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Early Fisher MountainBikes, Ritchey vs Teesdales?

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Early Fisher MountainBikes, Ritchey vs Teesdales?

Old 03-02-22, 08:37 PM
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Complete over haul just completed last year. The picture is not a accurate … the paint is flawless for the most part I think the lighting in the room is making it look like that … Also no rust top to bottom as when I did the over haul everything was taken apart and inspected ..
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Old 03-02-22, 08:47 PM
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Pretty sure nobody change anything on the bike I didn’t know about since I am the only one that has ever worked ok it …… worked as a bike mechanic for about 12 years and also am a master wheel builder …
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Old 03-03-22, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Darme
Pretty sure nobody change anything on the bike I didn’t know about since I am the only one that has ever worked ok it …… worked as a bike mechanic for about 12 years and also am a master wheel builder …
Did you raced for a particular Team? The Shimano August 1986 catalog does not mention the XT-730 groupset that first appears in a Catalog in November 1986...you said you ordered the bike 1985/86 do you remember when you took possession of it? I have a mid-year 1986 Montare (May '86), that has the rear XT-730 U brake, shift levers and RD, the bike was either upgraded to these parts or was assembled late (my earliest 730 component is from November '86.

Its great you don't have any issues in that beautiful frame. Two differences between the OPs 1985 bike and yours are his doesn't has the beveled (machined) lower lip of the seat tube reinforcement and that either yours is missing one or they just placed a single seat tube NORBA decal. Now that I see your bike well, its the only 1986 Competition I've seen. Thanks for sharing detailed photos.
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Old 03-03-22, 10:31 AM
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I raced primarily in colorado during that time frame for Monarch. Mostly raced road and track. Mountain racing was still in its infancy at that time . I received the fisher I believe near the beginning of 1986. I raced with this bike for about 3 years and found mountain racing wasn’t for me so stuck to the road .
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Old 03-04-22, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by fhaas
The blue prints I know Matt Teesdale had a set and posted a photograph of it. I can always email him and ask to send it to me. Tom didn’t make notes on assembly, just sometimes tubing lengths or angle changes. Many would have coffee stains on them from Tom putting his cup on them and studying them. Fisher didn’t send us many blueprints in the early days it wasn’t till they got computerized and had in house engineers designing the bikes. Probably 1987. I visited Fisher after they had moved into their new shop in 86/87 and rode around Mt. Tam for a week.
Frank Haas, White Salmon, WA
Hi Frank, I have to bother you with more questions, I hope is alright. You mentioned frame building and sometimes painting was the work at Teesdale's shop (I don't know what to call it). So I assume you built frames, forks and perhaps some bars as these were painted in the color of the bikes. Painting the bikes also means you may have stamped the serial number under the BB. So maybe you can comment on the following. The early 1984 bikes made by Ritchey had a different frame code. That is A (Everest), B (MT Tam) and C (Competition) in Ritchey bikes versus E (Everest), T (MT Tam), C (Competition) in Teedsale's bikes. So this may or not be enough to distinguish Ritchey vs Teesdale frames with the exception of Competition bikes that remain C. But there was a short series of 1984 (I believe) bikes that may have been for racing only or not. This series of bikes has an S in front of the C, do you remember these stamps and of any other stamping made by you?

Thanks!, you are an incredible resource to have
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Old 03-10-22, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Santuri32
Hi Frank, I have to bother you with more questions, I hope is alright. You mentioned frame building and sometimes painting was the work at Teesdale's shop (I don't know what to call it). So I assume you built frames, forks and perhaps some bars as these were painted in the color of the bikes. Painting the bikes also means you may have stamped the serial number under the BB. So maybe you can comment on the following. The early 1984 bikes made by Ritchey had a different frame code. That is A (Everest), B (MT Tam) and C (Competition) in Ritchey bikes versus E (Everest), T (MT Tam), C (Competition) in Teedsale's bikes. So this may or not be enough to distinguish Ritchey vs Teesdale frames with the exception of Competition bikes that remain C. But there was a short series of 1984 (I believe) bikes that may have been for racing only or not. This series of bikes has an S in front of the C, do you remember these stamps and of any other stamping made by you?

