Pass'Portes is 20 years old: nuggets from a vintage MTB gallery ⋆ Vojo

Pass'Portes is 20 years old: nuggets from a vintage MTB gallery ⋆ Vojo

Pass'Portes du Soleil celebrates its 20th anniversary this year! What has now become one of the most popular events in the mountain biking world is celebrating its anniversary with an exhibition of vintage downhill bikes, tracing the evolution of gravity mountain biking over the past two decades. Vojo takes you to discover these gems:

At the head of this vintage mountain bike show celebrating the 20th anniversary of Pass'Portes is Pierre-Adrien Auffret. Passionate about the Sunn brand at first, he started his collection with bikes from the St-Gaudens brand like the Team Chipie replica he holds here in his hands.

After that, he geared his group a little more toward incline bikes and other “gravity” practices. ” Many collectors are more XC oriented. I also love them a lot and have some of them too, but being a BMX person and always really loving DH, over the years I have collected some nice pieces that marked their era, as well as some accessories and frame plates from the 20 editions of Pass'Portes to associate with the event. »

The hardest part is choosing! I was limited by the space in my truck for the transport to Chatel (I came from Brittany), otherwise I would have taken more. In my selection, I tried to use bikes that are legendary and/or allow us to show the evolution of DH over the years, with increasingly technological bikes. Pierre Adrien explains.

Exactly, let's check out the nuggets!

GTLT SDH – 1995

Here we are at the beginning of bikes and accessories designed (slightly) specifically for downhill riding. ” But it still had a lot in common with the XC bikes of the time. Pierre Adrien explains. The frame is identical to the »

We also note that the brakes are simple cantilever (Shimano XTR all the same). The wheels were equipped with the widest rims Mavic produced at the time, and with ceramic sidewalls for improved stopping power. Michelin DH tires, on the other hand, were well designed for training and were one of the only “gravity” pieces of equipment at the time.

We also notice the fantastic GT TechShop single-chainring crankset, which was only offered as a separate accessory at the time, and this bike's STM anti-roll system which is an almost exact replica of the one with which Nicolas Vouilloz won his world title in 1995 at MetaBev.

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GTLT SDH – 1997

We take almost the same thing and start over! The changes to the frame are subtle (look at the curved seat tube for example) but the GT LTS frame became dedicated to downhill riding in 1997 and now has 100mm of travel. This is a turning point: we started developing products that were more specific to the sport.

This is also noticeable in terms of equipment. Most noticeable is the RockShox Judy DHO fork, the predecessor to the Boxxer, which has a double crown while remaining small 28mm stanchions, but adopts a large diameter through-axle. The RockShox shock absorber uses an advanced coil spring, also developed specifically for downhill riding. These colors are reminiscent of RockShox’s latest gravity products, which remain proud of their roots.

Another big development is the move to disc brakes! The frame still has attachment points for V-Brakes and the disc hanger is a simple accessory that bolts onto the frame. But still! Hope is a leader in this area.

GTS TS Lupo DH – 1998

The development this time is astonishing with the GT STS Lobo, a true monster car developed specifically for downhill that still impresses today. Its thermoplastic frame with aluminum reinforcements became iconic and is a perfect example of the emergence of competitive downhill racing at the end of the 1990s.

Travel increases to 180 mm with a specific suspension with “pulled” shock absorbers. Also note the “floating” disc brake caliper to avoid interfering with the suspension. The bike deviates slightly from the “catalog” kit (at RockShox) to fit the massive Marzocchi Monster that features 36mm diameter divers. This may seem commonplace today, but it was a big novelty at the time.

Special tires for the disc brakes appear, accompanied by new wider and more massive Michelin tires, the legendary DH16 and DH24. Finally, we also note the specific anti-yaw system manufactured by AC, an equipment manufacturer with whom GT cooperated extensively during this period.

