The story of a stolen Tequila Sunrise


GT Fan
Story time, tldr; bike got stolen 20+ years ago, am still sad about it, so I'm now trying to recreate it.

For most of my youth I was fortunate enough to live right next to Sutton Park in Birmingham. For a park it's a pretty big place and offers some pretty decent offroading, it's no Cannock Chase for sure, but to have it right on your doorstep was amazing. I know every inch of it, every track, every path, even places where there is no path, we went there as well. In my mid teens I was there most days after school and most weekends, first on a Carrera something or other from Halfords that cost £120, then on a Raleigh something or other that cost £180.
Like so many of us I lusted over the bikes I saw in MBUK, spent hours just looking at bikes in my local shop (Sutton Cycles, sadly long gone), dreaming that one day I would own something so exotic.

That day came in 1992, the year I turned 16. I sold the Raleigh for £50, and put that together with 2 sets of Christmas money (1 of which had to be negotiated 6 months early), my birthday money, all the money I'd saved from my paper round, and placed an order with Sutton Cycles for a 16" 1992 GT Tequesta for a cool £420. I was beside myself waiting for it to turn up.

Having no bike I was relegated to walking to school, which took me past Sutton Cycles twice a day. One day, a few weeks before the Tequesta was due to arrive, I walked past Sutton Cycles and there, pride of place in the window display was a GT Karakoram in Tequila Sunrise. I'm sure you can picture it, I stopped in my tracks awestruck, I had to have it.

It took a lot of haggling, with my parents to lend me more money, with Sutton Cycles to accept delayed payment, thinking about it now, they basically gave a 16 year old interest free credit for 9 months (edit - forgot to add, it cost £560). They also ended up with a 16" Tequesta they weren't sure they could sell, the Karakoram was 18" and technically a bit too big for me. I loved it though, and at 16 I still had a bit of growing to do, it ended up fitting me perfectly, and I mean p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y...

I've no idea how many miles I did on that bike but I went everywhere on it. I cleaned it after every ride and once a month I stripped it down completely, cleaned everything and put it back together. In the early days I even waxed the frame with some car wax I found. Eventually almost every component was replaced, some broke or wore out, some I just wanted something different. I didn't really get on with the flip flop stem, the low position was too low and the high too high, so that got replaced with a Tioga stem. At one point I had a 52 tooth dinner plate chainring on it, mainly for Cannock Chase.

Just before I went to university in 1994 I decided the frame was looking a bit rough (as can happen when you try to ride where there is no path) and needed a refresh.
It originally came with a U-brake mounted on the underside of the chain-stays, I never really liked it, it just didn't work that well and would clog with mud. What's odd is none of the photos I've seen of them online show the brake under the chain stays, they all have normal brake bosses on the seat stays. What's going on with that?
So I stripped it down and gave the frame to a friend of mine who worked at a bike shop, they cut the old bosses off and welded normal bosses on the seat stays. I got the frame back with bare metal where the work was done, it need painting. And that's how it would stay for almost 3 years, sat in my Dads garage getting dusty.

I eventually found the time and money and got it painted. This may seem a bit sacrilegious now, but I didn't get it painted in the original Tequila Sunrise. My favourite colour is blue (the Tequesta was blue), so I found a place in Digbeth who did an amazing job. The colour was called Giro Blue and was several layers of a deep royal blue over several layers of silver, it kind of sparkled and I loved it. They even reproduced the original decals in silver, I think it cost about £80 all in, beadblasting and all.

I don't have any photos sadly so words will have to do.
Picture it, a sparkly deep blue 92 Karakoram with silver decals, the seat post, stem, bars, cranks, probably some other bits, all shiny chrome. L-bend bar ends, clear grips, Magura hydraulic rim brakes, mostly XT drive train, including my beloved XT thumbshifters, Flite saddle, those soft, light grey Panaracer tyres, can't remember the name. It looked stunning. Everyone would comment on it, even none cyclists, I'm not sure I've ever been as proud of something I created as that bike. I'm pretty sure it got me more than 1 date 🥰
It got less off-road use then, but I commuted on it, it was my transport, I never got the bus.

Now the sad part, it got stolen less than 2 years after the respray, from the high street in Selly Oak. I'm not going to go into detail, it still hurts too much over 20 years later, but it was my own stupid fault, I saw the guy ride away on it, I just couldn't chase him down. No insurance, no security markings, just tears. The police couldn't do anything, I didn't even have the frame number, I didn't see his face.

The worst of it was, I couldn't bring myself to try to replace it, I didn't have the money or the heart, and I kind of lost interest in cycling. I did try several times over the years, but nothing I bought ever felt right. I just don't get on with suspension forks, maybe modern ones are better or something, but I spent so much time on that GT that... it's not like other bikes don't fit me, it's like I don't fit other bikes... it got into me too young man.
I still have my most recent attempt to get back into cycling, a 2007 Kona Hoss I bought of ebay about 7 years ago. I've put a bit of effort into doing it up, not loads, I found some XT thumbshifters on ebay years ago, which I still love. But I hate the bike, I can't get the rear disc brake setup properly, the suspension forks are awful, I really have tried to like it, but it just feels wrong.

