Bikewright Workshop Project || Diamondback Apex

In the ’80s mountain biking was new and it was all about adventure. Back then mountain bikes had relaxed geometries and longer chainstays. You will find that almost all of these bikes from that era had rack and fender mounts, some came with three water bottle mounts and many had mounting locations for low riding front pannier racks.

I was inspired a few months ago when I was on a couple of other blog-type sites and saw what others had done in rebuilding and re-purposing bicycles. I would call them purposed built and they looked better in their resurrected state than they did originally.

My interest peaked on this subject and I wanted to see what I could myself. Do I rebuild a road bike or a touring bike? After searching for many resources for a complete bike or frame to start with my project. I found nothing in size, price point or in the condition I was looking for.

Then I changed my focus. I started looking at older steel mountain bikes and frames. Call it what you will, but I started thinking about world touring, expedition or mountain touring. All of these types of bikes are based on the 26-inch wheel bike. Modern mountain bikes in the United States come in 3 different wheel sizes. That’s not the same case in the developing world. The 26-inch wheel size is the mainstay. 

With that said, this is how the Bikewright Workshop Project got started. I have now found that project frame.

I am starting with a 1989/1990 Diamondback Apex. With Tange double-butted frameset and straight leg cro-mo fork. This bike met the requirements that I was looking for.

1) It's steel!
2) Rack a fender mounts
3) Two water bottle mounts
4) Mounting point on the front fork of low riding front pannier racks

Diamondback Apex
Overall frame view.

Straight leg fork. Good view of the mounting point for the low riding front pannier rack.

Diamondback Apex
View of straight Leg and mounting points for low-rider racks

The Apex has a 1-inch head tube. I believe that is a Dia-Comp Headset. It just needs some cleaning and new grease.

Diamondback Apex
1-inch Dia-Comp Headset

Diamondback Apex
Reinforced seat tube

No rust in the bottom bracket but the chainstay has a rock dig. Didn't see that online...But I can get that fixed!
Diamondback Apex

Diamondback Apex
Shark Fin chainstay protector

The paint scheme on the Diamondback Apex is called "Smoke". What is interesting about the paint scheme that you cannot see in the pictures is that there is a pearl in it. When the light hits it just right you see a light purple and blue color in the "Smoke". The paint on this frame has seen it's better days. Since I need to have the rock ding fixed and I would like to put one set of water bottle mounts on the down tube, it will have to be repainted.

First up on my to-do list will be to (1) clean and inspect the frame (2) remove the headset and shark fin and (3) fix the rock ding and add water bottle mounts.

Follow the rest of the project at Bikewright Workshop Project Diamondback Apex The First Signs of Life


MT cyclist said…
My first mountain bike was a 1987 Diamondback Apex. Deerhead components, and U-brakes on the chainstays. I rode that bike for about 10 years. When I first discovered mountain biking, I thought I'd never ride a road bike again. But, when you live in a city, it's a little more convenient to ride a bike made for paved roads. Good luck with your build,
Brian Wright- said…
Thanks MT cyclist. Working on getting the parts together now
Unknown said…
I have 1987 Ascent and 1987 Apex frames in my shed with some extremely rusty parts if they are of any interest to you.
Brian Wright- said…
Rachel I would be interested in them. Please send me an email. Just view my profile to contact me
Bike guy said…
Have an excellent apex 89 compete sitting in garage unused black splatter paint will sell
virag said…
these diamondbacks were great mountain bikes, too. i had a 1990 apex as my first real mountain bike and rode that thing to hell and back. nothing fancy, but it worked really well and was a great value compared to the ubiquitous specialized bikes so prevalent back then.
Brian S. said…
My wife and I purchased identical Diamondback Apex "smoke" mountain bikes from R&E Bicycles, Seattle, the end of 1987. We converted them to touring bikes with drop handlebars, a wider gear range and front and rear racks. We kept the thumb shifters on the handlers. In 1988 we left on an around the world tour. I still have my bike. It has seen and done much, with much left to do.
Brian Wright- said…
That sounds so cool!

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