Monday, March 19, 2012

The Blu-Ner...

Charlie Cunningham's bikes have always been uniquely unique.  They are a reflection of him.  When you bought a bike from Charlie, you were buying into his methodology, his concept of what the ideal mountain bike should be.  You agreed with his thoughts on how we should treat the land.  How riding mountain bikes on single-track trails is a sign of respect for the land.  You agreed with his concept of form follows function.  His bikes performed like Swiss watches.  

Charlie's bikes did not look like every other mountain bike on the market.  A lot of them were built with drop handlebars more commonly found on road bikes.  His bikes has strange brakes that he made himself.  Charlie fiddled and modified almost every part on his personal bikes to make the part perform better.  Everything Charlie did to his bikes or parts was done for a reason relating to function.  Sometimes, that function meant that the part looked cobbled together and that turned off some people.  Some people want the same thing everyone else does.  Sheep.  

This bike represents the sheep people and their desire for a bike just like every other balloon tired bike available in 1982.  The story goes that this bike was requested to have more in common with other mountain bikes at the time.  It also sports more subdued decals compared to the tradition large, Helvetica "Cunningham" that adorns most other top tube.  Virtually all of Charlie's frames were unpainted.  The blue paint on this one was very close in color to the first year Specialized Stumpjumper.  The bike's name (the Blu-Ner is a mix of "blue" and "ballooner").  Even though the frame was made in 1982, it wasn't sold until a year or so later, hence the later components.  If this was built in 1982, it probably would have had Mafac tandem cantilevers, Suntour derailleurs, and Sugino cranks.  

This bike came to me to be rebuilt with parts from the era.  The original owner had installed Shimano XTR M950 series parts.  The plan was to build the bike back up with Mafac cantis, Suntour derailleurs and shifters, Magura brake levers, and Specialized riser bar.  Between the time the bike arrived here and I got to work on it, the new owner had been in communication with the original owner and all the original components were found and sent over to me.  The bike is now complete with original parts, including cables and housing.  Only the shift cables were replaced, but the brake cables and straddle cables are original to this bike.

Blu-Ner
The bike as it arrived with XTR components.

Blu-Ner
After the original parts were reunited with the frame.

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner
Bob Reedy BMX pedals from the late '70s.

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner
Type I fork with the rare "Cunningham O Potts" decal.

Blu-Ner

Front der mod
Modified front derailleur - oversized 31.8 front derailleurs were rare in 1982.  This Suntour front derailleur has had the clamp modified to fit around a 31.8 seat tube (from its original 28.6 size) and the bolt was bent to accommodate the larger curvature.

Blu-Ner
Original Oakley B-1B grips

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner

Blu-Ner

(What's playing:  Raul Malo Every Little Thing About You)

5 comments:

Bokchoi Cowboy said...

Thanks for posting this Mike. Nice to see another style of bike that Charlie built. Amazing detail. It does look quite like a Stumpjumper of that era, but when you look at the craftmanship and details one could tell even though this is meant to look like a "sheep" bike, it is very special.

bubba said...

That 4-bolt stem is fantastic.

Jake Hess said...

When ever I have the urge to look at bikes that are absolutely perfect in their own way, all I need to do is check out your blog.

j

Anonymous said...

:-)
Nice to see this again.
I was the proprietor of the Bicycle Express and sold this to the original owner. Man, those were the days! ;-)
~GM~

blackmountaincycles said...

Thanks for the note, GM. Really glad you got to check it out again so many years later.
Mike