Thanks!, you are an incredible resource to have
Teesdale built frames with forks and stems for Fisher. We also did some stems for Salsa Cycles about the same time. Initially fillet brazed and clamp-on to fit the stubs brazed into a fork steering tube. I don’t remember building any Bull moose bars at all. I remember brazing up some quill stems for Gary as well as I have 1 or 2 quill stems at home still new unused, I built for myself. So, there was a transition period as we went from clamp-on stem to quill production. I didn't paint many stems myself. I believe Cathy did when she took over painting from Tom. They were yellow. Red or blue and some black too to match the frames. By 1988 Gary used only Tig welded stems on all the bikes.

Serial numbers we stamped into the frames during production. Once the frame was brazed, fillets ground and final emery of the fillets was done. Often before we did braze-ons but not always. I remember brazing the bottom bracket cable guides with brass, you needed a good hand to install them and to not melt the main fillet and to have no finish work after. Just a quick sweating of the guides themselves. These had to be put on after the fillets were finished as they’d interfere with the handwork needed. I don’t remember if we stamped them before alignment or after.

I believe you are correct, Everests, Tams and Competitions were done with “E,T or C” in the S/N’s. We didn’t follow the Ritchey S/N’s as we didn’t know what he did or ever saw any of his bikes in Iowa. I think Gary told us what to stamp in them, but it could be Tom and he both had a say. Either way there wasn’t much information in the S/N. Just something to track the frame for warranty and sales. Frame Size, Model type and frame number. Forks were not stamped we just built batches of them in different sizes, and they were mated when painted or assembled.

You bring up stamping an “S” before a “C” in some Competitions. These could have been the team bikes we built for Joe Murray and the Fisher team one year. I don’t know what year that would have been, maybe 1984 or? I somewhat remember stamping an “SC” but not on very many bikes, maybe under 10 total. A very small run. Probably meaning something like Special Competition. These might have been the first competitions Tom built for the actual Fisher team. I’m sure we did a couple special bikes for Joe Murray himself with varying frame angles and TT lengths. Gary pretty much let him design his own bikes once he won Nationals. He and Teesdale would talk design and Tom doing a drawing of a bike or two for Joe, I’m sure it was different than a stock Competition.

Frank Haas, White Salmon, WA USA

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Old 03-10-22, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fhaas
Teesdale built frames with forks and stems for Fisher.

Serial numbers we stamped into the frames during production. Once the frame was brazed, fillets ground and final emery of the fillets was done. Often before we did braze-ons but not always. I remember brazing the bottom bracket cable guides with brass, you needed a good hand to install them and to not melt the main fillet and to have no finish work after. Just a quick sweating of the guides themselves. These had to be put on after the fillets were finished as they’d interfere with the handwork needed. I don’t remember if we stamped them before alignment or after.

...there wasn’t much information in the S/N. Frame Size, Model type and frame number...

You bring up stamping an “S” before a “C” in some Competitions. These could have been the team bikes we built for Joe Murray and the Fisher team one year. I don’t know what year that would have been, maybe 1984 or? I somewhat remember stamping an “SC” but not on very many bikes, maybe under 10 total. A very small run. Probably meaning something like Special Competition. These might have been the first competitions Tom built for the actual Fisher team.

Frank Haas, White Salmon, WA USA
Thanks for sharing these details Frank, I only know of two SC bikes SC11 reportedly Fisher's personal bike and SC5 that I include a pic of below, together with a non Team Competition bike. They have shorter stays than the non SC Competitions. I imagine non Team Competitions saw plenty racing actions as well.

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Old 03-11-22, 08:50 AM
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This is a non-TET stamped 1988 bike. The serial number follows a different format, ss/small "c"/YY/nn; 19c8810. I assume 88 is the year and 10 the serial but could Fisher have sold 8,810 Competitions bikes in 1988 when these were made in small numbers the previous years? The lubrication port on the BB is not documented on the 1988 catalog (I will double check) and does not appear in the 10/23/1988 Preliminary Spec document for the 1989 Fisher line that included the Competition which may or not have made it into production (its not in the 1989 catalog).

