1993 Cadex CFM-3

Once A Hero

Senior Retro Guru
Back in ‘95 I was provided with a Cadex frame & Rockshox fork by Giant UK, and once I’d stripped parts from my other bikes and raided my parts bin in order to build it up I used it for whatever race format I could. However it was with this frame that I thought I’d try my hand at downhill racing! By good fortune I won my very first (local) race, and that was it, I was hooked on DH.

I spent the rest of ‘95 competing in DH races on the Cadex, with Rockshox Quadra 10’s - which, if the weather was warm enough would give me up to 43mm travel! Enough to take the edge off I suppose!

The highlight of that season has to be using the bike at the ‘95 Worlds Championship in Kirchzarten, Germany. One of the muddiest and root laden race courses I’ve ever known! If you made it down without crashing when it was wet, you deserved a prize! Sadly I was no where near the prizes, but did have a spectacular crash into the (rather comfy) airbags after the finish line - as I simply had no brakes left! Great fun :)

I sold the frameset on in order to fund the next years racing/parts etc. but I thought I’ll track one down for my collection.

Exactly which year or variant I had I can’t remember - if anyone recognises it from the muddy pic below, please let me know.
I’m pretty sure I had a CFM-3, but frame only orders sometimes had different colours to full bikes, and I can’t see this colour in the ‘93/‘94 brochures at least.
Whilst not exactly what I had, a NOS or perhaps ex-Demo 1993 frameset came up for sale on Gumtree and I couldn’t resist buying it.

I had the majority of parts in my parts bin, so the build has been quite simple. Although the parts used are a couple of years newer than the frame, as the frame has barely been used I figured they’d be ok, and I sourced new missing parts where possible.

Here's the finished spec and a few pics of the journey. Hope you like it :)

Frame: 18” Giant Carbon Fibre (Tubes & Stays) CFM-3 - NOS / ex-demo?

Fork: Cr-Mo 4130P Tubing

Headset: Pro-Tech LP-2
Stem: Zoom Original - NOS
Stem Cap: N/A
Handlebar: Answer Taperlite
Grips: ODI Attack - NOS
Barends: N/A

Brakes: Shimano Deore XT M739 V-Brake
Brake Pads: Kool-Stop / Tri-Stop
Brake Cables: Shimano
Cantilever cable hangers: N/A
Brake Levers: Shimano Deore XT M739

Rear = Shimano Deore XT M740
Front = Shimano Deore XT M739
Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT M738
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT M737
Derailleur Cables: Shimano
Cassette: Shimano Deore XT M737 - NOS
Chain: Shimano HG-50
Cranks: Shimano Deore XT M737
Crank Bolts: Shimano Deore XT M737
Chainrings: Shimano Deore XT M737
Chainring bolts: Shimano Deore XT M737
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Deore XT
Pedals: N/A

Hub Skewers: Shimano Deore XT M737
Rims: Mavic 217 Sunset
Hubs: Shimano Deore XT M737
Nipples: ?
Spokes: Sapim
Tyres: Michelin Hi-Country 26 x 1.95
Tubes: ?

Saddle: Vetta Tri-Shock - NOS
Seatpost: Kalloy
Seatpost Binder: Joytech

Weight: 11.07kg / 24.4lbs

‘95 Worlds. What bike is this?

Frameset as received, Exage parts still with tags.

The re-build
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Once A Hero

Senior Retro Guru
Only a brief one, it needs a few tweaks. Rear brakes is a bit spongey, and the chain is short by a couple of links, but the handling is sharp!

Once A Hero

Senior Retro Guru
24pouces":1ia8ih80 said:
Once A Hero":1ia8ih80 said:
Rear brakes is a bit spongey
Why V brakes :facepalm: .
All is perfect, except those V brakes

Would have liked M737 cantis, but couldn't justify the expense as the set of V's were just one of those things I already had in the parts bin.
In fact I've got another set in there too :roll:


Senior Retro Guru
That takes me back, that was my first proper mountain bike I had and raced on, if memory serves you have actually built up a cfm 2 or 1 (can’t remember if there was an xtr option at the time) the 3 was lx groupset. I think yours is a mark 1 which I started with but it got reversed over at a race and so insurance replaced it with a newer 1 which was slightly different, main difference being 1” 1/8 threadless headset. Still got mine in the shed. I keep seeing it and thinking I should get it going but it needs new forks. Unfortunately the steerer is stupid long (250mm) and haven’t come across any suitable forks, would happily go front sus but can’t find any info on what travel would be appropriate. Yeah and I could never get v’s to work that great


Senior Retro Guru

Timoth; depending on your riding position preference, they're pretty flexible on forks.
I have a '93 CFM-2 which has at various points run V's, Maguras and currently, hydraulic discs.

Fork-wise, this means I've run a lot of options; was horrible with original 395mm a2c as it's very traditional (steep) geometry; then I went to 445mm carbon forks after a time on 120mm air forks (480mm a2c - too much!) and been on those for years now.
People may say that these are old and shouldn't be run with taller forks and/or hydraulic discs; all I can say is that mine's from '93 and it's still going fine, nothing cracked or broken in 25 years!
If you can find a set of 80/100-mm travel Rockshox SIDs or Dukes; or Rond/Magura Quakes, they have 445mm a2c and most variants have brake bosses as well as disc tabs - steerer length still your biggest enemy though!


Senior Retro Guru
Osella thanks for that I’ve actually just been looking at the 93 & 94 catalogues in the archive and mine is definitely a 94, yeah I figured something with 80mm travel will suite but like you said the steerer is the issue, I guess if I choose the right fork that I could source a new steerer for I might be in luck. I think the Marzocchi’s of That era can have new steerers fitted. I’m 6’1” so I think it’s a 20” or could be a 22” hence the stupidly long steerer.

I’ve seen a couple of threads where people have made single speed dropouts for them which looks good unfortunately between 93 and 94 the did away with the replaceable nds drop out.

Mine currently has a spin rear wheel fitted but I also have a nice set of period hope wheels with the torsion arm disk mount that I might fit if I can get some suitable forks.


Retro Newbie

I have a CFM3 from 1993. Not sure if there are any differences in terms of what shipped to the UK vs North America in a given year, but mine is the purple fade to carbon look with red triangles preceding the C F M on the top tube...

In addition to upgrading shifting etc as things broke, I swapped out the stock fork (that was terrible - Giant re-branded quadra lookalike) with a Marzocchi bomber. I've actually had 2 bombers on this bike - the first was 100mm travel, now it has 80mm. I would say the 100mm travel was fine (this is a size L so the tall fork just slackened the front end subtly), but the shock was a beefier variant so kind of front heavy. The 80mm is perfect on this bike. Early bombers have threaded holes on the brace where you can attach a cantilever mount (and Marzocchi used to have one available), so I am still running cantis on this old bike. The steerer tube is replaceable on the older bombers also.

I absolutely love this bike for high speed cornering. When I got the Cadex I immediately threw on a Smoke/Dart combo and the set up was amazing tearing it up in the muddy terrain where I lived at the time. I can see how the OP enjoyed running this on muddy downhills of the 90's. I used to XC race it. Nowadays, courses are much more technical and rocky which is tougher for the geometry and travel. I have modern bikes that I usually go to for more technical trail riding, but this is still a favourite for smoother muddy/rooty rides.

The one caveat/warning I would give to someone buying one now: make sure you tape/protect the chain stay from chain slap (you could use a normal velcro one, but I just hockey tape a layer of inner tube hose on)... I had a friend break the chainstay on his Cadex from chain slap chipping away the carbon. Other than that, it's held up quite well for the age and abuse it has endured over the years!