Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Today’s guest post is by Gerard Thomas of Lab-Gear.

Back in the annals of mountain biking, someone had the bright idea that suspension on both the front and the back of a mountain bike might be a good idea; keeping in mind at the time front suspension was still a relative novelty to many riders. So over the course of the late 80’s and early 90’s, it would be an understatement to say that some pretty horrific solutions came about (more than a few of those so called frames rode like wet noodles attached to pogo sticks). The race to design and bring to market the full suspension mountain bike began.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Then, in late 1991, a chap by the name of Robert Reisinger from a new Californian company called Mountain Cycle came along and turned everyone on their heads with a frame that was set to revolutionize mountain bike design for evermore. The Mountain Cycle ‘San Andreas’ hit the mountain bike world like an UFO and not only introduced the concept of workable rear suspension but also slapped the head of the unsuspecting MTB world with the likes of disc brakes, inverted forks and monocoque frame construction, as Robert used his expertise from the motorcycle world and applied it to the mountain bike industry. While it may not seem like it now, the San Andreas design, more than any other (before or after), has driven and inspired designers of full suspension frames ever since, so revolutionary were its concepts.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Fast forward to 2012 and Dónall Ó Cléirigh has resurrected this stunning example of a 2002 San Andreas VPS, the last iteration of the frame undertaken when Mountain Cycle was in the hands of Kenesis USA. Of interest, the VPS frame differed only slightly from the original frame, with the addition of a stronger, formed seat mast, an adjustable rear shock mount (VPS), a new pivot bearing system and cable routing; the rest of the frame remained true to the original.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Dónall’s San Andreas came to him via the UK and once stripped and re-powdercoated by Victorian based frame repair shop, Grip Sport, Dónall went about spec’ing the frame with a list of ‘modern’ top shelf components, topped off with some rather unique items, such as the French made (and now defunct) Hurrycat anti-dive linkage forks and the Spanish Progress XCD-1 wheel set.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Most interestingly, while this bike looks heavy, it comes in at 11.8kg/25.96lbs, which is a very acceptable weight for a bike such as this, with many equivalent ‘modern’ bikes creeping towards the 12.7kg/28lbs mark.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

Of the bike, Dónall says, “This bike outperforms anything I’ve ever ridden…” and while many mountain bikers out there might think applying such a fine selection of parts to an ‘old’ frame to be somewhat of a waste, the fact that Dónall has and can rave about how well the bike rides is testimony of just how well the frame was designed — over 20 years ago.

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

[Thanks to Gerard Thomas for leading out while I'm on tour. Lab-Gear are makers of bespoke superfine merino cycling kit — check out my review and their range and colors on the website.]

Mountain Cycle San Andreas

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  • Trailboss

    Let down by the X7/X5 combo. Why spend so much on everything else then cheap out on the drivetrain?

    • mo8ius

      This really needs some proshift or Paul ders

  • dennis

    What’s the thinking on those crankarms? Are they meant to do something or are they purely aesthetic? (Not that I have a problem with that!) And thanks for the fascinating writeup!

    • Seanchadwick

      caramba dbl. barrel cranks from back in the day………
      they were very cool and state of the art back in 92…..

      • Doc

        The Caramba double Barrels had an offset crank arm which supposedly got rid of the dead point at the top of the crank stroke. So no loss of power or chain tension.

  • dirtymeatpants

    Nice Build, I’d like to take it for a belt around the block. Big fan of the Recon cassette – One piece CNC and light!

  • Trapezoid

    Beautiful bike. 
    Never seen that fork before – very cool. Like a cross between a Girvin strut and a reversed AMP Research fork. BTW, most if not all of your pioneering accolades re: workable full suspension and disk brakes apply to Horst Leitner and his AMP bikes, too. Something for another post, perhaps…

  • mo8ius

    Awesome. 

  • Virginiaoc

    You know the X7/X5 combo does exactly the same as the dearer counterparts with only a fractional weight difference. I suppose they could be changed for red X0 if there was any money left after such a build…

  • Anonymous

    What the hell is going on with the carbon flat-bar and brake levers dialed right out and next to the grip ready for three fingered braking?

    • Doc

      it’s old school he he