The alpinestars ti-mega EOS
In 1991 alpinestars produced the first of their Elevated Oversize System (E-stay) bikes. Every manufacturer needs a range topping show piece and alpinestars followed the fashion of the time and built theirs from titanium, it was to be known as the ti-mega. Alpinestars bikes were already built by a third party, but with titanium being one of the most noble of metals you require specialist expertise to manufacture frames from it. Thus, Litespeed were commissioned to build the frames using 3-2.5 titanium tubing. Here is the original ti-mega shown in the 1991 alpinestars catalogue.
Note the rear end of this bike is near identical to the cro-mega/al-mega’s of 1991. I’ve never seen another ti-mega like this, so guess these were the original team/prototype bikes in early 1991. The 1991 models that I’ve seen (all 3 of them!) resemble the 1992 bikes more and I therefore believe at some point in 1991 the ti-mega was modified and these modifications carried through into 1992, thus the production ti-megas of 1991 and 1992 are identical in all but graphics. Here is a scan from the 1992 alpinestars catalogue for comparison.
I’m not 100% on this but I believe that 1993 was the final year for the ti-mega. It was redesigned with a straight seat tube and was given a dull shot blasted finish. I’ve never seen one, but believe they were still being made by Litespeed, these I guess would be the rarest of all ti-mega as by 1993 both alpinestars bikes and indeed the elevated chain stay bikes were waning in popularity.
Alpinestars also widened their titanium market in 1992 by having Litespeed produce a range of titanium parts for them. These included titanium forks, stems, seat posts, bottom brackets and for 1993 only bars.
In 1991 Mike Kloser was alpinestars main man, he’d been with the third party company who manufactured alpinestars bike for many years, turning out in the first instance on their MS Racing branded bikes. He led MS Racing to 1st place in both the 1988 World Championships and the 1989 European Championships and had taken alpinestars to 2nd place in both the 1990 Grundig World Cup Series and the Downhill World Championships. Mike would have been at the forefront of developing the ti-mega for sure.
Mike Kloser was team mate to ‘The Flying Welshman’, Mr. Tim Davies. A former British MTB Champion with Orange, Tim was one of the worlds most promising riders. With his motorcycling background Tim fitted the alpinestars brand well and joined the team in 1990 aboard the then top of the range al-mega XT. In 1991 Tim rode the ti-mega in the world championships, modifying his with Answer Accu-Trax and a large early disc brake up front, finishing a very credible 7th place in World Championships. In 1992 Tim took the ti-mega to 10th overall in the Grundig World Cup Series and 3rd in the National Championships.
In 1992 Tim’s more conventional ti-mega was the feature bike in MBUK. This time sporting the latest Manitou 2 forks, the new Shimano XTR group set and a colossal 160mm alpinestars titanium stem.
Articles and Tests:
Articles and tests of the ti-mega are few and far between, but writes up seem to be favourable. It was certainly rated as a ‘Super-Bike’ of its time and to quote the alpinestars catalogues of 1991 and 1992 they conclude “ Simply stated, the Ti-Mega is the most technologically advanced mountain bike in the world - period.”, bigging up there own bike for sure but looking back it had few comparable rivals.
Finding a ti-mega is not easy. From memory they were frightening expensive bitd (anyone know how much?) and made in only small numbers, thus they were elusive back then and now even rarer. Since joining Retrobike my ambition has been to own one, but whilst Jeff and others have been lucky enough to find them NOS I’ve been frustrated, especially when pictures like this are posted up:
I’ve searched Retrobike with a fine tooth comb over these last few years to find pictures of the elusive ti-megas. Along with the NOS ones of Jeff and Cypher, others have appeared such as Simods' and Skides'. The only others I’ve seen are one in Malaysia, one cracked one of ebay, another in Switzerland and of course know of those that reside Tim Davies. If you own one please post up a picture on this thread, it would be great to see more.
Well my quest came to a happy ending in March, when out of the blue a pm came offering me a nice original ti-mega in 1991 livery and in my size. Better still it came with the super rare titanium rigid forks. I struggled to afford it, but luckily my wife was understanding about it in the end.
It came as a frame and forks in a very original state with a factory fitted ‘Tange Superlight’ headset. In a twist of fate I’d previously bought the Answer A-Tac stem photographed some weeks earlier. It also arrived with a non original seat collar and had a Shimano Deore DX front mech fitted. It had some scratches and the decals were in poor shape, so I polished it and then applied some of Gil_m’s reproduction decals that were copied from original decals that Tim Davies supplied.
I was mid way through building up a cro-mega EOS when this arrived, so I utilised the parts to build the ti-mega, stealing some parts from other bikes also to get it on its feet. I’m still looking/waiting for a M730 XT seat post in 27.2 and a set of 7 speed wheels to finish it off properly, I also need to polish the forks and apply those decals, but here are some pictures of it in its current state.
Updates to follow, but hopefully i'll get this out on the trails on Sunday or Monday