Project No.8.5: alpinestars cro-mega LX ‘Wildthing’
Yep, another alpinestars to add to the stable, but this one will be a little bit different.
The frame is from a 1992 alpinestars cro-mega LX with elevated chain stays, it’s made from Tange double butted oversize tubing. Here is a scan from the 1992 catalogue of the bike in its original form:
Scan from 1992 alpinestars catalogue.
As you can see the bike came with Shimano Exage 500LX components and was kitted out with some heavyweight ‘alpinestars Mega-Lite’ oversize components. I bought one new from Leisure Lakes Bury in 1992, I loved the styling, the brand image and the unique design, that’s why I saved up the £400 to buy one. It was a heavyweight in everyway and out the box probably weighted in the region of 29-30lbs, like all aspiring mtb riders I set to work personalising, lightening and improving my new steed as soon as I got my hands on it. I’d like to think I transformed it from an entry level bruiser to a competitive mid range machine, but looking at my picture below from mid 1993 I’m not so sure!
My 1992 alpinestars cro-mega LX after a little personalisation BITD.
I adored this bike, it was a real head turner and I rode it virtually every day until I became more interested in girls, booze, cigarettes and motocross bikes. I then sold it to my step father who rode it to work everyday until it snapped just weeks before I got into retro bikes. The bike had not been very well maintained by my step father and the frame filled with water, eventually it rusted from the inside out snapping above the bottom bracket. Sadly it was already down the tip when I discovered this site, pity as the parts would have been most welcome. But, I still have great memories of it, especially racing it every month at the Leisure Lakes series held near Southport.
Picture of me racing at Leisure Lakes in 1992/3, must be an early picture as the bike is not very developed, neither is my riding gear!
So what is this project all about then? Well I guess its about taking that personalising to another level. Yes it would be nice to recreate a bike to the exact spec as my one from back in the day, but I’d rather have something that is totally unique and that why I’m going down the ‘Wildthing’ route.
WTF is the ‘Wildthing’ Route?
Between 1990 and 1993 alpinestars manufactured mtb shoes of the very highest quality, after all producing top notch motorcycle footwear was their background, they made a few models but the model of choice for team riders and those in the know was the ‘Wildthing’ shoe. It was the most distinctive footwear on the market with its unique styling, this is the styling I want to adopt on my personalised cro-mega.
Catalogue shot of 1990 ‘Wildthing’ shoes
Catalogue shot of 1991 ‘Wildthing’ shoes
Catalogue shot of 1992 ‘Wildthing’ shoes
I figured the pattern would not be an easy thing to copy so snapped up this original alpinestars ‘New Generation’ sticker pack up for a dollars on ebay as the packaging had a very similar design:
New Generation sticker pack
Packaging with the ‘Wildthing’ design
I bought this very original cro-mega LX from ebay, everything on it was original, including the awful motorcycle style alpinestars TKO 1 tyres. It cost me £80 collected from Telford after being the sole bidder on ebay, a bargain. I immediately stripped it down to get the Exage 500LX off, the short original seat post off and the very rusty wheels which alpinestars had helpfully laced with non stainless spokes. The plan was to put the bits I wanted to keep to one side for this project, but I couldn’t resist throwing it back together with some parts I’d also been collecting to ride at the NWA’s Rivington Pike ride.
It rode really well, exactly as a 1992 alpinestars cro-mega should, I was especially please with it on the climbs with the rear end steel spring bouncing back at me like the con rod of a combustion engine and powering me up the climbs.
After the ride the bike was stripped once more after cleaning. The decals have long eluded me for the 1992 bikes so as per the 1991 cro-mega
I did for Retrobike resident sticker man Gil_m
. First, I traced the decals using tracing paper.
The resultant traces were then scanned to computer. Using the ‘Paint’ program and a steady hand a computer version was the produced which Gil would be able to tidy up and convert in decals.
As is always the case, you go through all this effort and guess what happens? That’s right former Team Rider Tim Davies drops you an email entitled ‘Look what I Found’:
Found whilst bringing the Christmas decorations down from the loft by Tim Davies.
I’m now hopeful that Tim will allow Gil to copy these for reproductions to be made. These originals coupled with the ones I’ve traced should make a complete set and finally 1992 alpinestars decals will be available once more.
I dropped off the frame with a highly recommended powder coater in Bingley West Yorkshire called TripleS
, Blocklanders had previously had his Orange Clockwork done expertly by them. For the princely sum of £102 I got the frame and 2 pairs of forks blasted, prepped and coated in gloss white and the stem, seat collar and rear canti hanger coated in gloss black. The results are excellent as you can see (please excuse the orange tint to the pictures, that’s my garage heater and its too cold to turn that off!):
As above I got 2 pairs of forks powder coated. The pair on the left are from a 1992 cro-mega DX and are made of larger diameter true temper cro-moly than the original cro-mega LX forks on the right. If I can get the steerer shortened on the cro-mega DX pair I’ll use them as they are better quality and look beefier.
So that is where I’m up to at this time. Once the temperature goes up I’ll get painting the ‘Wildthing’ pattern onto my blank canvas, just at the moment its far too cold.