.... 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.
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.
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.
Yep, right seatstay is slightly bent.
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.