Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What's In The Stand: WTB Phoenix

Yes, another Steve Potts made frame.  This time under the Wilderness Trail Bikes badge as a revered Phoenix.  It's pretty much known that the Phoenix is one of the best riding mountain bike frames on the trails.  It's always been my goal to make a frame I design disappear beneath the rider.  A frame that requires no super-conscious effort to pilot.  The Phoenix does exactly that.  

This is an early 1" steerer tube Phoenix that's been repainted.  It's purpose is to be a rider - a real, daily rider.  Back when the Phoenix was offered, an option on the frame was for a press-in, Grease Guard™ bottom bracket.  I know most shops would look at the frame's bottom bracket and say "hey, there's no threads here, you're frame is ruined."  I know that the threads were blown out with a purpose-made reamer that allows a 6003 bearing with a 17mm diameter axle to be pressed in place.  The tell-tale tiny hole drilled into the bb shell approximately 7mm inboard tell me that Grease Guard™ bearings were installed into the frame at one time.  The difference between a standard 6003 bearing and a GG bearing is that the GG bearing had a groove machined into the outer race that allowed grease injected through the holed drilled into the frame to fill the bearing and purge out old grease, thereby prolonging the life of the bearings.  The system worked.  It worked real good.

However, Grease Guard™ bearings are no longer available, so a standard 6003 Enduro bearing was called into duty and pressed into the frame with a Phil Wood axle.  It's a great system.  The 6003 bearings are large and support the bearing very well.  With all of today's large diameter axle, thin PF bearings that creak and don't last even a ride season, the old 6003 system that was also used by Klein is a smart design.  I'm a fan.  

Ready to ride

An old set of Klein bottom bracket tools was called into service to install the bearings and axle.  

You can see that the threads have been reamed out.

Ready to go!

(What's playing:  "Living Famously" - Keith Moon)


db said...

Fantastic build! Which Sugino crank is that? I'm looking for a 48/34 square taper double myself.

blackmountaincycles said...

It's an XD-500. There is also an XD-600 which is essentially the same.

Bikewright said...

Back in the mid to late 90's one of the local Expert/Semi-Pro female riders in the RVA rode WTB Phoenix. Its the only one that I have ever seen.
Back then I had a grassroots sponsorship with WTB. I still run their hubs,tires, and saddle from that time period still today. It was just that good.

Great post!! Best thing I have read all day!

Anonymous said...

what is holding the axle in place?

blackmountaincycles said...

It's a tolerance press fit - and loctite.

Gary Lawson said...

Hi Mike, when you're building a Phoenix with those BB cable guides do you run the inner cables against the paint, or do you put a plastic sleeve in?

blackmountaincycles said...

Hi Gary. On a personal bike I would run the bare cable through the steel guide. That's how I've done in on every bike I've owned like that since the 80s. To me, those plastic liners are junky and just another spot for gunk to collect. But if someone asks for them, I'll use them.