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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:42 pm 
BoTY & PoTM Winner
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Keith Bontragers Experimental.

I was asked to post some pics of this bike, and to give my thoughts on the ride given the nature of its fabrication.

I have been apprehensive about posting anything on this bike (even pictures away from its native soil), as i was politely and discretely asked not too, for possible legal reasons.

After a conversation with keith, and me now owning it for a good couple of years, i think is cool to do so, especially given if i can find a suitable home for it, i might sell it due to pending space restrictions.


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Last edited by sinnerman on Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: oops wrong place,
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:42 pm 
BoTY & PoTM Winner
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Where do i start,

The Why..........?

The bike was built from a debate. That classic age old debate about which was the best frame material.

keiths simple answer was to ask....Why would you build a bike with one material...?

This bike was built as a result of that question.

A bike built to attempt to optimize and use the best material for each different part of the bike.

Example 1.

large diameter Aluminium main triangle = Lightest and Stiffest.

Example 2.

Steel chainstays and dropouts = small diameter tubing so the tyre chainstays and chainrings have good clearance and the most durable dropouts.


Example 3.

Carbon Seatstays = The lightest and stiffest for brake mount stability (flexi stays make the rear brake feel Mushy)


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Last edited by sinnerman on Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: oops wrong place,
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:43 pm 
BoTY & PoTM Winner
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To Quote Keith:

It turned out really well and could have been taken much further. No one was very interested in pursuing it further because it was complicated to make and the benefits seemed small.
The advantages were not Tangible enough to make it an easy sell either.
Light weight is such a dominant spec, its the only thing that sales really wants Carl as you know.

Now the sales of carbon has eclipsed all of the work in other materials its not really very useful anymore.
(end Quote)


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Last edited by sinnerman on Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: oops wrong place,
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:43 pm 
BoTY & PoTM Winner
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The bike was owned built and ridden by KB for all the reasons above, but after the questions were asked and answered it was still a VERY useful tool as a test bed for new products designed by KB and bearing the Bontrager Brand name. Obviously it didn't stop there...everything from drive-trains from different manufacturers to brake systems were tested.

You will notice it still has Test No. 0 written on the tyre sidewalls and the actual weights in grams too.

For me this is quite a humbling bike to own and for me comes with a level of responsibility. After now owning it for approximately 2 years, its been ridden by me in California, France and and Great Britain. I have covered probably 2000 mile total on it and to be frank i still don't think i will ever be qualified or skilled enough to write my thoughts down on how it rides and performs.


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Last edited by sinnerman on Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: oops wrong place,
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:43 pm 
BoTY & PoTM Winner
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FWIW, i cant even begin to describe it. I have all three materials used on different frames, but not used together.

It is Light, it's not a small bike and yet its light (to my mind very light). KB is very proud of his wheels, and this handbuilt set are remarkably strong and with a very low rolling weight, which i'm confident are a contributory factor to the very spritely ride characteristics. and the lightweight tyres too of course..(wink )

The wheels remind me of the old days, with that stunning tick ticking noise you only get with quality hubs, a kinda constant reminder your on quality time.

The headset is a Chris King affair and i don't think its ever been touched or serviced since being fitted. The bars and stem equally light and well made and with a durable finish we come to expect from the House of Bontrager.
The contact points, are also No Nonsense affairs, slimline Bontrager Grips, A fisher branded Leather Saddle from the house of selle San Marco and the tyres are just awesum for dusty trail and tarmac'ed roads, on the roads they are stealthy quiet and yet so fast running on the dusty trails.

The Current drive-train is a mix of Period Shimano and Sram, all of which bearing the battle scars of a Pre-Production Test Rig, and yet Still after all these years of abuse functioning perfectly well and only needing the usual cable tweaks from time to time.

The seatpost type has seen every incarnation you can think of and suspension posts used abused and disgarded for a fundamental alloy no frills no maintenance job.

The suspension forks are of the moment and KB's preference....very light with excellent compression and rebound characteristics, great bushes, very low maintenance and comparable weight. I have to concur they have been great performers over the past two years with no faults or mishaps to speak off.


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Last edited by sinnerman on Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: oops wrong place,
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:43 pm 
BoTY & PoTM Winner
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The frame.......well, to my mind all the Bontrager Tells are clear and present.

The Bontrager Headtube gusset, reinforcing the downtube, complemented with quality welds covered in a thick coating of Durable black, with subtle and original Bontrager decals.

The rear chainstays will be instantly recognizable to any Bontrager Fan, made from True Temper Steel and essentially the same as that as on a Bontrager OR.

The rear seatstays are cleverly borrowed from A Trek O.C.L.V, with some clear modifications to enable the use for this fabrication.

