The Alpinestars lives again!
Posted: March 22, 2006 in Cycling
Quite a number of years ago, when I was first exploring mountain biking, I had my first ride up in Ohiopyle PA on a borrowed Cannondale. The bike was a bit too small for me, and rode a bit rough with its "Pepperoni" fork, but I made due anyway, and decided I liked the sport.
My first mountainbike was a Trek 7000 - a big, green, aluminum monstrosity that was a size too big for me. It also had a noodle of a fork. I could not ride worth jack on that bike, and I swore off mountain biking many a time in the months to come. I finally sold the Trek to my friend Pat after buying a bike from another friend, Mike Smith.
Mike had ordered a bike online from a company called Alpinestars. It was a freakish looking thing, with elevated chainstays and an S-bend in the seat tube to clear the rear tire. But it rode like a dream, and Mike was fast as hell on it, winning a few races and doing well in many others. Eventually Mike got bitten by the full suspension bug, and picked up a Mantis Pro Floater. Thankfully, I was able to convince him to sell the Alpinestars to me, and my riding improved around 300% overnight.
I rode the bike for several years, before a mishap sidelined it sometime in 99. Due to the S-bent seat tube, the front derailleur had to be fitted via a braze-on. It was just a curved hunk of aluminum with an elongated bolt hole in it - and apparently the weak link in the frame, as it broke during a ride, leaving me with no front shifting.
Since I was only 2 weeks away from a week-long mountain biking trip to Canaan Valley, W.Va, I needed a bike fast. I ended up with a Trek 9700 carbon mountain bike, which is basically an OCLV carbon frame with garbage components on it. But it was light, it fit, and the price was right, so that was my ride until last summer when I built up my Jamis Dakar full suspension bike. As far as the Alpinestars went, I had the front braze-on re-welded, then hung the frame on a hook to collect dust.
But the more I stared at the old Alpinestars frame, the more I itched to build it back up. So over this past winter, I set out to do just that. There are pics of the process in my photo album, and a list of components can be found elsewhere on this site. I had to forgo a front derailleur, because the repaired braze-on isn't up to the task of holding the derailleur firmly. It's no problem though, as I think I'll be just fine with the middle ring up front and 8 out back. It'll save a tiny bit of weight too, once I pull the front shifter.
As soon as I get a second pair of SPDs for it, I plan to take it out for a ride. Should be fun, not to mention a blast from the past. It should ride better actually, since the old Manitou Three bumper shock has been replaced with a more modern Manitou Black Super Air fork.
I think this season will be a fun one for riding.
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