Minneapolis — one of the Twin Cities, along with Saint Paul — is home to numerous bike culture legends. One of them is the Bike Jerks blog, which celebrated ten years online in 2015. Another is Walter Croll, a local MN frame builder, and this lugged MTB was recently built up by Bike Jerks editor Jeff Frane.
Walter Croll was turning out frames in Minneapolis during the 90s, building hundreds of steel road and mountain bike frames. They’re quite collectible, not only for their historical significance but their construction also.
That is, the frames made by Walter Croll are collectable — not so much those made under his name after the business was liquidated in 1996. He apprenticed Erik Noren of Peacock Groove while Walter was still operating.
This is the second Croll that Jeff owns; the first being a Noren-built TIG-welded road frame that Jeff rode from 2009-2012, and raced three Stupor Bowl events on, placing second and two first places. He’d been looking for a MTB some time.
This is a NOS lugged frame that had been hanging in the basement of MN bike shop One-on-One for years, and Jeff had been keeping an eye on it. Last Fall Jeff picked it up after its price had fortuitously been dropped.
Jeff built it up over the last Winter from a mix of locally-sourced parts and with the help of the Vintage MTB Trading Post page on Facebook. Apart from the lock-on Oury grips, they’re all period correct — not that anyone’s counting, it’s been built up for riding.
The intention was for it be a straight Shimano XTR M-950 build, but some quality US components made their way into the mix, like NOS White Brothers Ti handlebars, White Industries cranks and hubs, laced to Mavic SUP217 rims with blue nipples.
There’s even some Ringlé quick releases and a Controltech seat mast, topped with a perforated Selle Italia Turbo saddle — well matched to the paint. A pair of early vintage Paul Components brake levers are the icing on the cake.
Big thanks to Jeff for the photos — you can see more on his Flickr stream.