tioga disc wheel.


The US-made Paul Powerglide 8-speed rear derailleur.

Another classic Klein.

The Yeti C26 used a steel rear triangle with a carbon-wrapped aluminum front end, all joined with chromoly lugs.

This Specialized looks ready for some dual slalom action.

That's a rare Lawwill Knight Pro Cruiser perched above a pair of Fat Chance Yo Eddy's.


There was a time when Spinergy's carbon bladed wheels were the must-have wheelset.

It wasn't just XC bikes that were on display - the classic Intense M1 and the Specialized FSR DH are classics in their own right.

The same goes for the Giant ATX DH.

Just look at that fleet of vintage GT Lobo bikes.

An Alpinestars Al-Mega, with Bullseye cranks and Magura hydraulic rim brakes.

Another Tioga tension disc wheel, this one on a titanium Kona Hei Hei with Onza bar ends.

Yeti ARC AS.

An even older Yeti, the steel-framed Ultimate, circa 1989 / 90.

And finally, another Fat Chance Yo Eddy.




Photos: Steven Morrow


125 Comments

  • 70 0
 The Specialized S-works was the bike of the late great Jason McRoy gone but never forgotten by those of us he inspired. I was at the Malvern Classic and seeing that bike was a highlight.
  • 25 0
 Absolutely - well said. That bike is the one he used in Dirt, which for me has one of the most memorable cover shots ever. Amazing bit of MTB history. i.pinimg.com/originals/1d/31/24/1d3124085b214904944c571f413ee229.jpg
  • 6 0
 @Karve: crazy you remember this and found an image (I had no idea). I'm suddenly inspired to go listen to RHCP's Blood Sugar Sex Magik some reason, haha
  • 4 0
 @Karve: was thinking that bike looked ready to rip and now I know why!
  • 2 0
 Is that the one Neil owns now?
  • 2 0
 That bike has got to be one of my all time favourites.
  • 2 0
 i'm so glad i wasn't the only one who stopped scrolling and thought is that... it is..... let me hunt out the VHS to confirm... yes it f***ing well is.
  • 4 0
 @SATN-XC: If you started riding in the 90s in the UK you'd never forget it. I reckon I wore the freebie copy I got on MBUK out from repeated watching.
  • 1 0
 @fire-munki: the same for me outside uk.. never forgotten, still inspiring. Small tribute, my actual dirt bike has the color scheme ep1.pinkbike.org/p5pb13676153/p5pb13676153.jpg
  • 1 0
 I think Dirt is on Youtube. It is hilariously bad, but man we had it on loop when it came out.
  • 2 0
 I don't think that's JMC's actual bike. That looks to be a size up from his which was 15.5". Look at the gap between the front mech and the S on the seat tube. www.wideopenmountainbike.com/2018/06/jason-mcroys-1995-specialized-s-works-m2-team-at-the-malverns-classic
  • 1 0
 @tobiusmaximum: it's a 90s MTB movie.
At that time was really good, toghether with Thread (Hans Rey + Greg Herbold)
No mini cameras, editing was more like cut/paste, with minimal alterations.

Today, with action cameras, and editing software, people have more resources than some Pros had, back then.
  • 1 0
 Look how close it is to a dirt jump bike today. He was way ahead of his time.
  • 30 0
 I will never get tired of these posts, good stuff! There are a few of these I would love to take out on the trail right now (that Klein w/ the Spinergy wheels and the Specialized S-Works).
  • 5 1
 the klien green and those spinergys= kwality
  • 2 0
 There was a guy riding a bike with the same wheels and a fixed (high!) seatpost dropping into the steepest of the enduro stages (stage 3) as I was going by. He must have survived though as I did see him later!
  • 2 0
 Yup so much feels from seeing these old rides. Especially paint splatter.

