TPC Retro Build #3: 1982 Salsa Scoboni #5

1982 Salsa Scoboni #5

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Most folks here know the story of Ross Shafer, founder of Salsa, and his famed first batch of 6 bikes. Well this bike is either #5 or #6 (really doesn’t matter which one), and was featured in Dirt Rag Issue #110.

Out of Ross’s six original bikes, this one was built for Terry Holben (maker of the early Salsa decals). This frame is unique as it had the fish mouth top tube rotated 90 degrees since the top tube had been cut slightly short. We reached out to Ross to gather some details about the paint and his response about the first six bikes was: “It may be #5 since as it was in the first batch of Salsa’s I built. I’ve always remembered that first batch as being 6 bikes, but for the life of me I can’t come up with the 6 names they went to, I can only account for 5. …no matter really.”– Ross Shafer.

Lucky enough for me Terry and I are the same size so I will be restoring this bike to ride in the annual Pearl Pass ride this summer. The build starts here as I begin to source the original build parts down to the greatest detail. In the mean time, We wanted to photograph the bike exactly she sits prior to the restoration. As you can see most of the parts are not original and have been swapped out over the years.

Stay tuned!

1982 Salsa Scoboni-1

1982 Salsa Scoboni-2      1982 Salsa Scoboni-4

1982 Salsa Scoboni-5      1982 Salsa Scoboni-7

1982 Salsa Scoboni-10      1982 Salsa Scoboni-12

1982 Salsa Scoboni-13


Update #1

Below is the photo of the unique fish mouth top tube that was rotated 90 degrees since the top tube had been cut slightly short and a scan of this bike featured in Dirt Rag 110 in 2004.

1982 Salsa Scobini Top Tube1982 Salsa Scobini in Dirt Rag 110


Update #2

After a lot of research and talking with Ross Shafer himself, we are confident that this bike is Salsa #5 not #6. On Mombat’s site it says that 6 bikes were originally made however no one can confirm that there were ever 6 including Ross himself. He is confident that there are only 5 and there are 5 that are accounted for.

All the parts for this build have officially been curated and the bike should be finished being built up in the next couple weeks! In order to ride this bike on a regular basis with “period correct tires” I opted for this repop set of Panaracer Timbuk II’s available over at First Flight. Great for someone that doesn’t want to ruin their NOS snakebelly’s but wants to have a period correct look to their vintage stead. (and they even have that fresh new rubber smell)

Panaracer Timbuk II TiresShimano Uni Glide 600 Chain


Update #3

The bike is finally complete! Just waiting on the correct pedals and we’ll share some photos.

Interesting detail that was found during the restoration build is that some reason the whole quill bolt assembly was fabricated from scratch. The wedge is TiG welded to a long tube on the bottom, and a nut is welded to the other end of the tube. The whole assembly doesn’t save any weight over stock parts. The bolt is English 5/16 x 24 tpi.

Not sure what or why but it is definitely interesting.

quill bolt salsa scoboni


Update #4

The test ride!

test ride

Once we get the correct pedals, we’ll upload a full run of studio shots and complete bike specifications!

Update #5

Fresh out of the studio!

1982 Salsa Scoboni 5

1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -46      1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -45 1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -44      1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -43 1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -40      1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -39 1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -37      1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -36 1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -34      1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -33 1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -31      1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -29 1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -28      1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -27 1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -26      1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -24 1982 Salsa Scoboni 5 -30

Salsa Scoboni on the trail


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

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!

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.

1991 Alpinestars Ti-Mega and Parts

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:

1991 Alpinestars Ti-Mega

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.

The Build:

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

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