The 1990s had no shortage of experimental MTB design. We looked at the Slingshot yesterday in our Reportage and for today’s Readers’ Rides, we look at Danny’s 1993 Proflex 253…
This is my 1993 Offroad Proflex 253. After converting my Raleigh to a drop bar gravel steed, I wanted to build another basket bike. Then I stumbled upon this frameset for cheap and I knew this was gonna be the perfect candidate. I heard of the Proflex brand before but never thought much of it until I got this bike. I was born in 92 and didn’t catch wind of how rad 90’s mtbs were until recently.
When I took the frameset home, it was missing the rear elastomer. I started searching for a replacement and found the available options a bit expensive for a simple piece of cylindrical polyurethane. I decided to try my luck on Reddit to see if alternative options existed. This attracted a bunch of Proflex owners and enthusiasts or 90s mtbers that took a trip down memory lane when they saw my pictures. I quickly found myself immersed in this niche community of Proflex lovers.
My Reddit post even attracted the attention of a former Proflex / Girvin dealer from Japan (u/NxPat) who mentioned that one of the best hacks he’s seen was an inner tube. I was hesitant to try it but I was too eager to ride this bike to sit and wait while I had punctured inner tubes laying around the house. To my astonishment, this worked surprisingly well since a tightly wound inner tube around the suspension rod had a usable durometer to perform as a rear elastomer. And so the build began.
I converted it to a 1×7 drivetrain using a Suntour indexed thumbie. Shifting is crisp and light. The crank is an old Sugino ALP crank which I only kept the small 40t chainring. The crank arm just misses the swing arm by a hair. The RD is the bike’s original Shimano Altus C10 RD. A new set of Panaracer Pasela tires in 32mm width makes this a zippy and plushy ride. The handlebars are Surly Open and work super well with the Girvin Flexstem. Wheels are Shimano Exage hubs laced to Sun Levanter rims. My trusty rusty Wald 139 is zip tied to a cheapo canti rack and the build is complete.
The stem is a thing of beauty. This bike is super comfy to ride and it personifies the supple life. Can’t ask for a better outcome and I’m so happy to see this bike back on the road.
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!