I never thought I'd try to put an entry in a BotM contest, but looking at this month's theme, I'd give it a try. I am actually not sure if it qualifies as an entry as the bike is not mine and the morph is a rather weird one. It's not the best bike for sure, but it has a good story. You be the judge of that, if you please.
This is about a 1993 Gitane that turned into a 1997 Wheeler. Yes, you read that right.
So more than a year ago I bought this Gitane made of Columbus Max OR with XTR M900. I asked here on the forum about it ( viewtopic.php?f=1&t=132010&start=0
) and I was told a few things I didn't know. Cheers Retrobike! Long story short, I bought the bike for the M900 parts that were programmed for my Jet Stream (and still are) and I didn't plan anything with the frame. The seller told me a cheesy story on how that was supposed to be his personal bike and how he wouldn't actually sell it to any guy and I should keep the frame and not let it go to someone who's not "in the know" like I am. Okay... So I kept it around and thought what to do with it. The former owner tried to repaint it as the original, but unfortunately the job was subpar and the stickers quite crappy.
At some point I thought about my good friend Marc. We've been best buddies since 5th grade, back in high school we were "the unlucky duo" for various reasons, we played a lot of basketball and we used to ride together. Now he's kinda into road bikes as he has a rather sensitive back and I tried to lure him a few times to the dirt but didn't quite succeed. The deal is, it's one thing when you have your own bike and another when you have to borrow one. So I quickly thought about building a bike for him from whatever decent parts I always seem to have at home based on the Gitane frame. The guy said not to sell it, but a gift is different, right? So I set up a plan and I got a few other friends to contribute on this gift for the parts I didn't have and wanted to be brand new, like chain, cogset, cranks and others.
The summer flew like a swallow and I remembered in early winter about all this. Okay, let's get to work! Christmas and New Year were near, but I wanted this to be a gift for hat he means as a friend and not for some occasion. He also had some rough times in his personal life so I really hoped this kind of attention would get him smiling again. Unfortunately things didn't go as planned.
I learned quickly that what was hidden inside the frame behind that cheap short seatpost was ugly. The frame was cracked and welded on the inside and a sleeve was welded over the top part of the seat tube. I was furious and out of my mind but didn't want to let the project go. I went to the bikeshop and tried to file down the metal spike that was left from the weld on the inner seat tube and it was an awful and log job but the biggest surprise was about to come! While filing on the inside I felt that there was more. We worked on the inner and we got out shattered rests from an old carbon (!!!) seatpost and a 5 cm long rusty nail! Carbon dust and shrapnel! I called the guy immediately and told him he was a dick. He kept apologizing telling me that he didn't work on the bike, but a friend did and he had no clue. I didn't know what to do, but I knew I couldn't give my best friend from high school a bike based such a frame and I started searching the web for replacement that very night. Time was tight, though. I agreed to meet the seller (who's a now very knowledgeable hustler) the next day, to settle things and while listening to all his ridiculous stories again, he dug up the Wheeler frame from his shed. I agreed to accept it as a replacement for the other one and got to work on it immediately. Finding a proper seatpost was not easy, but I pulled it off with a new ProMax. It got a new Acor headset, recycled Ritchey bar and stem from a Cube, new Pro grips, a Selle Italia saddle with matching yellow accents, Bontrager Camino wheels with Shimano Parallax hubs off a Trek, Kenda Nevegal replica tires, new tubes, new Shimano Alivio cranks with new BB, new chain, new cogset, new cables and housings, new Alivio front and rear derailleur and very good condition Alivio STI units. Bonus: A full Rito blue anodized QR and waterbottle cage kit, minus the bar-ends. Oh, the fork! 1999 RockShox Jett with elastomers that was freshly serviced. I also added a pair of new Smith Diablos in matching silver to all this, as I knew he had no riding glasses for when he was in our hometown.
The next challenge was getting the bike to him and I plotted with his mother on the right moment. I got it to him on the 30th of December while he rested after a night partying together and wrote him a letter in which I told him the full story. He was very moved by the gift, he took it for a spin immediately and he put some pics on FB of it. Bullseye!
Here is the original Gitane, as I bought it:
Here is the bike, as it was given to my good friend:
His own words on FB upon receiving this: "One hell of a gift to stumble upon. If this doesn't bring a crappy 2012 to a good vibe end, I don't what does. Million thanks Maximilian Munteanu and co-Santas Bogdan Taut and Cristina Neagu!"
Unfortunately, on New Year's night the building hosting his parent's lifetime business (a ski rental in our local resort) burned down and they couldn't save nothing from the inside, so the joy of the bike erased pretty quickly. I hope all this bad luck streak that him came to an end. At least, if he wants to ride this season, he'll have the bike.
I sincerely apologize for this long story, but I just wanted to point out once again, if needed, that bikes are some of the best gifts in the world. Maybe this qualifies for BotM...
Have a good one!
1990 GT Karakoram 20" Purple Haze (urban project); 1993 GT Karakoram 20" Ferrari Red (classy beater); 1993 GT Karakoram 14.5" Black Light (almost original); 1994 Breezer Jet Stream 18" (unlikely story); 1995 Winora full suspension (a fine riding mistery); 1997 Kona A'Ha (anniversary edition); 1997 GT Arrowhead 18" (poisoned gift); 1998 Stevens 6.1.2 (true warrior); 1998 GT Moto cruiser (just google it!); 1999 Santa Cruz Chameleon (the heartbreaker revived); 1999 GT Lobo 1000 (retired with works Super T); 2000 GT Lobo (turns original); 2001 Klein Attitude Comp 19" (ultralight project); 2001 Cannondale Jekyll 1000 SL (better that a lot of "fresh" bikes); 2003 Intense Tazer (close to factory team spec); 2003 Intense M1 (old dream on hold); 2007 Crupi Pro XXL (pumptrack teacher)