Is that an old Islabikes to the left of the Hei Hei?
  • 7 0
 @stevenmorrow: Back in the day, if it was super steep, the seat would rest on your chest/stomach. I used it as a point of contact. Even with a dropper these days, if I forget to drop the seat, I can still ride down anything seat up. And oddly, it doesn't feel weird. After 25-ish years seat up, you don't forget. Like riding a bike? Wink
  • 2 0
 @twozerosix: yep, well spotted
  • 1 0
 @oldschool43: ah, that's a new one for me. Probably easier to get back on with lycra than baggies though, right? lol
  • 1 0
 @stevenmorrow: I have never and I mean NEVER, have been seen in public with just lycra!!! Ever!! Ha!! I wore board shorts. Found cycling shorts (lycra) after a 3 hour rain ride wore a hole in my tighty whities, and I wore those under board shorts. At some point, I found a "touring" short with liner. Then Roach clothing and a few other brands came out with baggies. My brother rode in Z-Cavaricci's with cycling shorts under. Even had a wallet chain.. The early 90's were something.
  • 32 0
 Those old Klein's are spectacular
  • 16 0
 So far ahead of their time and still bar none the best paint jobs to this day.
  • 16 0
 It's a shame how many great brands Trek has killed off.
  • 2 0
 Agreed!...the rear-facing track dropouts were another matter though!
  • 3 0
 I had 2 Attitude's. A 1990 square fork Backfire (yellow, orange, pink) and a 1991 round fork in... Blue, purple, pink. They were fun, super light bikes. Out of the box, 19 lbs and 20 lbs. BUT, offroad they were not the most comfortable. At some point, Klein released some 2.6 tires, a few years before the Nokian Gazzaladi, and it made them a bit more comfortable. In 1992, someone broke into our apartment and they were never seen again. Bought a Specialized M2 and a Schwinn Paramount 90 after that. Still have the M2 and some of the old parts. Those Kleins though, pretty amazing bikes for the time. Press fit BB, internal routing, press fit 1.5 headset that never came loose, bar/stem had a nice bend. It had a great feel. Really stiff.
  • 4 0
 They had press fit before it was uncool
  • 2 0
 There is zero reason you can't have those amazing paint jobs on modern bikes. Not sure why they went away...
  • 3 0
 @ReformedRoadie: They where expensive. The fade was hand sprayed in 2 to 4 colors. These paint jobs got valued engineered out for cost sake. Custom you can still get them, but too much $ for factory.
  • 3 0
 @ExShopRat: True...but when top end bikes are 5 figures, a bit more $$ to have it look like that should not be a problem.
  • 3 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Skilled labor is probably the big difference. I'm sure it was easier to find workers with autobody experience when these were made in the USA with limited production numbers. With modern frames coming out of developing nations like Cambodia and everything being optimized for mass production, it probably takes away the competitive edge if prices go up. There's likely a reason Trek still paints their Project One bikes in Wisconsin.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: the sucky part of value engineering is accounting for labor costs and overhead. I imagine a custom painter costs enought to raise the price of the bike to point where it is not competive in a mass market with other brands.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator: Project one is a good point. If you make the frames overseas it's probable hard to get it mass produced with more than one color or at least a masked style two tone paint job. The thing that suprises me is why more manufactures dont do the project one style of customization. People pay a premium for santa cruz's, yeti's and s-works, you'd think there wouldnt be a issue getting more money out of those buyers. People buy those bikes to stand out or for the premium experience, a unique paint job would just add value to those buyers. Get me a SB150 painted in 90's team colors with paint matched fork with anodized parts I'd buy it ..... well used ....maybe ....if the price is low ....I'm too cheap to spend 10k on a new bike.
  • 11 0
 I still have a 1999 Specialized FSR in the basement, should get it up and running again!
  • 8 0
 100% you should....got my 1999 S-Works hardtail in perfect working condition and use it to ride to and from the park and restaurants with the family. Was able to source original parts for a few things that needed to be replaced on eBay. Every once and a while I'll get a "great bike" comment from someone who knows their stuff.
  • 4 0
 I have a John Tomac edition Giant ATX dual suspension bike that is due for a restore. The mention of the USE handlebar made me think of the USE suspension seatpost that I've got currently on another bike.
  • 1 0
 Me too
  • 9 0
 Between the Klein bikes in the last post and in this one, I'm dying. I'd love to have one of those. So clean. I know nothing about them other than they look spectacular.
  • 7 0
 Just "WOW"!!! In the same way that an old song not heard for almost 30 years suddenly transports you from the here and now back to fond memories of your youth, these beautiful machines do just the same. I always loved those Alpinestars.
  • 10 0
 That Klein Adroit is sick. Much gear nerd love
  • 5 0
 Mega kudos to all the folks that performed any of the paint restoration on those bikes. The colors and techniques used back then are just not around anymore. These bikes all look nearly new and that takes a huge effort and $$$
  • 1 0
 ....are they repainted? it looks like most of these have simply been meticulously cleaned and cared for
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: Maybe or maybe not. I'm sure some of the parts were re-anodized as well. Either way the end result is to look factory new. Anything I own is beat to crap but clean. Nothing ever looks new.
  • 7 0
 I could look at these bikes for hours!! It brings me back to my child hood days.
  • 6 0
 No mention of all those Onza elastomer clipless pedals? That was my first pair - temperature dependent release value was interesting!
  • 1 0
 Still have two pairs of those. Ti spindles of course. Hahah. Anyone wanna buy ‘em?
  • 4 0
 this was the era where bikes meant EVERYTHING to me. i was at most of the Malverns events in the mid nineties and what a cracking event it was. Flat pedals and baggy shorts were coming in, decent full sussers, slalom bikes, it was all going on. oh and beer, lots of beer. Smile
  • 3 0
 Oh man. The DCD = Dave's Chain Device is on a few of the bikes. That brought back memories. I thought I was the shit when I had a purple one, on my yellow Rocky Mountain, with ano red Club Roost DH bars, WITH the cross-brace. Good times. Thank you PinkBike!
  • 3 0
 For me, the Alpinestars Al-Mega was it. Mike Kloser rode one and I thought he was a god. The, "DX" build came in that rad, yellow and white paint and it was the one to have as far as I was concerned.

