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 Post subject: Rocky II
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:16 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:02 pm
Posts: 78
Location: The Netherlands
.... no, not that American dude, but someone, or rather something from more up north; Canada.

A few weeks ago a mysterious Rocky Mtn popped up on MTBR.com. Some of you might have seen it. Ths frame intrigued me. More so since Chris DeKerf fueled my passion for steel frames and Rocky was his former boss. Chris' work is strongly influenced by what he did at Rocky. Obviously I have some interest in older Rocky's. My '90 Summit was prove of that, and now this mysterious frame got my attention as well. The former owner, Bushpig @ mtbr was so kind to relay the frame to me, since it was too small for him anyway.

This proves to be a big puzzle. From the first moment I saw pictures of this frame, I wanted to know what modell it was. Pre '90s RM built roughly, two sort of frames; with the standard toptube and the models with the sloping toptube. The latter ones are the ones you don't see that often. Actually pre '90 RMs aren't often seen for that matter.

After some posts on forums, some emails the opinions where quite scathered. The previous owner had strong believes in it being a Tantalus. One of the two/three custom models RM offered (the other being the Thunderbolt and later the Wedge was added). Significant detail that made me wonder if this could a Tantalus was the way the seatpostbinder is positioned. From all Tantalus', Thunderbolts and Wedge's Ive seen sofar, all had this feature on the front side of the seattube, were as this one has it on the back. The '88 and '89 brochures also clearly reviel the Tantalus as the frame with the standard toptube, being brazed, rather than being TIG welded. The Thunderbolt was the sloping model which was brazed.

My guessings quickly turned towards the Blizzard or Avalanche, which later became the Equipe, since GT already had the Avalanche name for one of their frames. Both the Blizzard and the Avalanche are TIG welded and have the seatpostbinder on the back. Easy than, I hear you think. Wait a second though.. cause with the scares geo info I have on the pre '90s RM modells, I cannot find a 100% match with either the '88 or '89 Avalanche or Blizzard. Aside that, this frame has a pump peg on the toptube... clearly a custom feature that none of the Blizzards or Avalanches got.

Before we continue, a picture. Nope.. it isn't a beauty at this point. The paint is clearly not the original and put on it in a later stadium rather crudely. Structrually the frame is sound. No rust or dents. The only slight 'issue' is the somewhat bent right seatstay. So far my crude measurements haven't indicated the frame to be outa line. The stay could be straigthenend fairly easy I recon.

Image

Why I find this frame so interesting? Actually this is partly due Chris DeKerf. Im a big fan of his works and he influenced my taste in bikes on a large scale. Chris' is a former employee at RM, he worked there for some years. In his last years at the 'Everest' division, after which he started on his own. Till this day on his frames clearly have some reasemblence to what he built during his RM days. Most obiviously the seattube reinforment is still being used in slightly modified version.

Image

Chris makes them a bit shorter though.... ;)

Frame has U-brake posts under the chainstays and cable guiding via the downtube, a common feature of those days.

Image

Image


Yep, right seatstay is slightly bent.

Image

Image

For now the frame stands in the row of 'projects-to-do'. Sooner or later we'll get around restoring this frame and put it back where it belongs; on the trails. First and foremost we have to determine what frame this really is. Chris DeKerf has already prove to have some valuable information, but still no 100% assureance to what it should be. Small details differ... which makes it interesting and fun.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:25 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:02 pm
Posts: 78
Location: The Netherlands
Chris DeKerf wrote:
Hello Jeroen.
I've taken a look at the photos and I am certain this frame was made in
Japan by the Toyo Frame Factory. I actually worked at the Toyo factory for a
month while I was working at Rocky so I am quite familiar with their
constructions methods. This is likely either a 'Blizzard' or a 'Avalanche'.
The give away is how the seatstays join the seat tube. This 'welded on the
side' type of construction was never done at Everest(Rocky's handbuild
division where I worked). The serial number is also machine stamped so all
the numbers and letters are perfectly straight. All the Everest handbuilts
had the individual numbers stamped in one at time. They are never quite
straight when you do it that way. I maintain this tradition with all Dekerf
frames as well. Sometimes I purposely put them a little crooked to show that
the numbers were stamped by hand!
Hope this helps.
Best regards,
Chris



Chris' info is pretty valuable. Even other RM fanatics I briefly spoke knew this detail-difference to be very valuable to determine the origin.

'Everest-built', Canada:

Image


Later versions from '90/'91 even had a wishbone on this point:

Image


Modells above are respectively the Thunderbolt and the later Wedge, both of which where fillet brazed.

A Japanese Toyo frame, like mine, looks quite different on this point:

Image


Actually weird in a way to find a variation on what Chris said. Look at this picture and see this Wedge which clearly has the seatstays joint to the seattube in a way the Toyo frames had it. Than again; this is a Wedge, a custom modell, so the owner could have asked for this ofcourse.

Image

Image


In trying to pin point stuff by exclution Im pretty much convinced this should be a Blizzard. This actually supported by a small detail that I thoughed of yesterday evening. This frame has an ovalisation on its seattube, near the BB. This distinctive feature is what one finds on Tange tube sets. The Avalanche was completely constructed out of 'plain' 4130 CrMo, whereas the Blizzard had Tange tubes in the front traingle and 'plain' 4130 CrMo for the stays....

