1986 Fat Chance mountain bike
Think you can name a vintage mountain bike that would be more fun to ride than this one? Fat Chance.
Sorry, that was the obvious introduction for this 1986 mountain bike. I had to type it, I had no choice.
By the mid ‘80’s Chris Chance had been building custom bikes for almost a decade. It was the mountain bike boom that cemented his place in the bike world though, as Chris was one of the first East-coast bike guys to really embrace the dirt and make high-end and custom frames for off-road.
Thirty years ago this bike was equipped as you see it in the top photos. There were Shimano Deore thumbshifters, the big ratcheting ones that preceded Shimano’s indexed “click” shifters. It had The Shimano Deore “deer head” derailleurs, Sakae cranks, a Tange Levin headset, Suntour XC “beartrap” pedals, Magura motorcycle brake levers mated to Suntour brakes. Of course the set-up in 1986 was a roller-cam brake for the rear wheel and a cantilever for the front. There were foam grips, a Hite-Rite seat adjuster, a Suntour XC seatpost and a Specialized saddle that resembled an Avocet touring model.
This wonderful vintage steel mountain bike might have died a rusty death thanks to those old parts. As much as we may like old bikes, nobody seems to like “vintage” drivetrains or saddles. This old Fat Chance was given a new chance in 2021 with some fresh parts and a new name. We all know this was (or is) a mountain bike. Just play along… We’re now we’re going to call it a “gravel bike”. If we say it quietly maybe nobody will be the wiser.
This old gravel bike now has 30 speeds thanks to an updated Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur and new thumb shifters.
The vintage Saturae rims have been rebuilt with new Velo-Orange hubs, Panaracer Gravel King tires and fresh spokes. The new Velo-Orange Grand Cru crankset looks just right on the vintage bike but with modern chainrings the shifting is precise and smooth. The vintage Magura brake levers have always had an insane amount of stopping power but now with fresh Kool Stop pads in place the brakes will work quietly and reliably in the worst conditions.
Topping off this new old bike is a quilted remake of the classic Selle Italia Turbo saddle, an original Blackburn rear rack from 1986 and a Nitto front rack from 2021.