Insider Rides gets right inside, to the bikes that find their place in the inner sanctum of the bike shop. From lunch runner to courtesy bike to used, abused and neglected, they carry on happily in utilitarian service. Josh Wrigley talks us through the mountain bike and shop life history of On Yer Bike in Wellington’s beloved ‘Pinky’.
Pinky was adopted by On Yer Bike and given a second lease on life after being abandoned in our workshop many years ago. Repeated calls over the course of a year to pick her up went unanswered, which was only slightly unusual as abandoned bikes tend to be nasty things that are cheap and half dead – the kind of bikes you tend to advise the customer to think twice about fixing, then half-suspect the worst when they urge you to go ahead with the job. Pinky isn’t like that – she isn’t a heap of shit; she’s just really old, but old in the kind of way that makes someone who got into mountain biking at or before the start of the nineties smile inside a little. Getting rid of her in the manner we usually dispose of such unwanted bikes seemed unthinkable (they get left outside the shop in the alley and typically disappear in minutes), so we kept her on as a shop runabout. She’s also served as a loaner to customers needing a courtesy bike – I should say customer (singular), because Rex Massey-Molloy has to date been the only non-staff member willing to be seen in public riding her (and to be honest, once he discovered her his bike started coming in even more often for servicing. I think he has a private thing going on there). She’s an old classic, and many of her features are capable of inducing nostalgia and nausea simultaneously. Lets take a closer look.
730 series XT cranks – simple, bulletproof and elegant.
Pinky features a lot of the 730 Deore XT groupset. This rear mech looks nothing like its modern day, 11 speed, clutch-equipped counterpart, but is still working flawlessly nearly 30 years on.
Now that’s a cassette – step aside Sram Eagle, with your 500% range. Nothing like a straight block on a mountain bike for getting that cadence dialed.
No XT here, and barely functional. Which isn’t a problem while you’re cruising about the CBD.
The Evolution headset – maybe 1.25″ threaded steerer tubes will come full circle and re-emerge as a ‘new’ standard? Headsets could do with a few new standards to keep up with bottom brackets and hubs.
XTR cantis – cool looking and once highly desirable, but I’m glad they are a thing of the past. Although I’m sure certain retrogrouches would love to get their hands on them.
What ever became of this innovation? This is a dead giveaway of the era Pinky was born into, visible from miles away, and the splattered hot pink colour scheme eradicates any lingering doubts. Welcome back to the late ’80s/early ’90s.
Says it all, really. By the way, notice how that top tube is dead flat? With old-skool geo, the tt is about as long as my modern ‘medium’ bike, but with a 22″ seat tube I need the seat almost all the way down to ride her.
The lack of front suspension is pretty sweet about town, but paired with those skinny tyres it conjures up bitter memories of getting the shit beaten out of me on the trail on my own pre-suspension mountain bikes. I haven’t taken Pinky off-road, but imagine this aluminium version would be especially unpleasant.
Cleaning Pinky is a low priority task, as you can see here from the layered up brake grime.
That’s some impressive architecture right there. I like the little pulley for the front mech, harking back to before top pull derailleurs became an option.
Not 15mm, but still doing a fantastic job. Here’s to a skewer design that actually works too.
Getting a little worn, but still sweeeet.
Yeah, the lockring doesn’t thread on anymore, but it’s fine really, since the bb is seized into the frame. It’s fine, seriously.
Those rings are thick. They may be beat up, but they’re still cranking on.
I remember when the older kid at school who always had the flashest bike turned up with these on his bike one day, and I thought they were the coolest things ever and was jealous as. Looking back, now I think XT thumbies are cooler, but these still get the job done. A very different feel to their modern equivalents.
Did I forget to mention the crack in the head tube? The marker pen shows how it has slowly crept up over the years. No-one seems too bothered by it, although it did put me off the idea of entering a retro Karapoti on her, which I was seriously considering at one point until Richie pointed it out to me for the first time.
Sweet saddle huh? Not original, but just unloved enough to fit in. I’m surprised that seatpost is still holding strong and not found its way into a bucket out the back yet.