I came across one on eBay a while back and bought it. It sits on my wall and reminds me of being 14 and memorizing issues of Mountain Bike Action.
  • 4 0
 This is epic. I wasn't into the sport back in those days so these posts are awesome to see what designs came from and how advanced they are now!
  • 3 0
 My first nice/expensive/not second hand bike was a GT Zaskar 91 the first to come into the UK. LOVED it SO much but.......... Man I lusted over those Alpine Stars E stay bikes (insert drool emoji)
  • 3 0
 BUT!! only because I knew I'd never afford a Yo Eddy...... absolute dream machine closest I ever came was a T shirt. Though I did get to race on one because my sponsor had it for sale
  • 3 0
 Yup. That was my hierarchy as well. GT Zazkar -> Alpinestars Al-Mega -> Yo Eddy!
  • 1 0
 @LA-Law: I had an Explosive before the Zaskar but, second hand an the previouse owner had repainted the splatter paint with plain black :/
  • 1 0
 First mountain bike I bought was an A Stars Cro Mega LX. Think I got it for $500 brand new. Must have been……96,7 hell, I can’t remember.
  • 6 0
 Klien's are still stunning now.
  • 2 0
 I always feel so dumb for not seeing the value in old bikes when I was younger. Imagine how many of these you came across even at the dump! It makes me want to knock on every door in town to collect old bikes and find some gems.
  • 6 2
 Look, I’m not gonna lie. I jacked off 25 years ago to that Paul Rasta rear derailleur. I see it today and it gives me a semi. Not bad, considering my age.
  • 3 0
 Discwheel here an there, but i remember this crazy spoke lacing as you could see with the front wheel. It looks amazing but how it rides?
  • 2 0
 From the guys that I know that have built wheels up that way. A little bit more springy, but not as much as you might think.
  • 6 0
 Someone bring a mop!
  • 5 0
 Those klein paint jobs were unreal
  • 1 0
 I should throw in my 1987 Rocky Mountain Fusion and 199x Devinci hardtail. I still ride both. The RM Fusion, I have the Scott MTB aero bars - had it taped up like a katana. It's pretty much turned into a road bike. I still ride the Devinci hardtail with 3x7-spd thumbshifters and 8-spd cassette as a backup bike when my full suspension is under maintenance. Love these retro bikes!
  • 2 0
 Those Scott aero bars would be a great alternative to gravel bars - keep a decent rearwards MTB position for descending and as aero as you like on the flat - mark my words, that'll be the new for 2023 tend!
  • 1 0
 The GT Bicycles Malverns Classic is back next year at Eastnor Deer Park. 25-28th of August with the Muc-Off Retro Show and Shine and £1,000 cash waiting for the winner! Bikes from 2002 or older will be allowed. See you all there
  • 1 0
 Who owned some of those biked and what did you own?