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Old 03-11-22, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Santuri32
This is a non-TET stamped 1988 bike. The serial number follows a different format, ss/small "c"/YY/nn; 19c8810. I assume 88 is the year and 10 the serial but could Fisher have sold 8,810 Competitions bikes in 1988 when these were made in small numbers the previous years? The lubrication port on the BB is not documented on the 1988 catalog (I will double check) and does not appear in the 10/23/1988 Preliminary Spec document for the 1989 Fisher line that included the Competition which may or not have made it into production (its not in the 1989 catalog).

I wouldn't think that would be a good way to grease sealed bearings.
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Old 03-11-22, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender
I wouldn't think that would be a good way to grease sealed bearings.
It would if they are only sealed on the outside, WTB had a similar design, there was an opening to the outside to push old grease out. Perhaps this is better thought out than what we can see... or perhaps not
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Old 03-11-22, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Markeologist

Folks who have seen my frame around Marin (I live a few blocks from original Kelly and Fisher shop in San Anselmo) think my bike is a Ritchey but Ritchey parted ways with Fisher and Kelly in 1984. I've also been told that Fisher still had a supply of Ritchey-built frames in 1985 which were decaled as Fisher MountainBikes. My bike is not marked "TT" or "TET" which identifies the Teesdale frames. The Teesdale Fisher's I have seen also don't have the fastback seat stays as found on Ritchey-built bikes. Here is my 85 Comp with fastback stays, a Fisher Comp from Pro's Closet collection also with fastback stays, and a couple of Teesdale-built Fishers with non-fastback stays...one is a Comp from the Mombat collection that they state is an 1985 with a seat stay finish seen often on 86-88 Fishers and another that I have only seen on a couple of Fisher's that looks decidedly European to me. I've also thrown in a Ritchey Comp from Vintage Mtn Bike collection with fastback seat stays for comparison. Does anybody know if there was another frame builder(s) building frames for Fisher in the transition from Ritchey to Teesdale?... or does anybody have a clearly marked Teesdale frame with fastback seat stays?
Wow it took a year but I think I can now say, your bike (OP) is a 1985 Teesdale-made Competition. Late '83 Ritchey made bikes had the rear sloping seatcluster feature, and Teesdales were straight on all Competitions 1984-88. Competitions were the most difficult to code since they remained a C frame and coded the same as Teesdale bikes (ssCnn) and Teesdale was not stamping fastback bikes but started later on 1987. It seems Teesdale made most 1984-86 bikes then other builder may have joined during later years. Nevertheless what great brazing did he made, specially in the early bikes, very nice work.
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Old 03-11-22, 02:26 PM
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So just coming back to this thread...the S-stays were clearly later than the bikes I was discussing when I started this thread. The Mombat bike has a wrong date IMHO...I think I stated so above. It doesn't have the fastback seat stays as Ritchey used and were apparently adopted by the builder(s) such as Teesdale in those transition years of 84 and 85.

Santuri32...I'm a little confused by your use of terms "rear sloping" and "straight" :

Late '83 Ritchey made bikes had the rear sloping seatcluster feature, and Teesdales were straight on all Competitions 1984-88.

Can you explain or better yet, supply some pix from your library (very nice stuff you have)?

I think Darme's bike (beautiful by the way) is an 86, the name printed on top tube being an indicator. 86 models were among the recalls too, getting the bull moose bars replaced.

My 1985 Comp (Fisher flyer with serial number dates it as such) differs from Darme's in a few areas, most specifically at the seat cluster. My bike (which I have also had since new and have done all the work on) lacks both the bevel at bottom of collar as well as the acute point at top of collar...I have a point but it is much less pronounced. My bike, like Darme's, lacks the "star" reinforcement on bottle cage bosses.

Santuri32 thanks for keeping at it and fhaas thanks for sharing your direct knowledge.

Lastly, one of Joe Murry's factory Fisher race bikes is on display at the Mountain Bike Museum in Fairfax...it says who built, I can't recall but it was neither Ritchey nor Teesdale. If I recall, it was by somebody out of Santa Rosa AND it is tig-welded not filet brazed.