Then a few weeks ago I found myself watching a bike restoration video on youtube (old shovel), left foot followed right foot and here I am, with a burning desire to recreate my old bike and the money to do it, well the credit rating to allow me to borrow enough to do it 😅
I'm so motivated that because I couldn't find an 18" 92 Karakoram immediately, I bought a rusty 99 (I think) Palomar to practice on. From ebay, £23, picked up locally. It does ride, so I took it for a quick spin around the close...
I hope this doesn't sound too weird but I can't really describe that moment, I just started grinning 😃
As awful as it is (see my post in the introduce yourself thread for a photo) it felt amazing, already so much better than all the bikes I've had in the meantime. It's not worth a full restoration, but I plan to clean it up, put some rigid forks on it (I think it maybe came with rigid forks?), change the stem, seat post (it's stuck lol 🤡), saddle, and maybe swap some of the drive train parts from the Kona if possible. I'll make a post for that once I work out where it should go (is it a 99?) as I have some questions, and if you think you can help me recreate my old Karakoram I'll be making a post in "MTB Wanted For Sale", or you know, feel free to pm me 😉
I feel like maybe it would be better if I could find one with beat up paint, as I plan to respray it, and that doesn't feel quite as OK to me now as it did then, I wouldn't want to do it to one in good condition.

If you got this far, thanks for reading 👍
Tell me your story if you have one, or comment a link if you've already posted it 🤘
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Old School Hero
Pain and rage !
In the late 80's I bought a Fenton Zip frame , {from Fentons in York , possibly built by Ellis Briggs} . It was beautiful , 3/4 chrome forks and stays , chrome sloping fork crown . 531 throughout . I spent months scrimping , 2 paper rounds , Saturday job , all the usual .
I had Cyclone 2 mechs , a Stronglight 100 triple , Mafac 2000s , a B17 and Cinelli bars and stem . In York Cycleworks I saw a front wheel they'd made up , Record l/f hub , Model 58 rim , db chrome spokes . I asked them if they'd make me the other wheel for the same money they were selling the front for and when I went to pick them up the woman asked me how I'd managed to get them to make them for me sooooo cheap ! I was so made up . The only problem was that I'm pretty sure the frame was designed with 27" wheels in mind and I'd blagged 700's . The Mafacs I had were only just reaching the rims and no short reach brakes were going to fit . So , more scrimping and off it went to Bob Jacksons for canti bosses and pearl white instead of metallic brown . Holy Moley . I still think pearl white and chrome is about as good as it gets .
I had it for a grand total of 10 days before it got nicked .{frame number was 17055 if anyone has seen it!}
I couldn't go through that whole process again but a year or so later a mate was selling an immaculate Raleigh 8803 and I couldn't resist. Pearl white and yellow , 531c . It had a Shimano Tri color group on it with GP4 rims , it was a beautiful rocket .
It lasted about a month before it got nicked of my mums drive .
I got a black Cinder Cone after that which I snapped riding into the back of a Cortina in a blizzard .
My girlfriend at the time bought me a Basso frameset to replace the Kona . It was second hand but spotless . Pearl white and red , chrome forks . Columbus Aelle . I built it up with Campag Victory . It was ace .
It also got nicked off my mums drive . BUT maybe a year later my mate , Tim , and I were driving home from work when I saw a lad coming out of a side street on it . Tim pulled over , we got out and waited for the lad to ride up . As he rode passed Tim grabbed his jacket and smacked him so hard he flew across the road leaving the sleeve of his jacket in Tims hand . The terrified lad was screaming for the police as we bore down on him grinning . Yes I said to him and you can explain to them what you're doing on my bike . For other boring reasons it wasn't a perfect ending but that part of it was pretty satisfying .
I hope you like your new , old GT and some yoof can be relived !


GT Fan
Cheers for the link 👍
GT Karakoram frame on
is that a 92? I don't remember that colour way.
I'm not sure how much I'm going to notice the difference between years or models tbh.
Maybe just an early 90s steel GT frame would be good enough.
But then again, I wouldn't want to put Karakoram decals on something else, and I do kind of want the groove tube... 🤷‍♂️

But also -
The seller has reached an agreement in principle with a buyer.
Only 30 euro, but with the language barrier to overcome, import duties, ruining a strangers day who already has an agreement... I'm not sure.


Old School Hero
You never get used to it . I've had two that were entirely my own fault which don't hurt now , just make me cringe/laugh . One I hurled at the South African embassy in disgust {took me a couple of days to remember what had happened} and the other I was asleep on top of at the time it got nicked.🥴

Double-E F

Gold Trader
Of course, I'd always be willing to help out with the language and any other things, but you're right: if the seller has an agreement with a potential buyer, I don't want to interfere there, as I also would not appreciate if someone else would do that to me either..


GT Fan
You never get used to it
Yeah, that was a bit flippant of me, I was trying to imagine my pain x3 or x how many you've had stolen, which, I can't really imagine.
Thanks for sharing though, I know I'm not the only person to ever have a bike stolen, but somehow it still helps to hear other people stories.

I'm very good at not thinking about things I don't want to, so I haven't thought much about my GT for some time, doing all this now, remembering it all, well... I'm surprised how much it still hurts after all these years, I've got over women much easier lol.


Old School Hero
No worries brother , I didn't take it that way .
My ex wife stabbed me in the head and stole 3 grand , that hurt more but it's still funny now .


BoTM Winner
Gold Trader
BoTY Winner
Orange 🍊 Fan
Back in the early 90s I had a gt karakoram elite in midnight sky, the caratti adverts in mbuk saw to it that it was a must, £60 more than the inferno std karakoram but it had deore dx...... I went to the lbs of dreams York cycleworks and it looked so nice in the flesh, more turquoise/teal than in the advert, deal was sealed, got one with a few weeks wages and an Xmas bonus, upgrades were added over time like thumbies and magura hydrostops, had good times on that bike, even took it to primrose valley ont coast and did rides along the coastal routes.
The sad day came when I was at work (York again), the yard had rolls of barbed wire all around it but useless if someone leaves the gate wide open...... So pissed!, It even got in the evening press as news as the boss said no insurance cover it on in works premesis but he'll call in a favour at the press..... I never saw it again ☹️.

Then you join retrobike and recreate your memory to the last bolt, but alas it's not the same.... But it had to be done!

I've owned about 4 of them now 🤪