Just had delivery of a frame that was outed on 'ebay watch' yet still only managed £150 - one in the face for all those who say outing inflates prices. As was mentioned in the thread, it looked like a Manitou frame, but had Manitou 1s and gussets.
Well I thought i'd have a punt on it and contacted the seller, asking for a few more photos and where it'd got it from. He was a really nice chap and told me that he'd got it years ago from (now I hope I'm going to get this right..) his mates boss who ran a motocross/observed trials team. They used this frame to check out the course before riding it. His boss had been apparently given it by Doug Bradbury, who was also into observed trials and motocross. Apparently it was 1 of 2 proto frames made. Well I always take things like this with a pinch of salt, but having received the frame it has a strange mix of bits from Manitou and Answer frames which sort of suggests that it is a very early Manitou FS.
First off it has front end gussets, only seen on Bradbury Manitou frames, rather than Answer ones and the head tube is very
long and the top tube slopes (this is an 18" frame). Also the ring reinforced headtube has odd sized rings, top is smaller than the bottom like Bradbury rather than Answer:
Next it has Bradbury Manitou rear end rather than Answer Manitou 1s. Very different anodising and 'hand made' apperance:
The rear sus clamp is odd as it is upside down compared to Answer ones, also the drop outs are very Bradbury rather than Answer, no replaceable drop out and are semi horizontal with amazing welds. EDIT Thanks to Andrewl, the dropout width is 145mm
The seat clamp looks very Manitou:
but the rear CNCed pivot looks different to Answer ones:
It's headset is 1 1/4' which rules out a number of other manus like Marin or Balance etc, also it came with a Ringle seatpost (with a hand machined and tweaked head). Finally it doesn't have the 'ANSWER PRODUCTS' serial number on the base - did later Bradbury's have serial numbers? And most importantly, despite having had a tough life it has NO CRACKS!!!! The alloy seemed to be totally different to the Answer ones I've seen, and I sold and replaced loads of them in the early 90s
So come on everyone, what is it? Manitou? Answer Manitou, Marin. I know what I think but I'd love to know what you think?