Re ignited love and a Canadian adventure


Retro Newbie
So Ive wanted to put together a little post for awhile now and sort of introduce myself properly,

I moved to Canada about two years ago from Ireland, I had originally been a long time lurker on here, always having a huge love for anything older,

I grew up in the 90s lusting over my Unlces old Raleigh Dyna Tech and his friends and their collection of amazing bikes, from a seriously young age I was hooked.

The first proper bike I got my hands on was a DMR trailstar, its a bike I wish I never sold. Being so young back then, (11 - 12) the stuff that was coming out in 98 - 99 was the stuff I lusted for. z1 drop offs, XTR m952 and all that sort of era, it was the stuff I couldn't afford and drooled over in catalogues as a young boy.

I ended up stepping back from bikes because it was just too expensive... getting into it further down the road in my early twenties again when things seemed to be a little cheaper (but not really) I always had something decent to ride even thought I wasnt heavily active in the bike scene...


I started a thread on here a few years ago, it was for a GT Lobo a bike I had lusted over owning since a kid, and began hunting down parts to rebuild. A year or two after this and it was put on the back burner due to bigger plans to move out to canada for abit of an adventure.


I ended up selling that to a good friend of mine who started a thread on here and did the bike more justice than I could have ever imagined.

I had no idea what to expect and it sorted of catapulted me into some of the most interesting situations.

I ended up moving to a place called Edmonton, the highest city in north america. After a stint in the oil industry I decided to try and enjoy myself and got a job at the biggest bike shop I had ever seen. The shop basically had everything, it was like shopping at chain reaction but in real life, surrounded by all the good bits...


There was eight mechanics working on a good day! with four part time ones out front. This is the biggest work shop I have ever come across in my life and basically every day the most random of bikes would come through the door.


First few days working in the shop I began snapping stuff, the area for bikes to be worked on is gignatic, the snow had melted and stuff was piling in.


I was so surprised by some of the stuff that was coming through the doors, just the kind of stuff I wouldn't have been exposed to back home, stuff I had only seen in magazines, there was literally too much stuff to snap sometimes.



This was being fully restored, it was a treat to work on the older bikes, no one really gave a shit about anything that was less than three years old in Edmonton, everyone thought I was a weirdo being so interested in anything from the 90s.


It was a treat to see some bikes show up, with the owners asking for a full restoration, this 8000 was a gem.


A direct contrast to some of the other stuff we would work on


Trek had just released this Emonda for the world triathlon series and we had to build it, at the time it was the lightest road bike in the world.


Call me a loser but this kind of stuff got me much more exicted, there is just something about that era, so much more radical engineering


The owner picked this up on craiglist for 100 bucks, there appeared to be so much stuff in Edmonton that people were unaware of, unaware of this site or any sort of older bike appreciation, I feel like its a much stronger scene back in the UK and Ireland.


I think this is the most expensive bike I have ever worked on! Apparently it was worth 22k, it was the US paralympics tandem hand made Calfee... scary moments building this.


Everyday soemthing would roll in for a tune up, something I would have lusted over years ago... the itch was back, worse than ever. I basically asked everyone that rolled through the door to sell me whatever they had.... no luck with this Explosif!! the owner loved it which was great to see.


The shop was a cool place because they would let us demo bikes, I got to enjoy this full carbon Borealis fatbike for awhile... such good fun.




Everyday there was some kind of surprise!


There was a bunch of lances bikes hidden away at the back which used to be on show....



Another beauty we restored, this was mint


My friend on here who restored his lobo, his dream was to always have a Zaskar, a bike which I had or he had never seen in real life back in Ireland, I guess GT's were fairly rare back in the day, anytime someone came in with one id hassle them to sell it to me!


Another one! Those forks were amazing, this was abit of a hack built up from a specialized.


I finally got lucky, I managed to snap this mint and somewhat original and well specced Zaskar for 300 cad for my friend to post back ti Ireland, which im sure he has either posted on here or will be doing a build thread in the future.


Another Kona commuter, ive such a soft spot for steel frames and old Kona graphics




There was so many times in the shop or on the street where something interesting would whizz past and I didnt have time to check it out, on a daily basis!


So the craziest thing about this shop is it used to accept donations of bikes which were then sent off to a company which used to strip them down and build them up for kids, apparently this place is stacked with old goodies, we tried to go in for a look one day and they hunted us out, its supposed to be a retro paradise, but before the bikes get sent out, we have to stack them all into a container out the back, so many gems.


The shop allows the workers to take whichever bike they want out of the donation pile if we submitted a donation to the charity, which was pretty fair, people have gotten some of the craziest bikes from this stash over the years. I decided to snap up this nice steel framed brodie and build it into a commuter.


I was moving back to vancouver so I figured this would be ideal for tearing around the city, I loved the crappy green and I had never seen another brodie like it, it had potential.


Some of my friends built up some nice bikes with their oil money to take back to Ireland!! I couldnt handle the cold shitty weather so the bike shop was a much more relaxed pace.


Its been such an amazing journey so far, riding some of the best terrain I could have ever imagined, im having a hard time in this holding up my 39 pound intense uzzi! the others are throwing their carbon fancy rigs about.


Mount seven!





Working at united was amazing, there was a serious bunch of solid guys and it catapulted me right back into the deep end of the bike world, both modern and retro, it was something I really had not expected but it was awesome! I was sad to leave that shop but I couldnt handle the brutal seven month winters where the shop basically comes to a halt and people sharpen skiis!


