1994 Rocky Mountain Vapor Project

Canuckbiker

Dirt Disciple
Good COVID project, typically I get a chance to save at least one good bike from the dumpster in Birch Bay Washington (USA) for free, where I have a summer trailer, but living in Vancouver Canada I haven’t been able to go there since March. Feeling bored & wanting a project I started cruising local Craigslist and noticed a sweet Rocky Mountain for $250 CAD in very good shape with full Deore LX (I already have a 93’ Kona Kilauea, 91’ Bianchi Sika, 94’ Specialized Stumpjumper & 96’ GT Zaskar so don’t really need another 90s MTB) . I could have sworn I’d recommended it to a friend a couple months back when reading it had been posted three days ago (my friend was not interested). I think that low seat height and sad looking comfort saddle threw buyers off? I low balled the seller with $150 stating I knew it had been on the market for a couple months, he countered $175 and we had a deal. The Marzocchi XC51 was kind of intriguing but basically a pogo stick (holds air but must have lost all oil) I may rebuild it if I can figure out how to. I wanted a rigid fork and thought “no problem, I can find a used fork for less than $50”, nope! Very few forks were available and good ones not cheap. I was looking for a 410mm axle to crown corrected unit as the XC51 measured about that without any sag. I then came across a grail fork: Rocky Mountain Tange Prestige Superlight for $120 on CL. Was only able to get the seller down to $110. Then the steerer ended up being ¼” too short & it’s only 395mm axle to crown. Took a chance that it would not negatively impact the geometry. Hmm, what if I defile the frame? So.. not sure what others will think but ended up hack sawing the top of the headtube ¼”. Have to say I did a good job IMHO, started with a brand new blade holding it in my bare hand (after marking it with a caliper referencing the original top edge) took my time and then added the blade holder to finish, followed but a file. Had to add some paint to the cut area as the upper cup of the Ritchey Logic headset does not sit down tight and the cut seemed more visable. See from the pictures and let me know if you think it was a mistake, I’m quite happy, the fork is 720g and finishes the bike IMHO. So, $285 for a sweet Rocky Mountain? Not too bad in my Vancouver market, I found the old 1994 RM catalog, the Vapor was a mid range model, built to be tough, the frame is reasonably light at 4lb 10oz and looks hardly used, I put on a 170g Zoom bar, polished the Ritchey seatpost (was black) and through on an XT M735 RD, the bike as it sits is just over 24lbs. Took it for a ride last night and man, it’s a sweet ride! I’m confident the Superlight fork takes a lot of the credit compared to how it would ride with that Marzocchi. I now have my first Rocky Mountain! In the 90s a friend bought a Blizzard (around 1990 I think) & I’ve always wanted one.

As purchased:


After Refurbish:
 

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ibbz

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Wow what a bargain - I’ve always wanted a RM but I don’t know much about them - I think you’ve inspired me to take a peek and see what I can find out and then look for a bargain. You’ve done a nice one with this! What does it weigh?
 

Canuckbiker

Dirt Disciple
ibbz":3omejoct said:
Wow what a bargain - I’ve always wanted a RM but I don’t know much about them - I think you’ve inspired me to take a peek and see what I can find out and then look for a bargain. You’ve done a nice one with this! What does it weigh?
Weights just over 24lbs. I may still get some folding (lighter) tires, kinda like the stock Mega bites though, can't believe they're not cracked after all these years.

I'm really thinking about putting my M730 XT cranks on, slightly heavier but sooo nice looking, will need to dig up a longer BB though
 

FluffyChicken

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Re:

A2C of a riding would always be less than the suspension, so 395mm is probably correct.
XC51 manuals are in the archive here, found them an arse to pull apart die to the big bolt hidden in them had seized. I think it was the XC51
the rigid forks so suit the bike well.

oil/air is easy though.


735 is a bit older than the bike, but will look good :)

Getting headtubes parallel for a good headset fit, with a hacksaw and file, takes one doing.
Maybe find somebody to face it?

Frame is light for the time, that is down at the lightest of the steel frames and lighter than a lot of Alu frames from that time too.
 

bside1978

Dirt Disciple
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Looks nice. Great score.
I remember this model. Rocky was doing some interesting powder coat finishes in those days. Candy coat style. My friend had the '95 Thin Air that was a similar style semi translucent blue/purple colour that was rad.

I'll like the little changes & tweaks so far and I was wondering where that fork went to! I wanted to buy it but it didn't last long on CL. I'm amazed you went as far as to cut the head tube, by hand! Glad it worked out! If you removed the cable hanger from the headset would it have fit without cutting?

I think the addition of silver from the seat post really helps. If you can find a decent long BB the old XT or DX cranks are sure nice. Some old XT pedals would also be my next step. I had the same LX cranks and I can tell you the black finish doesn't hold up well. The fact that these look perfect and that the tires are original really speak to how little this bike has been used. Enjoy the ride!
 

Canuckbiker

Dirt Disciple
Re: Re:

bside1978":2n1vtcdp said:
Looks nice. Great score.
I remember this model. Rocky was doing some interesting powder coat finishes in those days. Candy coat style. My friend had the '95 Thin Air that was a similar style semi translucent blue/purple colour that was rad.

I'll like the little changes & tweaks so far and I was wondering where that fork went to! I wanted to buy it but it didn't last long on CL. I'm amazed you went as far as to cut the head tube, by hand! Glad it worked out! If you removed the cable hanger from the headset would it have fit without cutting?

I think the addition of silver from the seat post really helps. If you can find a decent long BB the old XT or DX cranks are sure nice. Some old XT pedals would also be my next step. I had the same LX cranks and I can tell you the black finish doesn't hold up well. The fact that these look perfect and that the tires are original really speak to how little this bike has been used. Enjoy the ride!

Yes, I was basically checking CL more than once a day and snapped it up quickly, local guy Geoff (the seller) had posted it here on Retrobike as well. Nice guy, he has a sweet stable of bikes.

Unfortunately there was not many threads for the lock nut left even without a hanger piece so went with the headset hanger instead of a fork mount (my preference anyway). I ended up using a silver 1" hanger that I dremeled into a 1-1/8" and painted. Don't think I'll worry about facing the head tube, the fork spins smooth with only it installed on the frame 360 degrees, I figured as long as I don't go into the head tube weld I'd be okay and it doesn't look odd to my eyes with that bit removed.

I have the M730s on now with a slightly long BB, about 8mm chainstay clearance so not the best q factor. May spring for a few mm shorter new one as the bearings are a bit worn too, the M730 looks the part though, I'll post a picture update and plan to get out on a trail again this weekend.

Curious what others think is an ideal chainstay clearance (in mm), I expect minimal crank/BB flex with hard pedaling
 

kraeMit

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Canuckbiker":29zchhsd said:
...The Marzocchi XC51 was kind of intriguing but basically a pogo stick (holds air but must have lost all oil) I may rebuild it if I can figure out how to. ...


Easy going :) I have all you need (seals, sticker) AND a box full of new stanchions for XC51 (NOS) ;-)
 

Canuckbiker

Dirt Disciple
Re:

So I got my M730 cranks on, look much better IMHO, I also did a some work on the XT RD, combined best parts of two units and polished the silver bits, really love this bike, has a great ride
 

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