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Please help! New "Old" Frame, what is it?

990 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Mikhs

I posted last night on the "Passion" forum and I received a PM from a guy suggesting that I repost here in the Bike Frame forum. Please forgive my cross posting, I'd like to get to the bottom of what I have. Thanks for your time!

I just picked up a couple of bikes this week, gotta have some new projects for the new year. I thought they were both "Richard Cunningham" Nishiki bikes from the late 80's or early 90's. One has all the original decals, that one is a "R.C." Nishiki Ariel, not the later one with the elevated chainstays, it's the ealier one that all 4130 double butted everything. It's super light!

The other is a mystery... I thought it was a version of the Nishiki Alien but now that I get it home in the light, I see that it's a Haro. It has the elements of a Richard Cunningham Mantis or a Nishiki Alien, aluminum front with a bolt-on chrome rear triangle, crazy geometry, and super light too. The serial number on the bottom bracket makes it a 1990, I was able to figure that much online. The chromed triangle is stamped 000027. My buddy thinks it's a Haro Extreme but he has never seen one with a bolt-on rear end. It's has a front derailleur pulley on the back of the seat tube, so it is before top pull derailleurs ('91 or '92, I think those came out). It's also running one of those crazy YST541 headsets, I checked and the steerer tube is 1 1/4", so that checks out.

Anybody out there have anything to contribute regarding this frame? I at a loss, none of the Haro Extremes that I've found online have the bolt-on rear. What is this thing???
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I just received a lengthy email from a gentleman that feels that I have a Haro Extreme "Team" frame. He's provided an incredible amount of information to back up what he claims. I hope some of you will read his email, which he gave me permission to use (just not to use his name), and my hope is that one of you can back up any of what he put forward.

Thanks again for your time, here's the email:

Hello there,

You're mighty lucky! Here is a piece or two to your mystery bike puzzle, follow this link:

I know, it's a Salsa but look down the page and you'll see the stem is a Bull Moose credited to Tom Rightmyer, the "Maker of the Mantis stems" and your connection to Richard Cunningham has been established.

Now, follow this link:

Scroll down the page to #98, the name look familiar? Yes, in 1980 Tom built the World Land Speed Record setting bike, a bike that did 51.54 mph (82.95 kph). In the 70's Richard was obsessed with speed, pushing a bicycle to the limits, it was at this time that Tom and Richard became friends.

Tom was doing metal fabrication in Anaheim, Ca and later moved his operation to Fullerton, CA. Tom has had a long-standing membership in the Orange County Wheelmen and has built numerous one-off bikes for riders over the years. As you can tell (from the first link), Richard appreciated Tom's craftsmanship, it's clear in the fact that Tom made every Mantis stem and that's fused a relationship that would find both men working together then and again working closely in the future. When Haro approached Richard to design Haro's new cross country "TEAM" bike, he did so and the design principles were based around a frame design that was familiar to him because it was race proven. That is what you have… here is an exact quote from a bicycle reference book I have, "1990 - Haro Team Extreme - modeled after the Mantis which offered an aluminum front triangle bolted to a chromoly rear with elevated chainstays." My reference book does not state how many "TEAM" frames were made but it does note that many of the first frame were done by Richard himself. I'm not saying yours was but the possibility is there. Here is an interested sidenote, Haro approached Richard about doing a full suspension version of the "Extreme" frame, it explains that Richard was too busy to fulfill the project and handed it over to (guess who?) Tom Rightmyer. Tom would complete the full suspension design with Richard assistance and the frame would go on to be mass produced.

I know Tom, I have for years, he has a framed picture of that full suspension Haro hanging up in his shop in Fullerton. I'll swing by there and try to get you a picture, that'll give me a good reason to go see Tom. I know this is a lot of info but I can say with some certainty that you have (one of Richard's) HARO "TEAM" EXTREME frames.

Good luck with the build!

p.s. Tom's welding skills are not limited to bicycles, Tom handy work could be found on the track or drag strips in the 60s and 70s, he built many drag bikes. He also handles the fancy stuff like Ducatis, rare MV Augustas, classic Ferraris… here is a quote from a Ducati Service and Technical Source page, "Tom Rightmyer Welding Fullerton, CA- Beautiful Welding! Just make sure to bring a cold six pack of Coors beer, in cans, on every visit. And the Coors must be fresh: check the date code on the bottom of the can! Sounds strange, but make the offering, it really helps!" Not convinced? Check out this link to fabulous vintage motorcycles:

Here's the quote, "…and to metal artisan Tom Rightmyer who fabricated the impossible…"

Tom is a true character, in every aspect of the word! As stated earlier, you are mighty lucky to have that frame!
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