And it really does work too, some how i have the best of all three materials, the rear brakes stopping power is as powerful as it could possibly be for a NON disc brake bike and yet without the horrible dead feeling i get from a carbon frame, or worse still that dreadful drone that comes from some lesser carbon hardtails.

The Chainstays, allow me to forget about having to worry too much about catastrophe from the result of hitting the rear mech and destroying the frame, or trying to source a replacement mech hanger. But it somehow makes the whole frame much more forgiving than an alloy or carbon frame. I cant describe it very well, i have just taken to calling it the "soul".....lol.

For me as a rider, all these small things really do add up to make a Big difference. Its getting close to a build weight of a comparable Carbon Bike (when compared with another bike of its time). With a level of "PowerDown" drive i can only describe as comparable to the Best alloy or scandium i have ever ridden, and yet with the forgiveness of steel. It almost feels like, i could do without ever needing to have thought.............Hmmmm I need a short travel suspension bike".


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:49 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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sinnerman wrote:
if i can find a suitable home for it, i might sell it due to pending space restrictions.


This is truly a one off, and I can't believe you'd consider parting with it,
Having read many a thread penned by your own hand its clear you've many "top draw" steeds in the stable but non of them as unique
as this one I'm flaber ghasted

As always a great write up, One of those where by you leave having learnt something new or feel like you've had an insight
into a world far removed from your own,
The fusion of materials makes perfect sence and also looks great, as does the scuffs and grazes along with the writing on the tyre walls
which all adds to the overal sence that you're looking at a real piece of mtb developement.

No doubt this thread will attract many comments from far more knowledgable individuals than me, As I for one can't stop scrolling through
the pictures to write anything more intelligent at present..... everytime I look I see something new and my appreciation of KB's craftmanship and thought process goes up.

Hopefully this thread will draw out owners of other R&D rigs, as there must be loads out there with equally interesting storys charting
the development/evolution of the humble MTB, However I'm not sure that anyone else would take quite as much time and care as you have
with the accompanying narrative for each of the pictures.


Nick


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:34 am 
BoTY & PoTM Winner
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Retro Spud wrote:
sinnerman wrote:
if i can find a suitable home for it, i might sell it due to pending space restrictions.


This is truly a one off, and I can't believe you'd consider parting with it,
Having read many a thread penned by your own hand its clear you've many "top draw" steeds in the stable but non of them as unique
as this one I'm flaber ghasted

As always a great write up, One of those where by you leave having learnt something new or feel like you've had an insight
into a world far removed from your own,
The fusion of materials makes perfect sence and also looks great, as does the scuffs and grazes along with the writing on the tyre walls
which all adds to the overal sence that you're looking at a real piece of mtb developement.

No doubt this thread will attract many comments from far more knowledgable individuals than me, As I for one can't stop scrolling through
the pictures to write anything more intelligent at present..... everytime I look I see something new and my appreciation of KB's craftmanship and thought process goes up.

Hopefully this thread will draw out owners of other R&D rigs, as there must be loads out there with equally interesting storys charting
the development/evolution of the humble MTB, However I'm not sure that anyone else would take quite as much time and care as you have
with the accompanying narrative for each of the pictures.


Nick



Thanks for posting Nick.

If I don't have space for it in the end, rest assured it will only be placed in understanding "careful" hands.

Im sure there are many members better skilled when it comes to evaluating a bike and how it rides and then putting pen to paper, and whilst im the first to admit im not qualified enough, rightly or wrongly its one riders opinion if nothing else.

For me, I really enjoy the way California seems to have bred a host of skilled craftsmen that think outside the box, I can only presume this was born from a day where there was no component or frame for a specific job, so these fellas took to there sheds and made what they didn't have.

Kbs history is no secret, and this details to me the lengths and skills needed to explore all possibilities, and that the evolution of the bicycle will never stop.

There are lots of prototypes and team R+D bikes residing with members here, that rarely post, hidden from view, which is a great shame, everything from Bontrager to Yeti to Kestrel and more, and I would also love to hear and learn some more about these bikes, but I suspect that there may have been conditions which prevent this, or its a simple case of the owners are quite happy to quietly enjoy there collections in private.

8)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:53 pm 
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holy crap!

thats ace, i don't realise one of those had made it over here - i've seen pictures of the full sus prototype and some other mixed metal bikes (in awesome yellow)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:55 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner / RB Rider
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Carl

Having looked at the pictures on a lot better screen, I notice its been re-painted
or appears to have been, looks like you can still see the outline of old decals
whats the story behind that, a paint shop would have stripped it before starting work

As a test rig I'm guessing KB wouldn't have bothered (wasted time) going to this length,
or wanted allowed it out off site for a period of time.


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