A Ponderosa Cyclery + Tour Eisentraut Road with Mavic Zap – Kyle Kelley

A Ponderosa Cyclery Eisentraut Road with Mavic Zap
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson

If you think Shimano and SRAM were the first to the e-shifting market, you’re mistaken, my friend. Mavic blazed that trail over a decade before Shimano put its tires down on it. Back before they shifted focus to wheels and apparel, Mavic developed and manufactured component groups. Their “Starfish” cranks are as iconic as their unique headsets, but one group stood out from the rest of Mavic’s catalog. Zap was the name for Mavic’s electronic shifting system and while it was way before its time, it wasn’t underused, making several Tour appearances. Even Chris Boardman secured several victories in the Tour back in 1994 and 1997.

Peloton Magazine interviewed Chris for an article in Issue 05. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Zap system was both very crude and elegantly simple. There was a small toggle switch glued to the back of a standard break lever and a remote button that could be put either on the tops of the bars or on a pair of tri-bars for TT events.”

Boardman continues: “All elements of the system were hard-wire linked. The beauty of Zap was that electricity wasn’t used to shift the gears, the battery only had to send a signal to the rear mechanism where a solenoid engaged the jockey-wheel and the rider’s pedaling action changed the gear. This meant, unlike today’s systems, the battery only had to be tiny and could be stored in a bar end.”

You can read more at Peloton.

Ok, so back to Zap and this bike. Kyle recently visited the fine folks at Ponderosa Cyclery + Tour in Nebraska on a road trip with his girlfriend Liz, en route back to LA from Indiana where Kyle is from. While on the road, he swung through a few shops and shot a few bicycles, first of which is this Eisentraut with Mavic Zap. Now, for those unfamiliar with Eisentraut, he’s regarded as the grandfather of California framebuilders. He’s been building since 1959 and in that time, he’s trained many notable builders including Bruce Gordon and Joe Breeze. His sons eventually took over the shop, so as the saying goes: “if the frame has the Eisentraut name on it, an Eisentraut had his hands on it.”

Eisentraut’s frames hold their value and many collectors don at least one frame in their quivers. This one just so happens to reside at Ponderosa Cyclery + Tour amongst many other unique and rare machines. It’s a 650b conversion, thanks to some long reach Tektro brake calipers and is built with a mix of period correct and modern, yet classy components.

Thanks to the team at Ponderosa for hosting Kyle and Kyle for the photos!


Follow Kyle on Instagram and Ponderosa Cyclery + Tour on Instagram.

  • Raoul Morley

    This is just amazing, want so much!

  • Tim Guarente

    Showcase Mavic shifting with Pacenti rims? Just mad enough it may work!

  • Joshua Eric Sawyer


  • AdamBike99

    Talk about lug shorelines!
    Is this rig a daily driver?
    I love the flashback-history lessons Kyle!

  • Nicholas Petersen

    Very cool.

  • AngryBikeWrench

    I like bling as much as the next bike geek, but it’s these goofy, one-offs that really get me. So, so cool. I’m assuming this was originally a 700c bike, but converted to 650b? Can anybody confirm?

    • vince.asta

      Originally a 700c bike, yes. Converted it to 650b, but this is one of the few bikes that it just didn’t take. It’s bordering on blasphemy with this conversion, but a bike with 700×25-28ish is not a use-able bike to me. Had to at least try it. Much better as 700c, though.

  • Peter Chesworth

    That Mavic crank is such a beautiful piece. Great to see a Giles Berthoud saddle.

    • Avuncular

      I agree, beautiful looking crank that can, with the right bolts and spacers, accept 3 rings. While I never had the full gruppo, Mavic’s release in ’89 of their updated groupset contained some gems. Apart from the crank, their easily tightened headset (as pictured) with its tiny grub screw to lock the upper nut, the super hard anodised seatpost, the venerable 501 hubs with simple bearing service/replacement, rebuildable rear derailleur and the revolutionary 646 LMS pedals. These, although heavy, were kindness itself to problem knees and I still have mine. All designed to last.

  • dan scheie

    Of all the beautiful parts on this bike, I can probably only afford to buy the water bottle cages. Anyone know who makes those cages, and do they also come in black?

    • kasual

      lol. they look like ciussi cages — never seen them in black