So now some of your know what it is, a Dawes Cougar.
Full 531 tubing, all the tubes give off that Orange Clockwork twang that I was always so jealous of.
Full first generation Deore MT60 including the not often seen pedals with the hub style decals. The hubs are my second favourite as some wide flange XT has just taken over and will eventually replace these, maybe... Possibly...
Weinmann eyeletted rims, convex and ready to hold all the water and muck to rot the spokes out!
Now, these bikes looked old fashioned before they were even out as other manufacturers had ploughed ahead and gone from touring 'ATB' style to the shorter wheelbase designs that hung around for a good 12 years plus before full suss/ sus. corrected became the norm.
With distinct unease, I cleaned and oiled everything not expecting much from the frame as it was going to be a strip & flip - the groupset destined for something more interesting. Oh how wrong I was!
First ride up the street gave the instant impression that I wasnt riding generica 531 lashed together commonista - it had that twang to it. You know the that twang, the twang that comes from a sorted frame regardless of materials. Frames that you build up expecting the worst and off you go with an unexpected smile on your face.
So, on to the groupset. Its been a very long time since a complete bike has turned up as it left the factory/ shop. Lots of subtle differences aside from the some of the obvious between MT60 and later DX branded bits. Comparing DX and MT60 chainsets shows the earlier to be more machined with tidy casting, perhaps a little neater on the eye.
Back to that ride - It was a last minute choice for the Peaks
ride, usurping the pedal and saddleless Greeny. Nothing was changed, even the original cables were allowed to stay. A quick test ride showed up the old chain though. It was one of those big fat 5 spd style jobbies that just didnt fit right with the Uniglide cassette. That was swapped out with a spare KMC instantly transforming shifting.
First climb of the ride showed that long wheelbase was not going to make it fun. In fact it was no fun at all. The ride to the mast is a killer exposing any fitness issues straight away. If the bike isnt helping it doubles the pain. The front end was way too light, bouncing over the rocks (including Colin, we'll come back to 'Colin the rock' at a later date) making grip difficult and making a meal out of a simple task such as pedaling - woe betide me if I had asked it to make a cup of tea...
With this in mind, the rest of the ride was a chore - that light front end making the bike into a bucking bronco, bars rising up with almost understeer on every bit of singletrack. Oh how I should have brought the Green one.
The Cougar came into its own when it was back on the drier singletrack, it climbed a lot better and was more settled. The odd road work helped too.
So, in conclusion, it is a good bike but it has its limits. Will it stay? I dont know. Its a dry summer rambler for the moors or long distance, not 20 miles of rocks around Hope Valley...