Foes LTS 1994 | GMBN Tech Retro Pro Bike | GMBN Retro Week

Foes LTS 1994 | GMBN Tech Retro Pro Bike | GMBN Retro Week


– Seeing as it’s retro week over on GMBN, I thought on GMBN Tech
we’d do a bike check on a retro mountain bike, in this case a Foes LTS,
dating back to 1994. Let’s check this bad boy out. (upbeat rock music) (upbeat pop music) As with all bike checks, we’ll start at the heart of the bike so of course we’re
looking at the frame here. It’s a very unique looking
frame and quite futuristic, even by today’s standards,
let alone back to 1994 when this was first
available on the market. Now this frame hails from the USA and it’s made by Brent
Foes or Foes Fabrications. Now the whole thing with
this was Brent had a history in off-road truck racing and had to go and basically put the
suspension on a mountain bike, at the time when half the bike industry still hadn’t got their heads around having front suspension on and this thing’s got a
whopping 150 millimeters or six inches of rear wheel travel on the back via this single pivot. Now the most exciting thing is the flying V shape of
the front triangle here, if you could call it a triangle. So you’ve got a regular head
tube, a regular seat tube, and two semi-monocoque pieces that are welded down the middle. Now you might also notice it’s
got a hole at the front here. It’s not just for looking cool, it’s actually to pull
the two sides together to give the structure a
bit more rigidity up front. It’s got quite a high
single pivot on here, although it still sits, as you can see, quite along the chain line there, so actually in theory, it
should pedal quite well. Now, having a single pivot does mean some very simplified frame design and it can be stiff,
resilient and work quite well. It’s based around the Fox Alps 4 Shock, which is a classic emulsion design shock, although this particular orientation isn’t working its best,
as you might imagine, by today’s standards. Now you might notice the
cockpit end of the bike is very different to
what we’re used to today. We’re used to sitting in
a nice wide berth control and a nice short stem, and
nice twitchy, agile handling. Complete opposite here. Because the bike is much shorter, you’ve got a longer stem to
keep your position correct, essentially, and you’ve
got a much narrower bar. The stem in question is
135 millimeters long, which wasn’t actually
super long back then. It used to go up to about 150 millimeters, if you can imagine that thing. It’s an Answer ATAC, quite
a classic piece of kit. The bar itself is also made by Answer, it’s called the HyperLite, because it was a very light weight bar, and that’s just 540 millimeters wide. Now, you’ll notice it’s got some anodized brake levers on here. These are Dia-Compe SS7’s, or actually they might be SS7 mockups because they look very similar to them, but I can’t be sure if
they’re real ones or not. They look like it’s been
drilled out on the clamps here to save a bit of weight, which is something we
used to do quite heavily back in the 90’s, as well
as drilling out cranks, which is, use your common sense, a pretty terrifying thing to do. In addition to that, you might notice that the shifters are very different too, so it’s using a grip style shifter. These aren’t what we used to sit in, these are actually made by Sachs. They’re called the Sachs Wavy and you’ve got a pair of
Yeti handlebar grips, which use to leave Yeti,
Yeti in your hands. Now up to the front end of the bike here, and first thing to say is
this RockShox Judy fork only has 75 millimeters to travel so a bit imbalanced if you
consider it’s got 150 out back. Now, before we get into the fork, I’d like to talk about the headset which is a Dia-Compe headset. Now Dia-Compe these days, you would know them as
Cane Creek of course. Now the A headset was
the first one of its kind where the stem actually
clamped onto the steerer tube rather than having a quill design that used to go onto the
inside of the steerer tube and in those older steerer tube designs, the steerer tube itself
was actually threaded and the headset would screw onto that. It was a much heavier system, so this saved a lot of weight
off the front end of a bike. Dia-Compe was the first
company to do this, and although this one doesn’t
have a standard cap on the top the original ones actually
had plastic top caps on them and the reason for that was because they didn’t have
cartridge bearings at the time, they had regular cup and cone bearings, and you could easily over
pre-load the bearings, damaging the headset, so they had these breakaway caps fitted so if you did over-tighten it,
the cap would simply crack. Pretty cool idea back then,
but of course now these days, we’re much more used to
using cartridge bearings which are much more
reliable for long term use in our headset. Now the RockShox Judy DH was a
phenomenal fork for its time, running on springs and MCU
elastomers on the inside. It was a very basic fork, but yet it managed to be very
popular in the early days. You might have been used
to seeing these in Judy Red but this particular one is black and it’s got the Foes
Fab stickers or decals running down the fork legs. Now, at the time, obviously running 150
mil of travel out back and 75 on front was a bit imbalanced, and actually when you ride
this, it doesn’t feel too bad but Brent wasn’t actually happy with this and he also wasn’t happy
with the rate at which the bike industry was developing, so he actually later set
out to design his own fork, which was known as the Foes F1. That was a twin crown fork,
with adjustable compression and rebound damping. Absolutely phenomenal, and he
