January 25th 2014
This ’91 Fisher Montare was advertised as ‘Black Mountain Bike’. A couple of hours drive down the coast and I picked it up for $60 (about UK£31). The seller was a teenage lad, who told me his girlfriend’s dad had given him the bike.
Judging by the amount of crap that came off it, I don’t think this old bike had seen soapy water or a degreaser for some time. A quick wash revealed the paint was in pretty good condition for a 23-year old bike (if a bit dull in a few places). The components are mostly all there – the Deore drivetrain looks original (apart from one non-Deore shifter), as do the brakes, levers, stem, super-rare 1 and 1/4 inch copper-coloured headset, handlebar, Araya RM-20 rims, skewers and DX hubs, and maybe even the Kalloy seatpost.
The shithouse mis-matched tyres are dry and crumbling, the seat is an old mattress, it has cheapo Cannondale resin pedals, bar ends as long as your arm (and wrapped in handlebar tape), and reflective tape is wrapped around the frame and fork. One thing I’ve noticed about Aussie bikes – they’re covered in reflective tape, and cycle computers.
Fisher only made this distinctive elevated chainstay (e-stay) design in ’91 and ’92. (The designer is the same guy who designed the Alpinestars e-stay bikes.) The shorter wheelbase helping it climb like a mountain goat. The curved seat tube means the front mech has to be attached to a braze-on bracket, which is prone to cracking. Thankfully this one is OK.
The frame has since been cleaned up using 0000 grade steel wool drenched in WD40 and gently wiped over the paintwork. This takes a fraction off the clearcoat, leaving a smooth finish. I then applied Meguairs Ultimate Compound with a slightly damp sponge, and let it dry to a haze before buffing it to a high shine, which was sealed with a regular car wax.
I’ve sourced many new old stock parts for this bike – a genuine Fisher leathertail saddle, a mint Gary Fisher stem (the original was corroded) and, after 8 months of searching and begging on forums, I tracked down and bought an unused pair of original fitment Fisher FatTrax tyres. The inner cups of both hubs were worn inside, so they’ve been replaced with new old stock Deore DX and re-laced into the original Araya rims with new DT Swiss 14 gauge spokes.
There are a few things still to do, but this lovely old Fisher should be finished in time for summer.