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OK, please tell me - what have I got here?(35 posts)

OK, please tell me - what have I got here?lonefrontranger
Nov 1, 2001 12:08 PM
Here's one for the Coloradans on this board. I picked up a Morgul-Bismark frame at VeloSwap, and can't find a website or information on the builder. I'm really curious as to the history on these.

My VeloSwap mission was to find a small Giant TCR or similar frameset fairly cheap, for use as a rain / commuter / TT bike, to save wear and tear on my Colnagos. I couldn't pass up the Morgul though. The frame was fairly inexpensive (frame with Wound Up fork for $400). But the real kicker ;-) - did I mention it's got a lovely paint job?

According to the guy I bought it from, it is a handbuilt Easton 700 aluminum frame that was custom made for someone who never took delivery. He ran a quick fit and claimed I have the "exact" dimensions as whoever it was built for. I took the sales pitch with a grain of salt, and bought the frame because it is pretty, relatively cheap, and is my size (48.5 c-c). It has a broad "boom tube" with aero seatstays and teardrop seat tube. It's stiff like no bike I've ever ridden, almost like riding a track bike. I literally feel like every watt I put on the pedals goes straight down to the road. Oddly enough it doesn't beat me to death like my Trek 2300 did. I did a 4-hour ride on it Sunday with no discomfort, and I could barely survive a 2-hour ride on the Trek.

I'd very much appreciate info from anyone who knows something about the builder and/or these bikes.
Nov 1, 2001 12:17 PM

Did you look there?

Nov 1, 2001 12:18 PM
nothing's simple when you're blonde (nm)lonefrontranger
Nov 1, 2001 1:01 PM
Morgul-Bismark Bicycles...(this could get long)TJeanloz
Nov 1, 2001 12:22 PM
A brief history:

The Morgul Bismark was a stage of the now defunct Coors Classic stage race. The stage was just outside of Boulder, near what is now Rock Creek, and included infamous features like the 'Hump' and 'Wall'. The course played a supporting role in the movie "American Flyers" where it was one of the stages in the fictional "Hell of the West". After the Coors Classic no longer existed, Davis Phinney and some other people opened a shop on University Hill in Boulder, called 'Morgul Bismark'- the site now houses Al's Barber Shop. Following the closure of the bicycle shop, Rainbow Cyclecraft of Niwot purchased the rights to the Morgul-Bismark name from Phinney, and began to produce bicycles.

The bicycles were originally exclusively distributed by OilMe bikes in Niwot. The first year of production was 1998, when, to my knowledge, they offered only two models. One was a Taiwanese Kinesis aluminum (built with Easton 7000 series) the other was a Nobilette made 853 steel ride. These bikes were ridden by the Oilme mens and Celestial Seasonings womens professional teams- and enjoyed some pretty decent results in 1998.

In 1999 they lined up more models, a more aggressive model, I think called the Zinger, a 'cross model (which was again, a Kinesis 'cross bike badged as a Morgul) which I think was called the Mongrel, a TT specific model, a ti model and maybe another one. After 1998, most of these bikes were sold by Pro Peleton in Boulder. Most of the higher-end (those that are not Kinesis) were built by well respected Boulder area builders. Mark Nobilette did some of them, the one you have, with bladed seatstays was probably built by the guys who worked at the former GT R&D facility in Longmont. They are the same people who built the Olympic 'Superbikes'. Either way, it's a pretty good quality ride.

There's more to tell in this story, but I don't really want to bore everybody...
Not boring at all, T!! Nicely done. (nm)RhodyRider
Nov 1, 2001 12:38 PM
yes, for a young guy, you have tons of infoDog
Nov 1, 2001 12:41 PM
...might even rival Sheldon Brown

Now that is a huge compliment.vanzutas
Nov 1, 2001 1:18 PM
I am not sure anyone rivals Sheldon Brown.
yes, for a young guy, you have tons of infoTJeanloz
Nov 1, 2001 1:46 PM
I've been thinking about putting all of my cycling knowledge onto a web page of my own to duke it out with Sheldon. But that's a lot of work, and Sheldon has some great knowledge about things like Sturmy-Archer hubs that were out of style before I was born.
Nov 1, 2001 2:03 PM
Sheldon doesn't say squat about Campy Record 10 carbon levers...

but, I don't know what's wrong with your levers either (nm)TJeanloz
Nov 1, 2001 2:14 PM
Thanks lots! - and some irony...lonefrontranger
Nov 1, 2001 12:49 PM
I work 3 blocks from the builder in Niwot. I spent quite a bit of time searching on the web, guess I just didn't spell the name right.

