this qualifies as a current classic. It's an early nineties Fat
Chance Shock-a-billy. I am the original owner. If anybody remembers,
this was Fat Chance's (first?) foray into the world of full suspension.
Rather than design their own system, they bought rear-ends from
AMP. The attachment points were two small tabs welded to the rear
of the bottom bracket shell (where chainstays would normally attach)
and two small tabs welded to the mid-section of the underside of
the top tube. This is where the shock was attached. There were three
pivot points; the bushings behind the bottom bracket, bushings where
the chainstay attach to the dropouts, and a bushing where the shock
was bolted under the top tube. The shock and the 'seatstay' were
a unified strut.
could go on but I won't because that part of the bike has been in
the trash since the mid-nineties!
struggling with keeping the undersized bronze pivots tight for a
few years, I was ready to walk away from suspension bikes altogether.
I called a local framebuilder to schedule a custom Ritchey WCS chain
and seatstays to be brazed on in lieu of the AMP.
the frame started out as full suspension, the head and seat tube
angles are a little goofy. As such, we could only control the head
tube angle when the bike was set in the fixture. So he set the heatube
angle at 71deg. I don't know what the seat tube angle is but by
setting the headtube at 71 made the bottom bracket 13.5" tall with
have ridden this bike ever since. It has seen numerous reconfigurations.
Most recently, it has been outfitted as a single speed / fixed gear
mountain bike. New to the bike is the super rise stem that makes
the 1.5" riser bar level with the saddle. This change has transformed
the way this thing rides. It used to be a little sketchy. I thought
it was the high bottom bracket. But going from a 0 deg. stem to
the upright riding position may have been enough to tame the compromises
we made when the hardtail conversion was made.
the Fat Chance factory, the bike was M&M orange. Now its a really
nice metallic green. Void of decals, it has been the anonymous frame
since the paint job. The framebuilder who did the work built frames
under the name 'Smoother Bikes'. A clever friend of mine said the
new name for this bike should be 'Smooth Chance'. The new name stuck
but I never had stickers made for it. I guess I could freehand it,
but I just never did.
have built and ridden several other bikes since this one but always
seem to go back to it. Right now, it is waiting for a good rigid
fork. In the mean time, I am riding this AMP fork. Like the old
rear-end, the pivots on this fork are bronze bushings and are always
sloppy. It is really aggravating and I can't wait to find a good
rigid fork for it.
Surly Front Hub with 14g. Spokes, Brass Nips and a Sun Rhyno Lite
Rim (Don't let the name fool you...there is NOTHING lite about these
White Eric's Eccentric Fix/Free Rear Hub with 14g. Spokes, Brass
Nips, a Sun Rhyno Lite and a 16t Shimano Freewheel / 16t Phil Wood
Bontrager Jones Tires
Shimano XT 2 Piece Crank with Phil Wood Bearings in the Shimano
Surly 32t Stainless 104bc Chainring
King 1" No Thread Set
Advent Stem Avenier 1.5" Riser
Old Avid Ultimate Levers
ODI Lock-On Grips
Avid Magnesium Brakes
Ringle Seat Post Binder
Brooks B-67 Champion Flyer Saddle
of now, this bike is back at the front of the line when I want to
grab one to ride singletrack. My most recent ride (a full rigid
Soma SS) is being sold soon to make room for a custom rigid Waltworks
29er. If the 29er hype is true, the Smooth Chance may collect alot
of dust. That's a shame because the only thing short about this
bike is it's rider!!