1987 Steve Potts Custom Mountain Bike
This is an early fillet-brazed steel mountain bike frame and Type II fork with Speedmaster Rollercam brake mounts, built-in 1987 by one of the early mountain bike pioneers, Steve Potts.
The serial number on the frame is SP187130, which if we decipher, means:
‘SP’ meaning Steve Potts
‘1’ is the month number of production
‘87’ relates to the year
‘130’ is the series number of production
The frame materials are Tange Mountain Bike Tubing sets, the top tube is double-butted, whilst the seat tube is single butted with a seat tube reinforcing lug made out of American made 4130 chrome-moly tubing. Shimano's dropouts are used. All of the assembly was done with low fuming bronze and easy-flow silver solder.
The bike features a whole host of nice features. I’ll start with the Type II fork which is fabricated from a 4130 tubular crown and uses straight large diameter, thin wall, internally butted blades. The fork resonates very little after the wheel hits an irregularity on the trail and is stable under braking.
The Taper Stem is a work of art, with beautiful clean lines and with no bolts to hit your knees on. It mounts on a tapered tube, which is silver brazed into the steerer off the fork. A stainless steel fixing bolt secures the stem to the forks steerer tube.
The headset is a Wilderness Trail Bikes Grease Guard modified Chris King headset, sold exclusively by WTB. It was available in black or silver only. The Grease Guard system allows the user to purge and relubricate bearings using their Goose Grease and Gooser (grease) gun.
A Fixed Angle Seatpost, known as the FASP, was finally sourced after a long time of searching. Because they were custom made to accommodate your bikes seat tube angle, it had to be filed down to adjust my saddle angle. I was apprehensive about doing this so enlisted the help of a good friend and he executed it perfectly.
The brakes are Charlie Cunningham’s design, the Speedmaster Roller Cam. I sent them to him many years ago and he upgraded the brake pad bolt washers with original two-piece CC made steel ones, replaced the bushings with bronze ones, and he taper ground the springs. When he was working on the brakes he noticed the pad clamp bolts were titanium, typically, something that was only distributed to employees and close friends of WTB.
WTB Grease Guard hubs used the finest aluminum, machined to precise tolerances from solid billet. As mentioned above, these hubs use the same Grease Guard Component System.
Inside the FASP seatpost is a Zefal Solibloc pump which was modified by Wilderness Trail Bikes for internal fitment. The pump is held inside by friction.
Charlie also made me a set of his Slo-Release skewers, using original HiE parts with CC modified nuts and I chose the more expensive option of a titanium pin that is used to loosen and tighten the nuts.
It’s a fantastic bike and a pleasure to ride.
If you have any Cunningham or WTB components for sale, please do contact me, using the link below. Specifically for this bike, I’m looking for a WTB Flat Bar with original shim, to replace the period-correct Salsa handlebar. Also, a Cunningham Light Weight Seatpost Quick Release and a Potts or Cunningham Gooseneck/LD (Limp Dick!) stem, as it would be fun to convert it to a drop-bar setup.
If you have any comments on this article or wish to contribute, or correct me (!), on the history I’ve documented here, please contact me.