From my teens to the age of 30, all the bikes I owned save one were mountain bikes. My primary bike for the first five years I lived in Portland was an entry-level Giant Rincon. While I have fond memories of what that bike helped me achieve, I don’t have such fond memories of the bike itself. Since getting rid of the Giant Rincon in the summer of 2006 I had only owned road. touring, three-speed, or cargo bikes. I hadn’t been interested in a mountain bike in quite some time. But around fall of 2012 I started thinking about what I could do with the stout frame and wide tires of a rigid frame mountain bike. On a whim, I purchased a 1993 Raleigh M40 off of Craigslist for only $40. While this bike taught me that yes, I like mountain bikes again, the too-small frame and entry-level parts made me pine for something better. And it didn’t take me that long to find that better bike.
A 1984 Raleigh Crested Butte popped up on Craigslist in mid-October 2012 for $200. Unlike the M40, the Crested Butte was top of the line for its era and its componentry speaks of such: mostly Shimano Deore XT, the top of the line mountain bike componentry of that era. The Crested Butte has the slack, laid back geometry of early mountain bikes, 68 degree head tube angles and such. This was because the original “Repack” mountain bikes were based off Schwinn cruisers. The relaxed geometry means a nice relaxed ride. Yet it is still a capable climber due to the low gearing.
The Crested Butte in its original form was quite the “garage queen”. I wanted to keep it as original as possible, but knew I would have to do some additions and alterations to make it workable for me. Currently (winter of 2015) this is how the Crested Butte is set up:
- Kalloy stem and Surly Open Bars. The wide “North Roadesque” design of the bars is much more conducive to my riding than the original Bullmoose bars. (Even though I loved those bars!)
- Ergon grips
- Blackburn MTF-1 front rack
- Wald basket strapped atop the rack
- New dynamo front wheel: Mavic rim, Shimano Deore dynohub
- B+M dynamo headlight
- Brooks B17 saddle, new seatpost
- Continental Traffic 26″ x 2.0″ tires with a semi-knobby tread
- Planet Bike Cascadia fenders
I’ve ridden the Crested Butte a lot in the 2 years I’ve owned it. It acts primarily as a commuter/city/utility bike, but I have done a little bit of off-roading on it, some longer rides, and even some bike camping.