old bikes

i love looking for old bikes on ebay, if you've read any of this blog you've already figured that out i'm sure.  i love it when i find something that was extra special in it's day.  usually i was never in a position to buy those bikes back then, but today, it's at least possible.
< sometimes though, when i find something really cool, i have to wonder just how good it really is.

this is a Mantis Pro-Floater - one the best suspension bikes of the early era of suspension. handmade by Richard Cunningham in the early 90's.  it was lighter than most bikes at the time, and rode better as well.  by all accounts, it may have been the best suspension bike there was.

in the early 90's.

it was cool to find this as they are pretty rare - in the history of the BikeGuide i only ever found one for sale - but when i saw this, i couldn't help but wonder how it rides.  look at those tiny tubes, pivot points, and that noleen shock.  it all looks so fragile.

it'll have great value to collectors (well maybe not this one so much, read the auction and you'll find that it's broken!) looking to get what they couldn't get back in the day, but i doubt anyone is buying this because they intend to built the best trail bike they can.  or at least i hope they aren't doing that.  i'd think that even an entry-level bike from Rocky or Devinci would be so much better that the Mantis would be laughable by comparison.

or would it?

would nearly 20 years of advancement in frame tube shaping and stiffness, suspension damping, and pivot bearings trump Cunnigham's innate ability to build a great bike?  

i'd love to find out, so please send me an old Mantis, and a new Rocky, and i'll devise some scientific testing to come up with an answer for you.



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