So here is my 1992 Kona Lava Dome, which I have owned since new. This is the only bike I have ever owned.
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Stick with me, I shall explain…
Back in the old school days, (when I was actually at school, a long time ago) Mint Sauce was the icon, and a Pace the bike I wanted to have. But of course, my paper round wouldn’t stretch that far. So a Lava Dome had to do.
Over time it evolved, through Uni my mates showed off their new fangled V brakes, so to keep up with the Jones’s it went through an upgrade. SPD’s followed, a new flite saddle, then a big step in 2000, when I finally said goodbye to the Project two’s and invested in some suspension forks. Cheap ones mind, I can’t even remember what brand, but then only lasted a season before they went in the skip.
And then came the marvel of ebay, and a search for Pace. Ooooh! Some RC35’s how much? Got to have those! And so the evolution began. Lx gave way to XT, and I found riser bars (sorry!), and they changed my riding style in a good way, so I decided to keep them. Several wheel breaking crashes ensued, which of course forced upgrade to some nice Mavics.
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Things didn’t change much for a few years, riding fell out of favour, and the bike spent several years outside my flat, one of the disdvantages of needing a fast getaway to respond to lifeboat callouts. And then one day it was stolen, and I reported it to the Police in our backwater of Wales, as a formality I guess, though I never expected to see it again. Until a week later, there was a knock at the door, and the Police were there. I expected bad news abut a family member or something, but no, “we’ve been out looking all week for your bike, and we found it”. Only in rural Wales! And so the 20 year adventure continued....
Riding was then only an occasional pastime (partly due to acquiring a dog, and feeling ver so slightly guilty about going out without her!). A pastime that couldn’t justify the upgrade to a brand new bike, and besides, my Kona was perfectly suited to me and I could still leave my mates for dust, though they did mock me somewhat when they caught up, references to the steel ‘five bar gate’ being all too common. Yet I just couldn't think about a new bike, as I bloody loved my Kona to bits, it just fitted me so well, if that makes sense.
And so a few months ago I was tidying the garage, and spotted my forlorn steed in the corner. There was rust on some of the bolts, and it generally looked untidy, not something to be seen out on. The forks had sagged so it couldn’t be ridden, and I decided it was time for a new bike perhaps. Yet looking at new bikes I was uninspired, far eastern tat and plastic components. I wanted something made in the UK, by hand, in Yorkshire with pride! And I could never send my trusty old steed to the skip, with so much history. A refurb had to be the way!
Once the forks were restored, the rest of the bike looked a mess and far from in keeping, so the restoration took a new direction.
And then, one fateful moment occurred which would change things forever, I googled Pace RC200…..
The evolution gathered pace (no pun intended!) and it was time for the last original piece of my old Lava Dome to go, the frame. Along came a rather tidy F5 frame, courtesy of Pacemaker on retrobike (Thanks Ian!) My 20 year project had finally gone full circle, for like my Grandad’s old hammer which had 2 new handles and 3 new heads, there was nothing original left.
But strangely it still feels like my old bike, as if I have always owned it and it has evolved. And before the purists scream out, it's not a true ‘retro’ machine I know, but then if I had bought an RC200 new, I have no doubt it too would have evolved, and as this is my only bike, I want it to ride the best it can and hold it's own. And boy is it good.....it feels like a new bike straight out of the factory, In fact, it rides like a dream! She's now 2 kilos lighter, and throwing it round some single track it feels like a true racing machine which could give anything modern a run for it's money. Back at the car covered in mud head to toe and a huge grin on my face...
So here she is, my 1992 Lava Dome, which is now an RC200 F5, the best evolution of my bike so far, and the bike I always wanted! And as the only bike I’ve ever owned, it will be ridden everywhere with pride!
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RC200 F5 18"
Pace RC35 MXCD forks
Pace RC45 stem
XTR V brakes
Thomson Elite Seatpost (new I know, but the only decent 29.4 I could find!)
Flite Titanium saddle
Mavic X521 wheels on deore hubs (will upgrade to Pace hubs when I find some)
Continental Cross Country tyres - to me the best off road tyres I have ever ridden and very hard to find these days!
Orange Supercross bars (Apologies again...
All silver and black
I know the decals are not correct, however they were the only ones I could find, if anyone knows where I can find F5 and MXCD ones please let me know! The riser bars suit me, and compensate for the slightly longer top tube to reduce the reach. I love the feel and steerage they provide, and I would find it difficult going back to straight bars now.
Oh and I have a 1992 16.5 Lava Dome frame with a stuck seatpost looking for a new home and some TLC…
And for anyone still reading, and wondering what the ultimate Pace accessory is that is referred to in the title that STILL hasn't been mentioned, well here it is! Meet my Herdwick sheep, checking it out for size... I think he approves! And no prizes for guessing his name....
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