Posts Tagged ‘rosspeat’

Retro bikes – Marin Mount Vision

1999 Marin Mount Vision

1999 Marin Mount Vision.

Ross Peat sold off his Marin Mount Vision a couple of months ago. The former UYCC captain and recent energy-gel addict pleaded a ‘lack of space’ as the reason for sale in the ad – but clearly, the thing had to go.

Back in the day, Ross was the organisational lynchpin of the bike club. He was head honcho when I turned up in Goodricke carpark in October 1998 for my first ever ride, and was generally adept in and out of the saddle. To be honest, without him at the wheel, it’s hard to see how our motley crew would have gone riding at all. Always a calm head in a crisis, Ross was expert at weighing the benefits of riding versus, say, heading to the pub – faced with low-lying mist half a mile from the carpark, he knew when to bail.

When I first met him Ross was riding a burgundy-red Kona Explosif, a la this:

1995 Kona Explosif frame.

1995 Kona Explosif frame.

– a few models up from my old 1995 Lava Dome, and from the same classic Kona vintage. But the Explosif was stolen by some Tang Hall lowlife, and Ross was forced to purchase a new rig (after a suitable grieving period). Enter the Marin.

Clean lines: the Marin's pro flight-deck

Clean lines: the Marin's pro flight-deck.

At the time, the Marin Mount Vision was high-end cross-country full-suspension, and fairly eye-catching thanks to its M-shaped frame geometry and girder-like yellow swingarm. Furthermore it was XTR-equipped. The club was impressed.

Added value: take a second look at the Salsa seat clamp.

Added value: the Salsa quick-release seat clamp.

Over years of faifhful service, however, the once-sharp blade became dulled. 10 years after the Marin first hit the scene, I took it for a ride on an off-road social with Tom, Andy and Ross (who by then had of course upgraded to something else). From my experience riding hardtails and road bikes, riding the Marin uphill was like pedalling a canoe with a knackered drivetrain.

The bike went for £250, a ‘freakin’ bargain’ according to one happy Retrobike customer.

Off-road social

Reliving the old times: me, Tom and Andy taking in the view from Holmbury Hill.

Reliving the old times: me, Tom and Andy taking in the view from Holmbury Hill.

On Saturday, on my last chilled weekend before the sportive season closes in, I did some laid-back off-roading with some old riding buddies from the University of York Cycle Club. It was the first time I’d turned a fat tyre in anger since my Kona Muni-Mula had a Captain Oates moment on a snowy ride in Edale in November 2007. 

Tom, Andy, Ross and I have ridden together many times since we first met at York in 1998-9, from the Yorkshire Dales and Moors to the Peaks and the Lake District, and abroad to France and Slovenia. When I joined UYCC Ross was club captain; I succeeded him the year after, and Tom took over the year after me. So the day was a nostalgic reunion one decade on, a muddy festival of banter on the trails of the North Downs. 


While Andy was christening his new Trek Fuel EX 8, I took a trip back in time to ride Ross’s old Marin full-suspension. Now 10 years old, the Marin is in good nick but feels dull to ride. These days there are stiffer, lighter, more ‘XC’ full-suspension bikes available but I remain to be convinced that the way forward is anything other than hardtail. But then I’m a climber / endurance rider – I don’t need to go any faster on the downhills…

We picked a favourite route from Dorking station up through the vineyard, over Ranmore Common, down into the valley and up and over Holmbury Hill and Leith Hill before a final descent down Summer Lightning. These trails are among the best I’ve ever ridden in the UK, especially when bone dry in the summer. Tom binned it pretty badly coming down the berms from Holmbury Hill, then I stacked it first into a holly bush then into barbed wire on the singletrack further down.


Me and my shredded back.

Me and my shredded back.


Tom's generally shredded body.

We followed up the ride in style with a curry at the Indian Moment on Northcote Road, which I am now convinced is the best Indian restaurant in London. And with that, it’s getting serious. The Prince’s Risborough sportive awaits.