I've been meaning to post pictures of this creation for a while. This has become one of my favorite bikes of all time that I've owned. Initially I built it, like most of us on here, to the little blueprint of the dream bike that you have when your a fifteen year old, spotty adolescent. At that stage in life most of us did have the disposable cash to make the blueprint come to reality.
I always wanted a Bontrager Race when I was a teenager, it was always just out of reach either due to availability of the frames or funds being together at the right time - I ended up building a Orange p7. Thinking about it this was probably a good thing as the style of riding I deployed then was best suited to a p7.
In 2007 I found a this pre Trek 1996 Bontrager race frame and built it up to the little blueprint. The end result was sorely disappointing. It ended up as a mishmash of some very nice boutique parts, but none of them worked in harmony and it looked a little strange. The sum of individually nice parts didn't add up to a dream bike to ride. The reality was that of the immature vision of what would make a good bike by a fifteen year old!
After this initial build I refined the bike back to a single speed and swapped parts out until I had a enjoyable bike to ride. It was light, simple, a fresh take on things for me. I covered loads of ground on it, ride after ride. The bike was incredibly enjoyable to ride, the frame lived up to the light, zingy ride that I had envisaged when I was fifteen.
I then bought a cyclocross bike. This became the new favorite bike of choice, the Bontrager got used as a winter hack and got a little sidelined and the novelty of a single speed combined with it's lack of practicality to use it as a bike to cover ground begun to wear off. CX bikes are just so quick and rewarding to ride on the right territory your left feeling that MTB's are best reserved for technical bumpy areas.
To cut a long story short, my cyclocross frame and fork were written off in an accident. This is what has lead to the build in the pictures. I was left with a pile of parts from my now kaput CX bike, had a the Bonti that I had stripped with the intent to sell the frame and was buy a new CX frame. Combined with being fed up with the slow drag of my Modern MTB when I used it to commute to work on the road or off road on the relatively tame off road route. When push came to shove I couldn't bring myself to sell the Bonti frame as I was quite attached to it emotionally. Plus it is not really salable as the seat post had well and truly seized due to the abuse of being thrown in the shed after countless wet winter mud rides.
One week at work I had a quite week and too much time to think. The cogs of the mechanical mind had come up with a new blueprint. Why not throw all the gear off the CX bike onto the Bonti frame to brew up a stopgap bike whist I build the 'dream' CX bike? I knew that there would be compromises fitting 700c wheels to a frame that was designed as a 26' MTB.. but the old skool geometry of a MTB from this era translated to the geometry of modern day CX bikes, but would have a high BB height. I ordered a Mavic MTB to 700c brake adapter for the rear and a few other odds and sods and that weekend the quest began to build the mongrel bike up.
The end result actually worked beyond my expectations. The bike is light, quick has no dodgy handling characteristics and ticks the box as a workhorse to ferry me to and from work either off or on road dependent on what tyres I throw on it. The latest addition is the Saddlebag and Bagman. I got fed up with having a sweaty back when riding to work and it's ideal to throw in shopping on the way home.
It is funny how this bike has morphed to where it is today. You could liken it to Biology theory of how creatures adapt themselves to different environments to survive or David Bowie's reinvention of himself every few years. So it was (is) a MTB and has days where it could be 'Ziggy Stardust' with CX tyres on .. or 'the Berlin era' with road tyres. I'm sure in a year or two the adaptation process will result in another guise. One virtuous beauty of bikes it the ability to be able to select and build a tailored machine to your exacting needs/wants.
Always have a blueprint in your mind... but the result may not add up to what you expect... but that may be for worse, or better.
This Global Fridge leaflet sparked it all off...