Diamond in the Rough: 1991 Marin Bear Valley Mountain Bike

Craigslist is known for producing diamonds in the rough and this story falls right in line with that. I found a “vintage mountain bike” for sale in South Sacramento on a Wednesday evening about a year ago. The address was actually a little sketchy but the prospect of picking up a bike I’ve been seeking for years was well worth any risk I was fearfully manufacturing in my head. Pulled up to the house, an Asian mom that had some grown sons more interested in cars now than bikes was ready to clear up the space in her garage. I took it for a test ride and handed her $120 cash. I quickly threw my new find in the van, got out of dodge and couldn’t resist looking back at my new pick-up with absolute elation at every stop light and semi-safe driving moment I had on the way home.


The next day I brought the bike into the office expecting high-fives, shared stories of adoration for the bike and era it represents. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, in fact I received snide comments like, “It looks like a tweaker bike.” They didn’t see the vision, they didn’t possess the appreciation for early mountain bikes, the fact that Marin pretty much invented the production mountain bike and that this bike is one of the most coveted bikes of that era. There was one guy that got it. Tristen Moss works in our warehouse, is an amazing skateboarder, worked at a bike shop for years and is extremely passionate about bikes. Working on them, building them, riding them, looking at them on the internet… The kind of guy that could rebuild this poor forsaken craigslist bike and give it a second chance at the glory it deserves. 


So that’s what Tristen did, he composed a components wish list for the bike rebuild and we pursued it. Scouring eBay and bike forums curating period correct components with a mix of premium current components. The result is a balanced mix of then and now, creating an homage to roots mountain biking. 


Nearly a year after my trip to South Sacramento to buy a “tweaker bike” we unveil our build of this 1991 Marin Bear Valley in our flagship store just in time for mountain biking season. The bike is a testament to how inspirational and motivating knowledge of roots can be. One man’s junk is another man’s roots.


Frame/Fork/Stem/Bars-1991 Marin Bear Valley

Brakes-Paul Canti

Brake Levers-Paul Canti

Wheels-1990 Shimano Deore DX laced to Specialized BX23 

Tires-Early 90's - Continental Competition Pro 1

Cranks-1992 Shimano FC-M730

Chainring-All City Cross Ring

Chain Tensioner-Paul Melvin Tensioner

Chain-Sram PC-870

Pedals-MKS BM-7

Grips-ESI Chunky

Saddle-Selle Italia Turbo

1 comment

  • joe

    Lovely!! Got a 92 muirwood and 95 bare valley ☺ wonderful bike..well done m8

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