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Help with frame ID - Vtg MTB - 90s Bontrager?

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Help with frame ID - Vtg MTB - 90s Bontrager?

Old 08-05-15, 10:24 PM
  #1  
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Help with frame ID - Vtg MTB - 90s Bontrager?

Hey guys! I picked up a old hardtail MTB on Craigslist for $35 to chase a buddy down trails with, got to cleaning it up and noted that the seat says Bontrager (or rather, it used to). Could it be so? I am a vintage road bike nut, my experience is more in 60s and 70s skinnies but I believe I've heard that Bontragers were well made?

The guy I got it off said a friend converted it to a fixie and painted it / removed stickers to deter theft, and that they used to ride it to get around town; he had no idea what the make was only that it'd been sitting in his garage for to many years and he didn't want to take it with him (he was moving).

The frame has the serial U20306917 stamped on the headtube. KHS bar, Avid levers and calipers. Canada 94 32T 8SPD j886 on the ring, spider's branding has been worn off. Forte chain tensioner. Rims are 26x1.5 and have had the stickers removed, but they are alloy and double eyeleted. Michelin tires, presta stems. Shimano hubs. TIOGA headset on top, bottom is painted over. Nothing stamped on the BB.

the waterbottle cage 'lugs' are curious imo, see pic.



I have no idea whats original and whats not, but from what I've seen on google it seems plausible that it's a 90's Bontrager based on the frame design and dropouts/etc. Thoughts?
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Last edited by burnfingers; 08-05-15 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 08-05-15, 11:18 PM
  #2  
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Don't think it's a Bonnie, even the Trek-made Privateer had gussets and a distinctive rear dropout that this does not, plus most have a 1" steerer (except for the later privateers) so that's another strong clue. Plenty of Bontrager-branded parts have been hung on plenty of Trek products! Whatever you have here it's looks like a great deal for $35!
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Old 08-05-15, 11:44 PM
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Thanks for the insight, and yea that was my thought too; I could probably sell a hub off it for more than that. Whatever it is it rides nice, very light for a steel frame.

Initially I assumed it was a Trek, but then I found Bontrager on the seat and noted that the fork matches this one:


and that the style of brake hangers on this match those on this Bontrager frame(crappy pictures, working with whats available):


of course there are problems with both of these: the purple Bontrager has a wishbone frame and the orange frame above has a similar but different style of dropout.

Not sure if this is relevant, but where the seat post meets the BB I've noted than its slightly oval rather than round. I've also found a 'C' on the inner side of the rear dropouts:
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Last edited by burnfingers; 08-06-15 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 08-06-15, 03:17 PM
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Hello fellow vancouverite!

Yeah, Bontragers generally have gussets and he was WAY into wishbone seatstays. I don't think there were any Bontrager branded saddles 'til the Trek Buyout, and I think that is a late-90s saddle. I also don't think Bontrager ever made a frame with such relaxed angles.

So it's set up for cantilevers, top pull FD, dual eyelets on fork, rack mounts on rear triangle, looks like a brazed-on seatpost collar, super short semi-horiz rear dropouts. Gonna have to mull this over a bit.

I've seen those allen head rivnuts on a few 80s and 90s bikes, can't remember which brands

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 08-06-15 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 08-06-15, 03:53 PM
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KHS might be a possibility, although I couldn't find any with rear rack mounts "on top" of the seatstays like that. Mine and several pics of others I saw have them going into the seatstay tubes.

Seatcluster isn't quite right and I didn't see any KHS forks with double eyelets, either.

They were doing that guitar style cable routing and those style dropouts in the early 90s, however.
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Old 08-06-15, 04:39 PM
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that could be any number of generic 1990s mtb frame. I wouldn't jump down a rabbit hole trying to find out. it's a replacement seat from the oughts for sure.
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Old 08-06-15, 11:23 PM
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I reckon a better chance at getting a definitive answer can be had by posting at retrobike.co.uk

There is an incredible wealth of vintage MTB knowledge there.
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Old 08-07-15, 10:32 AM
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I did find a pic of a KHS Comp with the rack mounts on the seatstays instead of in them, but with cables running above top tube. I'm guessing it's a model year between the first bike and the second bike (which has the guitar style cable runs and in this pic you can see the seat collar looks quite a bit like the one on your bike.)

It could also be a different model KHS, which might also explain fork with double eyelets. Of course fork might not be orig to frame. Bike might have gotten a suspension fork, which might have gotten moved to a different bike, then current fork put on...





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Old 08-07-15, 12:05 PM
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Very good find LoP, never heard of a KHS MTB but those look like very strong possibilities. I was starting to think it might be an early Specialized Rockhopper as almost all of them have the double eyeleted fork and the same braze on config, but the rear dropouts never seem to match up where the second pic of the KHS seems to have nearly the same dropout but not the fork... Might have found where the fork came from lol

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Old 08-07-15, 12:29 PM
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I have a Giant Iguana that for a while, I was sure was a Trek or a Bontrager because of the frame characteristics, including center top-tube mounted triple cable stops. I didn't know for sure what it was until I sanded the bike down to repaint it and saw the logos still clinging to the frame despite the atrocious repainting job that had happened to it at some point. From that experience, I can appreciate how challenging it can be to ID these MTBs.

I'll go back to passively following this thread, as I'm interested to learn what determination ultimately gets made.
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Old 08-07-15, 06:11 PM
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The serial number and its location are definitly KHS. I am guessing but from the other serial numbers that I have seen the the first number indicates the year, so possibly 1992.
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Old 08-13-15, 10:31 AM
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Thanks guys, from all this info I am going to suggest that this as a 1992 KHS Montana Summit mountain bike.



It appears that the stem and bar are all that's original to the frame; the fork, crank, and all clamp-ons are later pieces.

The fork is suspected to be off a Trek 830 or 850 although I have not yet found a perfect match (this one lacks the secondary mounting point on the lower shoulder that most Treks have)



I'll post a few closing pictures here once I'm finished tinkering, this old hardtail's going to see some action
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