Tuesday, June 24, 2014

1993 KHS Montana Comp (Sold)

Whenever I build or rebuild a bike, I always try to have a theme in mind. I will start a spreadsheet indicating the various parts and components that will make up the bike and the cost involved. Its good discipline to plan the build but sadly, I have not been sticking to the plan. So, the final product always ends up looking rather different. Take this 1993 KHS Montana Comp, for example. The plan was to keep it neat and simple but looking at it now, you will never know that was the plan.

The frame sat in the corner of the house for months. It had the original purple and pink color scheme. The initial plan was to re-spray it with a titanium looking color and use as much original parts as I could find. As the powder coating company did not have a titanium color, I decided to go with warm yellow (bearing in mind that my other KHS Montana Pro is also yellow). I saw a similar bike on the internet which had a yellow frame and blue fork and thought it looked quite nice. So, I bought a blue fork on eBay.

Then, the assembly began and that's when I decided I am going to call this the RYBWG bike. Most sailors would know what that acronym means. I remember a friend who had a green saddle for sale. At the same time, I had a spare red handle bar from a previous bike. This is the final product.

Not wanting to deviate too far from the plan, I used as much original parts as possible. The brakes are cantilever brakes with brand new brake pads. The wheel are genuine Ritchey Vantage Comp wheels laced to Shimano Deore DX hubs. The brake levers are not part of the Shimano series but it works just as well. The Shimano Alivio 7/8 speed crank was from a previous bike. The newer parts are; 3x7-speed Microshifters, Alivio 7/8 speed rear derailleur and Deore front derailleur.

The bike is an 18 incher which is a little big for me but since it will be used on-road more than off-road, it is perfect. There is no words to describe the ride on a steel bike; it is just so surreal. The bike gets lots of attention wherever it goes because it is so funkified! The initial plan to sell it after rebuilding it may be shelved.

More pictures of the funky bike…

As usual, I seek some sense of perfection in the bikes I build. I have never really liked the multiple gears because they are not period correct. It makes the bike looked out of place. To build the bike back to its roots will take a long time. So, I decided that the multiple gears will have to go and in its place temporarily, a single speed set up will be used instead.

The bike looks clean and simple with single speed set up. It is also lightened considerably. Up front is a Shimano Dura Ace 38T chain ring paired with the crank arm from the Marin. This is not your usual 'market bike' set up.

The former tyres (I don't even remember what they are) were replaced by Freedom Thickslicks 2.1 tyres. It gives the bike a masculine, hunky look and essentially shouts out that this not an ordinary bike.

Shimano Servo Wave brake levers looks retro but more than that, they match perfectly with the caliper brakes.

Good old caliper brakes from Shimano. These are entry-level Alivio brakes but set up properly, you wouldn't know they are inexpensive stuff.

These Rigida rims are factory fitted rims on the Porsche Bike S. They don't make rims like this anymore. Strong and light, made in France and with a little bit of aero shape, they look at home on the bike.

A close-up of the crankset. Looks ordinary but who would guess the chain ring is a top-of-the-line Shimano Dura Ace.

The Gusset chain tensioner works well but it will be replaced soon.

Thickslick tyres have very little rolling resistance. They are great in both wet and dry conditions.

About the only thing that remained from the last set-up is the seat. It is just too comfortable and retro to replace.

Steel bikes are making a comeback. If you have never ridden a steel bike, you don't know what you are missing. Rather than boast about how nice it is, its better you hop on a steel bike and find out for yourself.

The riding position now is reminiscent of the old school hunched-over, reached-out type. This bike truly brings me back to my roots.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

1993 Miyata Elevation 5,000

This is the younger brother of the Elevation 10,000. Just like its big brother, the frame is APA bonded and not joined by a single weld.

Its an incredible bike to ride. Comfortable, fast, predictable and an eye candy!

The bike came with a Fat-something rigid fork but I have swopped it for a Mosso fork to save some weight.

Nothing less the best. Shimano XT brakes, XT 7-speed thumb shifters, Ritchey stem and grips.

The Zoom handle bar has a matt steel finish. Its so hard to find such handle bars nowadays.

The original Miyata badge. The serial number is etched on the head tube.

Check out the Greg Herbold saddle. Its a bit on the heavy side but its so comfortable, who cares about the weight.

Full aluminum frame without a single weld.

Shimano Deore XT crank and front derailleur.

Shimano Deore XT short cage rear derailleur.

The Alexrims were the latest addition but its got that classic look to match the rest of the bike.

Shimano Deore XT brakes.

Another view of the saddle.

2 spacers were used. As much as I would like to reduce the number of spacers used, it was necessary to maintain a comfortable riding position.

A little battle damage to the decal but nonetheless, the 5,000 could still be seen.

Here's the proof of how the bike was put together.

I always think that the Mosso fork is not the right thing for the bike. Its too modern and flashy with all the big wordings on the fork. The 5,000 is not a screamer kind of bike. It is a subtle, no-nonsence machine that prefers actions than words. I could not find the original Fat Max fork so I had to settle for something else. In fact, prior to this set up, a Rockshox SID suspension fork was used but it added too much weight to the bike.

With the rigid fork, the bike looks right once again.

To give it a mild modern touch, the straight handlebar was replaced by a FSA Comet slight riser handlebar. It would make riding it much more comfortable. Of course, the thumb shifters and brake levers remained.

Indeed, I am fussy about how a bike should look like. We should always remember the heritage of the bike and make sure we keep it looking period correct as far as possible.

This is the refreshed look of the bike. I decided to take apart everything and start from scratch, maintaining as much of its originality as possible.

I kept the thumb shifters and brake levers but changed the handlebar and stem to Ritchey instead. The Odi grips, although as old as the bike are still as soft and pliant.

The fork is a steel chromoly Kona Project 2. The previous fork had mountings for disc brakes which are too 'modern' for the bike. I resprayed the fork to match the original Fatmax fork but the colour was a bit off. Nevertheless, it turned out quite well and gave a bike a unique look.

The Deore XT crankset and front derailleur were retained. I dare say that the shifting of these old things are far better than the present day drivetrain.

The Deore XT short cage rear derailleur was also retained. The rear hub could only accommodate an 8-speed cassette but I managed to tweak the rear derailleur from a 7 to 8 speed configuration.

Avid brakes replaced the XT brakes. For some strange reasons, the XT brakes could not fit the mounting holes properly.

The original Greg Herbold saddle. It might be a tad heavy but after all these years, the condition is still very good and frankly, where can you find a saddle that looks like that?

I build the Mavic X317 36h rims with stainless steel spokes. 

The wheels are laced to Chris King hubs, front and rear. There is nothing much you can say about Chris King hubs except they are just the best. 

This refresh should close the chapter on the Elevation 5,000. Riding it today brought back many memories of the fun I used to have with it; bashing through the trails and getting all muddy every Sunday. Compared to the modern day bikes, it feels really different but who cares?