Episode 12. MuddyFox Recoil... Possibly.

Arriving at my place of work this morning I was greeted by this...


It would appear that the cycling gods decended on my workplace last night and bestowed me with treasure! Well, thats what I had hoped! I'm guessing that they saw the rest of my cycle collection, and figured another half a dozen or so wont hurt! I gave them a quick looking over as they sat there, then I thought that I'd better shift them before someone sees then and thinks its a free for all to dump their rubbish over my wall! So what are these treasures, and more importantly, what am I going to do with them? First up... This.


Which I think is some sort of Muddy Fox full suspension mountain bike. I'm not a fan of full suspension bikes, however because all this really lacks are wheels, and a rear derailiur as it's mangled beyond belief I have decided to use parts from an incomplete Apollo Vortice to make this into a complete, and rideable bike. The paint is very flat, and faded, and the Coca-Cola decals are a bit odd (why would you put Coca-Cola decals on your bike?) So I thought about stripping them off, and trying to polish this turd, but then of course, I'll only just end up selling it once it's rideable again so why bother? Who knows, but one thing I do know is that you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. So a bunch of free bike bits will be turned into atleast one rideable bike, and lots of spares. Well it was a slow day at work, so before long it was done...


Atleast, it's done as far as I'm concerened! I would say it was probably built as a promotional thing. So what actually is it? I have a friend who is a bit of a walking enCYCLEpedia when it comes to bikes and his feeling is that, as I suspected, it is a MuddyFox, but he went further than that, he says its probably an early MuddyFox Recoil MTB like this one...


Well, actually probably more like this one...


Sadly my one does not look as good as either one of these bikes :(



But nevermind, it is now complete and just about rideable thanks to a good rummage through my spares box! As for what it's like to ride? RUBBISH!! I want to tell you that its good, I want to tell you that I enjoyed it, but the fact of the matter is that I just didn't enjoy riding it at all. I had planned a two or three mile ride, but time was against me slightly, and frankly I rode it for about a mile before thinking, no, thats far enough for me! The thing is, back in the day MuddyFox was sort of a premium brand bicycle manufacturer from Basildon, Essex, who specialised in mountain bikes and other flatbar bicycles. The company originally produced BMX bikes in the 1980s before the slump in their popularity forced them to switch to mountain bike production, at which they excelled, producing such bikes as the Courier Comp like Mrs Clint rides. Muddy Fox then dropped off the production radar in the mid-1990s and got swallowed up by Universal Cycles around 2001 and started to sell bikes like the Recoil to bigbox retailers such as Argos, Littlewoods, ASDA etc. Ofcourse this means that the mountain bikes that they then made were made cheaply, but by who frankly is anyones guess. Then Universal Cycles would brand them as various different makes for the bigbox retailers to sell on cheaply. This bike new was probably less than £100. It's really is one of a class of bike that is so bad that its value is actually negative - if you were given it for free, (like I was) it was still a very poor deal! A quick browse on 'tinternet produced this...


A Universal Cycles White Knuckle... Further searches found it stickered up as various other brands of bike including Schwinn, and even Raleigh! But none of that should matter as long as it's quality right? The trouble is that it's not the highest of quality. I mean it's built to last, make no mistake, I reckon that frame is made from scaffold tubing, you could probably give these bikes a beating that a far higher quality bike would probably not survive, and if you are particularly heavy handed, or just really hard on things, then frankly this is the bike for you. It will last you FOREVER! Although, you'll probably have to replace the wheels at some point, and maybe the gears, brakes etc, and then prossibly the forks, but the frame, the frame should go on till the end of time! So why didn't I like it, I mean, if you've read the rest of my drivel you'll know that I like crap bikes... I'm loving that Magna Fugitive! Infact I'm loving riding that thing so much that I keep finding other bikes to put up for sale instead! Is it possible that this Muddyfox Coca Cola bike is worse than the Fugitive? Well, no, it probably isn't if I'm honest. So what's the problem? Firstly, it's a full suspension bike, which is no good for me really as I do the majority of my riding on paved surfaces. I've never found a full suspension bike that I've thought was good to ride, not even the expensive ones. No, for me the majority of people who buy full suspension mountain bikes are posers! I know if one of my friends is reading this he'll be saying to himself, so I'm a poser am I? Well, no, he isn't. He does a lot of that down hill type stuff, and his bike is pretty fancy, but it takes a lot of abuse. But the majority of full suspension mountin bikes I see getting ridden around just get ridden around on the street, and never even go near the dirt, let alone get ridden fast down some muddy rocky hill by a madman! Also...


No stunting or jumping!? What the hecks the point of having a full suspension mountain bike if you can't do jumps on it? I was going to to a jump, but I didn't because my bike said I wasn't allowed! Having said all that, it's probably too heavy to do a jump anyway!


Revo-shifters... I HATE THEM!! This must be the worst method of shifting gear on your bike known to man! They probably work perfectly well for most people, but for me I find that I'm standing on the pedals, peddling up a hill, gripping the handlebars like I'm hanging on for dear life, then suddenly I change gear! This will occasionally end in crossbar/testicular interaction where my feet slip off the pedals as a result! Oddly however I've never had that problem with the 'Grifter Shifters' which were made by Sturmey Archer, and fitted to various bikes (including the Grifter obviously) in the seventies, eighties, and probably beyond!


Lastly, the build quality. I know that these were built to a budget, but that just looks cheap, and badly engineered to me! I'm not saying that you couldn't get some enjoyment out of this bike, ofcourse you could. If you really wanted to get a work out when you're riding then a bike like this is the way to go, I'll bet that riding this for a mile was far more of a workout than riding my FELT for five miles! Anyhoo, as I've got plenty of other bikes to ride, and now that this one is just about rideable it's time it belonged to someone else!


Let's RIDE!!... something else!

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