On a side note though; the geometry doesnt come close to what the standard Blizzard with slooping toptube should have. This frame clearly measures a 18" seattube. The '88 Blizzard only came in a 17,5", 19" and 20.5" size. In 1989 there was a 18" frame, but this had chainstays measureing 16.6", whereas this frame measures an unmistakeable whopping 435mm (17,1") on its chainstays....

Oh.. and the mysterious pump peg is a feature that I cannot find on any Blizzard or Avalanche Ive seen so far...

:roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:10 pm 
Concours Judge
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:59 pm
Posts: 8171
Location: a proper EU country
Jeroen,

Nice covering 8) Good luck with the search.

I am looking forward to read on the whole process of restoring this frame will go through some day. I always love your stories.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:37 pm 
Mr Darcy
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Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:36 pm
Posts: 5687
Location: Bicester
Great stroy Jeroen, but I can't see any pics for some reason. Maybe my work actually.

Keep us updated.. are you going to respray etc?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:39 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:02 pm
Posts: 78
Location: The Netherlands
gump wrote:
Great stroy Jeroen, but I can't see any pics for some reason. Maybe my work actually.

Keep us updated.. are you going to respray etc?



Once I nailed down what modell it is, this will undergo a full resto for sure. Respray is relatively easy, but original decals will be the hardest. Component wise I unearthed a box full off goodies, I forgot I had :oops: Although, this is the Deore XT II parts, which came on the market in '89. Big changes this frame is slightly older, mostly due the 130mm dropout spacing, as Rocky appareantly went 135 pretty early on when the new 7spds came out. M730 parts are slightly harder to comeby.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:37 pm 
Mr Darcy
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Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:36 pm
Posts: 5687
Location: Bicester
Ah! the pics have appeared now!! :D

Can see it needs a respray too. Nice looking frame though. Its always fun trying to figure out what/when something is!!

Rocky seem to mix fillet and tig quite a lot. I had a 93 Altitude that was tig, and the 96 I have is fillet on the stays,- top and bottom- most odd.

I need some 92 decals which are pretty similar, Gil can sort, but will need a bit of work to get them right - lots of pics/measures etc. Though may need a new top tube first, which is a bit more than I wanted to do :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:50 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:02 pm
Posts: 78
Location: The Netherlands
A new toptube?


Decals; from begin '90s till quite some years thereafter, I believe up untill somewhere even in the new millenium, Rocky used the same logos/caracters on their frames. Only the last few years they switched to a newer style. The pre '90 is different too, much thinner compared to the latter two styles. Unfortunatly I don't have any good pics to make up the finer details. Working on that though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:30 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:02 pm
Posts: 78
Location: The Netherlands
The saga continues:

I managed to track down scans of the '87 catalog, big thanks to Don Whitehead! It gets more interesting now... and yet not less confusing..

The '87 Blizzard is a Japanese frame with a horizontal toptube. The Tantalus is the custom frame, also with level toptube. The Blizzard has a 69º steering angle, combined with a 73º seattube.

There's only one modell with the sloping toptube, the 'Team Blizzard'. Right... 'Team' as in the frame for the team obviously. Distictive feature is the way the seatstays are connected to the seattube. Like Chris said; the way Toyo did it for Rocky, was the trade-off to determine its origin. This Team Blizzard seems to have this very feature. The Tantalus is described as a 'Canadian' brazed frame and the Blizzard to be made in Japan. No such thing about the Team Blizzard. Nor any geometric info...

Image


So in a way.. we are perhaps closer to narrow the possibilities down, but I still have no outcome... I should seek out a way to contact Lance Bohlen, now the man behind Kore products. He might be able to give detailed info as the chief designer and frame brazer back than.... :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:03 am 
Old School Hero

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:46 am
Posts: 165
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Cool, Jeroen!

Here are some shots of my 88 Avalanche. The seat stay/seat tube junction is identical. Looks like the seat stay/chain stay junction is the same, too. However, mine has a cheesy plastic cable guide under the bottom bracket, where yours are brazed on.

A bit of history...I had to send the bike back to the factory in 1991, as the seat tube cracked on the back at a point about 5-10 cm below the seat tube/seat stay junction. They replaced the tube and repainted it. I was given the option of colour choice, I went for the originals.

When I had my consult with Dekerf for my new frame, I took in my Avalanche as a reference point. When he saw it, he said he remembered those frames because he'd fixed that problem on about a hundred of them, and was Rocky's resident expert for that repair. I wonder if a previous owner had that same thing done and maybe got the extra touches done - that's pure conjecture on my part. Otherwise, I'm thinking you have a Blizzard, too.

My Avalanche's serial number is R8097, if that is of any assistance.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:05 am 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:02 pm
Posts: 78
Location: The Netherlands
Yeah, good thing about that BB cable guide. I noticed that when I looked at a German Blizzard from '89 I believe, the other day. Unfortunatly this detail hasn't been usefull so far to determine the exact model.

The Blizzard and Avalanche from '88 and '89 had slight differences between each other, perhaps this is just one of ehm

Good point about the repair-job and custom fitting at thát point. As you can see the frame hasn't got its original paint and it could well be repaired locally and not by RM, hence the ugly new paintjob. Also this would be something of pure speculation and perhaps never to be cleared up.

Framenumbering; is that 'all'? Its pretty short. My '90 Summit has a very short number as well (039 or so), but this one has a pretty long one...

Image


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