Mine's an Aero Al, and now I'm positive it was a custom build. It's 48.5 c-c and 51 cm TT - they don't stock that size. And the paint is teal-to-lavender pearl fade with an impressive drop shadow fade on the down tube logos.

I've heard of that race. I'm not sure you can race ACA without hearing many wistful remarks about the "good old days" of the Red Zinger. Looks like they built a mega shopping mall on the former race course and we are left with yet another office park crit.

Now I have the dilemma that this might be too nice a frameset to (ab)use as a daily commuter. At least it's going to make a great TT bike!
I forgot to mention...TJeanloz
Nov 1, 2001 1:19 PM
There is some, for lack of a better word, 'pimp' cyclecross riding on the singletrack/fire roads in the area known to locals as "inside the 'biz".
morgul bismarck routeColnagoFE
Nov 1, 2001 2:08 PM
Forget about riding the Morgul bismarck these days. All the development in the Rock Creek area pretty much made it a life or death proposition to ride it these days.
Nov 1, 2001 2:13 PM
You do risk life and limb every time you ride it.

But don't you think everybody has to do it once? That and the old Tour of The Moon course- absolute necessity.
Good stuff, I live/work in the Boulder area. . .js5280
Nov 1, 2001 1:18 PM
and I've wondered what the exact Morgul Bismark route was. I ride the Rock Creek area all the time and heard that was the general area. Do you happen to know or somewhere where I could find this info. Only recently did I see a small part of American Flyers, somewhere in the middle. If I saw before, I was just a little kid. Are you a Boulderite too TJeanloz?
I wish...TJeanloz
Nov 1, 2001 1:28 PM
I graduated from CU in the's been back east and downhill since.

The Morgul Bismark course: Start at Costco, cruise out toward Rock Creek, Rock Creek Parkway and Key Bank are at the top of "The Hump", descend, face "The Wall". At the top of the Wall, turn right, on (I think) Colorado 125. There will be a nasty headwind. When you are suitibly demorilized by the headwind, you will pass the National Wind Research Center. Turn right on that highway that goes from Boulder to Golden (Rt 115?). Descend past 'stonehedge'. Turn right at the liquor store (stop in if you need something a little stronger than Gatorade). You are now on Marshall Road, it will take you back to Costco.

Some things to know: Traffic is really, really bad. The course is pretty nasty in terms of hills. The pros did 8 laps.

About the name: The course was known as one of the most brutal in the world of stage racing, with power climbs that are just long enough to be really painfull, and often enough to provide ample opportunity to attack. So the pros (LeMond, Hinault, real Euro pros) just abused each other on the course. Morgul and Bismark were the names of Lynn Pettyjohn's (the race organizer) dog and cat respectively. Hence the MB Bicycles cat-and-dog logo...
So was the guy I spoke with full of it orPack Meat
Nov 1, 2001 1:33 PM
was it Len Pettyjon? I hope the guy was full of crap, it would be sad if that was Len Pettyjon.
So was the guy I spoke with full of it orTJeanloz
Nov 1, 2001 1:34 PM
It could well have been Lynn. He does occasionally rent a room...
Nov 1, 2001 2:07 PM
The liquor store is gone (no city sales tax!!) as well as the Ethiopian restaurant.
Nov 1, 2001 2:12 PM
When did that happen? I swear, you leave Boulder for 5 minutes, and another city institution has packed up and left.

I'm visiting next weekend and I'm afraid of what I won't find.
Nov 1, 2001 3:17 PM
The liquor store is long gone. The Ethiopian restaurant moved to 30th Street across from Christie Sports. They started construction about a year ago for "Office Condominiums" at Marshall Road.

I hope you put your order in for the weather. It has been pretty damn nice with the exception of the wind. Where are you living back east?
Still a gas station thoughColnagoFE
Nov 2, 2001 9:12 AM
and they sell fireworks near there around the 4th. Intersection of McCaslin is the worst part IMHO...totally bike unfreindly. They widedned the crap out of it with no bike lanes. Just try and take a left toward Louisville onto McCaslin from the Costco frontage road (this isn't the MB route by the way) these days without getting creamed. The highway back to Boulder isn't too fun either. High speed traffic and little to no shoulders.
So that's it. . .js5280
Nov 1, 2001 2:28 PM
I ride those routes all the time except that strech on 93, too busy, no shoulder. I even worked in one of the Key Bank buildings on the Hump (MessageMedia). 128 is a great ride, nice long hills w/ good recovery terrain between. They are doing some construction now from the west end of Interlocken to Indiana so no shoulder there for a mile or so. Marshall's a great road, not too busy, shoulder is kind of smallish though.
Tjeanloz where do you live now?Erik W
Nov 1, 2001 3:54 PM
You said you moved away from here to back east. That's going the wrong direction lad! That was a really good story about Morgul and Bismark. I always wondered where the name came from. Didn't you say you worked at Louisville Cyclery when you lived here?
In the east,TJeanloz
Nov 1, 2001 4:28 PM
Currently I'm in Western Massachusetts, right where Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont meet. It is, without a doubt, the best place to ride a road bike in the United States.

