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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:25 pm 
Newbie

Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:11 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Orange County, CA
First, a bit of background.

Living-X was founded by a friend of my older Brothers. We were all originally from a small town in the midwest USA (Iowa), and he worked with my brother and was part of the original team at Gateway Computers during the PC boom in the early 1990’s. He had made a good amount of money from Gateway, and wanted to parlay that into his passion, which was bikes. For those who have never heard of Living-X, they were essentially the first ‘strictly mail order’ customizable, consumer-direct bicycle company, and started somewhere around 1994.

They had the first mail order ad in Mountain Bike magazine which allowed you to purchase a race quality rig (customized the way you wanted) and shipped, fully assembled to your door. They paved the way for a lot of other companies of the day… if you recall 'Airborne' they essentially copied their model... And saw a lot of success. At the time, I was only around 12 years old. I took an interest in bikes, and wanted to get into racing, and the guys down at Living-X hooked me up with a bike, and dragged me along to all of the regional races in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Missouri. I still am in contact with their head mechanic and builder of the day, and he still works part time at the local shop. I can honestly say, that without those guys I would never have gotten to the level of racing that I did!

That being said, their ultimate demise was in their manufacturing partner, who was based out of Australia. The frames were extremely forward-thinking for their time (semi-internal cable-routing, 6351-T6 tubes with advanced shapes, controversial geometry that included longer top tubes, etc.) but the issues was the welding. Whoever was responsible for the welding and QC in Australia made some serious errors, and we started seeing frames develop cracks at the BB/chainstay junction. It got to the point where about 1 in 4 frames ultimately developed a crack and had to be replaced.

After a couple of near lawsuits, they tried switching to another manufacturer, who used Easton tubing and tried to re-brand the bikes alongside Living-X as another company called ‘Plant’, but the damage was already done. They cut their losses, sold off the remaining parts inventory and (literally) scrapped the frames. They paid their employees off in parts (literally BOXES of caramba double barrel cranksets, White Industries hubs, XTR Parts...) I remember them loading up a few truckloads full of frames and taking them down to the scrap yard to get paid for the Aluminum by the pound… it was quite unfortunate.

A few examples survived. In my collection I have one of my personal race bikes which was called the ‘ozziroo pro’, as well as a few used framesets and one brand new, never built frameset that is primed, ready to paint. I also have my original team jersey, as well as a few print ads from Mountain Bike magazine. Anytime I see one come up for sale, which isn’t often - I try to purchase it. They hold a lot of sentimental value for me, as it launched my personal career in the industry that led to racing, and even owning my own Bike Shop in Southern California. Here are a few pictures of one of my old race bikes, complete with a White Industries wheelset, Magura Mach 5 fork, Magura Hydraulic rim brakes, and an original XT groupset.

If you have any of your own to share, I’d love to see them! I will take some more pictures of my framesets if interested. I’d love to get the logos digitized and make up a new set of decals for one of my framesets, but have had a hard time sourcing a complete, hi-res logo. If you come across one, let me know!

Best,


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:56 am 
Devout Dirtbag

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:22 am
Posts: 131
I remember the ads! I thought they were 100% aussies.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:42 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 2:32 pm
Posts: 2099
Location: 024, The Netherlands
Never heard of the brand, but that's a cool story with a very unfortunate ending!
That seat tube reminds me of Alpinestars, which were also not particularly resistant to cracking..


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:07 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
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Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:32 pm
Posts: 1331
Location: in the dutch mountains
Thanks for sharing the story!
Interesting


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:57 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:13 am
Posts: 653
Location: Essex, UK
Great story, fascinating, and that logo wow very 90s :D


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