This Manitou is one of those 'so strange it's cool' sort of bikes. While Doug was not known for making elegant and sophisticated bikes, this one really takes the proverbial cake. However what it lacks in style and finish it makes up for in character and uniqueness (this is the only elevated chainstay bike that Doug ever built).
When I originally acquired this bike I assumed it was an 89/90 build, possibly 88. This was mainly because Doug said that he built the bike for a guy who wanted really short chainstays and so he copied Richard Cunningham's elevated chainstay Mantis Valkyrie. When I got the bike the build was largely a mix of Shimano XT, Dura Ace wheels and a few miscellaneous parts. Basically a late 80s mountain bike. So when I set out to rebuild it I naturally tried to stay within that era but push the wow factor a bit. While I'm satisfied with the build I have since figured out that the bike was built in 1987, was one of first 10 bikes Doug built (listed 3rd on the build log), and was designed to be a trials bike (hence the short wheelbase). So, I think I went a bit overboard with the build... We'll see how it rides and decide if it stays like this or gets a bit dumbed down.
Here is how I got the bike a couple year ago:
A Rock Shox?? Really???
Here is how it was originally built
The more I look at the bike the more I like it and appreciate it's, ummm... aesthetic.
I was never quite sure what fork to put on this bike. On the one hand it's a rare and special bike and deserves a solid build with all the Doug made bits and pieces. On the other hand it was a rush job with some critical details missing, and so maybe anything is good enough. In the end I decided to use a roller cam equipped Bradbury fork with 115mm front hub spacing. Since I built this bike I acquired a similar fork but with 100mm spacing and given that this frame does not have the wide 145mm rear spacing (like later Manitous) I may swap forks and re-lace the wheel with a regular Bullseye hub.
Tall headtube gusset is very characteristic of the early DBMs, they got shorter and flatter as Doug evolved the design.
The lack of a cable guide for the rear derailleur was a bit of an omission by Doug, and one that still had him scratching his today. I improvised by adding rack mount I had leftover from my Cunningham and repurposing it as a cable guide. The Suntour XC9000 derailleur is about the only original part on this bike. Unlike other derailleurs from that era it has a very short pivot arm allowing it to fit under the rear stay and still operate freely.
Closeup view of the custom cable guide and front derailleur.
Doug used his traditional rear entry, horizontal dropouts but rotated them 90 degrees and modified the derailleur hanger. I've not seen this used on any other bike. I did find one more set of unused dropouts in one of the boxes of loose parts I got from Doug earlier this year. Wonder what he was saving them for?
Cook Bros cranks and Manitou, go together like a horse and carriage.
IRD progressive u-brakes with replica stiffener plates. I may replace these for original DBM plates I recently dug up.
IRD macaroni stem with a Cook Bros Titanium handlebar and Shimano XT controls round out the cockpit. Again, these parts just barely make the 1987 cutoff and infact the bars are probably cheating a bit,
Front derailleur housing runs nearly the entire length of the frame. In addition to that there was no cable guide underneath the BB and the cable simply ran over the BB shell. I added a plastic cable guide wanting to prevent any further damage to the frame.
Matching IRD brake in the rear. This is my first so equipped bike and I'm looking forward to seeing how these brakes work in real life.
I really like this junction, so much going on here.
If I could only find an IRD bar...
The only thing left to do is to take this thing out on the trails and see how it rides. I have to admit I am very curious but have some reservations. I hope to have a ride report soon.