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"86.5" Rocky Mountain Blizzard Number 9

4883 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  guywitharitchey
I bought this bike from the original owner in Whistler in the summer of 1989 for somewhere around C$850.

It's got all the classic late-80s features including: Biopace, a chainstay-mounted U-brake, and the accompanying Shark's Tooth (although it hasn't saved me from chainsuck galore, probably due to the sad rounded teeth on my chainrings)

The original owner replaced the factory bars with Tange Prestige and I added Onza bar ends (expanding plug so I wouldn't have to move my grips inboards) and replaced various chain/cogs/derailleurs over the years. The Rocky branded Selle Italia saddle has been torn forever--I used to have a nice cover, but it got ripped off while scrambling over a shunting train near Mons years ago. I've got a newer saddle with Ti rails for non-photoshoot riding now. I also added a Hite-Rite. Seemingly EVERYONE had one in the early 90s. Where did they all go? Why do people use Joplins instead of them?!

Here's the original RM catalog page for 1987. Google found it buried deep in the file directory of someone's home page but can't find my way back to give them proper credit. If you're reading this original scanner/poster :thumbsup: I never knew who made the original grips that I shredded and had to replace with some inferior hexagonal Ritchey's. It is now back to original. I also didn't know that it was one of the only years with a 69deg head tube. I could never understand why all my friends' later vintage bikes felt all wrong.

I rode it all over Whistler, Fromme, Cypress, slapped panniers on it and toured all over the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and the Sunshine Coast. I raced it in XC, downhill, hillclimb, and even one miserable dual slalom (definitely not my or the bike's discipline) on Blackcomb. Then about 10 years ago, I stupidly just stopped riding. A couple months ago, I pulled it out of storage, pulled off the 1.95 "commuter" Ground Controls and replaced them with a set of remarkably well preserved c.1991 2.1 Panaracer Smokes and got back on the horse.

Recently, while cleaning it after a muddy ride, I discovered something I can't believe I'd overlooked for all those years. Check out all the zeros in the serial number:

Yup, it's number 9 for model year '87. Real close to the beginning of a model production run that's stretched from '84 to the present. :)

It's now been retired from serious thrashing (although these pictures were taken on a short ride yesterday) and replaced with a Ti hard tail with the closest geometry I could find that would accept a long-travel fork and had disc tabs. Even with the geometry similarities, the new bike just isn't anywhere near as stable and forgiving. I went over its bars more times in the first week after I put it together than in all my previous years of riding combined.

Will your junk still be hammering when it's old enough to drink?

Whatever turns your crank...
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Reserved for future pictures.
It would be good to see more of such posts here.
You can really see the Tom Ritchey influence on those rear dropouts...

Rocky was the Ritchey distributor in Canada in the 80's.
Sweet Blizzard and a great story! :thumbsup:

It's hard to find fault with them, I bought mine new in '95 and it's still my favourite ride (and my only 'keeper')

Just bought a neglected '94 too which I'm currently having great fun with cutting out a seized seatpost that hasn't moved for 10 years... :madmax: :D
Thats a great story man. So much so that I had to pull out mine and low and behold the serial number is #7. " A6J00007 " I have the same ride but only with the optional Tange Prestige tubing that came with the black paint as described on the lower section of the catalog. I'm not sure what the J is for other than an identifier for the Prestige option? Weird but I'm pretty sure it won't jeopardize the ride quality.

I picked this up for a steal ....... $30.00. The bike is in near perfect shape with a couple of nicks on the stickers. I located a pair of bars that are not quite original but the rest is in deed original, fork included (tires obviously were replaced)

She is fun to ride, solid as a rock and nimble in the corners for 20+ years old. I haven't been on it for a while now but thanks to your post I think I'll take her for a spin Monday morning.

Here's the original thread.


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ok prob. a stupid question, but is that a suspension spring in the seat?
flynngabriel said:
ok prob. a stupid question, but is that a suspension spring in the seat?
It's a Hite Rite. Allowed a rider to drop their saddle for a descent, then pop it back to original height with a "boing! Just open the QR, squish. Open again, boing.:cool:

I'm dredging up this thread to sadly announce that last week, my faithful old Blizzard was stolen from my house. Please keep an eye out for it in western Washington.

In addition to my bike, they got the mini-Blizzard I recently built for my girlfriend. I don't even have any pictures of that one because I hadn't cut the bars to their final length yet.

Her bike is a 14.5" 1999 Rocky Blizzard. It's black/white with orange writing like the frame in the picture below. (Note, not my picture or frame--kudos to boostin on Pinkbike for his photo chops)

Other components on her bike include:

  • Marzocchi 22 RLO fork (cheap and heavy, but I was hoping that the coil would be durable)
  • 170mm Raceface Northshore DH cranks on a Signature Ti bottom bracket
  • XT 750 (silver) centerlock hubs w/Mavic 717 rims
  • Syncros AM 100mm/12D black/white
  • uncut Sunline V1 762mm flat bar
  • Avid BB5 front caliper, single digit rear V-brake and FR-5 levers
  • FSA Pig DH Pro headset
  • WTB Devo SLT saddle
  • RM Seatpost
  • XT Shadow rear derailleur
  • XT front derailleur
  • LX shifters
  • Titec Hell-bent shortie bar ends
  • Ritchey grips

I know it's a long shot, but please keep an eye open. My bike is probably of virtually no commercial value to anyone else, but to me it's irreplaceable.
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I've had great success checking the alleys near local crack houses as well as pawn shops. Lots of stolen bikes are dumped near by or parked and (oddly enough) locked up near shelters. I've recovered several and found the owners via stolen bike reports.

Needless to say the net is good bet too if they thief knows what they have.
So sad to hear about your loss. Shame to lose such a beauty. If i see it north of the border i'll let you know with a pm.
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