Battle VR Mac strut: In 1996 full-suspension bikes were starting
to be available complete for about the same price as a boutique
hand-made frame. But, the Battle VR wasn’t one of those bikes.
This bike was hand-built from hand-welded aluminum with a
MacPherson-strut suspension design that included elegantly
machined components. The suspension details were handled by
a 1.5-inch stroke Fox Alps shock and Manitou Mach 5 fork. The
bike was also available in a wide array of colors to, as we said,
“give it soul.”
McMahon Boomshaka swing link: McMahon Cycles was always
surfing the technological mountain bike wave. When titanium
bikes reigned supreme, Steve McMahon’s frames were among the
best you could buy. When CNC components emerged, McMahon
offered a full lineup of whittled brakes and other anodized must-haves. In 1996 it was suspension bikes McMahon focused his
energy on. The Boomshaka sported 2. 75 inches of rear-wheel travel
with a swing-link suspension design. The aluminum frame used
beefy aluminum tubes that made it look futuristic for its time. ❏
Moot’s YBB Micro rear suspension: Moots mountain bikes are
true Colorado natives, welded in Steamboat Springs to this day.
The YBB was a very unique design that used a small spring in
the wishbone seatstays to eke out less than an inch of travel. The
design also used a small “high-tech copper spacer” to hold the
spring in place. If you ever took the spring apart, you’d find out
that the spacer was actually just a penny.
Ted Wojcik’s Mac strut: You may not be familiar with the Wojcik
name, but Ted was one of the world’s finest frame builders in the
’90s, known for the neat-as-a-pin welds on his beautiful hardtails.
In 1996 he ventured into the suspension world by making steel
front triangles and mating them to aluminum rear ends built by
Battle bikes. The MacPherson-strut design sported 3 inches of
rear-wheel travel that felt slightly harsh for lighter riders, but the
bike pedaled remarkably well. The razor-sharp handling was better
suited to the finesse riders in the MBA test group, and the bike
was hard to beat on fast-paced, long-distance treks.