Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

Back To The B: Paul Brodie’s 69er Restoration

Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

Back in 2014, we featured a monstrously innovative downhill MTB: Paul Brodie’s 69er. After a fresh restoration, it debuted at the 2020 BC Bike Show as a proud statement of his incredible talent as a designer and fabricator.

Cycle EXIF is proud to present, in Paul’s own words, the story of that process.

The photo above was taken in 1998 when Richard took possession.

“The 69er was built in July 1998 for Richard Parker. He had seen a DH racer in a magazine with a Nexus hub up high, and he wanted one. I said I could build him something, and even make it out of aluminium! Richard spent 100 hours fixing my old house and I spent 100 hours building him the 69er. I call that an even trade. It was named the 69er because that is the angle of the head tube. It is frame #4213.

1998. Right before final assembly.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“Richard started racing the 69er and took it to Mighty Riders bike shop for tuning and tweaking. Patrick Beckstead was the mechanic there and a self-confessed bike tinkerer. Richard raced it for one season at Blackcomb, Sun Peaks and Bear Mountain, then said he wanted something lighter. Typical racer. In about September 1999, Patrick became the second owner by trading an XTR gruppo for the 69er frame, forks, shock and rear wheel.

October 9, 2019. This is what I got back.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“It came with a Sigma RST fork, which was soon swapped for a Monster T, and finally to a Stratos S8 USD fork. The dents in the top tube came from crashing with the Monster T fork. The big bearing at the front of the seat stay on the right needed changing and a new one was $200. That was 20 years ago. Patrick raced the 69er at Whistler, Silver Star, Norba @ Snoqualmie, and Spokane.

This is the one off rear hub made by my friend Dan Peterson. Apparently I was busy getting the frame finished.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“Patrick really enjoyed riding and racing the 69er. In his own words: “The Brodie 69er was a unique piece of mountain bike history. I had the pleasure of riding and racing it for two seasons. It took me down courses and trails throughout BC, Ontario, Quebec, Washington etc. The bike drew attention at all those places. It was ridden regularly by me at that time, maybe even more than was intended. The bike weighed about 55lbs but felt 60. Pushing it up Mountain Highway was great strength training. It rode extremely well, long and low for the era. The chain is isolated from the suspension meant for a smooth, active ride. The Nexus hub sandwiched in the frame was both novel and functional. It shifted well and never dropped the chain, which anyone who was riding a DH bike in that era knew was next to an impossibility. I’ve had many, many bikes over the almost thirty years of riding — the 69er is one that will always be the coolest. I’ve been a bike mechanic throughout those years too — the 69er always appealed to the bike nerd in me. The custom rear hub, brake system and drivetrain… what more could you ask for?”

After a little elbow grease.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“After Patrick raced for one season, the frame started to develop cracks, so it came back to my shop. I welded the cracks, checked alignment, and it went out for heat treating. Patrick raced it for his second season, and tiny cracks once again appeared at the end of some welds. Nothing crazy, but visible. I assumed the bike was at the end of its’ life span, and that’s the last I heard of it for 18 years. I even wrote that the 69er was probably hanging above someone’s mantelpiece as a work of art. I could not have been more wrong.

I made a new front hub to match the rear. I ordered a carbon seat tube off eBay ($19), cut the end off and that became the middle of the hub.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“Patrick was friends with Chris Macdonald, and they both worked for Ed at Mighty Riders bike shop in Vancouver. Chris really wanted the 69er and had watched Patrick ride and race it for two seasons. When Patrick stopped racing, the pressure from Chris intensified. They finally made a deal: Chris could ride it, but if he broke it, he would have to buy it. Guess what? The first thing Chris did was take the 69er up to Whistler Mountain and ride the ‘A-line’.

My workbench as the project gets going. The seat stays were missing so I had a magnifying glass to look at old photos trying to figure out what I did back then.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“Some of you will know what I’m talking about… At the bottom of the run is an optional 8-foot cliff drop. Chris said it’s easy, “you just lean back!” The third time off the drop the linkage broke, and that’s how Chris ended up the third owner. He paid cash but declined to say how much.

I made a custom seat tube collar. It only took 3 hours of manual machining and filing and polishing.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“Chris tried to contact me when things started to break, but the messages never got passed on, so he started working with a fab shop in Vancouver. They welded the frame when it developed cracks, and there were several repairs. I suspect it got MIG welded with no heat treatment afterwards. He designed a new chainstay that didn’t hang down so low, and they made it, but it never got used, so I checked the alignment and it’s on the bike now.