Giant ATX DH
FSR DH
M1

and my personal "wish I had never sold"....a Fat Chance Yo Eddy........................

My "wish i never owned"......Spin wheels...........Thermoplastic flexiness...............
  • 5 0
 I actually own the 1994 Pace RC200 F3 and the 1994 Kona Hei Hei featured in this article Was some amazing bikes there.
  • 1 0
 I've owned a 1st and 2nd gen ATX One DH,and a Pace RC200 F8...and a Parkpre Comp Limited.
  • 2 0
 @hatch: that pace is gorgeous.
  • 1 0
 @freestyIAM: thank you
  • 2 1
 I think i've seen all of those bike makes and models in the scrap metal heap at every bike co-op i've worked or volunteered at.
Take off the 7 speed deore XT shift lever pods and toss the rest because they are so trashed.
Its nice to see them in almost new condition and being looked after ! Smile
  • 1 0
 I have a '94 Marin Palisades that I bought new about 5 years ago from a guy who had it in his shed. Best $65 I have ever spent.

That Specialized Team DH, we had a US made frame at John Henry bike shop in the early 2000's. I think it retailed for $2500. Man, we lusted after that bike!
  • 1 0
 Still got my Alpinestar Al-mega full XTR, polished frame and Mach 5 fork. Came stock with a threaded 1.1/4 headset, managed to get a 1 1/4 threadless right off the Dia-Comp display stand at the Vegas trade show through a friend so I could run a suspension fork without having to thread the steerer. Rode classic Whistler and Squamish on it, Billy epic, rebob, power house plunge, 4 lakes.
  • 3 0
 I wish I could get my current bike painted like a Klein without voiding warranty and waiting years to get done....Klein paint jobs are the best.
  • 2 0
 So many memories. Dream bikes and colours. Ano purple was essential no matter what. Then years later the atx dh and then the m1.......
  • 1 0
 Love these, they take me back to when I started mountain biking in 1991. And I still have my 1994 Kona Cindercone, although most of its period components have been replaced along the way, apart from its Titec 540mm bars.
  • 1 0
 First mountain bike I bought was an Alpinestars Cro-Mega…..LX(I think). Man I loved that bike. Put a Rock Shox Indy XC on it and road it til the frame cracked, ugh. It was such a cool bike, at the time, I thought.
  • 2 0
 A bunch of theses beauties were on my dream bike list back then, and still are today...
  • 3 0
 Forgot about the Paul derailers, lusted after those!
  • 1 0
 Still have the Zaskar LE in the basement. Anyone has an idea how to make the frame looking fresh again without ruining it? It‘s the polished aluminium one…
  • 2 0
 Autosomal and a soft cloth + hours of rubbing
  • 1 0
 Autosol - sorry autocorrect
  • 1 0
 drooled over all these bikes and aftermarket parts back in the day. still am drooling! still cant afford! been MTB'ing since 1991 and haven't slowed down.
  • 1 2
 Internal cable routing was actually quite common from the early 80s onwards with mountain bikes. It was borrowed from cyclocross bikes. It only fell to the wayside when just running full length housing and hydraulic brakes took over.
  • 5 0
 Huh? The 80's and 90's rocked cable-stops like they were never gonna go out of fashion.
  • 3 0
