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Has anybody heard of American bikes? Im thinking about buying one thats aluminum, has roller cams, Wtb parts, Judy fork, and Doere Xt with thumb shifters. Just want to see what the history of the frame is before I fork the dough.
 

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Harmonius Wrench
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Yes! I have heard of those!

vdubbusrider said:
Has anybody heard of American bikes? Im thinking about buying one thats aluminum, has roller cams, Wtb parts, Judy fork, and Doere Xt with thumb shifters. Just want to see what the history of the frame is before I fork the dough.
American was pretty popular in the early 90's, at least in the mid-west. They were out of Minnesota if I recall correctly. This was also the company that built Breezers for a time before production went to Taiwan. American built some burly aluminium bikes in a few different versions. They had a "military spec" ano finish that could be had in several colors, although, I remember several that were polished as well. These guys also were the ones that made the beryllium frame that cost a small fortune.
Yours must be a pretty early example if it has roller cams. I don't ever recall seeing one that had those.
American eventually went out of business due to lack of inovation, and large orders being cancelled on them after being produced. Towards the end you could pick up a frameset for a song, but everything was one inch steerer, and most models were not suspension corrected.
Hope that helps!
 

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Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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Deffiantely shouldnt have a suspension fork

vdubbusrider said:
Has anybody heard of American bikes? Im thinking about buying one thats aluminum, has roller cams, Wtb parts, Judy fork, and Doere Xt with thumb shifters. Just want to see what the history of the frame is before I fork the dough.
American made some very high quality frames.
If you decide you arent interested let me know. Depending on size/color I might want it.
 

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I had an american breezer (serial # 0130) that I bought at a police auction in 1990 for 400 bones. It was a great bike but as another poster stated it was not suspension adjusted. Actually it was already a very lax and became even slower after adding a suspension fork. Mine had rollercams on the rear and the polished Koski took cantis. I later sold it to a freind who eventually traded it to Shawn at Absolute bikes in Flagstaff. For a while he still had it up in Salida but I no longer know its whereabouts. The only thing that I still have of it are memories and the stem.
 

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He be a moose too.
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Went to their factory

I was looking at buying a high-end bike in 1990. I lived in northern Minnesota at the time and stopped by their factory and they gave me a tour in the winter of 1989. Nice folks. They made really great looking bikes which rode very nice, but they didn't ride as nice as the 1990 Klein Attitude, which is I bought.

They had great looking welds and couple that with the brushed finish that they offered and you had one fine looking bike. I considered the Comp-Lite and the M-16 models. They did a fair amount of business in Germany I'm told. However, they really couldn't keep up with the innovation going on in the bike industry at that time. They were too small to compete with the bigger companies who could get what they wanted due to volume. I have good memories of American, but I was very happy with the Attitude.
 

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Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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Interesting, I wouldnt even compare those 2 frames

pinguwin said:
I was looking at buying a high-end bike in 1990. I lived in northern Minnesota at the time and stopped by their factory and they gave me a tour in the winter of 1989. Nice folks. They made really great looking bikes which rode very nice, but they didn't ride as nice as the 1990 Klein Attitude, which is I bought.
In my experience the craftsmanship and ride quality of an American frame are far superior to that of a Klein. I found the Klein too harsh. Probably the most efficient power transfer frame ever built but extreamly rough on the body for rides of 90 minutes or more. I thought the American was far more compliant...like the very early aluminum road bikes...almost a steel like ride, but still stiff in the BB. And lighter weight than the Klein frame even though the Americans came with a steel fork.
 

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He be a moose too.
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birds of a feather?

In my experience the craftsmanship and ride quality of an American frame are far superior to that of a Klein. I found the Klein too harsh. Probably the most efficient power transfer frame ever built but extreamly rough on the body for rides of 90 minutes or more. I thought the American was far more compliant...like the very early aluminum road bikes...almost a steel like ride, but still stiff in the BB. And lighter weight than the Klein frame even though the Americans came with a steel fork.[/QUOTE]

I'm not really comparing those two in particular, just that those were two of the bikes that I tried. I probably tried 25 others, anything from a Fat Chance to Specialized. I think the workmanship is difficult to compare in some ways. Both are top notch, but at least in outward appearance, different. The American had big, cool, gobby welds and with Klein, the idea was to make it look like there wasn't any weld at all.

