I bought my first retro mountain bike project in 2017. An early 90's Raleigh Technium Instinct with Tange Struts forks (pictured below) . I loved the red anodized finish under the paint and the bonded lug design of the frame. I built that frame up period specific and while it looked beautiful, it rode horribly. It was cutting edge when released but the early 90’s mountain bike technology had not aged well. Ever since then I kept it the same, it looked beautiful but I wished I could strip it and build it up more as a modern cruiser
3 years later, another one came up for sale, in my size, in Melbourne! However I was halfway across the world riding my bike across Vietnam. To my surprise, the gumtree seller was happy to hold it for me for over a month until I got back.
Once back in Melbourne I picked it up, took It home and proceeded to strip everything off it. It was a little sad, but I had a period spec version hanging up two metres away so I didn’t care. Luckily the new bike also came with a matching fork but other than that and the cranks, I changed almost everything on the bike.
I built the bike slowly over the following months and eventually it was complete. Well, almost complete, I had to wait 2 months for a specific headset shim from the UK… and then finally, it was complete!
I took it for its maiden ride and I concluded the brakes were shit and needed to be changed. So, two weeks later, following a brake swap and a re-cable. It was again, complete!
Up front I used a set of Nitto Bullmoose bars, Avid Shorty Ultimate Brakes and a set of Dia-Compe Advantage 290 brake levers (aptly dubbed the Batwing Levers). I also fitted a Nitto front rack, and I plan on adding a Wald front basket.
I picked up a set of Mavic Sup 217 rims laced to a set of Bullet hubs, fitted with some Maxxis DTH 2.3’s. The rear Derailleur is Deore XT, with a regular Deore shifter up front (which had to be mangled a little to fit under the Batwing levers). I also used my favorite saddle of all time, the Selle Italia Turbomatic 2. I don't like them because they’re comfortable, (they're not), they just look awesome. The saddle is mounted on a completely thrashed Ritchey seat post. It’s a 26.8 post and the bike came with a 26.8 post, but the way it fits I’m beginning to think it’s not a 26.8 frame…
I finished off the bike with an XT cassette, an XT Chain (heavily worn), a Sram Narrow wide chainring and a set of Monkey Sports silicon grips.
I am pretty happy with how the build came out. In reality the batwing levers aren’t awesome but they work well enough to allow them to stay on. The tyres are also pretty close to rubbing on the frame, and the wheel pulls in the dropout fairly easily. I’m just glad that I was lucky enough to get two chances to build up one of my favourite bikes of all time.