 There are few things better than a Flite saddle atop a Syncros seat post.
  • 3 0
 Purple/orange fade - Yes please!!
  • 1 0
 Those pedals on the red specialized made my shins cry out just looking at them. Lot of memorys awoken. I love the Lawwill klunker.
  • 3 0
 PORN!
  • 2 0
 Kona Hei Hei and GT STS for the wins
  • 6 0
 Thank you, the Kona Hei Hei is mine. Quite a few pics of it in my profile
  • 2 0
 @hatch: I had that model year Kona Hot with the external fluted tubes. Stolen from my living room while I was passed out on July 4. Kudos to you for having and building that bike, a classic.
  • 2 0
 @twozerosix: cheers mate It took over 2.5 years to source the parts & is fully period correct.
  • 2 0
 @hatch: oh bro I didn’t even notice the SL fork at first! Now I’m double depressed that bike got ripped off. I had Ringle stem and bottle cage, 747s, full XTR and Nuke Proof cow horn bars.
  • 2 0
 @twozerosix: I had the 91 Kona explosif. Still drool just remembering it. Joe Murray was a legend
  • 1 0
 @donpinpon29: Dammit now I am on a mission to rebuild my Hot, down to the heli-coil in the M21SL stripped-out brake boss. Loved that bike.
  • 1 0
 @hatch: Now I'm obsessed. This was her. www.pinkbike.com/photo/18526017
  • 1 0
 @twozerosix: beautiful bike!!
  • 3 1
 My 91" Bridgestone MB-0 would look good there.
  • 1 0
 +1--loved my '93 MB-1 pearl tusk/ivory...alas the frame did break/crack at the chainstay-dropout juncture.
  • 1 0
 Ooof! 90s bikes were beautiful. That JMC machine brings a wee tear to my eye. Oh and that pace, and that yo eddy…. Amazing
  • 2 0
 I had a 1995 Gt Rts and then a 1998 Gt Lts 200DS and I loved them both.
  • 2 0
 Amazing to see these, nice work.
  • 1 0
 Cheers! Was great to see them all together
  • 2 0
 That Yeti with the HED wheels..... my college days dream bike!
  • 2 0
 that purple klein is a chefs kiss of a bike
  • 2 0
 Great post this is the stuff
  • 1 0
 It's a shame that the GIANT ATX doesn't have a full viw photo.. it's an insane bike and still beautiful to this day
  • 2 0
 It belongs to the guy that owns my LBS, it's on display there. Totally NOS and unrestored, found by chance in its original packaging at the back of a shop in Greece I believe. Lovely stuff.
  • 1 0
 @Stevel-Knievel: yep, that's the one
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy must be sweating thinking of the power lost on the fat chance yo eddy chain tensioner
  • 2 0
 Oldscool
  • 1 0
 All super nice. I'm digging that Pace!
  • 1 0
 The Pace still looks stunning today.
  • 3 0
 and the way that blue Klein makes me feel..... there's gotta be something wrong with me.
  • 2 0
 @DBone95: I hear you. Feelings are complicated
  • 2 0
 The Pace is mine. Was my dream bike/build back in the day. Loads of pics of it in my profile
  • 1 0
 The stuff my dreams were made of back in the 90s..love this
  • 2 0
 Treasures!
  • 2 0
 Awesome
  • 1 0
 Missing a real Doug Bradbury's Manitou bike and fork
  • 1 0
 No K2 Razorbacks with the weird rear suspension?
  • 1 0
 Klein adroit, just the only classic that really is
  • 2 4
 I see a lot of gravel bikes.
  • 3 0
 I see a lot of overbiked folks out on the purpose-made flow trails

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