also had to build his own hub to go with that at the time, which later went onto this very bike. Now you might notice it’s
got gray tires on here, so these are Tioga Psycho II Tires. Now the original Psycho was
a John Tomac signature tire. He also used to used them
in a butterscotch color, which is incredibly soft and one of the earliest soft compound rubber tires available. The downside to them is the nobble sometimes used to simply tear off. They later made the Psycho II. They got slightly more predictable
shoulder pattern on them but the same classic chevron tread on the top of the tire there. Little bit of tire history for you. The wheels themselves are
Bontrager Weinmann rims. Bontragers used to be an
independent brand, back in the 90s and the hubs made by Ringle. Absolutely sought after, beautiful works of purple, anodized art. Now, unlike today’s bikes
where we’re used to seeing powerful and predictable disk brakes, we were stuck with
cantilevers back in the 90s. Now if you look carefully on this bike, you’ll notice it’s a bit mismatched. There’s a V brake on the back that isn’t a period brake. The Scott Self-Energizing
Brakes that were on the back actually had a crack in
them, so I had to remove that and fit an XTV brake in order to use this on that retro versus
modern shoot over on GMBN. But that front has got a
classic Suntour XC Brake, so it’s a regular cantilever design, relying on soft compound pads to actually grip onto the rim, and of course just mechanical leverage to give you the braking power as such, of which it didn’t have much back then. Now down to the back end of the bike. Firstly, I just have to draw attention to the same of the frame once more. Note how the top tube almost slopes down the opposite way to the
bikes we ride today. Completely different in styling, yet it still manages, I think,
to look quite futuristic. The back end, of course, big
single pivot back on here leading you down to the rear hub. The rear hub is also made by Ringle, and although they did make cassette hubs, this is actually a classic screw on block. Kind of what we had to run back then, before the advances of Shimano bringing in hyperglide systems which used the classic
cassette style design that we’re used to today. Now the screw on hubs, unfortunately, they just weren’t quite as good as what we’re lucky enough to have today because they didn’t
have the bearing support on the freehub side of the wheel. The freehub body screwed on, and you only had two bearings. Were actually offset to the
left hand side of the bike, or the non-drive side, so really you’re quite more prone to actually breaking rear
axles than you are today with a much better system
because there’s four bearings spread across that axle. Although XTR M900 Rear
Derailleur is seen on this bike, which had eight speed at the time, this is actually running seven speed. You had the ability to do it back then ’cause the spacing was the
same between the gears. Now I’m sure whoever
owned this bike originally would loved to have had
the full eight speed on it, but clearly this is what they chose and that’s another good point
to bring with any retro bike. In this era, everyone was
vying to have their bike look the most custom, look the trickest. You might notice there’s a lot of purple anodizing on this bike, which some people are
actually offended by, but being a child of the era, when I couldn’t afford these bikes, I think it looks absolutely amazing. I’ve got to say this
stuff was never as good as the real deal from Shimano. They managed to nail it first time round with everything they did and I think they largely
do that still today. Now these days we’re
much more used to having a one by-transmission on bikes, but back then because you had
limited gears on the back, you used to have to have a
triple chain set up front. Now here you’ve got 24,
34 and a massive 46. Now this bike actually used to be raced for downhill back in the day, and people used to ride
up to 50, 40 chainrings. Can you imagine trying to
spin out one of those things? How fast you’d be going
on a bike like this? That’s absolutely bonkers. The cranks though, more importantly, made by Cook Brothers,
absolutely stunning. They were on a shopping
list, like a want list, for everyone back in the 90’s and they still look just
as nice now, I reckon. Now back in the 90’s, the
saddle to have, no doubt, was the Selle Italia Flite. Now this is a slightly different model, and a bit more lurid, but
it’s kind of acceptable because this one is a Nitrox, which is the Missy
Giove signiture edition, as you can see by the graphics on the top and the kevlar shoulders on there, which is designed to be a little bit tough when you fell off the bike because the kevlar of course, wouldn’t tear when you bashed it around. Kind of a bit minging, and
kind of cool at the same time. The post though, is quite interesting, because this is made by USE, also known as Ultimate Sports Engineering. British company used to make posts in 420 and 330 mil options, but the
posts were always the same size 27.2 in diameter. Very simple and you
just used to have a shim to make them compatible with your frame. Nice and simple, highly sought
after, and they look cool. There we go. Hope you enjoyed this retro bike check. If there’s anything else you want to know about this bike, or
you’ve got any requests for other retro bikes for me
to get your bike checked on, let us know in those comments down there. If you want to see me riding
this bike, click down here, and if you want to see some of the stuff that’s going over on GMBN’s
Retro Week, click up there. As always, don’t forget to give us a huge thumbs up here at GMBN Tech, and don’t forget to click
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