1987 Mantis X Frame Valkyrie Build

TPC Retro Build #2

Another build in the works, this time a very rare 1987 non elevated chain stay Mantis X Frame Valkyrie. This one is going to take some time!

This Mantis X-Frame could be from about 1986-1987 and precedes the Valkyrie. Here is the original prototype, which was featured in Mountain Bike Action Magazine.

There are not that many of them out there because it was eclipsed by the Valkyrie.

The bike is cracked / dented / ridden hard and hung up wet.

The bike belonged to Eddie Rae who was a builder for Mantis and this was his bike, he is the guy on the far right.

Eddie Rae and his 1986 non elevated chain stay Mantis X Frame Valkyrie

1986 non elevated chain stay Mantis X Frame Valkyrie1986 Mantis non elevated chain stay X Frame Valkyrie 1986 Mantis non elevated chain stay X Frame Valkyrie 1986 non elevated chain stay Mantis X Frame Valkyrie
1986 Mantis non elevated chain stay X Frame Valkyrie

VX = Valkyrie non elevated
22 = frame size
1 = the first of 22 made
87 = the year it was made

We sent the photos over to Mantis founder and current Pinkbike Tech Editor, Richard Cunningham and he gave us some amazing, honest insight into the bike. Here’s what he had to say:

“Eddie Rea was my shop manager at Mantis and is one of my closest friends to this day. The non-elevated Valkyrie (we called them X-Frame) is the rare bird, as we only made a small number of them before I started to experiment with elevated chainstays and switched production to the E-version. We used “custom” serial numbers for our personal bikes, so I would not be surprised to hear that there was an unprintable phrase on the BB.The idea for the X frame came from an invitation from Gary Fisher to fly up to his bike company and do destruction testing on his new Super Caliber frames which featured the revolutionary Tange Prestige heat treated tubing. Gary was kind of angry because, as a contributor to MBA mag, I wrote that that particular frame buckled near the weld. The downtube must have not had a Tange DT, because when we pulled the fork towards the frame, the load cell ran up to about 700 pounds and then the frame tubes cracked open in three places as if they exploded. We then tested an oversized aluminum frame and it went up to 900 pounds before it buckled. (A standard chromoly frame buckles at 300 to 400 pounds.) Gary had an old Schwinn Excelsior cruiser frame laying around, so just for kicks, we put the big steel fork on the Schwinn and loaded it up – it went to over a thousand pounds and barely deflected when it failed. I went home thinking that, If a cantilever frame made from one-inch water pipe could out-perform a bunch of high-end mountain bikes, I should rethink the basic bike design.So, the X-frame used smaller. lighter main tubes and x-braces. I configured the rear triangle to catch the X-tubes to make the stand-over height super low. The bikes worked well, in spite of the fact that the smaller main tubes made them laterally flexible. The Achilles heel was that V-brakes had not been invented yet and the cable routing had to go around the seat tube. Special care had to be taken to get the brakes to work correctly. The BB was TIG welded, because that was a big piece of metal and it made more sense, but I fillet brazed the rest of the frame myself, and at the time, I was really good at it, so I left the joints unfinished to lord this over the other builders of the time. (thought I’d tell it straight, just once.)”
Cool stuff! This is going to be a fun and challenging build. Stay tuned for updates!


1991 Alpinestars Ti-Mega Build

TPC Retro Build #1

Jump to Update #1

Every now and again we come across a bike that reaches out, grabs our attention, and takes us back to the days of rigid mountain bikes, awkward geometry, and anodized everything. When nostalgia rushes in, our collective imagination takes flight and we’re left with no choice but to bring that old bike back to life. We’re here to tell the history of mountain biking, one resurrection at a time.

In our inaugural “TPC Retro Build” we’ll take you step-by-step through our latest project, a 1991 Alpinestars Ti-Mega. This piece is not only really cool but also a part of mountain bike history.


In 1990, Alpinestars needed an innovative show-stopping bike. They came up with a new innovative design called “Elevated Oversize System” or  E-stay and commissioned Litespeed to build the frame from titanium. They claimed the short chainstays and curved seat tube created “the ultimate combination of power climbing, traction, and ground clearance”.

1991 Alpinestars Ti-Mega

The frame we bought is one of about 60 in existence and was featured on the cover of Mountain Bike Action Magazine in 1991.

1991 Alpinestars Ti-Mega on Mountain Bike Action Magazine

As of this blog post we have the frame with preproduction Alpinestars bottom bracket and a Syncros seatpost. We will tirelessly scour eBay for full period-correct parts until we have a complete museum-worthy bicycle!

UPDATE #1 // 6.12.14

After searching eBay and putting the word out in our vintage bike networks, we were able to find a few key pieces to the puzzle. We scored a front derailleur, saddle, and a titanium fork!

Here is the fork just waiting for the proper headset to install.

1991 Alpinestars Ti Mega Titanium fork
Put on a 1991 Flite saddle…. was weighing going the turbo route but I feel the lines of the Flite look better than a bulky turbo. May go w/ a perforated Flite as the build unfolds.

1991 Alpinestars Ti Mega Flite Saddle

Rare front derailleur found and installed…. just need to buff out the couple small corrosion spots. 

1991 Alpinestars Ti Mega Front Derailleur

1991 Alpinestars Ti Mega

Couple steps closer! Stay tuned for build updates!

Spring Cleaning 2014: Cash In On Your Used Cycling Gear

The weather is getting warmer. The sunshine is in full effect. “Motivation” is back in your vocabulary. It can all only mean one thing, it’s time for spring cleaning!


Dive into that garage, spare room, or attic that has been collecting clutter throughout the cold winter months and bring your old items into The Pro’s Closet for cash! We’re experts at finding loving new homes for used bicycles, bicycle parts, and accessories,  all while putting cash in your pocket for your next project!

If you’re fortunate enough to live near the front range we have two convenient drop-off locations ready to help you sort through the clutter, our headquarters in Boulder and new satellite location in Denver.

The Pro's Closet BoulderThe Pro's Closet Denver










For those of you in Boulder with just too much gear, we will come to you for FREE! Simply schedule an appointment with our ‘Mobile Pick Up Unit’.

Don’t live within driving distance? No problem! You can contact us to arrange shipping for all your gear!

Spring Cleaning