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5 May 2010

Classic purple bike

I guess you know what happens with a bike that wasn't sold during a police auction sale, it gets scrapped. It must have been a week before that would happen to a large number of unsold bikes when an 'informant' of mine spotted my newest ride. The purple old-style mtb had no saddle or rear wheel, but when I received the phone call, I was tolled it had a carbon fibre frame. My first thought was that he was a being little silly, but he was serious. So we picked it up the next day from the depot. And to be honest, it wasn't a full carbon frame, it had aluminum lugs and carbon tubes and stays. But still, an impressive catch.

It had good looking components, XT, XD, XTR and a high tech looking front fork. The front rim had worn out, but the high end hub was in good condition. My first idea was to use all the fancy components for my racer, and use the special frame for a sort of town bike. That plan changed after I'd done a little research. It turned out I had a classic Giant in my shed. One of the first 'affordable' carbon bikes on the market. Affordable is a relative thing and I'm pretty sure it cost the first owner a lot of money back in 1994 or so. This Giant may already be at least 16 years old, everything worked fine and wasn't really worn down.

So, the strategy changed. It would become a low-budget (what else) revival. I had a set of Big Apples that had come of the Pioneer. There was a rear wheel in the shed made from an orphan bike rim, spokes and a hub I got from the Sinner trash can. The front wheel came from another salvaged bike from that same place where the Giant came from. I got new shift cables and a chain from Nazca. The saddle was taken from my fire bike. That bikes also donated his computer. The final parts, saddle tube and handles where bought at a LBS.

There was a thing that I didn't like about the bike, and that was the colour of the front fork. I covered it with 2 layers of black from a can I've been using for years now. I also got rid of the smallest chain blade, a 24 or so. This would be a urban bike, so it wouldn't be used anyway. And without this tiny blade, the chain wouldn't get close to my precious carbon chain stay.

Now it was a matter of re-assembling the Giant and adjusting everything. The wheels needed some truing, and I also lubed the headset. I used two old sprockets as spacers to make the 9 speed rear hub suitable for a 7 speed cassette, which also came of an orphan bike. Back in '94, 21 speeds was already quite something.

Well than, how does it ride? I'm sure this is the finest up-right I've ever ridden. Sure, my wrist feel sore after 15 minutes, but rides won't ever be that long. This thing is great for a quick fun ride to town. It's very quiet and has no problem at all with rough roads. After 16 years, it still shifts and moves very smooth. The whole ride feels solid, this is a well engineered bike.The low weight of only 12,5kg contributes to the fun as well, it handles great! If it wouldn't  be for that pair of 900gram super comfortable Big Apples, this bike would weigh almost a kilo less. A very nice bike for less than €20,-

And what about the fire bike? Well, without a couple of stickers and  accessories, that just a budget 21 speed MTB, ready to be sold.


  1. Nice find. Anton also came by a very nice carbon racing frame a few days ago. At some point I would also like to find an old racing frame to build up with components I've got sitting around...

  2. At this moment I only know of an old blue steel ten-speed road bike. But the frame could be good. You don't see a lot of carbon frame orphan bikes these days ;-)

  3. A Little search on the internet came up with a price for your cadex for about 250,00 till 350,00 euro,s on the second hand sites.
    Nice job Peter , you could be a rich man. (fun)