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The Unknown Frame
#1
My latest.

I picked up the frame on Ebay, I'm not exactly sure what it is, the sticker says "Swatch" on one side, "CHRONO" on the other. However, the frame tubes are Tange Prestige Ultrastrong, so I thought it must be reasonably good frame and probably quite light. I particularly liked the fact that it had top tube cable routing and jad a 1-1/8 head tube, so I could use a threadless headset.

It's a bit of a strange colour, looks like it was originally a deep purple, but has faded to an odd pink, but if I like how it rides I might get it powder coated a nice metallic green, or maybe a bright orange, not sure yet. In order to try it out I've built it up using some new parts and some old parts from a 1990 Marin Pine Mountain. The chainset, wheels and gears are from the. The bars stem, seatpost, saddle and brakes and headset are all new or new-ish.

I've been out on it a few times and after some messing about with some different stem lengths I'm really happy with it now. I didn't build it with weight in mind, but it's reasonably light, around 26lbs as it is here:

[Image: UK01.jpg]

[Image: UK02.jpg]

[Image: UK03.jpg]

[Image: UK04.jpg]

[Image: UK05.jpg]

[Image: UK06.jpg]

[Image: UK07.jpg]

[Image: UK08.jpg]

[Image: UK09.jpg]

[Image: UK10.jpg]
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#2
looks cool! you have some of my favorite stuff on it for sure
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#3
Hey xerxes. Here is a bit of info that you might find useful in your research if my brain is still half in my head... long time ago...
Swatch was a Swedish Watch and Cronograph company that came to the limelight back in the mid-1990's. When Mountain Biking was first introduced as an Olympic Sport in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia USA, Swatch went full-throttle with advertising and sponsorship of riders. Hans 'No-Way' Rey, the infamous trials rider for GT Bicycles, was one of the first to brag on it. I think a few other MTB greats also were cut in on the deal. At that time, I remember seeing 'Swatch' promo branded stuff everywhere. Even down to inexpensive sunglasses at the beer store. Made me wonder.
I'm inclined to think that you are in posession of a very rare Promo bicycle. Swatch didn't do anything half-arsed as they were desperately seeking dominance in the Outdoor Sporting Goods market. They made quality stuff but, for one or more reasons, the marketing guys didn't make it work.
That bike has 1994 written all over it, if you ask me. It's not uncommon for a Mfr to use old parts to mfr limited runs of bikes. It would make sense for Swatch to hire a big bike co to produce some bikes using up old inventory at a good price.
Not to say it is so, but, that frame appears to have the typical geometry of a Giant manufactured frame. To me, it looks like an Iguana of that era with upgraded parts. By 1996 there was no Deore gruppo. It had been broken up into STX-RC, Deore LX and Deore XT.
Also, that front hub is not Parralax which Shimano had already gone to on all MTB groups by '96.
The thumb-shifters also point to using up old inventory. By 1996 RapidFire was all the rage.
I may be totally wrong but, whatever, you have a very interesting specimen that looks totally authentic to me!
Besides the BioPace rings, want to know what the kicker is? It's those Leather straps on the toe clips. I like Nylon Cows because they are Politically Correct. Not.
IMHO - keep it as is until you know fer sher what you have. It might be worth more than an Elvis Presley record.
Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
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#4
@Rob - Wow very interesting story! Love reading about bike history Big Grin .

@xer - This is VERY impressive workmanship on the shine job my friend!!!

EDIT - How do the Biopace feel from regular rings? Do they make a difference in your opinion or anyone else?
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#5
(08-26-2012, 02:53 AM)RobAR Wrote:  Hey xerxes. Here is a bit of info that you might find useful in your research if my brain is still half in my head... long time ago...
Swatch was a Swedish Watch and Cronograph company that came to the limelight back in the mid-1990's.

Hi Rob, I'm familiar with the Swatch brand, they are actually Swiss, not Swedish Smile and still going: http://www.swatch.com/

I bought the frame alone, without even the forks, which I bought separately. Many of the compnents, wheels, chainset, mechs and shifters came from my 1990 Marin Pine Mountain, other parts are new or new-ish.

Here's the Marin a year or so ago, you can't see in the picture, but the frame is in quite a sorry state, with a lot of chips and scratches. I still have the Marin frame and may get it re-painted, not sure yet:

[Image: Marin.jpg]

The Swatch frame has similar details to my Marin, dropouts, cable stops etc. and has an identical "Made in Taiwan" sticker on the headtube. Quite a few American brand bikes, like Marin, Specialized, Trek etc. had the frames made in the far east, so I wouldn't be surprised if this was some Swatch promotional bike for which the frame was sourced form one of the same far east manufacturers that other brands were using.

