It’s easy to pick apart the historical bicycle innovations that didn’t catch on from the comfort of the present, however certain trends that have faded in time must still be admired for their ingenuity in approach and absolute boldness. Last week we had an amazing full-suspension road bike come into the shop on consignment, built by Boulder Bicycles around 1994. (Check out this awesome review from 1994 of the Boulder Bicycles Defiant PR)
This bike comes from an era when bicycle manufacturers were searching for ways to make skinny tired road machines more efficient on all terrain, with a huge amount of research and development going into bikes specifically made for the grueling Paris Roubaix. Greg Lemond debuted a RockShox suspension road fork in the 1991 Paris Roubaix, and won the race a year later on the same technology. Then in 1994, Bianchi debuted their full-suspension road bike, ridden by such notables as Marco Pantani, John Museeuw, Laurent Fignon, and Mario Cipollini and others. However the technology faded out in the mid-90’s largely due to the embarrassing failure of the Bianchi prototype’s chainstay while John Museeuw was only 41 seconds behind Andrei Tchmil in first place.
We’re not exactly sure how this Boulder Bicycles full-suspension bike fits into the picture historically, however it’s safe to assume that the bike was built in some form of response to the prototypes being developed for Roubaix. The Boulder is set up with a BRC short travel road fork (designed by Doug Bradbury of Manitou), a full Dura-Ace 7402 groupset, Titanium cassette, Phil Wood BB, Cinelli Giro D Italia bar and Cinelli Stem. The air-sprung, oil dampened rear suspension is integrated into the top-tube, and the frame is constructed with some amazing tube shapes and welds.
This bike is an undeniable piece of cycling history, and would work just as well as a museum piece as it would an everyday rider. It’s selling for $1375, and is absolutely worth seeing in the flesh. Check the sale listing for the bike here to see if its still available.