Not for me, I decided to make my way back to Vancouver, which was the original plan all along.


Back in Vancouver I ended up commuting every single day on the brodie, fell in love with this beast, it was fully kitted out for the city,



Started working in another bike shop, which was ok, the highlights were building these super expensive Hutch BMX's for some guy, aparently these cranks for for 3000 dollars on ebay!


I built a couple of super silly expensive Trek's also! This was just over 14k!!


I ended up getting a job at another bike shop, one which was much more interesting, the clientele on the north shore especially in west vancouver have no issue spending ridiculous amounts of cash.


This shop has been awesome to work for, you never know what might come in, prototype rocky Mountain anyone?


Im not the biggest fan of road bikes but this old Rektek titanium with full Dura ace was pretty special!


Love seeing stuff like this Dekerf


Or this Dean fully blinged out


Customers that have had their bikes since day one and still commute on them, this guy absolutely loves his KHS


VRX Commuter!


Its good fun serviving older stuff for people, its nice that they still take pride in older stuff, I feel like Vancouver has quite a lot of old stuff and people know its relatively valuable, for the most part much of the bike scene has no real interest in the old stuff, usually taking the piss out of my interest in anything that is older than ten years!



I started to pimp out the Brodie with whatever of my favourite era of XTR M952 goodness I could find... which was a very bad idea, as inevitably the bike got stolen on me and I was gutted!!


I ended up building up this 1989 Kona Lavadome with random parts I had acquired to replace the brodie, and this has been the machine ive been riding for the last eight months every day to work, even with the silly tyres its great fun, its sort of a modern meets retro build as I dont have the heart to butcher some of the older parts I have acquired,


And if it gets stolen, which happens alot here, I wont be too bummed out (even though im saying that now ill probably be gutted)


the itch was stronger than ever, so I managed to get my hands on a Balfa Minute man frame, I had always like these bikes and wanted to build myself a reto dirt jumper, something I would have lusted over as a younger lad.



I was incredibly anal about the build, nothing could pass the year 2001, which was super hard to do, but it worked out pretty neat, IRC Kujos, z1 drop offs in the lime green I had always wanted, it had come together really nice.



A kid walked into the shop one day with an azonic bar and stem on his old kona Stinky, so I offered him a newer bar and stem combo which he was more than hyped on, and it worked out a treat for me, this combo was something I wanted my entire life but could never get my hands on it, so I was over the moon with happiness.


Working at the shop its hard not to snap up deals, at one stage I had 12 bikes, this Bianchi was in bits but I ended up restoring it and selling it on to fund another project, road bikes have always been nice and I have always wanted to own a Bianchi, but there is just something about old mountainbikes that drive me nuts. The bianchi was sold and I cam across something special.


The next project was this 96 Altitude team only, the second I saw this paint job I fell in love, this was a bike I remember seeing in a magazine many moons ago and I finally had one, I just loved the paint job.


I wanted to do a seperate build thread for this but I just didnt have the time and kept putting it off so ill just add it to this massive collection now.


The bike was in really rough shape when I got my hands on it, it had been sitting in a garage for years, it took me a month or so to scrub, cut and polish the frame and rebuild the forks, sand and polish everything and try build it up as period correct as possible



Love these old Blackspire rings


When rocky used to be still fully manufacutrered in BC, quite alot of this bike is non Taiwan which is nice.

Im pretty proud of the restoration so far. It rides like a dream.


The itch has always been there to build the dream DMR trailstar, the one that got away, and one day by pure luck this frame popped up on pinkbike for 100 dollars, in the colour I always wanted, I couldnt believe it, especially over this side of the world where this type of thing is pretty rare.


Somehow many miles away from Ireland, fifteen years or more later, I managed to track down the forks I have been trying to buy for years, and the frame and tire and shimano combo I had always wanted, this bike is so close to being the dream machine... nostalgia is very dangerous, I cant wait to finish this work in progress,

I bought the last ever DMR speedguide and dmr z grips the canadian distributer had for this also so its coming together nicely.


Here is the collection so far, I also got my hand on a 98 King Kikapu, this is another project I saved from a death, another bike from an era I obsessed over as a kid, Its nice having all these lined up, bikes I never thought id ever get my hand on, all rocking XTR goodies and Bombers, stuff it seems not too many people my age give a shit about, but its stuff when I was a poor young kid I looked at in catalogues and magazines every night. It was sort of an interest I just put in the back of my head, but its wide open again!


This is the current machine, which I also love, another bike Ive always wanted, and its from 2011, which in canada may aswell be a retro bike!


Its been a riot over here, and every day I work with the latest and greatest, but I still get stupidly excited over the old and I think I always will.


These has been a mega post and I apologize if you didn't enjoy it, ill try post some more progress on the bikes as it happens. The whole love for both bikes and retro bikes has been fully reloaded in my life, and its been fun taking my camera to places and shooting events.


I 100% didnt think id be in this situation two years ago! Sort of living out a dream of my younger years!

Hope you enjoyed some of the pics

Thanks for looking


Retro Guru
Great way to pass a bit of time on a Sunday afternoon. Some lovely bikes and a good write-up.
Thanks for sharing


Retrobike Rider
BoTM Triple Crown
BoTM Winner
Gold Trader
PoTM Winner
Rocky Mountain Fan
Brodie Fan
Great thread and, like other, I really enjoyed the read. Sounds like you're living your dream right there :)