Last edited by Markeologist; 03-11-22 at 03:12 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-11-22, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Markeologist

Santuri32...I'm a little confused by your use of terms "rear sloping" and "straight" :

Late '83 Ritchey made bikes had the rear sloping seatcluster feature, and Teesdales were straight on all Competitions 1984-88.

Can you explain or better yet, supply some pix from your library (very nice stuff you have)?

I think Darme's bike (beautiful by the way) is an 86, the name printed on top tube being an indicator. 86 models were among the recalls too, getting the bull moose bars replaced.

My 1985 Comp (Fisher flyer with serial number dates it as such) differs from Darme's in a few areas, most specifically at the seat cluster. My bike (which I have also had since new and have done all the work on) lacks both the bevel at bottom of collar as well as the acute point at top of collar...I have a point but it is much less pronounced. My bike, like Darme's, lacks the "star" reinforcement on bottle cage bosses.

Santuri32 thanks for keeping at it and fhaas thanks for sharing your direct knowledge.

Lastly, one of Joe Murry's factory Fisher race bikes is on display at the Mountain Bike Museum in Fairfax...it says who built, I can't recall but it was neither Ritchey nor Teesdale. If I recall, it was by somebody out of Santa Rosa AND it is tig-welded not filet brazed.
Of course it was something I wanted to learn about as you can imagine (my library has some gaps still . What I mean by downslope is that it upcurves, this was shown on the 1984 catalog/brochure and I i clipped the image below. The bottom of the seat-tube reinforcement on all Teesdale and other builders after Ritchey made these straight.

Yes, Darme's bike its an '86 scalloped and beveled seatpost as Fisher called it on the Catalog.

All the Competitions and my '85 Everest lack the "star", in the Competition this was likely to cut weight. On the 84 Everests it came but not on the '85s for some reason.

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Old 03-12-22, 05:51 PM
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This is what the BB looks like on a Fisher competition. Don’t think greasing it from an external source does anything since they are sealed bearing. If someone couldn’t take BB apart I could see them putting a zerk fitting on thinking it would be a way to lubricate BB.

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Old 03-12-22, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Darme
This is what the BB looks like on a Fisher competition. Don’t think greasing it from an external source does anything since they are sealed bearing. If someone couldn’t take BB apart I could see them putting a zerk fitting on thinking it would be a way to lubricate BB.

Hello, yes that's the same as in my '85 Everest. So those bearings come in different forms, dual side shielded (sealed), single side shielded, and un-shielded. What I was thinking is that if you use a single sided-shielded bearing and leave the open side inward you could compress grease inside at the expense of increasing weight but could keep the bearings greased from the inside un-shielded side. Since the BB on these bikes were close to the tubes that is possible on this bike. What remains to be seen is whether there was a way of pushing grease to the outside in that particular bike. I have no idea if the concept could work, buy maybe? It was likely a mod based on the WTB flushable systems of the late 80s.
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Old 03-12-22, 06:21 PM
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The seal could also be removed...
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Old 03-15-22, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Santuri32
Hello, yes that's the same as in my '85 Everest. So those bearings come in different forms, dual side shielded (sealed), single side shielded, and un-shielded. What I was thinking is that if you use a single sided-shielded bearing and leave the open side inward you could compress grease inside at the expense of increasing weight but could keep the bearings greased from the inside un-shielded side. Since the BB on these bikes were close to the tubes that is possible on this bike. What remains to be seen is whether there was a way of pushing grease to the outside in that particular bike. I have no idea if the concept could work, buy maybe? It was likely a mod based on the WTB flushable systems of the late 80s.
All the Fisher BB assemblies had two seals on the bearings. We had a Fisher special made reamer to use on the frames to remove the heat distortion caused when brazing the frames up. Gary always used green Loctite to hold the bearings in along with the C-clips. A PITA to remove them afterwards as the Loctite was semi-permanent. I still have some new unused bearings and spindles at home. Saving for a rainy day I guess.