Radical Sun + – 1998

No, it's not just a GT show, there were plenty of bikes from other brands, don't worry! Here's the Sunn Radical+, another legendary DH bike from the late 90s. It came from the “series” version and not one of the prototypes driven by Nico Vouilloz or Anne-Caroline Chausson, but all the same!

The suspension system, designed by Olivier Bossard, was also inspired by motorcycles. It uses a specific Showa shock, and the Obsys inverted fork was also developed by BOS. As we can see, this bike has been the subject of a lot of R&D work for the practice.

Specialization FSR DH – 1999

Pass'Portes is 20 years old: nuggets from a vintage MTB gallery ⋆ VojoSpecialization has always been around in DH, and this FSR model has gone down in history thanks to the eccentric Shaun Palmer, a true rock star of downhill, who contributed to the development of the discipline as much through his riding as through his prolific off-road style. His bike was one of the first to be this tall and have more reclined angles.

Note the many adjustment possibilities at the shock absorber mounting points to change the suspension action and/or geometry depending on the track. Yes, even back then, this happened! The travel is 200 mm. Up front, there is the fantastic Manitou X-Vert Triple fork, which features carbon blades. On the other hand, the divers remain only 30 mm in diameter.

The rest of the equipment is quite classic, with a Shimano XTR transmission, but we notice the presence of Hayes disc brakes, which were very popular in DH at the time, as well as the first Mavic Deemax and Maxis DH tires in yellow.

Giant ATX One – 1999

Even if “banana” suspension was common on XC bikes of the time, the Giant ATX One is also a DH bike whose shape and colors defined its era. The front triangle combines the “beam” structure of the upper part and the reinforced “bar” structure of the lower part. It was privately piloted by Miles Rockwell.

The fork is a RockShox Boxxer, the first version of which was introduced a year ago. Also look at the first generation Magura Gustav M brakes, which were among the first with 4 pistons. A fun nod to the times as the German brand has just introduced the latest version of the Gustav!

Tomac 204 Magnum – 1999

John Tomac’s team wasn’t as successful as its illustrious creator, but his bikes were true works of art. This is evident in the 204 Magnum DH with its impressive frame and motocross-inspired single-link suspension, designed with Doug Bradbury, the “father” of the Manitou brand.

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The fork is a stunning, upside-down Manitou Dorado fork, with 200mm of travel. The stem is MRD (Manitou Racing Development) specific and Pierre Adrian had to buy a whole other bike to finally find it and get the perfect setup for his 204 Magnum.

This is an opportunity to highlight the enormous research work needed to reassemble these bikes in a cohesive manner and in keeping with their time. ” Often, there is a lot of restoration work that needs to be done to return the instrument to its natural form, and sometimes it takes years of patience to find all the period parts. Especially in DH where the bikes were almost prototypes for sale and some equipment was produced in a very small number of copies. A bike is rarely completely finished, there is always a small part missing somewhere until the assembly is perfect. Pierre Adrien explains.

Castle DH Team – 2001

We go back to the 2000s with the brand new Kästle Team DH, never ridden before! It stands out for its aluminium perimeter frame and single-arm suspension, a kind of evolution of the path opened by Sunn and then also taken by Ancillotti and Sintesi.

He rode with Marzocchi Shiver, who replaced Monster in DH competition and who entered the reverse position.

The eye is also drawn to the Race Face DH crankset and the second generation Magura Gustav M brakes with their famous yellow levers.

GTD High Team – 2002

And we end as we began with a GT car! You must understand that Pierre Adrien is particularly fond of this brand, which has already had a lot in the history of DH. This is the DHi team from 2002.

Its appearance is very simple, and its suspension actually hides the ingenious iDrive system. It is a “floating” bottom bracket kinematic, developed by GT to combine the advantages of a unilateral rear arm (constant chain length, good performance), without the disadvantages (preventing hanging when getting out of the saddle).

The visit is over, but if you'd like to continue the discussion, you can find Pierre-Adrien and thousands of other VTT vintage enthusiasts on the VTT Vintage – Old School group that launched it several years ago on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1743475722533650/buy_sell_discussion

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