In a previous life when I worked in a bike-shop in Edinburgh (sometime around 1990/91 I think), top end drool-worthy bikes came mostly from small independent US brands. We didn’t get a lot of these bikes in and we sold even less, most to staff at discount prices. There were 3 frames that stick in my mind more than others. The Yeti FRO, the Salsa ala Carte and the Mountain Goat Whiskey Town Racer.
The Salsa’s still available and although has been changed quite significantly over the years, still remains fairly true to it’s steel roots.
Yeti as a brand has changed hands a number of times but still exists and probably maintains a higher profile now than it did then. Yeti are now probably known more in the Freeride/Downhill circles rather than in the cross-country field was where most pro racers were riding and getting exposure back then. I’m pretty sure the FRO (For Racing Only) isn’t around any more, the ARC is probably the current frame that’s most in the spirit of the FRO.
Jeff Lindsay who owned and started Mountain Goat Cycles eventually gave up building bikes sometime around 1993 and went back to what he did before building bikes which was building glass making tools. And so the Mountain Goat was gone for good.
Or so we all thought!
First Flight Bicycles (with the approval of Jeff Lindsay) have restarted the Mountain Goat brand and plan to offer some stock frames as well as offering a custom programme. Lots of details can be found at the First Flight website.
Of real interest I think is the fact that of the 3 frames being offered, one is a 29er. I find it interesting that there was enough demand for this. Is it maybe that people are looking to go back to hardtail steel roots, but find it hard to justify when they have that really expensive full suspension bike for everyday riding. Somehow, by buying a 29er, it’s easier to justify as an addition to their bike collections rather than a replacement. I have a sneaky suspicion that the main reason for purchase is the fact that it’s a handbuilt steel hardtail, the fact it’s a 29er is secondary. Just my thoughts. Anyway I can’t wait to see one of the ‘new’ frames and I hope that its a worthwhile excercise for the folks at First Flight
Currently playing in iTunes: Too Far Gone by Neil Young