This week’s Readers’ Rides comes from Kane, who has a 1996 Bontrager Race frame with a Racktime rack. Read on for words and photos by Kane below…
I said Bontragers in the subject line because I’m not sure how to get your attention, but that’s okay. You’ve got mine. I stumbled upon this site, this group, this ethos not too long ago and just this week returned while looking for bikes online. Needless to say I like what I see. I’ve been on bikes all my life and have taken apart and put together quite a few. I even worked for a bike company for a few years. Life happens. Better pay was necessary and I moved on, BUT I held onto my bikes and have had quite a few over the years. They tend to be Bontragers.
It started with my first one. It is a 1996 CX. I bought it new and after paying off the frame/fork purchase, it sat another year while I scraped up the dough to buy parts. In the years since I’ve acquired a few more. I like them for several reasons but can’t put my finger on any one reason. They have their quirks. Most notably is Keith’s geometry. If you don’t have an original sprung fork with the right crown anything aftermarket can create some funny rides.
I sold a Race Lite frame not long ago to purchase this frame/fork combo. Some will say that selling a coveted Race Lite for a Race doesn’t make sense but for me it made perfect sense. I traded up for an original fork. It was very well upgraded with new springs to boot.
I am now 48 and don’t shred the same way I used to back in the 90s even though new bikes offer the opportunity to lay it out like we never could have back then.
I take more of a laid back approach and with a young family, we do more family-style riding (although sometimes I push our adventures). And as such we carry more on our rides. Bontragers don’t have rack mounts but short of ruining a classic with braze ons there are options. I’ve used these QR tabs with 5mm threaded eyelets to hold the feet of the rack and a modified XT front derailleur to mount one of the upper arms to the seat tube. Hacky? You bet. Effective. Most certainly.
The rest of the bike is a mix of old and new. Old school 8 speed XT cassette in combo with an XT short cage derailleur and bar-end shifter. These came off of the fore mentioned CX when I finally upgraded that drivetrain.
Wheels are Bontrager by Chris King. One of my best eBay purchases to date. The bottom bracket is new as is the XT crank spinning a RaceFace single speed 32 tooth cog. Stopping is via Tektro levers and TRP cantilevers. I had them, so on they went. The fronts required a slight modification to the fork bridge but it works. The Thompson seat post is topped with a Selle Italia saddle but I think before our next trip the Brooks B17 will supplant that. It rides great and it fits me well. I might put a flatter stem on (I have a few OE Santa Cruze built options) but I’m pretty happy with the rise on this one.
The Racktime rack I purchased in Germany several years ago also came with a slide on bracket that allowed me to attach anything to the rack. I mounted it to a plastic box and boom! I have a trunk big enough to store and carry tons more stuff and keep it dry. The Ortlieb panniers round out the carrying capacity. Overall the family enjoys that dad carries the snacks, drinks, sunscreen, etc. Dad enjoys riding this on the rear of the pack and watching the kids develop their own love of riding.
We’d like to thank all of you who have submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared over here. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!