DOWN THE TRAIL – The 1997 Superbike Sneak Peek

The 1997 Superbike Sneak Peek

down_1In 1997 it was difficult to get access to next year’s model bikes before they were launched. In our November 1996 issue we wrote an article that revealed all the secrets of the most exciting new models for the upcoming year titled “Superbike Sneak Peek.” For the article, “MBA’s detectives dragged in lights and cameras, climbed through air vents, scaled iron walls, jumped moats, and even claimed to be interested in the new public relations person who just happened to be seated next to the 1997 prototype bike storage cage.” All of this trickery allowed us to snap off a few film rolls of some of the most intriguing bikes the ’97 season would bring.

down_1bAMP B-5 LT: AMP’s 5-inch-travel swing-link, cross-country weapon came fitted with AMP D-1 disc brakes and a 3-inch- travel F-4 fork. Truly top-notch performance for the time.

Specialized FSR: Specialized’s top-drawer suspension bike had a proprietary, extruded, monocoque alloy frame with a “long- travel” FSR rear suspension, which is very similar to the design Specialized uses today. The ’97 FSR incorporated much of the knowledge Specialized gained from developing its one-off factory downhill racing machines.

down_3Intense M-1: Intense had already proven its M-1 frame could win nationals. In fact, Intense built many bikes that carried other companies’ logos simply because the top pros wanted to be riding the best frame. The M-1 was available as a frame only at the time and is still an icon in the gravity riding world.

down_4Softride PowerWing MTB: This was Softride’s attempt to include a shock with the beam suspension design. The cross-country-specific bike featured a Fox Vanilla shock, a Softride suspension stem, and Shimano XT components.

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down_6Iron Horse THS-1: This limited-production bike was designed by downhill racer and Mountain Bike Action test rider Toby Henderson and was manufactured by Foes Fabrications. It was available as a frame only and featured a Kuster shock.

down_5Azonic dualie: Azonic became best known for its gear and parts, but in the 1990s Azonic was also known for its bulletproof bikes. The company only built burly downhill, dirt-jump and slalom bikes, and this was one of them. This photo may pre-date the 1997 pack, as the bike in the photo came complete with a Marzocchi Bomber Z-1 fork that had disc tabs on both fork legs. In any case, the bike was too cool not to include.


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