I did work at Louisville Cyclery for a few years, and Scott (the owner) taught me at least 1/2 of what I know.
A beautiful areaErik W
Nov 1, 2001 7:34 PM
I lived in Rhode Island for six years while growing up and enjoyed getting out to that general area. I spent some time in Vermont on a road trip some years back. It rained the entire time. Now I know why they call them the Green Mountains. It's good to hear that you're in cycling heaven out there.
Nov 1, 2001 7:42 PM
Scott is a truly great guy. I just went and picked up my 3rd set of Cosmos wheels from him tonight. He and the LVC guys picked me up for the racing team this past season, despite my being a total unknown and completely out of my depth in Colorado racing. I live in Lafayette. Scott and C.J. Gauss roped me into helping run the Coal Miner's this year (they moved it out to StorageTek), and a good time was had by all.

Were you working at the shop before you graduated? My SO and I ride quite often with Terry Akins (sp?). If you know him, I'll say hi.
Nov 2, 2001 7:16 AM
Scott is a great guy, both as a boss, shop owner, and friend of cycling. It was truely a great experience to work for him. I can't imagine the Coal Miner's being the same, not being on the streets of downtown Louisville, but I did see the course at StorageTek, and it seemed to be a worthy replacement.

It is not possible to work at Louisville and not know Terry. His garage is a.k.a. the LVC employee storage locker- currently holding at least 3 of my bikes...
So that's YOUR track bike?!lonefrontranger
Nov 2, 2001 7:52 AM
Terry's talked about you. We've spent a couple afternoons over there messing around with his various cruisers. He's got a new longer seatpost for that little blue "full-suspension" circus bike of his so he can ride it with his dickey knees.

The new StorageTek course is great, and the STK employees are very gung ho on the accompanying Interlocken Bike Coalition events we held. The corporate challenge was a riot - almost every corporate team padded their ranks with a Pro/Cat I ringer for the anchor leg. We had a *lot* of spectators there considering it was held extremely late in the year (end of August), it was hot as blazes, the turnout was modest, and it's held in a middle-of-nowhere office park. That new course is a power rider's extravaganza, with lots of exposure (read: howling head/cross winds) and a false flat on the finish straight.
Yes, my track bike...TJeanloz
Nov 2, 2001 8:10 AM
That's it. Classy purple paint, Wound-Up fork. Also my dented Merlin. My OCLV might still be in the'd think I could keep better track.

A longer seatpost for the midget bike is definitely cheating.
Good stuff, I live/work in the Boulder area. . .Pack Meat
Nov 1, 2001 1:29 PM
From 93S. go east on Marshall drive? i think that's the name, if you go west you head to eldora. follow that road all the way, it will turn east along 36 and come to a light by the new costco. take that light right and head up through Superior. keep going til you hit the wall and the light at 128. head west just passed the wind site you hit 93. Take 93 north, this is the scarey part, take a right at the first light that should be Mashall, continue until tired.
but wait there's more...Pack Meat
Nov 1, 2001 1:22 PM
You can still ride the course, it's a Boulder loop favorite of mine. A few year's ago I was looking for a room to rent in Boulder. I went to this guy's house that was renting a room, he had a garage full early 80s/late 70's bikes. Track bikes, cross bikes, racers all high quality stuff. He asked me if I had ever heard of the Coors Classic and the Morgul Bismark race. He said that he was the guy that first mapped the course and named it after his cat Bismark and his dog Morgul. He raced pro way back in the day. I can't remember the guy's name but it was an interesting story and an interesting guy, he was just hanging at home, very alone, drinking scotch with ice. I didn't rent the place.

Nov 1, 2001 1:26 PM
but wait there's more...Jack S
Nov 1, 2001 1:38 PM
The story is well-known, widely published in all the mags. Petyjohn now lives in a nice pad up one of the canyons. He does have a garage full of goodies. Most recently known for promoting the Zinger and DSing Coor Light team, IIRC.