I'm not so sure that the American frames were lighter than the Kleins. The reason I say this is that the Americans didn't use butted tubing, at least in 1990 and earlier. I very specifically remember that he said that it was straight guage and I saw long tubes stored on shelves along the walls that were then cut to length. They marketed this for "dent resistance" (hey, you can't blame 'em for trying). This is part of what I meant by saying that they were a smaller company that couldn't match the larger companies in terms of resources. I also remember an American dealer who mentioned that the tubes were fairly solid. The Americans used smaller, thicker tubes to maintain stiffness whereas Kleins had larger, thinner tubes. If I remember correctly, the 1990 Klein Attitude fork was 1lb 2 oz. and the lightest steel fork of the time was 1lb 8 oz. The Kleins were extremely light and I don't remember any bike that was lighter (though I could be mistaken).

I would certainly have to agree that the Americans were more compliant, especially in the front end with the steel fork vs. fat AL fork. The front end of the Klein was stiffer (and probably stiffer than anything else since then too) for sure.

You mention that you felt beat after 90 minutes, this is something that I've not experienced much. I've ridden my Attitude for 13 hours on Lake Superior trails (very rugged) and I've been out to Utah and Colorado for five months riding 6-8 hours a day and I was really hammering on the slickrock, I've ridden in the Appalachians for a few months and I simply didn't get sore. Well, maybe a little on the first ride or two of the year, but not other than that. Perhaps it is due to the way I ride or a strong back or whatever, but I didn't experience this. However, many others have and if you do get sore, an Attitude wouldn't be the optimum bike.

The American was probably my second choice, but the Klein felt right. I remember my first ride on it in Madison, WI. I took off and within 150 yards of riding, I knew that it was for me. The decision was made that quickly as it felt that responsive. My next bike will be a custom that is the geometry of a suspension-adjusted 1990 Attitude. I just can't bring myself to buy a new "Klein". I'm on the lookout for an original Attitude on Ebay and if I ever run across an American Comp-Lite or M-16...I'd probably buy that too.
 

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Illuminati
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mtb-classic.de (yes germany) forum had a mint american comp lite for sale advertised a while back. try scrolling back through the forum pages :)

ta

scant
 

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vdubbusrider said:
Has anybody heard of American bikes? Im thinking about buying one thats aluminum, has roller cams, Wtb parts, Judy fork, and Doere Xt with thumb shifters. Just want to see what the history of the frame is before I fork the dough.
I had a polished CompLite which I rode for about 3 years, it rode very nice (With a Manitou3 fork and a 135mm Syncros 0° Stem) and was crafted awesomely. Unfortuneately I sold it in 1996(wish I hadn´t done that).Really nice bike one of my all time favorites!
Beria
 

