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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.