The toe straps are nylon, they're not that old and the pedals are Welgo's that replaced the original Shimano pedals on the Marin as they had pretty much fallen apart.

(08-26-2012, 03:27 AM)Bill Wrote:  EDIT - How do the Biopace feel from regular rings? Do they make a difference in your opinion or anyone else?

To be honest Bill, I've never noticed the difference to standard rings. The middle ring was originally a Biopace, but when it wore out I replaced it with a standard round ring and couldn't tell any difference. The middle ring is quite worn and It's probably about time it was repaced again.
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#6
Interesting. I thought the Biopace would have a different feel to them from the description on sheldon's site, but I am glad you cleared that up for me. Thanks Smile.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#7
I remember reading that article on Sheldon's site a while back. Maybe it's something I'm just not particularly sensitive to and other people might notice the difference more.
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#8
I've had my frame powder coated:

[Image: UK11.jpg]

[Image: UK12.jpg]

[Image: UK13.jpg]

I'm delighted with the colour, the pictures don't do it justice, it's a really bright metallic lime green. Smile

I've put the bike back together and I'll take it out tomorrow and take some pictures of it complete.
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#9
Metallic Watermelon! I like!
Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
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#10
looking sweet! wanna see more pics for sure. What was the deciding factor for you to go powder coat vs. other methods?
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#11
Don't know why but I am thinking lime kool-aid Big Grin! LOVE IT!!! More pics too as requested from above,please?!?!?!?
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#12
It was fun readings RobAR rhapsody and realizing that he must have just looked at the pix and missed the text. :-)

Great info otherwise. Ye Swatch is a Swiss watch company making funky plastic watches some limited runs if untouched in original boxes can be quite valuable. Once opened and worn worth 10%. Collecting is weird. Chronos is time as in father time. Interestingly Swatch is owned by Saudi Arab Prince who now owns many of the famous watch brands under the Swatch Group. Nice to have oil wells.....

Nice job putting it together and great at 26 lbs for a MT bike.

Hope you protected threaded and tight fit areas from powder coat.Some swear by it but its hard to touch up when chipped.

BTW Guess we both use the middle cog most, I too replaced the bipace one with a round one not much difference felt going to the bipace large ring...
Never Give Up!!!
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#13
Some pictures of the bike back together:

[Image: UK14.jpg]

[Image: UK15.jpg]

[Image: UK16.jpg]

[Image: UK17.jpg]

[Image: UK18.jpg]

[Image: UK19.jpg]

Quote:What was the deciding factor for you to go powder coat vs. other methods?

Price and toughness really. Powder coat is supposedly a lot tougher than wet paint and it was quite cheap, £40.00 for frame and forks, whereas the companies I know that do stove enamelling charge £100.00 or more

All in all, really pleased with how it turned out, in the flesh it's really bright and sparkly. Smile
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#14
Very Nice. Now you need a Xerxes head badge....Maybe some frame decals. Xerxes Special. :-)

BTW great price for powder coat, lot more here in USA.........
Never Give Up!!!
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#15
(11-29-2012, 06:36 PM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Very Nice. Now you need a Xerxes head badge....Maybe some frame decals. Xerxes Special. :-)

BTW great price for powder coat, lot more here in USA.........

Cheers George.

£40.00 is a very good price here in the UK too, most places charge double that or more.

I'm not sure about badges/decals.
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#16
looks sweet! you got to find or make a head badge 'MoJo" to top it off and keep the evil spirits away. Great job, crisp and clean
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#17
Gotta say the color goes real well with those shiny moving part Wink . Fabulous job!
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#18
Hi Mate, nice restoration.
Re the Swatch sticker. Take it from me this has nothing to do with the frame whatsover. I had one of the first Swatch Scuba watches made in the mid 90"s and I also have on of those stickers which I stuck onto my Dive tub.

I am very impressed with your parts polishing efforts and I am inspired to do likewise. I am intrigued with the wheels and hubs in particular. I have an identical set of wheels from my old Chromoly Shogun Trail Breaker Pro.

My question is did you dismantle the wheels to polish the hubs? I have a few old wheels that I am planning to restore by cleaning, polishing and greasing etc. I really don't want to strip them right down as they have nice stainless spokes and are spinning true and straight, but I would really like to polish up the disgusting oxidised hubs.

Cheers, mate
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