WARRIORS AND WARLORDS Chas Roberts & Keith Bontrager

sinnerman

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My love for bikes from the late 80s and early 90s is certainly no secret.

I have a passion for it, Why.......because it was my retro, my teenage years, when life was less bogged down with responsibility!

Like many here, i was fortunate to work with bikes, i rode a bike, i raced a bike, i read all the mags and talked to as many people i could, making
new aquaintances and even good friends along the way.

Nothing impressed me more than the Frame Builders..the guys that built the frames. These machines werent just bicycles.......
NO WAY......a bicycle was something you bought in Halfords to take your kids out or to get to work cheaply. No, the guys im talking
are craftsmen and to me they are even more than that...they are Legends that without them realising it were helping shape the future of the mountain bike and the sport as we knew it. They understand about tubing, how the use of a tube or
profile or shape of a tube can change the way a bike handles or feels, they tweek, they experiment with angles, they add gussets
for strength.....these guys werent just building bicycles, they were redefining the bicycle, they were building us the best usable tool to do
a job, and do it dam well.

For as much as i enjoyed the mountain bikes, in the early 80s, and being lucky enough to be able to watch all the developments
through this time, the different designs, different materials, the brake placement, the chainstay lengths, the head angles, e-stays, flex stems all of it,
to be there at that age and watching the mountain bike evolve was amazing, by the time the 90s had hit us, the mountain bike had arrived, it had found its place in
world and was here to stay.

And things were still moving forward as always, only now from where i was sat it was no longer about what was the best chainstay length or best place to put a U brake,
all this sort of stuff was done, the focus was changing to strength and weight.

In my world there were two men that i considered to be at the cutting edge in this regard, not only were they pushing the boundaries in frame building and design,
they were also bringing us ride-able works of engineered ART.

These men of course, are Chas Roberts and Keith Bontrager.
 

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sinnerman

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Part One....

The Chas Roberts White Spider Ultralight.

This is another one of those bikes, that for me, has always been shrouded in mystery, seen at the races, talked about down the pub, read about in magazines but never ridden (or not by me at this time anyway)

The original white spider, was ridden by world class, No 1 ranked mountain bikers, in fact they didnt just ride them, they requested Chas Roberts built them.
Our own national circuit... saw pro elite riders that were using them, even buying them, as well as up and coming new talent like the flamboyant Dave Hemmings, the best had clearly
realised they needed to have an edge, and for these fellas,it was all about strength and weight and a Roberts was the first choice.

Also add to this the stunning photos of our national heros racing, splashed across the magazines and add to that more rave reviews of the frames in those mags, it was enough to make anyone have dreams of greater things.

They were all off course bespoke, but there was never the less a formula that was adhered too which evolved on a continuous basis.

This model is the Ultralight, all (well 95%) of the build spec is original, ie spec availiable and as assembled on completion of the finished build, by the rider.

There were many choices for paint work, the most obvious being the fast becoming trademark black and white, and the other the red/yellow/orange/white as ridden by D.Hemmings.
 

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sinnerman

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This frame differed to that of the standard White Spider, in that it utilized a Coloumbus Max OR down tube, and an Oversize Ultralight top tube, it also has lightened ends and bracket shells
re-shaped 16.5" chainstays with wider mud clearance. The seatclamp is facing forward and this model came supplied with a titanium seatbolt clamp as standard. The fork option was the much revered
Bontrager race or racelite composite fork, and came with a top or bottom option for the front mech.

Its soul purpose in life was as a lightweight racer, intended for the more competent and agile rider for competion use only, its success in achieving this was due to reducing weight to a minimum in the non stressed areas
creating an ultralight yet ultra strong frame.

Now by some or even modern standards this dosent sound like it could amount to very much.

But you would be mistaken,

as a keen teenager this bike was surrounded by myth and superstition, rumours spread quickly of a very lightweight steel bike built by Chas Roberts.
everyone was chasing the right mix, it had to be really light yet really strong with it,
and handle like a thoroughbred race horse.
 

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sinnerman

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.....I remember people stood discussing weights at race events, and what was sensible and what was going too far, of course for me at the time,
it was the magic 20lbs barrier, the bike i was racing was tipping the scales at 26/27lbs.( it was sometime after with the fabrication of the Dogs Bolox, the 20lb barrier was achieved, with a specially built superlight custom dogs)

How much lighter could you really get from steel and still be strong, with out worrying about failures during the race.I was and am No Engineer, but the inevitable seed was sown.

This of course was the early 90s aluminium was gaining respect here at an alarming rate, some were exploring carbon and Ti, in the mid 80s,
but steel....? I had heard the dave hemmings bike weighed 23 with a disc drive...? i was stunned, this had to be something special.
 

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sinnerman

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.........I have to say now and on the record, this bike is light (well certainly by my standards) and i had always intended on having a white spider in the hemmings colours,
but to be fair after much consideration, its still wearing its original race jacket, (I personally think the colour choices of CR bitd has done them proud, they never followed the normal fashion trends, and the colours remain timeless)
its in far too good a condition to warrant the cost of fresh paint yet, and even though the success of the white spider saw the birth of the dogs bolox,
i do love the trade mark white and black of any roberts,
like the frame build, the spec is a no fuss, no tinsle affair, every part, like the frame tubes, has been chosen to do a job. Form and function,
light weight without being stupid, and reliable with it too...that was all that was required of it.
 

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sinnerman

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.........I had heard rumours these frames were built with the intention of only achieving one or two hard race seasons, Thankfully this one has been babied most of its life and that will continue,
 

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sinnerman

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..........But i have to take my hat off to Chas roberts and the whole team, this born again Racer has stood the test of time incredibly well, the frame is typically flawless in its fabrication,
with only slight patna even after 20 years.
 

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sinnerman

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Build spec:

Frame As described above. Fillet brazed and silver soldered. adjusted chanstays (as described above) Non wishbone configuration.
fork As above- Bontrager. (classic Chrome finish)
Stem Roberts, With roller (very similar in apperance to Salsa but reynolds tubing)
bars NOS Tioga Tange Prestige (de-bossed and classic chrome finish)
Grips O/E spec Odi Attack (replaced with nos vintage)
Headset O/E Mavic 315 Black (with new band, care of an old innertube...lol)
Brakes O/E spec Dia compe 987 (gold)
Chainset O/E Ritchey Logic cranks (mix of rings)
Rear mech O/E Spec Shimano Deore XT
Ft mech O/E Spec Shimano Deore XT
Shifters O/E spec Shimano Deore XT
seatpost O/E spec Shimano Deore XT
Saddle O/E spec Turbo (Vintage)
seat binder O/E spec Ti-Bolt. With additional/optional ti bolt kit ( stem quill etc)

Wheels O.E spec
Hubs O/E Pace-Front Composite/gold flanges
O.E Pace-Rear Gold (block)
Spokes D.T double butted stainless.
rims O/E Campagnolo Thorr
Block Shimano Mix Inc Ultega/durace sprockets.
Cables O/E spec Shimano 2mm.
Tyres NOS Ritchey Z-MAx
Pedals O/E spec Shimano Deore XT clipless (first generation)
Bottom Bracket O/E spec Ritchey Cartridge.

Race Jacket. O/E spec Powdercoat team white with black decals, custom whitespider decals by L.S.D.(vintage addition)

Actual bike Weight, 23.6lbs (no Disc drive) size 18

vintage... late 1991.

Approx retail cost Bitd £2200.
 

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sinnerman

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:cool:
 

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