Universal Santa Monica MTB?

Discussion in 'Vintage and Classic Bikes' started by nmfeb70, 14 Apr 2019.

  1. nmfeb70

    nmfeb70 New Member

    Location:
    Tonypandy, Wales
    Hi All, is anybody out there familiar with a Universal Santa Monica MTB? A relative no longer needs it and has offered it to me. I'd like a 2nd bike to basically hammer the hell out of while my main MTB is offroad (trail?). I've nothing to lose as it is for free, but just thought I'd ask for any opinions. Many Thanks.
     
  2. Cycleops

    Cycleops Guru

    Location:
    Accra, Ghana
    It's a cheap bike sold by supermarkets and mail order catalogues but for your intended use should be fine.

    Screenshot_20190414-205310.png
     
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  3. Rusty Nails

    Rusty Nails We remember

    Location:
    Here and there
    Another benefit is you can leave it anywhere unlocked and it will never get stolen. Perfect pub bike.

    Riding it up the hills around Tonypandy will certainly build your strength.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    nmfeb70

    nmfeb70 New Member

    Location:
    Tonypandy, Wales
    "Pub bike" is a new one on me! I can see myself having hours of fun on it. Thanks!
     
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  5. biggs682

    biggs682 Smile a mile bike provider

    Location:
    Northamptonshire
    That's all that matters so enjoy
     
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  6. SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Location:
    London
    All these budget rigid 26" MTBs from the late 80's onwards are much of a muchness, IMHO. Who actually made it, or whose brand name is on the frame, is not generally that big a deal, in the case of the gas pipe hi-tensile models at least. Just off the top of my head you might encounter Apollo, British Eagle, Emmelle, Falcon, Gemini, Magna, Muddy Fox, Raleigh, Townsend, Trax, Universal, and probably several more others which I have omitted.
    There was a fairly standard generic design "formula" for this genre of bikes, in terms of frame angle geometry, frame material, wheelbase, chainstay length, fork rake, frame tube dimensions, cranksets, freewheels, handlebars & stems, & gear shifters.
    Whilst there was a bit of variation in componentry, the general rule of thumb was functional but low-budget, especially in relation to gear mechs and wheelsets. They are not going to stand up well to hardcore off road MTB abuse, but for undemanding use on potholed urban roads, gravel and dirt tracks, not involving racing or performing jumps etc, any of them will do the job, and given at least some basic maintenance, they will continue doing the job year after year.
    Fortunately or unfortunately, depending if you want to buy or sell, 26" rigids are very much Cinderella bikes currently, and only tend to fetch low prices, except for the more niche bikes with a retro enthusiast following. Very useful and versatile, but not very desirable or valuable.
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2019
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  7. Rusty Nails

    Rusty Nails We remember

    Location:
    Here and there
    I agree with much of your post although I would argue that around the late 80s, early 90s both Raleigh and Muddy Fox in particular had some pretty good mountain bikes, especially the Raleigh SP models. Muddy Fox today is nothing like it was thirty years ago.
     
  8. I agree, some Raleighs were quite nice then, lighter steel, etc, but most mountain bikes like that were made in Taiwan, and very much alike. We do a great trade in them at the bike co-op due to their strength and reliability, among people just seeking basic transportation. When we had one car, I used a Schwinn like that for commuting for some years. although I upgraded components to make it more reliable, and added drop bars. Done the same to another so it can be my heavy duty touring bike, but there I started with a Trek 950, a much better variant, like the higher end Raleighs.
     
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  9. SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Location:
    London
    I'm not dissing old Raleighs at all, they actually comprise the majority of my bike fleet! The point I was making, is that some of them (such as the Raleigh Lizard for example) were pretty basic quality machines with budget spec components and plain gauge hi-tensile frames, and were direct competitors to some of the catalogue type bikes, such as Universal. Possibly the Raleighs were a bit better, but they were budget offerings all the same.
    There were of course, also much better quality ones, with brazed 501 and even 531 frames and decent groupsets, but these were not aimed at the same sort of financially challenged customer. The Special Products offerings were never really mass market - you'll find a hundred secondhand Lizards & Mustangs for every Avanti! Even my 501 framed ones weren't that common.
     
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