Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

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horizon
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby horizon » 14 Sep 2020, 9:24pm

Brucey wrote:the Sardar has a different frame design, different wheelbase, different angles, different frame construction and is designed to accept dropped bars as well as flats. The countryman shares the wheel size and the ability to take a load with the Sardar, and not much else.

cheers


Sure, but the whole thing about road touring and loaded 26" capability is there - the concept. Without trawling through the catalogues, I can't think of any bike from Dawes other than the One-Down that combines touring with 26". I could be wrong but the Countryman just stood out in this respect. I'll have to think about it more, but it certainly struck me.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Brucey
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby Brucey » 14 Sep 2020, 9:43pm

the 26" wheel + load concept was always there as a possibility in the early MTBs, which is why they pretty much all (from many manufacturers) had rack eyelets, long wheelbases etc. What changed was that in the 1990s most MTBs became more focused and specific to 'sporty' offroad use (eg often having suspension forks etc) and as a consequence often became less well suited to being heavily loaded (even though they might have had lots of rack eyes etc). The Sardar and a few others were aimed at keeping the priorities aimed at load carrying and less adventurous offroad use. No surprise that they seem similar to many 1980s MTBs, that was a central part of their remit too....?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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horizon
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby horizon » 15 Sep 2020, 11:57am

I've just done a two week tour on the Sardar in eastern and southern England. I indulged myself and went for comfortable camping with 25 kg of well-balanced luggage fore and aft. The low gears that I installed plus its brilliant (IMV) handling meant that the trip was a breeze. But what impressed me most was that the Sardar just lapped it all up: fast runs down the main roads (unavoidable sometimes), transferring to off-road routes like the pot-holed Lodes Way in Cambridgeshire. Strong wheels, 1.75 tyres, low centre of gravity combined with drop bars. I never lost confidence in the bike but never felt that it was unsuitable for faster touring. The fact that the forks were designed for disc brakes probably also helped increase my faith in it.

My impression is that gravel bikes are designed for rough surfaces but light loads and a bike that can do both the load carrying, the rough roads and the faster tours occupies a very specialised niche and yet is the ultimate do-it-all bike. As you said yourself, at the point at which such a bike emerged, the different cycling sectors diverged into full-on MTB and faster road bikes leaving IMV an unserved market.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Brucey
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby Brucey » 15 Sep 2020, 12:12pm

it sounds like the bike was almost ideally suited to the task in hand (it surely makes some kind of sense to take a load on the lodes way.... groan :wink: ), hope you had a good time!

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

bgnukem
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby bgnukem » 15 Sep 2020, 1:27pm

I notice that Brucey's frame has the oval 'Dawes' head tube badge.

My 1994 Mean Street had a similar badge. Not sure if that helps narrow down the date range at all but could it be a late '80s to mid-'90s frameset?

rjb
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby rjb » 15 Sep 2020, 1:31pm

My tandem had the oval badge too from 1991. Any more.....
At the last count:- Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

Brucey
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby Brucey » 15 Sep 2020, 1:34pm

the oval Dawes head badge started in the early 1980s; all 1980s Dawes MTBs had it, AFAICT.

Maybe the frame number will give a better clue? I might look into that more.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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horizon
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby horizon » 15 Sep 2020, 1:43pm

AFAICS, we have looked at all the likely suspects from 1984 through to 1994. The only year I can't see is 1989 and that actually is a very possible year given the colour scheme and type of bike. Does anyone have access to the 1989 catalogue?
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Brucey
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby Brucey » 15 Sep 2020, 2:01pm

I agree. By 1990 the 531AT tubeset wasn't being used any more (it was 'magnum' instead), and all Dawes MTBs had sloping top tubes, vertical dropouts etc. I just found pictures (once again on retrobike) of this 1989 Dawes 'escape' model (not fitted with original parts throughout), which had fittingly slipped through my net....

Image

Like the 'quest' model it has the model name on the downtube, and has similar colour scheme and graphics . It also has what I'd assume to be 'later style' cable routing on the top tube.

This leads me to an idea; the 'mystery frame' doesn't have the model identity on the DT; maybe they were all like that for a while, but it might be that the mystery frame is a 'run-out' model; never listed in the annual catalogues, and manufactured simply to use up remaining stocks of certain components, in the transition from 1988 to 1989 MY manufacture perhaps; this would explain the transfers (saying Dawes identically on the TT and DT), the fork, and the rear dropouts which incongruously have just the one eyelet. If it is from '88 or '89 as suspected, it may have been one of the last Dawes frames around that time to use a brazed fork crown and horizontal dropouts with 26" wheels; everything else in the range around that time went to unicrown.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

9494arnold
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby 9494arnold » 15 Sep 2020, 2:19pm

I have a Ranger, unaltered from new according to previous owner ,(a family friend who was giving me the bike so no reason to lie) Lugged 531, Cast fork ends with adjusters in the back, SR triple Chainset, Suntour Mechs, Ratchet Thumb Gear Levers , Weinman Cantilever Brakes. Proper mudguards.
I did throw the 2.25 wide tyres away, it's on 1.5's now. A delight to ride if you aren't in a rush. And all decent quality kit.
Only downside is bolt in wheels.
Don't forget a Dawes Galaxy was the 'go to' Touring bike for years if you didn't want the expense of a Custom Build.

simonhill
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Re: Dawes MTBs from the 1980s

Postby simonhill » 15 Sep 2020, 5:15pm

I am no great Dawes historian, but I always thought of the Sardar as being a big missed oppurtunity by the company. When it came out there were plenty of people riding 26" straight bar bikes, usually adapted MTBs and plenty of others wanted one. The only real supplier of straight bar heavy duty tourers in the UK at the time was Thorn with their rather expensive models.

When the Sardar came out I was very interested (my LBS was a Dawes agent), but I didn't want drops. Pricing a change to straight bars made it overpriced. I even contacted Dawes and asked if they would do a straight bar version, but I never got a reply. I wonder if they had made one, at a decent price, whether it would have sold well to the people who sought such a bike, setting the company on a new trajectory. Personally, I was on my 2nd MTB convert and kept that until Surly started to do frame only LHTs in larger size 26s . I bought one, had it built to my spec and have never looked back.

Turning to early MTBs to tourers, my first one was a lovely Saracen Kili Flyer, circa 1986. Handbuilt 531 tubing and an XT groupset. I rode it first as a novelty MTB (there weren't many about then) until I discovered long haul touring. Lots of tours on it, including 4 end to ends (NZ, India, Thai/Malay/Sing, and Vietnam).

My second MTB tourer was a cheapo GT Outpost. Supplied with front suspension, but I think that was a retro fit and most of my riding was done after I replaced with a solid fork. The bike was like the proverbial brick dunnie, Tange steel and super tough go anywhere. Steadily upgraded it as the entry level stuff wore out - note, wore out, never failed. Sold it to someone who wanted to tour in India. Happy days.