TPC Retro Build #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”.
The frame we bought is one of about 60 in existence and was featured on the cover of Mountain Bike Action Magazine in 1991.
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.
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.
Rare front derailleur found and installed…. just need to buff out the couple small corrosion spots.
Couple steps closer! Stay tuned for build updates!
UPDATE #2 // 7.26.14
Well this is what my weekend is shaping up to look like. The Alpinestar will be alive and breathing soon!
Using NOS decals for the back rear triangle and leaving the other original ones in place.
The Topline cranks will be mounted with XT FC-M730-SG rings (Still looking for a NOS set) and I’ll start lacing the Bullseye hubs to NOS 36 hole Mavic M231 CD rims next weekend.
Went with the perforated Flite saddle.
Will be using the Alpinestar 1 1/4″ Gary Fisher black headset that originally came w/ the stock Ti Mega’s. The headset is still in the mail so I’ll add the XT as a place holder until it arrives.
Will be using black Ringle Holey skewers as well.
I have two sets of brakes 732’s in both Black and Silver. Going to put both on and compare.
Once the wheels are built, they will be rolling on NOS Gumwall Porc II’s.
UPDATE #3 // 7.30.14
The build took a change of direction last night due to a couple factors.
This frame is a 1991 model and was on the cover of MBA in 91. Up until this point I have been going with a 1992 Ti Alpinestar Fork because I personally like how it looks. We recently sourced another 91 Ti-Mega that has the correct Aluminum black front fork which is truly the right fork for those who are real sticklers for period correct builds. I have decided to go with the black 91 fork vs this Ti fork to keep it period correct. The chances of me finding another black 91 correct fork are slim to none and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to do it correct.
It was a tough choice because the Ti fork looks better in my opinion. But if I ever want to rebuild the bike to be exactly like it was on the cover of MBA, I will need to find another black fork….. a very tall order.
UPDATE #4 // 8.19.14
It’s been a while since I updated the Build. We are on the final home stretch.
1.) Applied decals to rear triangle.
2.) Added Onza Porc II Skinwall (Thank You Paul aka CCMDoc)
3.) Added Ringle Seat Clamp Binder Bolt
4.) Removed Shimano BR-M732 Brakes. Replacing them with the period correct BR-M734’s for this build spec
Still need to swap our the front Ti-Fork w/ the Black one but am waiting on the correct threading tool to tap the 1 1/4 steer tube.
Once that is done it will be time to cable her up and throw on the chain!
Here she is a studio shot as the build sits today:
UPDATE #5 // 8.21.14
Last night the correct 91 front fork was threaded and is ready to be cut to length and installed. Bummed to see the Ti fork go but it will now be 100% period correct and it will be easier to adjust the build to go back to it’s OG build as featured on the cover of MBA if we ever choose to do so.
Adding these Ti Crank Bolts as the final touch to the Ti-Mega.
UPDATE #6 // 9.26.14
It only took us purchasing THREE different Ti-Mega’s to finally finish this with all the correct details in place. I’m excited about the finished product and look forward to hearing what you think.
Frame: 1991 Alpinestars Ti Mega
Serial Number 4038
Fork: Alpinestar Aluminum Blade 1 1/4″
Headset: Tange Aluminum 1 1/4″ Stock Alpinestars
Stem: Litespeed Titanuim 1 1/4″ 130mm
Handlebar: Alpinestars Mega Lite 7005
Grips: ODI Attack
Brakes Fr: Shimano XT BR-M734
Brakes Rr: Shimano XT BR-M734
Brake Pad: Shimano XT
Brake Cables: Shimano 6mm SIS
Brake Levers : Shimano XT BL-M733
Ferrules Alpinestars Step Down
Shifters: Shimano XT BR-M732 7 Speed SIS
Front Derailleur: Shimano XT FD-M735
Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT RDM735 Medium Cage
Derailleur Cables: Shimano SIS
Cassette: Shimano CS-HG90 7 speed Hyperglide
Chain: Shimano CN-91
Cranks: Cook Bros. Racing 172.5″ BCD 110 /74
Crank Bolts: Ti Cook Bros. Racing Bolts
Chainrings: SR 48 // Onza Buzz Saw 34 // Onza Buzz Saw 34 24
Bottom Bracket: Alpinstar BB prototype
Pedals: Shimano XT PD-M737
Skewers: Ringle Ti Holey Cams
Front Hub: Shimano XT HB-M730
Rear Hub: Shimano XT FH-M732
Tyres: Onza Racing Procs II
Saddle: Perforated Flite Red Label Dated 1991
Seatpost: Syncros Ti
Seat Binder: Ringle Ti Holey Cam