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good stuff

Others have hit most of the salient points already.
Fred Schilplin was the principle. Nice guy, drove a Vette, had a house on a lake with a fast speedboat we went ripping around in once.
Cool guys at the factory. We went riding near there around some old quarries, it wasn't durango but it didn't suck. I was surprised to see prickly pear cactus growing in MN.
Part of why ABM faded away is Fred had a stroke and kinda lost enthusiasm for bicycles after that.
If I'm not mistaken, they got into making railings for handicapped access ramps and that became the bulk of their business.
I raced an M-16, the bike with 16" chainstays, at Chequamegon one year, late 80s. Did pretty well. Really like bikes with short stays.
The Comp-Lite was also sweet, 16.5" stays.
ABM was an early sponsor of the Canyonlands fattire fest. Rim Cyclery sold a lot of their bikes.
Somebody said ABM made Breezers, kinda true, kinda false. Fred and Joe collaborated on the American Breezer, it was a more cruisy ride all day kinda bike, 70 degree head tube angle if I recall. Not the same as the steel Breezer bike line that Joe did alone, outa Taiwan.
And of course it all got goin' with the Montaneus (sp?) that had an adjustable head tube angle, and later was offered with a fixed head tube angle. 66 to 71.something, if I recall. I had one Fred loaned me, rode it for a year, liked it. Too bad he didn't pair it up with the adjustable-offset forks Fisher had made to play with front end geometry, I think later GT actually sold bikes with forks with horizontal dropouts. Problem is when you vary one, you pretty much should vary the other or the trail gets screwed up.
I have a custom-made ABM polished 6061 tandem sitting in my garage right now. Med/sm sizing, extra long stoker top tube. Come buy it from me, I'll throw in a Durango guided ride and some homebrew.
 

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our race team

road the ELF and Comp Lite frames for about three years. great bikes, always liked the way they road, not to mention the bare "cunningham"esque look of the frames.

we still had a purple anodized ( although it faded quite a lot) M16 hanging around the shop, until a year or two ago.

cool company for sure.

over and out
nate
 

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On last years famous Fat Tire Tour of Milwaukski, I noticed an American buried in the piles of bikes at each watering hole, identifiable only by its headbadge. Forward several sticky polish bars... whilst riding half-sozzled thru a dank corridor in the ancient citys seedy underbelly to the next stop, I look over, and sounding rather pleased with itself, a the brightly polished aluminum beauty glides up with a satisfied whirrrrr. "Nice Breezer", I say.
He looked at me, genuinely suprised. "You're familiar with these?"
"Oh yes." I say "Ohhh yes."
"Yep, it's been a great bike all these years. They used to sponsor my event."
"Ah, well you must be Gary Crandall then"
"Yes, that is me..."
"Well, the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival was my first race ever, & still my favourite."
"Oh well thank you very much, you should see what we did with it this year. The course is the best ever..."

That's about all I remember. That and how hard it is to ride downhill off road with one hand while drinking your mead with the other.
 

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Memory lane..

I had a friend that apparently worked for 'em for a while. I remember when he came back home with his fully custom M16. He had drilled holes all over the frame in order to get the weight even lower. Durability probably sucked, but it sure was impressive for the 17 year-old kid I was back in the day.

I still dream of finding a mint m16 or m15 laying around someone's garage.
 

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we used to have one

I still dream of finding a mint m16 or m15 laying around someone's garage.[/QUOTEa

at the the shop i use to wrench at, we had one up until a year ago hanging from the ceiling. brand new, m16 , 19" frame never built. hung there from early 92 or so until last year, sold it really cheap as i recall.

nice frames.

over and out
nate
 

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AKamp said:
I later sold it to a freind who eventually traded it to Shawn at Absolute bikes in Flagstaff. For a while he still had it up in Salida but I no longer know its whereabouts.
It's still here in Salida at the shop on the ceiling.
We also have a bare frame with a early WTB rollercam rear brake under the chain stays.

Scoty
 

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Scotty

Is the built bike #130 or just the frame. I think that my friend actually just traded the frame and brake for a set of wheels. It is good to know that the bike is still around.

Aaron
 

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pinguwin said:
In my experience the craftsmanship and ride quality of an American frame are far superior to that of a Klein. I found the Klein too harsh. Probably the most efficient power transfer frame ever built but extreamly rough on the body for rides of 90 minutes or more. I thought the American was far more compliant...like the very early aluminum road bikes...almost a steel like ride, but still stiff in the BB. And lighter weight than the Klein frame even though the Americans came with a steel fork.
Aerospace quality welds, excellent ride quality. Here's a pic of my American Breezer.

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=16740

beautiful bike's for sure.....
 

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I have a near-mint 1993 American (ABM) road bike, 54 cm, near mint condition. If anyone's interested, drop me a message and make me an offer!
 
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