Not long ago, I posted my unicorn bike choice in the unicorn bike thread. I'd never given it much thought until then, and thinking about it made me realise that I'd been being too random in my bike buying. I was thinking of buying every good-looking bargain I saw on ebay, which isn't good when your shed can only hold 3 bikes!
With that in mind, I deleted all my non-Saracen saved searches, and kept a look out for the bikes that I considered my unicorns: the 95 Tufftrax and 96 Protrax.
Why were they my unicorn bikes? They were what I wanted BITD! I was a skint student back then, cycling on a Raleigh Winner that I'd bought for £10. I wanted a mountain bike, and so I bought MBUK every month, planning what I'd get when I was less skint. The Saracens seemed realistic, in both monetary terms and in usage terms. I didn't care about suspension or titanium or going up and down mountains - I wanted an offroad bike that I could plough through the flat New Forest on, without constantly wheelspinning, getting punctures, or knackering the fork/wheel. That Raleigh Winner got a lot of punishment!
As it turned out, my first MTB was bought from a catalogue for £200, and it was a steel Claud Butler of some kind. I think that was in 1996. It was stolen from uni in 1997, and I went back to cheap racers for a loooong time.
Aaaanyway, a 1995 Tufftrax popped up on ebay not long afterwards, and I did what I've always despised.. I made them an offer outside of the bidding system!
It was only because I'd missed out on several auctions that had ended early due to people waving cash about. It felt bad, and I kinda hoped the seller would refuse so I could bid like a good ebayer, but he didn't!
I picked up the bike on Saturday night, and managed to take a couple of photos on Sunday, between rainstorms:
The bike has a bit of a story behind it.. the guy had previously owned a Saracen Kili Racer e-stay, which he'd managed to snap the frame of during a drunken night out on a BMX track. He took it back to Halfords, and as they didn't sell Kili Racers anymore, they exchanged it for a Tufftrax. Apparently this also included an upgrade to all the components, hence it currently having almost full LX. oh, and the stem and handlebar are from his Kili Racer.
So, what condition is the bike in? Pretty good! Initially, I didn't even think it was worth creating a build thread for it, but naturally I then started thinking of things I could do..Copy the decals
The decals are looking alright, but they're starting to peel a bit around the edges. The decals are a sort of brushed metal effect, which I can probably buy from a craft shop somewhere, so I'm going to either trace them or do a graphite rub while they're still relatively intact.Enamel the missing powder coat
The powder coat is in great condition, except for a worn-out patch on the LH chainstay. I have no idea how it managed to get worn down to metal like that, especially seeing as the RH stay is fine. The powder coat also seems to have been pushed off on the RH fork arm, as if it were nothing but a sticker. Also kinda weird!Replace the crankset
Before I took the photos, I peeled off various stickers that had been stuck on the bike, and I removed an original purple crud catcher which matched the purple chainrings really well. I don't think purple really suits the bike, though, so I'm going to get something a bit more subdued. Pedals
It hasn't got any pedals. I reckon that if I get some of those, my performance on the bike will increase by at least 100%! Seat & Seatpost
I think a black seatpost will look better (quite tempted to do the stem and handlebar, too), and I don't like the seat.Wheels
The rear rim is cracked, and it's got a modern LX hub which just looks wrong. I can't remember what's on the front, but it's a different hub and a different rim. Guess I need to find some new wheels. gah!Cables
Needs new ones. Manhandling the bike down the stairs at the train station this morning made me realise that I should probably also buy some helicopter tape or something
And that's it! Not much to do, in the great scheme of things. Just need to ride it and enjoy it.