1993 Wilderness Trail Bikes Phoenix #188
Updated: Sep 16
Charlie Cunningham design, Steve Potts craftsmanship, all WTB.
The first time I rode a Phoenix, was with a buddy on my local 'testing ground' loop. I was on a GT Psyclone and we swapped bikes for a short twisty section of trail. I'd never felt so instantly connected to a bike. That cliché thing people like to say...but I knew within minutes I needed one.
Before long, I had a 95 Phoenix, did a solid restomod build, and racked up a ton of hard miles on it. But the pinnacle of a WTB Phoenix came early in the production timeline....the non suspension corrected SE version. With suspension gaining momentum, only so many were made in this configuration. And it took me years to find one.
As it often goes the Phoenix I bought was from a friend, right under my nose. A project that had stalled out.
It was super beat and far from complete. But it was an early production non-suspension corrected SE. A must for any WTB Phoenix fan. SN is 93188...just a few frames off from the ex-CC brown 93183.
The initial plan was to repaint the bike in a color combo I've been wanting to do for quite some time. Sourced a Potts Type II RC fork, WTB Powerband stem, and CC modified WTB/Suntour post. The rest of the build was made up of clean or NOS parts. I started thinking that hanging all these immaculate parts on a beat frame was kinda cool. It falls in line with two of my mantras:
1) Don't repaint, they're only original once
2) Use the parts because if I don't, someone else will (or someone else won't).
So we have a brutally worn WTB Phoenix with a ton of patina and a few dings adorned in the cleanest parts I could find.
Every part of this bike is from the Wilderness Trail Bikes catalog. All the Suntour using WTB Grease Guard tech. The Specialized saddle and tires WTB designed. The WTB/Chris King headset, NOS at the time of install. I usually punt on housing and chain, but even this bike has the correct Suntour AccuShift housing and AP chain.
Along the way (and more recently), I've updated the bike with an exceptionally rare titanium Powerband stem. More unusual in that it's for the cone wedge/conical format. Steve Potts was able to help me sort out fork with his last remaining cone and shorten the stem down to a user/back friendly 135mm.
The bike is, as I see it, perfect.
Frame: WTB Phoenix
Fork: Type II
Rims: WTB Powerbeam rims 32h (NOS)
Hubs: WTB Classic
Quick Release: WTB (long)
Tires: Specialized Ground Control 2.5
Pedals: Shimano M737 SPD
Crank: Suntour XC Pro MD
Rear Cogs: Suntour 7 speed
Bottom Bracket: WTB/Suntour (NOS)
Front Derailleur: Suntour XC Pro MD (NOS)
Rear Derailleur: Suntour XC Pro
Shifters: Suntour XC Pro (NOS)
Handlebars: WTB Titanium
Stem: WTB Powerband (Titanium, conical/cone wedge)
Headset: WTB/King (NOS)
Brake set: WTB Speedmaster RC/TC
Brake levers: Suntour XC Pro (NOS)
Saddle: WTB/Specialized Prolong Ti
Seat Post: WTB modified Suntour
Paint: Midnight Blue
Serial #: 93188
Place of Origin: Corte Madera, CA
Other: 25.75 lbs. WTB brake arches w/ Ti hardware, CC-washers, NOS WTB brake pads. Suntour chain & housing.
Wheelset Hollister built.
This story is here because of how incredibly well this bike rides. It does everything great but it's descending prowess and high speed handling is at it's center. As I'm disinterested in climbing and ok at descending, this bike fits my riding style well. Like my previous Phoenix, this one has seen a lot of miles as well a strong showing at The Keyesville Classic. This bike is one of my most reliable go tos and most certainly a long term keeper.