Partly inspired by Pete McLovelyBikes recent La Raza unveiling, and partially cos I've had her for over 6 years, but not ridden her for 3
Its a 1989 or 1990 (According to Ross Shafer, he doesn't really know, they weren't too hot on keeping records apparently) custom frame built from an unknown tubeset, by Sean Mayer, for a UK customer (more on that later)
I bought her from a guy on STW in 2002, after putting an advert up looking for one (very speculatively) - back then the UK retrobike scene seemed to consist of me, scant, Pete McC, Jez and Webby, at least, we were the only people bidding on the eBay stuff. I was contacted about a week after placing the ad by Andy, who said he had a Salsa which he had purchased in 1990 but he was getting more and more into newer stuff (pah!) so he might let her go. I jumped at the chance, and despite being a broke ass student we brokered a deal, he was pleased she was going to someone who would look after, I was pleased I was getting a Salsa after 9 years of JMC inspired yearning. I picked her up and brought her home, taking off some bits I didn't require, and keeping the bits that were either original, or just plain irreplaceable (I wasnt going to try and take the press-in Campag BB out!).
It was whilst stripping her down, and building her back up I realised that the bike had a 'John Machins Cycles' sticker on her. This was the bike shop in the town I grew up in - Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire - and had spent many, many an hour wandering around, asking daft questions, stroking pimpy bikes, lusting after shiney components and planning the next upgrade for my lowly Hahanna.
It was a sign. I emailed Andy and asked him about it - he said that he had bought it from there originally.
About 18 months later - after I naively 'pimped' her up and made her an SS beastie (with cream tyres!) - I took her to Rutland Water for a pootle, whilst my girlfriend walked the dog. I popped into the bike shop there, cos thats what we do, isnt it? I was surprised to be greeted by Steve, who used to run John Machins in Melton. It had been closed down a couple of years previously, so Steve had moved here. Remembering what Andy had told me, I asked Steve to come outside and see the bike.
"Thats my Salsa!" he exclaimed, genuinely (I think) pleased and surprised to see her.
It turned out that Steve had ordered it as a custom to his size and colour specs from Ross in 1989 (the joy of being a manager in a bike shop) - and it had been imported in 1990 to the shop, he had built it up with an XC Pro/Campagnolo groupo, and barely got round to riding it before needs must, and she had to go. Enter Andy and his desire for a nice new bike.
Back to now. It had been too long since I rode her, its been too long since I rode anything to be honest (good 'ole work), so I though I would sort out the brakes, get the last few bits on and make her ridable again.
The build was meant to be all 1990, or near enough, but I got distracted by some Machine Tech canti hangers, and a few other little bits.
Todays photoshoot back-road potter revealed that A) the chain is too short; B) the big ring is fecked and C) the Pederson rear brake is dangerous.
In the future Im going to stick a Turbo on, change the grips and maybe redo the outer cable, she has clearly been used, and thats the look I intend to persevere with (ignore the NOS parts, they will wear in) but for now she rolls like this:
Frame: Salsa A La Carte (custom-ish), 15" frame, super-thick custard paint
Fork: Bontrager Comp (O)
Headset: Syncros threaded
Stem: Salsa custom (Tioga Ti Bolt!) (O)
Handlebar: True Temper neon (NOS) - also have a 3TTT Salsa bar and a True Temper Chrome Salsa bar
Grips: Crap foam ones
Front brake: Unknown black canti
Rear brake: Scott Pederson SE (NOS)
Brake Pads: Kool stop/Suntour
Cantilever cable hangers: Machine Tech (I know!)
Brake Levers: Suntour XC Pro (NOS)
Shifters: Suntour XC Pro
Front Derailleur: Suntour XC Pro
Rear Derailleur: Suntour XC Pro
Cassette: Suntour 6 speed (O)
Cranks: Suntour XC Pro
Chainrings: Unbranded/XC Pro
Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo MTN press-in (O)
Pedals: Suntour XC Pro
Hub Skewers: Campagnolo MTN (O)
Rims: Mavic M231 (O)
Hubs: Campagnolo MTN (O)
Tyres: Ritchey Alpha/Omega Bite Severe Condition
Seatpost: Suntour XC Pro (NOS)
Seatpost Binder: Unknown bolt
Thanks for reading. theboy