1996 Bontrager Privateer Comp

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Couch tater

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I'm normally not real interested in mountain bikes due to the general lack of mountains and off road opportunities around here. When this one popped up for sale locally as a parts bike though, I snagged it quick. It's an XL size which is what I ride. 100% handmade in the USA, tig welded, cromoly framed goodness. It is much better than a parts bike. With half an hours work it could be out tearing up trails. I've been learning what I can about Bontrager bikes and think I made a massive score at $50.00. I'm setting it aside for the winter deep freeze to clean up and recondition.


20221004_124128.jpg
 
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Very cool pre-Trek, pre-component house brand! Great find!
 

Captain Awesome

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I'm normally not real interested in mountain bikes due to the general lack of mountains and off road opportunities around here. When this one popped up for sale locally as a parts bike though, I snagged it quick. It's an XL size which is what I ride. 100% handmade in the USA, tig welded, cromoly framed goodness. It is much better than a parts bike. With half an hours work it could be out tearing up trails. I've been learning what I can about Bontrager bikes and think I made a massive score at $50.00. I'm setting it aside for the winter deep freeze to clean up and recondition.


View attachment 211833
Wow, what a score. Looks all original except for the seat pedals and grips. I see SIS and Deore on there
 

Couch tater

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These bikes have a cult following it seems. There is a 79 page thread at MTBR on Bontrager bikes. From what I have read so far, this bike stickered around $1700 when new. I don't know much about this ones history other than it most recently survived a year as a college campus transporter.
 

Couch tater

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Ditch the boat anchor shock for a suspension corrected (80mm) rigid fork.
I haven't done anything with this bike besides ponder which direction I want to go with it. I am leaning toward rigid fork, single speed, light weight urban assault bike.

The suspension is seized. I looked at the Steed spring conversion but don't think I would be happy with it. One problem I am probably going to run into is Bontrager designed his own raked fork crown to work with the frame geometry and it is a 1" steerer.
 

MattiThundrrr

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I've been learning what I can about Bontrager bikes
To learn about the bikes, learn about the guy.
BontragerWine.jpg

"Good bikes and parts do not come from following fads. Bike parts are tools. Not fashion statements.”
And his most famous bike building quote:
"Strong, light, cheap... Pick two"

 

Couch tater

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To learn about the bikes, learn about the guy.
View attachment 212433
"Good bikes and parts do not come from following fads. Bike parts are tools. Not fashion statements.”
And his most famous bike building quote:
"Strong, light, cheap... Pick two"

I've read up about him and watched a few You Tube videos of him and feel fortunate to have scored this bike. Bontrager is the real deal. Vintage mountain bikes of this caliber are a real scarcity around here. I want to keep all of the character of this bike intact while also setting it up for my local riding conditions. I don't speak mountain bike fluently so a learning curve is in order.
 

Couch tater

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It'll take some fishing to find a Bontrager fork, but there may be other options that'll work. Lots of old 1" steerer threaded MTB forks still out there. I have at least a dozen looking for an eventual home.
I've seen the Kona Project 2 forks are a popular swap for these frames but they are as scarce as OG Bontrager forks it seems. There is one OG Bontrager fork on Ebay but it is priced way outside the range of my interest.

Another option I can explorer is to rebuild the Quadra. I have a small wood lathe and could machine a frozen elastomer rod to replace the originals. Probably not the top option but it is doable.

My one and only mountain bike I've previously owned was a Cannondale F600 with a Headshok fork. I was real happy to sell that bike when it was time to service the fork. I was starting to get an MTB fork horror flashback but it should be much easier to figure out a solution for the Bontrager.
 

Tallbikeman

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These bikes have a cult following it seems. There is a 79 page thread at MTBR on Bontrager bikes. From what I have read so far, this bike stickered around $1700 when new. I don't know much about this ones history other than it most recently survived a year as a college campus transporter.
Bought a nice 1980's Nishiki Sebring in the 69cm size. Fits me fine but more to the point it had a long history as a college campus transporter bike. The front fork, though useable, had been damaged and had a dimpled fork. I got the whole bike for $35, found a replacement fork and have been riding it ever since. In my opinion if you are not off road racing then it is a toss up as to whether these older suspension front forks are worth the effort and expense. You should be able to replace the front suspension fork with something like a Surly suspension corrected unsuspended front fork. As noted all suspension forks need regular maintenance. Good luck with whatever solution you end up choosing.
 

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