NAHBS is often a showcase of the newest trends in the bike world. From Speed Release axles to gravel bike suspension forks, the 2017 edition was no different, but thanks to The Pro’s Closet, there was plenty of vintage bike jewelry to obsess over as well. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a vintage bike nerd, so seeing all these amazing bikes in one place was a highlight of the show. What made it even better was that classic bikes like this Moot Mountaineer were built by guys like Kent Eriksen who is still building and was even on hand at the show…

Moots (and Eriksen) bikes have come a long way since this early 1984 Moots Mountaineer. Like many of these bikes, the Mountaineer was basically built for bikepacking before it was cool.

 

The Breezer Series 1 from 1978 was a huge stepping stone in the evolution of the mountain bike. Purpose built chromoly with a full complement of components, it was a big departure from the early Klunkers.

One of two Cunningham bikes on display, you could argue that this Racer is the archetype for the current gravel/adventure bike scene – drop bars, light frame, and knobby tires. 

 

Before fat bike components existed, you had to make your own. A popular way of building in additional float was to lace two rims to the same hub and mount two tires side by side. Effective, but not exactly the performance level of fat bikes today.

Old Kleins are always fun to drool over – especially when they’re ex Tinke Juarez race bikes.

I love this bike, mostly for the remote actuated Hite Rite “dropper post.” Talk about being ahead of your time. It looks like it could be the IRD Remote Quick Release which was added to the Hite Rite and operated by a friction thumb shifter at the bar. The lever would allow you to open the seat post clamp, and you could push the seat down like a standard dropper and close the clamp. When you would open it again, the compressed spring of the Hite Rite would allow the post to raise.

This 1984 J.P. Weigle “Playboy’s Best Custom Bike” had an amazing vintage Campy group, and while those Delta brakes apparently never stopped very well – they certainly are beautiful.

According to the description on The Pro’s Closet museum page, this incredibly rare Confente Pro-Strada was number 47 out of only 135 bikes that Mario Confente built before he died at the age of 34.

 

Of course TPC wouldhave an amazing Tom Ritchey Road bike in their collection. And how about those brake pads? Finned for cooling?

Another Cunningham, this time an Alan road bike.

As was popular back in the day, Davis Phinney’s bike for the Olympics was a Murray that was actually built by Serotta.

There were a lot of feels any time someone mentioned Jeff Archer’s name at NAHBS, and rightfully so. The Founder of Mountain Bike Art & Technology (MOMBAT), and the revivalist of the Mountain Goat name, Jeff was tragically killed last year after being hit by a drunk drive while he was crossing the street. Not only were there tributes to Jeff like this display of a 1988 Mountain Goat Dinoflage Deluxe, but a tribute has been inscribed on the back of the NAHBS Best In Show trophy to honor his legacy.

 

Salsa has come a long way since 1982, and while their bikes can no longer be considered “handbuilt” in the NAHBS sense, it’s cool to see where the brand came from.

Another bike that the original builder was at the show still showing current bikes, this 1985 Steve Potts Limited Edition was fitted with a Suntour XC group and WTB Roller Cam brakes, hi-E hubs, and even Magura brake levers.

For more detail on each of the bikes above, you can check out their individual stories on The Pro’s Closet Bicycle Museum site.

 

 

 

 

12 comments

  1. duder on

    Are these bikes on display in Boulder? Is there an actual physical “Pro’s Closet Bicycle Museum” that I can visit?

    Reply
  2. Old Roadie on

    The Alan aluminum road bike has nothing to do with Cunningham. There were build in Italy and were “screwed and glued” together rather than welded like the Cunningham. I owned one on the early 80’s and it was a noodle. However, they were quite successful in cyclo-cross at the time, usually badged as Guerciotti bikes.

    Reply
    • Old Roadie on

      After looking at the photos more carefully, I can see where Charlie made some modifications to an existing Alan frame (there were no “braze-ons” on the original frames), so I stand corrected…

      Reply
    • Chase on

      Yes. Vitus and Alan competed for the noodle award back then. But noodles didn’t rattle your teeth out on a CX course.

      Reply
  3. JasonK on

    Bill, you’re almost right. Those aren’t the standard Mathauser pads but Scott Mathausers. They were developed for the Scott Superbrake and those finned pad holders are made from magnesium. Oddly, they’re still for sale on the Yokozuna USA web site.

    This is an interesting post, but I couldn’t help cringing a bit for the author, a technical editor who apparently had no idea that Hite-Rites were a thing until just now. The tone is sort of naive and breathless, like a technical editor for an Apple web site posting, “Oh, wow! I just found out that Apple made an early iPhone called a ‘Newton.’ Talk about being ahead of your time!”

    I gather he didn’t know a Campy C-Record group when he saw it and so fudged it with “an amazing vintage Campy group.” He marveled over those finned brake pads while entirely missing Tom Ritchey’s before-it-was-cool Aheadset-style stem clamped to a 1″ threaded steerer. (Some of Ritchey’s early bullmoose bars were designed this way as well).

    Some of what I mentioned is minutiae, sure, and one person can’t magically know everything about the history of bicycle technology. But a technical editor should be more familiar with these things than the author seems to be.

    And in closing: damned kids! Get off my lawn!

    Reply
    • Zach Overholt on

      Jason, I was well aware of the Hite Rite. Just not the remote option. To be fair, many of these bikes were from a time before I was born. It wasn’t that I was unaware of many of these parts, I just love the fact that almost every “new idea” in the bike industry has been done before in one form or another, and I enjoy seeing reminders of that in incredible bikes like these.

      Reply
    • Anonymous on

      I don’t know why Ritchey gets credit for the ahead stem thing.

      Brazing a 7/8″ tube in a threaded steerer and using a clamp-on steerer was a high end French rando thing, you you see it repeatedly getting tossed out that Ritchey had something to do with the invention of this technique. I’ve seen a bike from the 40’s with it.

      Reply
    • Greg on

      Most people would say that I know a ridiculous amount about bikes, but I had never ever seen a cable remote actuated Hite Rite. Ti? Sure. XL version too. Remote? New one for me.

      Reply
  4. Chase on

    I wanted a Cunningham so badly back then. But Charlie was notoriously tough to nail down in his treehouse he lived in. So I settled for a hand made Ibis with WTB Rollercams, Grease Guard Hubs, headset and pedals and old school Suntour drivetrain. Had it painted a Miami Vice version of Alexi Grewal fade.
    That lasted until my Titanium Merlin showed up.
    Those were good times.

    Reply

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.