Tugging at the heart strings - selling my beloved Klein Mantra Pro.

Back in 1997 I entered the world of full suspension, buying the Unified Rear Triangle [URT] Klein Mantra for the princely sum of £1,500. I chose it primarily because it looked funky and rode similarly to my Orange Clockwork. Back then suspension was pretty new, and the designs untried. The URT one was particularly novel; rode like an hadtail when standing up, yet when seated you had the full 6", ahem madam. Again this was fine as mountain biking was reasonably timid back then, even Coed y Brenin was relatively easy cross country trails. I used the Klein all over; rode the Malvern hills when I had a three day interview for the Health and Safety Executive; I've taken it to Belgium a good few times; Wales lots, plus its' been all over Surrey. In its' time a brilliant bike. I even felt it worth upgrading several times; Ti Manitou forks imported from America; the original, and shite, Quasar Pro forks; then on to Rockshox and now some Magura Menja 100MM.

This is my Klein in the Ardennen.

But time moves on, and things get left behind. My local bike shop for years slagged the Mantra off, and for years I ignored them. But then by chance I spotted a Gary Fisher frame for sale on eBay. Had a few spares lying around, so built up a new bike, my first for over a decade. Wow! What a revelation and brilliant bike. Fast everywhere and way better than the Mantra. This was quickly followed by a PACE RC303 which I've used for three years now. But now that bike is past its' prime so I'm looking to build something else, possibly a Cotic although I'm wary not only of following the crowd, but also in spending £500 on what is after all a fairly basic steel frame.

Now all of this coincides with a loss of space within my house [well actually a re-alignment]. Traditionally I keep all of my bikes, and still have the Clockwork along with, ahem, quite a few others; Cheeta professional full-on 40lb suspension downhill bike anyone? But the loss of space means something has to give. So my BMX, the downhill bike, the PACE RC303 and my much loved Mantra all have to go, along with 6,000 magazines [that's a serious adiction]. Of them all, only the Mantra I'll be sad to see go. It was my go-to bike for a decade and one I've covered an easy 40,000 miles on. Back in the day, pre-kids, I'd do 70 miles off road every Sunday. The bike came with me on every single UK and European holiday, and as mentioned I even took it to work. Often I'd smuggle it into places completely disassembled - and I mean completely - only to reassemble it in some far flung hotel room. Nobody ever worked out how a collection of bits in boxes suddenly ended up as a bike.

Can't keep stuff forever though. Naturally there's also a back story to this; you can always find room for stuff if the will is there. But I've lost heart now a little bit. The URT design was slated back in the day; even back then it was recognised that if you stood up to avoid and flow through rough stuff, then what was the point of the suspension locking up? Also if you were sitting to get through stuff, and got bounced out of the saddle a little, then the suspension would extend rapidly, then lock; this had the side effect of throwing you off the bike quite literally. Only happened to me once, and then I learnt to ride around the problem. But riding the Tassajara, and then the PACE for a few years meant I'd lost the knack of riding the Mantra. I took it out for a spin recently and the thing scared the pants off me. Rather stupidly I stood up on the rooty section coming off Reigate Hill. You don't really do that on a "stink bug" URT, especially if you brake, when the wheelbase shortens instantly by 6". That's a lot to take in. In short it frightened me a little, and ever since I've been taking bits off the bike to use on others; most notably the Menja forks. Bit tough riding a bike with no forks. In the end the lone frame sitting in the corner made me a bit sad. Why keep the bike when somebody more enlightened and appreciative than I could have it? So now it's on eBay and I do hope it finds a good home. It's a good bike provided you've not forgotten how to ride it. I still think from certain angles it's a looker.

Actually you can keep stuff forever. My daughters Like-a-Bike balance bike will be a permanent feature in out new extension, my wife thinking it can somehow be built into it as a display piece. Bikes are in my blood, and look to be in my daughter's and son's too. Bless.



  1. What a nice story. I too bought my Klein Mantra race in the UK for about the same money, back in 1997. From Evans Cycles in Wandsworth to be exact. I still ride mine regularly but have had other bikes too so I know what you mean about the ride, but maybe because it's the first MTB I've owned I've never had a problem with jumping on it and bombing around.

    I'm just rebuilding mine again after getting some new parts that fit from ChainReaction. For me the bike is as much a reminder of some of the best days of my life living in Putney and biking into the City or around Richmond Park. I've *still* got the waterproof jacket I bought on the same day in 97 as well - still going strong.

    Happy trails,


    1. Hi Dave,

      thanks! I was happy with my Mantra for well over a decade but after a skills course here in the UK my riding style changed far too much for the bike. If it had been my first MTB then I would have kept it, but my trusty Orange Clockwork fills that honour, a bike I still use now and then. The Klein didn't die though; it has been re-built into a much loved bike by a collector.

      I rode the Klein in Richmond park once. Near the A3 entrance there was a grass bank which I rode over to impress some ladies. I didn't know it terminated in a 2ft drop.....

      Nice to have had the opportunity to chat with you my friend.

      Happy biking indeed.


  2. Hi, your mantra pro sold aready? Any pics of it? :)


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