First of all it's amazing what this forum does in bringing back to life our cherished bikes from back in the day. It has also reunited us with our rides of old and sparked glowing embers into roaring fires resulting in some fantastic bikes being showcased on this forum. But step back into time, for this thread will start back in July 1992.
I joined the RAF in 1988, but back in my youth I had owned my fair share of bikes, from Raleigh Strikers to Grifters, to Choppers and Commandos, Elswick, Dawes and Viking, and some very dodgy bikes that i would loosely call MTB's but in July 1992 I received my 4 1/2 year bonus for serving in Her Majestys finest flying club and for the first time had money to spend on a proper MTB. I remember trawling through the MTB Magazines before taking a liking to a Diamond Back Axis XT. It was a fine beast, well specced and just had me hooked from the first moment I laid eyes on it. As it was mail order a cheque was sent and a few weeks passed once it had cleared I recieved a note from the post room saying a parcel had arrived on the base. My Diamond Back had arrived.
Now it served me well and even spent a 5 year stint with me in Germany where I was based at RAF Bruggen. I returned back to the UK and in 1999 and purchased my first house. A month after moving in our garden shed was broken into and yep you guessed it my Diamond Back Axis had vanished, along with my power tools. I was gutted. The thieves had removed a pain of glass, climbed in and removed the hinges of the shed door from the inside. Thankfully my insurance company paid up without quibble and offered me a 1999 Kona Cindercone, I settled for the offer and acepted that I would never see my Axis ever again.
Now fast forward to when I joined Retrobike and soon my love of MTB's was re-kindled and my addiction started. I'd never forgotton my Axis and always hoped I may have the pleasure of owning the same bike again but I just never saw another one like it, plenty of other Diamond Backs but none like mine, until one day It appeared, one 1992 Diamond Back Axis Frame & Forks. I was excited and sent a PM to the owner, sadly cash flow problem meant i couldnt get it straight away but the seller held it until payday and when that came around the deal was struck.
And there it sat it sat in my Man Cave whilst I slowly collected the remaining parts despite some being very difficult and elusive to find.
Flash back to a few weeks ago when the 'Unicorn' thread was started, who would have thought that a chance comment on a thread would have resulted in a PM offering me the elusive Avenir Duro / Shimano XT Wheelset. I was gobsmaked as I had resorted to fitting some alternative wheels and settleing for it not quiet being 100% complete. Big thanks to Adrian 'raiden73' for litterally coming up trumps
Anyway the wheels arrived and suddenly my fire burned bright for the Axis, with renewed vigor It was lifted down and wheels fitted. It was an exciting moment and one that sent a rush of nostalgia running through me.
And its with that I thought I best start the thread of its build. So here it is, My Unicorn, Its not boutique, high end, exclusive, or anything particularly special or rare, but to me it was my first proper MTB and therofore will always have a special place in my life and love of bikes.
Frame / Forks - 1992 Diamond Back Axis XT
Stem - Tioga Avenger T Bone / Prestiege
Bars - Avenir Brahma Bars
Grips - Avenir / Diamond Back
Headset - Shimano STX (Will be replaced with a 1 1/8" Tioga Avenger Headset when it arrives)
Mechs - XT 735 Front & Rear Mech
Wheels - Avenir Duro 6061 T6 Rims on XT Hubs (FH-M732 Rear / HB-M730 Front)
Skewers - Shimano
Seatpost & Clamp - Avenir
To be fitted;
Panaracer Dart Amber Walled Tyres
Shimano XT Cantis & Cables
Avenir Pedals & Toe Clips/Straps
To be found;
Avenir Gel Saddle
Incidentally I still have the touch up paint pots from my original Axis, albeit dried up, but it is a great reminder of my original bike. I am looking forward to being reunited once again on the trails, even if this one is not my original one its the next best thing.
"Would anyone else rather be doing something other than marching up and down the square????"