The bike project is full of weird parts and doo-dads that leave us scratching our collective head, but we always seem to find out what the heck we’re looking at. Whether it’s wonderful places like sheldonbrown dot com, velobase dot com, or us tinkering around and finally figuring out what’s up, or possibly even the existing knowledge of our help. That’s why I decided to round up some old parts (hopefully) every week. This week turned out to be a bunch of 90’s MTB treasures. The pictures and accompanying wordage represent just a fraction of what we’ve got, and what’s out there.
In looking back at the 90’s MTB industry, I see a move away from the conventional beauty of bicycles to an overall jagged, erector-set aesthetic. That’s not to say that I don’t find 90’s mountain bikes to be “beautiful”. I enjoy a good CODA crankset or Paul derailleur just as much as I love a set of Mafac Centerpulls or a Superbe Pro derailleur. 90’s MTB tech is accentuated by proprietary suspension systems, and while elastomers aren’t the greatest at suspending the rear end of a bike, they’re good for other things (see: Cane Creek Thudbuster). This is where this, a Girvin Flex-Stem, comes in.
As far as I know, Girvin stems were one of the first mass produced suspension systems and the brand was sort of related to Pro-Flex who made wicked full suspension mountain bikes through the decade. I’d imagine the stem itself rides like a regular old stem with a little added plush. Who knows. Maybe I’ll throw it on a bike and find out someday. If somebody wants it, it’s here for ya.
Next on our list is a chain-suck protector from an unknown manufacturer in a lovely anodized purple. These were made by a few different brands in a few different configurations. Some frames even came with braze-ons for one. This one will attach to most any frame. They’d essentially make sure the chain didn’t suck down in between the chainrings and the chainstay which would happen frequently in the age of mountain triples and weakly tensioned rear derailleurs on rough terrain.
Third-ly(?) is the Rock-Ring. We’ve got quite a few of these, to be honest and I’m sure we haven’t even begun to see the majority of them. Remember the days when even pro-level mountain bikes came with 40-something tooth chainrings? I don’t. But that’s because I’m 19. Well, when you’re chunking around on your slingshot with the all new XTR M900 group, you don’t wanna hit that nice, new big ring on a rock, do ya? Enter: ROCK-RING.