A bunch of 69er parts. Some will get welded into the new seatstays, others anodized and assembled.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“The seat stays were in that same fab shop too, getting modified, but they got left for about 5 years, the fab shop had a fire, and the seat stays got lost. I had to start from scratch to build another pair. I had to remember how I did it 22 years ago. Chris also redesigned the linkage trying to get more travel. I had no idea Chris was fixing, modifying, and re-designing parts as he rode and raced the 69er for at least a couple of seasons.

This is the 7-speed Nexus hub that mounts up high. There is a sprocket on both sides, and bearings as well because this is also the pivot for the seat stays. You can see the bearing mounted on the left, and the RS bearing is lying flat. That bearing was a few hundred dollars and special order.

“Chris has owned the 69er for the longest period of time. Eighteen years from 2001 to 2019. In 2002 / 2003 he raced it at Whistler, SunPeaks, Mission, Invermere, and Mount Washington. When heading to the last race at Bear Mountain in Mission, BC, the 69er fell off the car rack at 40 mph and went sliding down the road. No car ran over it, and the 69er got raced anyway.

New seatstays with old style Hope calliper.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“Chris told me that he didn’t like to wear a helmet. I told him he was nuts. Other riders called him ‘The Guy With No Helmet’. Somehow he didn’t crash much.

The dent in the top tube happened when Patrick crashed using the Monster T fork.

“I decided to start looking for the 69er in 2017. I got a phone number for Patrick and phoned many times over 5-6 months. The message said, ”Leave a message” and that was it. I’d leave messages, but no one ever phoned me back. I was at a dead end.

The writing says it all.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“In September 2019 I decided to get serious with the search. I also knew that others, particularly Steve Mitchell, were also looking to add the 69er to their collections. Richard knew Patrick didn’t own the 69er anymore, but who had he sold it to? On Facebook I found Patrick, and he worked at Elphi Cycles, a bike shop on the Sunshine Coast. I took a chance, phoned the shop, and Patrick answered! He told me that Chris now owned the 69er, but he was really hard to get hold of. I phoned Ed at Mighty Riders and he confirmed that Chris was indeed hard to find.

This was one of the mockup stages getting the RS chain running smoothly and the sprockets aligned. The tensioner has no spring yet.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“He said it might be easier to track down his father and gave me his number. He also mentioned that Chris used to work at an auto wrecking yard in Surrey. I phoned the Father’s number but it was Not In Service. I started phoning every Auto Wrecker in Surrey one Saturday morning. It was a long list. Finally, I talked to a guy who said Chris worked for him, and he would pass a message. Next Wednesday no one had phoned so I hopped in my van and took a drive. When I got to the wrecker, I asked for Chris and was told that he didn’t work there; he now worked at the scrap metal recycler down the street. I was getting closer!

RST Sigma fork, custom hub, Hope disc and calliper.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“At the scrap metal recycler, I talked to a woman who wanted to know why I wanted to find Chris. I mentioned the 69er and my search. She said she hadn’t seen him in 3 days. She phoned him and there was no answer. She texted him, and then her phone rang, it was Chris. She handed me the phone. I identified myself, and he said, “Why don’t you come to my house? I live right across the street”.

Shock is a Fox Vanilla RC.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“How this was all unfolding was rather surreal. And happening fast. Chris and I talked for about 2 hours. More pieces were found, the history was discussed, and several times I asked, “What do you want?” I left with the 69er in my van, Chris got a book and the promise of parts for another DH bike he owned. No cash changed hands! The date was October 9, 2019. I had become the fourth and final owner. Until death does us part.

The stand is Tig welded stainless steel.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“Restoring the 69er has been a lot of work, but I have really enjoyed my time. It took about 3 months. Special thanks to Steve Mitchell, Dylan Tremblay, Travis Peterson and Doug Doern for their great help in finding parts. Parts have come from all over the world:

Rims – Norway
Fox shock – Finland
Middle ring – San Fransisco
Seat – China
Nexus shifter – Australia
Rear Hope rotor – UK (right now it is lost in the mail)
XT cranks – my sister!

Now you can see the chain tensioner spring.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“Feb 18, 2020. Chris came over and we did the final assembly on the 69er. He’s a good mechanic. Restoration is now complete and the 69er is ready for the BC Bike Show Feb 29 / March 1.

The Business.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration

“I have asked for photos of the bike in action, but nothing so far… That was before the age of digital cameras.

Thanks for reading my story.

Paul Brodie”

We’d also like to thank Paul for generously sharing this story with the readers of Cycle EXIF. If you’d like to learn how to build your own bike frame from a true master of machining and fabricating, he teaches Framebuilding 101 at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Paul Brodie Website | Instagram

The immense finished product.
Back To The B: Paul Brodie's 69er Restoration