Frank Haas, White Salmon, WA
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Old 03-15-22, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Santuri32
This is a non-TET stamped 1988 bike. The serial number follows a different format, ss/small "c"/YY/nn; 19c8810. I assume 88 is the year and 10 the serial but could Fisher have sold 8,810 Competitions bikes in 1988 when these were made in small numbers the previous years? The lubrication port on the BB is not documented on the 1988 catalog (I will double check) and does not appear in the 10/23/1988 Preliminary Spec document for the 1989 Fisher line that included the Competition which may or not have made it into production (its not in the 1989 catalog).

No Fisher I'm sure never sold 8,810 Competitions in a year, more like 300 each year.

On another note. I took a picture of a BB S/N I have on a Mt. Tam frame at home.

It has a “TY” in it. I don’t recall ever stamping one like this.

I bought this frame off ebay probably 5 years ago. Unsure if T.E.T. Cycles made it. The fork I'm 100% sure of as it has the cantilever bosses brazed and finished like I remember. The frame had the Suntour rollercam bosses removed and rear cantilevers added. Then a brush paint fix.

Ever find other Fisher bikes with a S/N like this?

Frank Haas


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Old 03-15-22, 06:33 PM
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When I overhauled my bottom bracket had to make a puller since I could not find a puller that would work. The hammer approach was not an option since the bearings had been inside frame for a long time. The internal collars on the spindle made it difficult to remover spindle from the bearings hence the spindle and the sealed had to removed at the same time.
Another option would of been using a big hydraulic press.
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Old 03-17-22, 11:32 AM
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When Gary Fisher and I assembled bikes on Tom Ritchey's frames, Gary used a 35mm socket and a ball pen hammer to install BB bearings. Tom Ritchey used an arbor press for the same operation.
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Old 03-17-22, 12:45 PM
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I still use the hammer/socket method on certain sealed bearings. I take it repak you are Charlie Kelly ???
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Old 03-17-22, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by fhaas
No Fisher I'm sure never sold 8,810 Competitions in a year, more like 300 each year.

On another note. I took a picture of a BB S/N I have on a Mt. Tam frame at home.

It has a “TY” in it. I don’t recall ever stamping one like this.

I bought this frame off ebay probably 5 years ago. Unsure if T.E.T. Cycles made it. The fork I'm 100% sure of as it has the cantilever bosses brazed and finished like I remember. The frame had the Suntour rollercam bosses removed and rear cantilevers added. Then a brush paint fix.

Ever find other Fisher bikes with a S/N like this?

Frank Haas

Frank,

I have not seen a code like that. For 1988 (or '89), there was a MT TAM Classic, since "T" was for Tam maybe a "Y" could have been used to differentiate the models. I think they varied in Geometry. Could you share its geo and a picture of the bike.
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Old 03-22-22, 11:31 AM
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Does anyone know the time line from when Fisher Bikes started to how long they produced and sold hand made frames???
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Old 03-22-22, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Darme
Does anyone know the time line from when Fisher Bikes started to how long they produced and sold hand made frames???

I'm sure the information is found in this thread but in short, Fisher MountainBikes were produced from 1984 to 1990 after that the Company was sold. During that period US hand-made frames (this might be what you are asking) were the Everest (1984-5?), Competition (1984-8), and the MT Tam (1984-9). I am not sure about Tandems but the 1989 Gemini was hand-made. The 1990 Titanium Prometheus tubing was hand-made by Sandvik, I don't know about the frame but imagine hand-made in the USA (maybe Merlin?). Someone else can tell you after 1990 better than me.

Before 1984, Fisher was with Tom Ritchey and Charles Kelly in the Company MountainBikes (1979-1982) and then in 1983 with Charles Kelly in K & F MountainBikes. During those two periods all bikes were hand-made in the US.

I am unsure if Taiwan-made frames were hand-made or if they were completely "robot"-made. But I can imagine there was some hand made work done in those as well.

Last edited by Santuri32; 03-22-22 at 02:08 PM. Reason: missed something, typos
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Old 03-22-22, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Darme
I still use the hammer/socket method on certain sealed bearings. I take it repak you are Charlie Kelly ???
Yes he is.
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